Starting last year, fast food restaurants in New York City were required to list the total calories of every item on the menu. The idea was to provide greater transparency for consumers so that they can make smarter choices. Has it worked? Professors at New York University and Yale have completed a study that shows that the labeling makes consumers think they’re being healthier, but in fact they’re ordering more total calories than before the law went into effect.
One reason rich people stay rich is they don’t go wasting it on silly things such as charity. Likewise, a factor that keeps poor people poor is they give too much of what little they have away.
Private school: $32,000 a year per student. Mortgage: $96,000 a year. Co-op maintenance fee: $96,000 a year. Nanny: $45,000 a year. We are already at $269,000, and we haven’t even gotten to taxes yet.
Last week, Slate published a list of children’s books about poverty, unemployment, shoe-eating, dust bowls, depressions, and recessions. From a late-19th century series called The Five Little Peppers through to 2007′s How To Steal a Dog, the list captures over 100 years of poverty-level slice of life–what we might call the Plight of the Raggedy Children.
Very Short List notes that “America’s lotto kiosks are currently reporting heretofore unheard-of earnings,” despite the average rate of return—53%—being less than slot machines. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon recently completed a study in which they primed people to feel relatively poor, then offered them a chance to buy lottery tickets, and the results suggest that the poorer you feel, the more likely you’ll waste your money on a lottery.
Don’t order textbooks from Indoo.com if you need them right away, because they’re a little casual with their shipping. Joe ordered two textbooks on September 5th. Four days later on September 9th, they sent him an email saying they’d been shipped via USPS Priority mail. They hadn’t arrived by the 16th, so Joe emailed to ask what was going on. They responded that actually the books had been shipped on September 11th via USPS Priority and that “the arrival expectation is 4 to 5 business days.” Joe received one of the two books yesterday, on September 17th, which would have been 5 business days after the 11th. Still no sign of the other book.
Henry Alford of the New York Times writes that sometimes he will “plop a can of chicken broth down on the checkout counter and think, ‘$2.19? For someone to boil chicken bones? I want that job,’” so he decided to try going a week with food from 99 cent stores in New York City.
Glenn’s family went to Applebee’s last night and discovered that the restaurant is cutting back. Really cutting back. You have to bring your own candles now for their birthday cakes, because “Applebee’s doesn’t supply birthday candles anymore.”
A law professor and associate professor of geography set out to create the most comprehensive map of U.S. payday lenders to date. What they found, to their surprise, was “a surprising relationship between populations of Christian conservatives and the proliferation of payday lenders.” And it’s not a side effect of a poor population that happens to be Christian, according to the authors: “Our research showed that the correlation between payday lenders and the political power of conservative Christians was stronger than the correlation between payday lenders and the proportion of a population living below the poverty line.”
Amazon either ran out of inventory or didn’t catch several pricing errors on their Black Friday sale until after they’d already begun to ship products, but either way a lot of customers just had their orders canceled. One customer even got tricked into re-purchasing a wireless mouse at full price because the CSR promised him Amazon would honor the sale price—then after placing the order received an email from another CSR saying that the promise was no good and he’d be charged the full $89.99. Then the CSRs continued their all-drinking, all-smoking holiday office party over at Amazon Customer Service.