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Tipping can be arbitrary and in some cases discriminatory.
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Tipping campaign from Marriott spotlights low-paid hospitality industry

From the “seemed like a good idea at the time” department:  Marriott International’s launch this week of a campaign to encourage the tipping of hotel housekeepers landed like a lead balloon, and has a number of angles that business writers can localize to take advantage of the buzz. Marriott on Monday said it has partnered […]

Scotch whisky plays a key role in Scotland's independence vote
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Scotch whisky plays a key role in Scotland’s independence vote

For business writers, enlightening readers about the local ramifications of global events is interesting and rewarding.  And this week,  with all eyes on Scotland, you might take a few moments to show your audience how happenings across the pond might ripple back toward them. Scotland, a member of the United Kingdom, is allowing citizens to […]

Alibaba orange shopping bags. The company has almost single-handedly turned China into the world’s second-largest e-commerce market. Photo: Bloomberg
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Alibaba’s mega-IPO highlights evolving e-commerce scene

Talk about “party like it’s 1999.”   The upcoming IPO from e-commerce giant Alibaba is going to smash records for initial public offerings at an already sold-out $21.1 billion, according to Reuters, and it brings back memories of the good old days when stock buyers were clamoring for shares of other Internet sellers like Amazon, eBay, […]

Halloween 2014: There's no escaping the holiday's creep
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Halloween 2014: There’s no escaping the holiday’s creep

OK, even for a lover of seasonal biz stories, Halloween stories the first week in September are a bit of a stretch. Or rather, they were.  But this year, Halloween’s orange-and-black is the new … Labor Day story, apparently. If you don’t find an angle and jump on it soon, you might be playing catch-up with […]

Joan Rivers photo in hands of a fan
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Joan Rivers’ passing spotlights surgical clinics, memorabilia sales

You know you’re a business writer when word of someone’s death spurs you to thinking about the economic impact of that permanent farewell.   The thought flitted across my mind the other day on word that comedienne Joan Rivers had died at age 81, and apparently I was not alone.  An Examiner.com story says “Ghoulish? Joan […]

Quicktips: From pampering people and pets to scams and surcharges
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Quicktips: From pampering people and pets to scams and surcharges

Another raft of ideas jotted on scrap paper or e-mailed to myself are in danger of sailing off into the horizon, so welcome to another installment of Quicktips, the place we salvage viable story pegs at risk of becoming forgotten flotsom. Hotel fees. In our increasing a la carte economy, hotel fees are the latest […]

Huge Atlantic City Casino Shuts Down NPR
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As large-market casinos fold ‘em, how are local casinos holding up?

When the first slot machines hit Michigan a couple of decades ago in a small tribal casino, the notion of spinning the wheels was enough of an unheard-of novelty that my mother and I drove two and a half  hours to the central part of the state, for the pleasure of pumping our dimes and quarters into […]

Tim Horton's coffee cups and Burger King bag
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Burger King bid for coffee shops puts fast food evolution in the spotlight

Wall Street gobbled up shares of fast-food monarch Burger King on Monday, following word that the 60-year-old chain might be headquartering north following the acquisition of the Tim Horton’s coffee and doughnut shops. Both chains enjoyed double-digit stock price hikes, with investors licking their chops over the favorable tax situation Burger King would enjoy as […]

Labor Day activities boating
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Chronicle the changing nature of jobs for a fresh take on Labor Day

With Labor Day only a week away, you may be pondering ways to commemorate the holiday, which was first observed in September 1882 in New York City, according to an account on the U.S. Department of Labor website. In the ensuing 132 years, the ebb and flow of the organized labor / collective bargaining movements […]