And The Crowds Go Wild In Qatari Stadiums

December 21, 2014 in Daily Bulletin

John Leicester wrote about how Qatar manages to keep its stadiums full:

  • Qatar has a population of 1.8 million. Of those only about 300,000 are Qatari citizens. The rest are temporary workers.
  • Volleyball, handball, and football matches are played in front of full stadiums as workers are offered $8 to pretend to be a fan.
  • Given the amount of time a match takes this comes out to less than $1 an hour.
  • Some even dress up in white robes and headscarves to look like proper Qatari citizens.
  • While the crowds look good for television, they’re actually keeping real fans from going to the stadium. Two thirds of a survey’s respondents said that paid fans are the reason why real fans don’t go to matches.

Read more about the practice here.

Source: AP

Via: Marginal Revolution, Slate

Why Waiting Room Magazines Are Awful

December 19, 2014 in Daily Bulletin

Doctor waiting rooms rarely have any good magazines lying about. Kevin Lora reported on a study that figured out why:

  • Researchers found that all the best magazines are stolen by those passing through.
  • People are more likely to steal newer magazines than older ones.
  • They’re also more likely to steal gossipy celebrity magazines rather than magazines such as The Economist or Time.
  • Oddly people were more likely to take cheaper magazines with them.

Read more about the study here.

Source: Slate

The Top Searches Of 2014

December 17, 2014 in Daily Bulletin

Google posted a list of top searches in the year so far. Andrea Chang wrote:

  • Kim Kardashian didn’t break the internet this year, Robin Williams did, whose name was the #1 search of the year.
    • Perhaps hoping that Google knew where misplaced a jumbo jet, Malaysia Airlines came 4th on the list.
  • The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge which we will soon be able to refer to as “so 2014″ was #5 on the list.
  • To the frustration of parents everywhere “Frozen” came #9 on the list.
  • The Football World Cup was more popular than the Winter Olympics.

The full list is:

  1. Robin Williams
  2. World Cup
  3. Ebola
  4. Malaysia Airlines
  5. ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
  6. Flappy Bird
  7. Conchita Wurst
  8. ISIS
  9. Frozen
  10. Sochi Olympics

Read other insights, and check out how the most popular searches differed in the US, and see other people who trended over here.

Source: LA Times

The Smart, Connected Suitcase

December 16, 2014 in Daily Bulletin

Zainab Mudallal wrote about the next “smart” device – a suitcase:

  • Travelers can control “Bluesmart” luggage through a smartphone app which can unlock, weigh, and track the location of the suitcase.
  • Wander too far away from it and it can be configured to alert you.
  • It has a built in battery that can be used to charge other devices.
  • Its sensors collect data such as distance traveled, time spent abroad, and airports visited. This data can be viewed in real time from a smartphone.

Read about the suitcase, how its makers are working to ensure that TSA is okay with it, how you can get a 40% discount, and more over here.

Source: Quartz

Petrol Pumps Love Low Oil Prices Too

December 14, 2014 in Daily Bulletin

Oil prices are at remarkable lows and while this is creating a host of problems for oil producing countries, the companies that sell oil are rejoicing just as much as consumers are wrote Jonathan Fahey:

  • Petrol pumps have to buy oil on international markets, therefore the low oil prices are causing their costs to go down.
  • Since prices are lower customers are less price sensitive and are less likely to look for the cheapest pump. This allows petrol pumps to have a greater spread between the price they buy and sell at.
  • Usually this spread is about 17.1 cents per gallon in the US. These days the spread is about 21.7 cents per gallon.
  • And since prices are lower consumers are buying more, further boosting profits.
  • After filling up drivers may even have some spare change which they could use to buy the truly profitable items – the drinks and snacks.
  • Low prices also make for nicer customers to the relief of attendants across the world.

Read about why buyers shouldn’t be too upset about petrol pump profits rising, other reasons why petrol pumps are happy, and more over here.

Source: The Washington Post

The Envelope Cartel Has Finally, Finally Been Brought To Justice

December 12, 2014 in Daily Bulletin

Hanna Kozlowska wrote about the European Commission’s tireless efforts to protect consumers:

  • Bong, GPV, Hamelin, Mayer Kuvert and Tompla are five envelope makers who illegally coordinated prices and divided up markets between them.
  • They have been fined $24 million for price gouging Europeans at their local holiday card stores.
  • The price fixing happened during meetings that the participants called “golfing”.
  • The European Commission has handed out $2 billion in cartel fines in 2014, including a $953 million fine for “automotive bearings” price fixing.

Read about some of the other quirky cartels that the Commission has targeted, the puns that the EC’s Commissioner used to describe the fine, and more over here.

Source: Quartz


December 11, 2014 in Daily Bulletin

Brad Tuttle assembled 10 facts about drive-thrus. Some of the more interesting ones include:

  • Drive-thrus are getting slower. This year the average wait time is a record 203 seconds. Centives has previously noted that for every extra second that customers have to wait at a drive-thru, restaurants have to lower their prices by four cents.
  • Drive-thrus are quickest in the morning when people have fairly simple orders for coffee, and during the mid-afternoon ‘snack’ hours.
  • They’re slowest during lunch when people are likely to order for multiple people and menus usually expand to include more items.
  • Wendy’s has the quickest drive-thru. Chick-fil-A has the most accurate drive-thru with 87% of drive-thru orders being correct.
  • The first drive-thru opened in 1947. McDonald’s opened its first drive-thru several decades later in 1975.
  • 40% of Starbucks locations now have drive-thrus and this proportion is set to grow.
  • Chipotle refuses to open drive-thrus. Analysts argue that it would destroy the experience of being able to see the fresh ingredients being put together.

Read other facts, find out which restaurant has the least accurate drive-thru, and find out why Panera studied drive-thrus for ten years before deciding to introduce one over here.

Source: Time

A/B Testing Lingerie

December 10, 2014 in Daily Bulletin

A/B testing is the practice of presenting a different web experience to a proportion of customers. If the customers who see that altered experience are shown to be more lucrative ones – by, for example, spending more money on the site – then more customers are shown that new web experience. It is commonly used by tech companies to improve the user experience, and was even used during Obama’s presidential campaign to increase donations.

Now a lingerie company is using those principles wrote Rebecca Greenfield:

  • Adore Me uses A/B testing for each of its lingerie products to maximize sales.
  • It has found that brunette models are more likely to sell lingerie than blondes.
  • Buyers are more likely to purchase something if models have their hands around their head, perhaps playing with their hair, rather than on their hip. This can double sales.
  • Props can distract from the product, although couches are okay.
  • The company has found that it can raise prices on items modelled by its most popular models without seeing a drop in sales.

See Adore Me’s most popular model, find out other company insights, and read more over here.

Source: Fast Company

How Restaurants Cut Corners

December 8, 2014 in Daily Bulletin

There was an uproar when it was discovered that Olive Garden doesn’t salt the water in which it serves its pasta. That’s just the beginning of what the restaurant industry does to try to cut costs wrote Olga Oksman:

  • Serving steak with heavier cutlery will lead customers to think that the steak they’re eating is higher grade than it really is.
  • If food prices jump then restaurants may decrease the size of dinner plates, thus serving smaller portions for the same price.
  • Playing around with the amount of foam in glasses of beer can save up to 20 beers per keg.
  • Overpricing common wines will outrage customers. Which is why restaurants purchase wines not commonly available then overprice those.
  • The Patagonian toothfish sounds like an unappealing dish. Call it Chilean Sea Bass instead and voila you have a fancy sounding meal.
  • Patrons first glance at the middle of a single page menu. Therefore restaurants will place their highest margin items in that area.
  • One restaurant asked its employees to park in front of the restaurant to make it seem busier than it actually was. When it actually filled up workers moved their cars to the back.

Read other tricks of the trade, find out why you always get a new beer glass rather than a refill of your old one, and why opening a restaurant still isn’t all that lucrative even after all of this over here.

Source: The Guardian

Selecting The Rockefeller Christmas Tree

December 7, 2014 in Daily Bulletin

‘Tis the season in the west and Adam Epstein decided to take a look at the person responsible for selecting the iconic Rockefeller Christmas tree:

  • Rockefeller center’s head gardener is responsible for maintaining the grounds around the area and selecting the Christmas tree.
  • In making their selection the head gardener has to find a tree that’s at least 70 feet tall and is strong enough to hold the weight of the lights even in inclement weather.
  • It should also have straight and symmetrical branches for all the selfies that will inevitably be taken.
  • This year’s 90 year old Norway spruce was spotted by the head gardener when he was driving down a highway in Pennsylvania.
  • Once Christmas is over and the tree is removed it will be turned into lumber and then given to the folks over at Habitat for Humanity.

Read about the selection process, how the head gardener was able to secure the tree, and more over here. Centives also took a look at how much the tree cost back in 2012.

Source: Quartz