November 10, 2023

In the past few months, we’ve looked at a couple of instances where bad weather had a big impact on businesses. While luxury picnic planners kept a close watch on forecasts to avoid rainouts, harsh conditions in Europe devastated the harvests of olive oil producers, leading to price increases. Of course, event planning and commercial agriculture aren’t the only industries affected by bad weather. In fact, this autumn has been disastrous for one of the season’s most wholesome enterprises: Continue reading

Continue reading...

November 8, 2023

If you’ve taken an over-the-counter (OTC) nasal decongestant recently, you may have been upset to discover that it did not do much to relieve your clogged sinuses. In fact, recent studies by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) show that most OTC decongestants work no better than a placebo. This video explains in detail how store shelves became filled with useless cold medicine, and ways that the FDA are working to make things right.

Questions:

  1. Why do most OTC decongestants Continue reading
Continue reading...

November 1, 2023

For six weeks, members of the United Auto Workers have been on strike against General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis, parent company of the car brands Chrysler, Jeep, and Ram. Demanding significant wage increases and improved job security, the union employed a bold strategy of slowly expanding its labor action to more plants as time progressed. After starting at three factories owned by each of Detroit’s Big Three automakers, the UAW gradually added more locations to the strike, confounding management and Continue reading

Continue reading...

October 27, 2023

From counter service restaurants to furniture stores, Americans are prompted to leave a tip for nearly every purchase they make. Along with looking at the history of tipping in the U.S., this video explains “price partitioning” and how it influences the ways that consumers view prices, showing that tipping is likely here to stay despite being consistently unpopular. 

Questions:

  1. What is price partitioning, and how does it influence consumers’ views on prices? 
  2. Do you think businesses should phase Continue reading
Continue reading...

October 25, 2023

Last week, we looked at how rising sugar costs will contribute to higher candy prices this Halloween. Of course, sweets aren’t the only product affected by global supply issues. Due to poor weather conditions in Europe, olive oil prices have more than doubled over the past year. The situation is worst in Spain, the world’s largest producer of olive oil and victim of a drought that has devastated recent harvests. Bad weather across the continent has also led to Continue reading

Continue reading...

October 20, 2023

This video looks at the evolving operations of North America’s largest landfill operator, WM. Using capital provided by federal subsidies, the waste management company is investing in tech that could change the future of trash disposal, from sophisticated scanners that sort recycling to capturing methane gas to convert into fuel.

Questions:

  1. Why is WM upgrading its operations to include more automation as well as methane gas extraction? 
  2. Do you think WM’s operational upgrades will make the company more sustainable Continue reading
Continue reading...

October 18, 2023

Last year, we looked at how rising candy prices and increased enthusiasm for spooky season led Americans to spend big on Halloween. And by all accounts, it looks like 2023 will be no different: not only are consumers expected to buy lots of costumes and candy, but they will also pay more for the privilege. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) data, candy and chewing gum prices jumped by 7.7 percent from Continue reading

Continue reading...

October 11, 2023

Since the United Auto Workers (UAW) began striking against the Big Three car companies in September, the union has expanded its action to two more plants as workers continue to fight for better contracts. This video explains one of their central concerns: the expansion of automakers into the electric vehicle (EV) market. While members of the union are worried about their wages in an EV-driven future, American car companies fear that increased labor costs could make them uncompetitive with foreign Continue reading

Continue reading...

October 6, 2023

Shoppers have two options when it comes to ringing up their items at the grocery store: pushing their cart to a cashier or opting for a self-checkout kiosk. The latter path became particularly popular during the pandemic when overwhelmed supermarkets sought to keep customers and employees at a distance. Store owners also figured that self-checkout stations would cut down on labor costs as shoppers did the scanning and bagging themselves. Walmart, for instance, retooled its cashier lanes to accommodate more Continue reading

Continue reading...

October 4, 2023

Over the last few years, thousands of people have attempted to go viral on social media by eating an unbelievably hot tortilla chip. Branded the “One Chip Challenge” by the Austin-based company Paqui, the super spicy snack came packaged in a coffin-shaped box that dared eaters to wait as long as possible before drinking anything after ingestion. This led to countless videos online where people pleaded for water or shoveled ice cream into their mouths as a result of this Continue reading

Continue reading...