Goolsbee (2018) addresses the convenience factor and why we are too often bumbled into allowing a company the power to monopolize us.
1. What did researchers Brent Neiman and Joseph Vavra find out about individual purchases grocery and big-box stores?
2. Based on the Neiman and Vavra study, the more specialized the demand, the _____ the prices people pay and the _________ the market power possessed by a company.
3. Goolsbee argues that behavioral traps need to be discussed in terms of their corporate market power. After reading the article, what do you think are some of the underlying causes of these phenomena from the consumer perspective?
4. In conclusion, what does Goolsbee suggest to keep company practices in check and keep companies guessing about consumer choices?
Goolsbee, A. (2018). How Consumers Can Resist Companies’ Market Power. The New York Times, July 20 (Retrievable online at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/20/business/how-consumers-can-resist-companies-market-power.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=mini-moth®ion=top-stories-below&WT.nav=top-stories-below)
In November 2017, manager, Fox Lui, wanted everyone to know that an employee was leaving the Meitu company because he had fired her, so he blasted her for poor execution and not embracing the company’s “user-first” values in a posting for all to see.
1. What is Meitu’s main business?
2. What does the company say its values are?
3. What were some of the problems with the company’s apps and the company itself?
4. Economically, how is the company doing? (From beginning of IPO launch to now.)
5. What happened to this executive?
Price, R. (2018). An exec at a $4.4 billion tech company fired a woman then put her on blast in a team-wide memo: Inside the nightmarish culture of a fast-growing Chinese beauty app. Business Insider, July 16 (Retrievable online at http://www.businessinsider.com/inside-meitu-chinese-selfie-app-chaotic-global-expansion-2018-5)
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, wages fell over the last year for ordinary, non-management workers. This is further evidence that companies are managing to avoid paying amid one of the tightest labor markets in decades.
1. What was the fall in wages from June 2017 to June 2018?
2. In two sentences, explain why this might be happening.
3. According to the article, the U.S. has a monopsony problem. What does this mean? Research this term.
LeVine, S. (2018). 1 big thing: America’s wage crisis.
According to Bloomberg, a cup of coffee cost 450 bolivars in Venezuela less than two years ago. Now, as the nation’s hyperinflation continues to skyrocket, a cafe con leche costs 1 million bolivars — or a mere 29 U.S. cents.
1. What is the most common note in circulation in Venezuela?
2. Venezuela has vast oil reserves, but why is there starvation and economic devastation in the country?
3. What is the current yearly inflation rate in Venezuela now?
Kight, S. (2018). It’s nearly impossible to afford a cup of coffee in Venezuela. Axios, June 28 (Retrievable online at https://www.axios.com/venezuela-hyperinflation-economic-crisis-coffee-cash-3c78a2e4-5d2f-4b91-b774-1dfbcf3c4cfd.html)
According to Slate, the Supreme Court dragged a bit of American tax law into the 21st century when they ruled that states could force all online retailers to collect sales taxes, even if they lack a physical presence there.
1. Do you think the ruling will change buying habits? Explain.
2. What case was quoted in the court’s 5-to-4 decision to overturn the tax-less precedent for online retailers?
3. According to the article, which stocks dropped and by how much due to the new ruling?
4. What type of lobbying was going on regarding the sales tax?
5. Why was Amazon already collecting sales tax?
6. When will collection of online sales tax start for most sites?
Weissman, J. (2018). Jeff Bezos Will Lose Zero Sleep Over the Supreme Court’s Decision to End Tax-Free Online Shopping. Slate, June 21 (Retrievable online at https://slate.com/business/2018/06/the-supreme-court-ended-tax-free-online-shopping-amazon-will-be-fine.html)
If you were a fan of Diet Coke’s variations of lime, lemon, mango, orange, and cherry, they have been quietly phased out of stores and online.
1. When were the products launched? (click on the hyperlink in the article which says: “massive overhaul of Diet Coke”)
2. The move was made to attract millenials. Why do you think they might have rejected the new Diet Coke?
3. Explain what the rebranding initiative involved.
4. Why does this appear to have been a significant loss for Coke? How do you think they will report it in their financial statements?
5. How old is Diet Coke?
Wong, V. (2018) Coca-Cola Quietly Killed Diet Coke Lime, And Diet Coke Cherry Is Hanging By A Thread. BuzzFeed News, July 3 (Retrievable online at https://www.buzzfeed.com/venessawong/diet-coke-lime-cherry-quietly-discontinued?bfsplash&utm_term=.uaoAPXzrx1#.icVzAOM2PB)
According to Time, Dave Alexander, a local farmer in Ontario, Canada, sent his daughter to buy a cheeseburger and fries on June 7, 2012, and started a fast food experiment to test the urban legend that McDonald’s products don’t rot.
1. Describe his attempt to control the experiment.
2. Why did he decide to sell his experiment?
3. Where did he decide to sell his experiment and what is the outcome?
4. Do you think he made a profit on the experiment? Include estimates if you answer “yes.”
Source: Raymond, G. (2018)’Nature Refused to Take This Burger.’ Man Selling a 6-Year-Old McDonald’s Cheeseburger Has Learned a Lot. Time, July 6 (Retrievable online at http://time.com/5331777/old-mcdonalds-cheeseburger/)
The name of “meat grown in a lab” has not yet been decided by regulators, but has sparked a war of words between animal rights advocates and cattle ranchers.
1. What is the problem with calling it “Clean Meat”?
2. What has the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association done to eliminate problems for its producers in the future?
3. What name for “meat grown in a lab” do you prefer?
4. Is this naming problem unique to meat or are there other foods that have a similar problem? Give examples.
5. What did you find the most interesting about this article?
6. Use your imagination: What do you type of snappy name do you think McDonald’s might name one of their signature burgers made with “meat grown in a lab”?
Choi, C. (2018) Meat 2.0? Clean meat? Spat shows the power of food wording. Associated Press, June 19 (Retrievable online at https://apnews.com/d61aa520e6204b85b5dae69e925db8a9/Meat-2.0?-Clean-meat?-Spat-shows-the-power-of-food-wording)
Mick Mulvaney, the acting head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), told bankers that he is not required to post data on banking institutions that violate the rules or receive significant complaints.
1. Do you agree with the removal of these types of data from the government websites? Why or why not?
2. Is this the same or different from the Yelp website? Discuss.
3. How many financial institutions with the most complaints in the database contributed to Mulvaney with campaign funds from political action committees (PACs)?
4. Plot the Public Citizen data on a graph. Is there any trend that emerges? Describe.
Okeson, S. (2018). Trump Appointee Aims To Shut Down Consumer Financial Protection Database. The National Memo, June 20 (Retrievable online at http://www.nationalmemo.com/trump-appointee-shuts-down-consumer-financial-protection-database)
As the incident of the recent separation of some 2,300 migrant children from their families unfolded, we learned that the nonprofit, Southwest Key Programs, won more than $1 billion in federal contracts since 2015 to run shelters and/or provide other services to immigrant children in federal custody.
1. About how many contractors operate more than 30 facilities in Texas alone?
2. Why is the president and chief executive of Southwest Key Programs, Juan Sánchez, currently under so much scrutiny?
3. What are some of the problems with the old converted Walmart Supercenter facility in Brownsville, Texas known as Casa Padre, a shelter run by Southwest Key Programs, housing roughly 1,500 immigrant children?
4. Explain your thoughts about organizations profiting from these types of operations. As a professional accountant, how would you discuss the situation in a networking interaction?
Fernandez, M. and K. Benner (2018). The Billion-Dollar Business of Operating Shelters for Migrant Children. The New York Times, June 21 (Retrievable online at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/21/us/migrant-shelters-border-crossing.html)