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August is the month for getting thrifty, counting resales
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August is the month for getting thrifty, counting resales

By on Aug 08, 2014

Over the weekend a neighbor hefted a brightly-colored plastic outdoor play set and proudly noted that it had been a bargain purchase at a local thrift shop, just in time for another visit by the grandkids. Wow, I thought, what an illustration of the timid consumer spending that – despite an uptick in June, as […]

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Will Santa’s sleigh be full of drones this year?
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Will Santa’s sleigh be full of drones this year?

OK, it’s the first week in August and I’m going to go on record as predicting one of the hot gifts of the coming holiday season:  Personal drones. In fact, for the selfie-obsessed who want to take it to the next level, there’s the just-out Air Dog, a drone that follows its owner everwhere, shooting […]

Words that make me cringe
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Words that make me cringe

I’ve told you the story about the contest reporters held in San Diego: “I Can Alienate That Reader in X Words” and how the winner was “Otay Water District.” Who wouldn’t want to flee to the hockey scores? But hackneyed, cliched and corporate-speak words can be just as bad. You can alienate that reader in […]

Parched: Drought issues ripple out to consumers, growers, small businesses
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Parched: Drought issues ripple out to consumers, growers, small businesses

With dry conditions or outright drought  plaguing a significant section of the United States,  it beats me why TV weather people still pull gloomy faces when they’re reporting impending storms;  you’d think they would be leading the dance of joy. Financial writers know that water issues – from crop hydration to the marketing of bottled […]

Will Family Dollar-Dollar Tree merger affect the local discount store scene?
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Will Family Dollar-Dollar Tree merger affect the local discount store scene?

Buzzing around on a little road trip recently, I was intrigued by the number of dollar stores occupying prime real estate in the small Midwestern towns and villages along my route.  Then I got home, flipped open a mass-market women’s magazine and noted that the fashion spread not only featured ensembles from major department stores […]

What a friend we have in FRED
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What a friend we have in FRED

Mark Twain noted that there are “lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Fraud with numbers is something business journalists should always be alert to. But there are gold-standard statistics that no one outside the lunatic fringe questions. And the top place to find them is on the FRED site run by the Federal Reserve Bank of […]

Helping readers make business sense of global turmoil
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Helping readers make business sense of global turmoil

The growing drumbeat of global strife and spate of recent air disasters is casting a gloomier pall over economies worldwide, many of which already are mired in tepid recoveries in jobs and financial markets. The escalating stream of bad news is becoming difficult to overlook even in locales seemingly unrelated to the military conflicts in […]

Prisoners as consumers: Behind bars is some big business
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Prisoners as consumers: Behind bars is some big business

We write a lot about consumer demographics, from college students to young parents to Baby Boomers – but there’s one cohort of spenders that tends to get overlooked even though it comprises a pretty significant market:  Prisoners. NBCNews recently ran a very interesting piece, “Prison inmates offer captive market for gadget makers,” that was rich […]

The world of fandom – Comi-Cons – is ripe for financial stories
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The world of fandom – Comi-Cons – is ripe for financial stories

What’s a multi-billion industry that draws celebrities, corporate exhibitors and hundreds of thousands of free-spending enthusiasts to events in multiple venues nationwide? No, not talking about NASCAR, the NFL or the beauty pageant circuit.  The movement I’m thinking of is the world of fandom – comic cons (comic conventions)  cosplay (costumed role playing) and related […]

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