Maybe if Walmart paid its workers more, its workers—along with millions of other low-paid U.S. consumers—would buy more stuff at Walmart. Daniel Gross on the company’s profit problem.
One of these days, Walmart will figure out the reason that its U.S. sales suffer, quarter after quarter, year after year. On Thursday, the nation’s biggest retailer posted its quarterly results. They were less than overwhelming. Overall sales for Walmart’s U.S. stores came in at $66.56 billion, up a meager .3 percent from the first quarter of 2012. Same-store sales actually fell 1.4 percent from the year before.In a period of economic growth, that shouldn’t be happening.
by Robert Frank Wealthy Chinese car consumers have a strange way of filing consumer complaints.According to Chinese press reports, a wealthy Chinese businessman hired a crew to smash his Maserati Quattroporte with sledgehammers to protest poor customer service. The highly public supercar execution took place at the Qingdao Auto Show.One of the four men who smashed the car said the owner was protesting "poor sales service" at the Maserati dealership in Qingdao where the car was purchased.
Millions of little gremlins are emerging from the dirt after 17 years of hiding. So fire up the grill! We talked to entomologist Louis Sorkin about the best ways to prepare the little protein nuggets.
A feast is coming.Any day now, millions of cicadas are going to emerge from the dirt and head up into the trees, where they will swarm, sing, mate, and then die. While they are here, predators up and down the Northeastern United States will feast. Wasps, birds, rodents, small mammals, and snakes will all dine on the Magicicadas of Brood II. But what about me? Can humans eat the bugs?Turns out yes, we totally can. And many do! But the prospect of picking a cicada up off the ground and biting into its thorax is rather unappealing.
Noah Millman with a very interesting liberal perspective on immigration and wages over at The American Conservative. Best passage:[I]f we’re going to argue that mass immigration isn’t going to create a fiscal problem so long as we don’t allow class divisions to deepen and fester, then shouldn’t we be doing something to make sure class divisions don’t deepen and fester? Like, make sure wages, even for relatively low-skill manual labor, are high enough to allow a semblance of a middle class existence? If you believe that low IQs are partly caused by growing up poor, then isn’t a low-wage policy even more pernicious than it would otherwise appear, as it hobbles a substantial portion of the next generation as well? Wouldn’t a low-wage policy wind up making it seem like Richwine was right after all?
Sucks to be Venezuelan: the country has run out of toilet paper, thanks to price controls straight out of a Woody Allen movie. Daniel Gross on Bolívar’s backward business legacy.
Venezuela is out of toilet paper. To combat a chronic shortage, the government said this week it would import badly needed supplies of the consumer staple. In a scene reminiscent of Woody Allen’s Bananas, Commerce Minister Alejandro Fleming proclaimed this week that “the revolution will bring the country the equivalent of 50 million rolls of toilet paper."How does a country—an entire country of 28 million people—run short of toilet paper? Absent a sudden, um, run on the product, it shouldn’t happen.
Could be stripped of chairman role.
They love me, they love me not. Jamie Dimon, the once heralded chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, will find out next Tuesday whether shareholders will slap him by taking away his dual role as chairman and CEO. Votes from investors in the roughly 3.45 billion shares of the bank are beginning to come in, and sources tell CNBC that those in favor of splitting the roles are less than a majority at this point. The major votes, large index funds like BlackRock or State Street, are unlikely to cast their votes until within the last 48 hours.
Fails to pay little guys for five years.
This has not been the best week for federal government agencies. The House Small Business Committee has announced the results of its investigation into the General Services Administration, which revealed the agency failed to pay 1,334 small federal contractors over the past five years for a total of $3 million. The reason for the oversight? The GSA failed to complete a “guaranteed minimum payment” clause in its contracts. The GSA says it will begin to make good on payments dating back to 2007.
Raking in $495M in one night.
A contemporary art auction at Christie’s shattered the record for the highest sales figure at an art auction Wednesday night, raking in a massive $495 million. Among the 12 pieces that brought in the big bucks were works by Jackson Pollock, Roy Lichtenstein, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. The top seller, a famous painting by Pollock titled No. 19, 1948 brought in $58.3 million. An impressive 66 out of the 70 works in the auction found new homes, leaving just four unsold.
Study is “significant step forward” for stem cell research.
In a groundbreaking announcement for stem cell research, scientists at Oregon State University reported that they have discovered a way to turn human skin cells into embryonic cells. The successful experiment—the first to date—involves transplanting human DNA into an egg cell where all genetic material has been removed. A senior scientist in the study, Shoukhrat Mitalipov, called the breakthrough a “significant step forward…in regenerative medicine.” The news is of vital importance to the stem cell research community as it would allow the creation of the type of stem cell capable of transforming into any other type of human cell, without the use of an embryo.
It was an innocent story about the art market, that happened to include a nude image of everyone’s favorite Golden Girl. Facebook disagreed. Brian Ries on an unjust ban.
In the end, I was done in by Bea Arthur’s boobs.As the social media editor for The Daily Beast, I have posted countless potentially offensive stories on our Facebook page, from the sexual proclivities of porn stars to purported cannibalism in Syria. But not until we linked to a piece about the Golden Girl’s breasts did Facebook shut us down.For a crime that wasn’t a crime. For a so-called offensive image that was an actual piece of art valued at roughly $2 million.
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After a University of Massachusetts student found significant errors in a study beloved by budget cutters world over by Harvard economists Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart, Stephen Colbert does what he does best -- leaves them in the dust.
Paying a living wage comes at a cost, but it can help the bottom line, says Charney, who... More
Years of abuses at Ranbaxy raise worries about the FDA's oversight of the generics market.