The Hidden Costs of Beautiful Nails

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Manicures were once for special occasions only. Now they have become a staple for women across the economic spectrum. With more than 17,000 nail salons in the United States, there are about 2,000 nail salons in New York City alone. This New York Times research article looks at the dirty little secret of exploitation of… Read more »

A Solution for Separation Anxiety

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People feel guilty about leaving their dogs home all day alone. Now there’s a solution – DogTV. Some viewers even report that their dogs were on medication for separation anxiety, but since subscribing to the channel, the dogs no longer need the drugs. Questions: 1. What year was the channel launched and in what country?… Read more »

Need a Repair? Need Drum Lessons?

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Need a plumber? If Amazon.com succeeds, it will soon be a very large marketplace of home services and will connect customers with electricians, plumbers and painters in a move to have its services tied to every product sold on its website. Questions: 1. How will this change Amazon’s chart of accounts? 2. Provide three accounts… Read more »

The New Parameters of the Advertising War

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Electronic warfare has broken out between internet users and the $120bn online advertising industry. Questions: 1. According to the article, by what amount did the number of people using ad blocking software increase last year? 2. Do you agree with Mr. Zaneis, general counsel at the Interactive Advertising Bureau, that the free internet that consumers… Read more »

A Big Bet!

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Pfizer is making a $15.2 billion bet on the drug industry’s new, more elite class of generics, which are costly, complex copies of already expensive biotech drugs. Questions: 1. What are biosimilars? 2. Why are there questions about the durability of the market for these specialty drugs? 3. What is the dollar estimate of the… Read more »

Credit Unions for Pot?

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Since medical marijuana was legalized in Colorado in 2001 and recreational marijuana was legalized a year ago, sellers have had limited, if any, access to banking services. As a result, a group of other entrepreneurs in Colorado want to start the first-ever financial institution established specifically to serve the pot industry. Questions: 1. What are… Read more »

Capitalism is Broken?

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Camp Bow Wow, a dog-sitting chain, makes its workers sign non-compete agreements that bar them from plying any of the “trade secrets” they learn walking dogs at any other animal day care centers for up to two years. Questions: 1. Do you think that these quasi-feudal non-compete contracts should be illegal for everyone other than… Read more »

Shopping Comes at A Price

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According to Chico Harlan, five years after the Great Recession, the most striking change in the world of low-income commerce has been the proliferation of rent-to-own stores. Questions: 1. How do rent to own stores avoid state usury laws and other regulations aimed at excessive interest payments? 2. What percentage of items are returned or… Read more »

A Complex Financial Crime Story

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Stephen Flatow, a grieving father, charged that Iran financed the Gaza bus bombing that killed his 20-year-old daughter in 1995. Buried in court filings, the suit alleged that money from a charity “fronted” financial transfers to terrorists from the Iranian government. In fact, the charity, known as the Alavi Foundation, actually operated and owned a… Read more »

Billing Outlier or Fraud?

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According to the Washington Post, Medicare spent $152 per member in the Huntsville, Ala., medical marketplace — 38 times the national average — for “unclassified” drug injections, including a type of injection used rarely around the country but used thousands of times a year at the Alabama Pain Clinic in Huntsville. Questions: 1. Why is… Read more »