March 6, 2024

Last week, tens of thousands of AT&T customers lost cell phone service for about seven hours in a nationwide outage. While some feared that the company’s network went down because of a cyberattack, AT&T clarified that the outage was caused by “the application and execution of an incorrect process used as we were expanding our network.” Of course, the reason for the failure did not really matter to people who were unable to use their phones during an important time Continue reading

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March 1, 2024

While high-profile AI platforms like ChatGPT and Microsoft’s Image Creator may grab lots of headlines, millions of people already interact with AI on a regular basis in ways they may not expect. This video looks at how machine-learning techniques are built into everything from email to Spotify and why it’s important for consumers to stay aware of the growing ubiquity of AI in their everyday lives.

Questions:

1. Why do you think many consumers are unaware of the prominence of Continue reading

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February 28, 2024

Public companies use earnings calls to share information about their recent performance with shareholders and the media. News from these announcements rarely leaves the confines of the business press, but that was not the case yesterday when social media users heard an earnings call comment about the fast food chain Wendy’s. CEO Kirk Tanner mentioned that the company was planning to test “more enhanced features like dynamic pricing and day-part offerings along with AI-enabled menu changes and suggestive selling.”

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February 16, 2024

Last week, we looked at how food prices have remained high even as inflation falls in other areas of the economy. Not only are many consumers struggling to pay their grocery bills, but rent has also become a major financial strain on millions of people. Housing costs skyrocketed in the years after the pandemic, with average U.S. rent growing by more than 15 percent in 2022. According to a recent report by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, half Continue reading

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February 9, 2024

In 2019, the genetic testing startup 23andMe made its debut on the Nasdaq stock exchange and soon achieved a valuation of more than $6 billion. This promising start did not last long, however, as the company’s share price steadily declined in the years that followed. The video below explores how 23andMe went from blockbuster brand to penny stock status as it encountered challenges with its business model as well as data privacy.

Questions:

1. How did 23andMe’s business model limit Continue reading

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February 7, 2024

American consumers first encountered rising prices shortly after the pandemic, when supply chain problems and labor shortages sent costs soaring for all sorts of goods. Fortunately, prices have finally started to fall again for products like appliances, used cars, and gasoline as well as services like health insurance. Still, inflation has not decreased evenly across the board, and the prices for some goods remain stubbornly high. Perhaps the clearest example of increasing costs occurs at the grocery store, where food Continue reading

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January 31, 2024

Founded in 1913, the Stanley company has sold steel-insulated mugs for more than a century, operating for much of that time as a niche brand with a small but loyal customer base. Over the last few years, however, Stanley tumblers have become ubiquitous products thanks to the company’s canny use of social media. Their brightest moment in the spotlight happened last November when a TikTok user posted a video showing how her Stanley mug survived a car fire with the Continue reading

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January 26, 2024

France is known the world over for its outstanding culinary traditions, from sidewalk cafes and refined bistros to lavish bakeries brimming with croissants and macarons. But in recent years, these institutions have faced increasing competition from American fast food chains that are especially popular among young consumers. For example, last month more than 500 hungry Parisians lined up before the doors opened at the city’s first Krispy Kreme location. “The French love American products, and there’s a hype around American Continue reading

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January 19, 2024

The German company Aldi is the fastest growing grocery chain in the U.S., expanding at a rate of about 100 stores a year. The following video explains how Aldi keeps prices low by stocking a limited number of products and designing stores for maximum efficiency. 

Questions:

  1. How do Aldi’s store layouts help the company keep expenses low?
  2. Why does Aldi stock significantly fewer products than most supermarkets?
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January 17, 2024

For decades, snack brands like Lay’s chips have emphasized the craveability of their products, declaring “Betcha can’t eat just one” to customers across countless marketing campaigns. But a growing number of Americans are challenging the validity of this classic slogan thanks to appetite-controlling drugs like Ozempic and Mounjaro. These pharmaceutical brands are quickly becoming big hits with consumers who want to reduce their compulsive eating habits, especially frequent snacking. According to one user, her grocery bills dropped by 20 percent Continue reading

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