Why do companies offer free stuff at the same cost?

May 22, 2015
Nancy Marshall-Genzer

One of the questions we received from listeners as part of our "I’ve Always Wondered" series is about why companies are willing to give you extra for free.

Eileen Lee wrote us to ask: "Why is it that, every once in a while, my favorite brand of shampoo, food or drink gives me an extra 20 percent free?  Why would a company do this?”

Cannes Film Festival disappoints critics

May 22, 2015
Kai Ryssdal

Grantland writer Wesley Morris is at the Cannes Film Festival and fills us in on what’s going on.

On the vibe at Cannes:

The vibe is, “What happened to the movies?” We saw "Mad Max" on the first day, and we’ve been trying to see "Mad Max" ever since. It is amazing. It is the best movie, and very little that we’ve seen since then has been as great, especially in the main competition.

China dominates beer sales

May 22, 2015
Kai Ryssdal

Quick: what's best selling beer in the world?

I'm just going to go ahead and assume you didn't guess Snow.

Bloomberg ranked the top 10 selling beers in the world by market share, and apparently Snow is all the rage in China these days — up just shy of 600 percent in the past decade. Number two, Tsingtao, is also based in China.

Both can be tricky to find here in the states, so you'll have to settle for number three or four, Bud Light and Budweiser.

Kai Ryssdal

Joining Kai to talk about the week's business and economic news are Leigh Gallagher from Fortune and the Wall Street Journal's Sudeep Reddy. The big topics this week: the Consumer Price Index and inflation, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's speech in Rhode Island and Los Angeles increasing its minimum wage to $15.

A fashionable workout

May 22, 2015
Julian Burrell

In a fashion world trend known as “athleisure,” clothes that can work at the gym...can also make a fashion statement.

“Leggings and tank tops and sneakers are sort of taking over the style masses,” says Wall Street Journal reporter Elizabeth Holmes. “But you don’t actually have to work out in them. For a lot of people this is just sort of their everyday casual look.”

Popular brands such as Lululemon started making yoga pants outside-of-yoga-class stylish, and high-fashion brands put sneakers and sweatshirts on the runway.

How elite students get elite jobs

May 22, 2015
Jenny Ament

When we think about the debate over inequality in this country, a central piece of American mythology comes to mind: anyone who works hard, regardless of social status, can get ahead.

But it's not that simple, and people from exclusive or affluent backgrounds often land the most prestigious jobs.

Father John Misty, song and dance man

May 22, 2015
Jenny Ament

Musicians play a lot of shows and festivals, and these festival gigs often come with contracts.

One common contract is called a "radius clause." A radius clause, in essence, gives the promoter a form of territorial exclusivity, making sure that the performer does not book concerts with competing promoters and venues in nearby areas, which can undermine ticket sales for their main event.

You Wallet: Generations

May 22, 2015
Marketplace Weekend Staff

On the next episode of Marketplace Weekend, we're looking at your money across the years.

We want to know: What's the first thing you ever saved up to buy?

Send us your memories of your first purchases and how much they cost. 

The art of keeping — or spoiling — a TV secret

May 22, 2015
Eliza Mills

We've all been there: you fall behind on a TV show, or you're late to catch on to a new streaming series. Someone mentions a plot twist, a character death, or maybe you just checked Twitter in the three hours between the time a finale airs on the East and West Coasts. Suddenly, it's ruined. Your experience has been spoiled.

PODCAST: Disappearing grocery stores

May 22, 2015
Noel King

The guessing game over when interest rates will go up ... continues. More on that. Plus, we all know what a 'leap year' is, but what about a 'leap second'? On June 30th, an extra second will be added to the world's clocks to make up for the discord between the earth's rotation and the clocks we humans use. And while it may not seem like much, it's a big deal to the world's markets. Plus, residents in the struggling city of Flint, Michigan, have seen their share of hardship over the years.

Marketplace Morning Report for Friday, May 22, 2015

May 22, 2015

Grocery store exodus has Flint searching for answers

May 22, 2015
Adam Allington

Residents in the struggling town of Flint, Michigan, have seen their share of hardship over the years.

In addition the catastrophic loss of manufacturing jobs and subsequent blight, the city is also struggling to provide groceries to its poorest residents.

Jason Lorenz, a public information officer at Flint City Hall, has a wall map showing the city boundaries. One thing that’s rapidly disappearing from the map are grocery stores.

Insuring governments against disease outbreaks

May 22, 2015
D Gorenstein

In the wake of the Ebola outbreak in Africa, a new plan has emerged to guard against future risk: insurance for disease outbreaks. The idea is to help protect governments and industry against the costs of pandemics. A San Francisco firm announced $30 million in funding for the idea this week.

Another Y2K moment? The 'leap second.'

May 22, 2015
Mitchell Hartman

On June 30, at midnight Greenwich Mean Time/Coordinated Universal Time, an extra second will be added to the world’s master clocks so that they sync up with the earth’s rotation, which does not precisely match the clocks and computers we earthlings use.

Financial exchanges and firms that depend on precise pricing and transaction data are planning for this so-called "leap second" down the micro-second.

Marketplace Tech for Friday, May 22, 2015

May 22, 2015

The impact of Baltimore's $100 million investment

May 22, 2015
Noel King and Caitlin Esch

Phyllis Young has a full life: three children, five grandchildren, a mortgage and a job she loves. Eleven years ago, Young, a geriatric nurse's assistant, was making $8 an hour and hoping to boost her wages to $12. She hit a stroke of luck.

Baltimore, in 1994, won a federal contest aimed at alleviating poverty in urban cores. Six cities were given a federal grant of $100 million each as well as a package of tax breaks for businesses and employers. The money and tax credits were intended to revitalize each city's poorest neighborhoods, which were called Empowerment Zones.

Double the unicorns

May 22, 2015

$6 billion

West Virginia Public Broadcasting

If you’ve been paying attention to our news output here at West Virginia Public Broadcasting as of late, you’ve probably noticed an increased focus on data and digital journalism. Sure, we tell stories on the radio, but emerging technology and innovations have inspired us to present our stories in a new and interesting way.

As part of The Needle and the Damage Done, we wanted to allow our audience to get a better understanding of West Virginia’s heroin problem.

The 3,000-pound drop forge (the biggest in the factory) in full downward plunge onto a piece of steal as it's pounded into a new reality.
Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

In an age of globalization and a shrinking manufacturing sector, two young men in Wheeling are hedging their bets and running with a business idea that first took off in 1854. Hand-forged tools actually took off much earlier, but Warwood Tool has been in the tool-forging business for over 160 years now: hammers, crow-bars, pick-axes, you name it.