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Survival debt

Nov 26, 2004
It's practically an American tradition to pay for holiday gifts, parties and splurges with plastic. Perhaps it wouldn't be so bad if credit card debt only happened once a year. But collectively we owe $2.05 trillion. And now Americans are getting in even deeper. It's called survival debt. Commentator M.P. Dunleavey explains.

Black Friday is upon us

Nov 26, 2004
There's a reason Santa Claus brings up the rear of the Thanksgiving Day parade. It's a not-so-subtle sign that as soon as you've digested the turkey, it's time to sink your teeth into some shopping. Today's unofficial start of the shopping season is known as Black Friday, but before the holidays are over, many people wind up in the red. Americans, it seems, can't help it.

Saving the small stores

Nov 26, 2004
Big retail chains wiping out Mom and Pop stores isn't just an American phenomenon. It's happening in other parts of the world, too - even in Europe, where small grocery markets have been the tradition for generations. One man in Italy is trying a unique method to save the small town stores. He wants the big guys to "adopt" them. Marketplace's Megan Williams reports from the Italian province of Verase.

The rising cost of living

Nov 25, 2004
In advance of the holiday and the start of the big shopping season, a veritable feast of figures on Wednesday. Orders for big ticket durable goods slipped a bit, but new home sales rose, consumer sentiment brightened and claims for jobless aid fell more than expected. But even if you're thankful to have a steady job right now, it doesn't necessarily mean you're in the clear. In many cities, some jobs that pay well above the minimum wage don't cover the basics. Ed Ungar reports from the Pacific Northwest.

Say my name, sell my name

Nov 25, 2004
Wal-Mart Heiress Paige Laurie got a new sports arena named for her - in honor of the $25 million her parents gave the University of Missouri-Columbia. But tomorrow, it could get a new name. The Missouri system's Board of Curators plans to vote on the change, after allegations that Laurie paid a former roommate $20,000 for doing her schoolwork for her. Her family has given the naming rights back to the University. There's a lot of cash at stake in naming school sports arenas...and it's not just for colleges anymore, either. Reporter Michael May takes us deep into the heart of Texas... where they do love their high school football.

The reformulators

Nov 25, 2004
If you've wandered through your local supermarket recently, you might have noticed some of your favorites have have been morphing. You can still find the old stuff, but sharing the shelf space are new "lo-carb" versions. In the last two years American food companies have launched more than a thousand of these variations. That's meant busy times for one branch of the food industry. From the Marketplace Health Desk at WGBH, Helen Palmer took a trip to meet 'the reformulators'.

Taking the operation overseas

Nov 25, 2004
Computer maker Dell said yesterday it wants to build up its presence in India. No big surprise there - U.S. Companies are flocking to India and China for skilled and cheap labor. But operating a business in another country can be tricky, and dangerous. So how do companies decide where it's safe - and profitable - to go? As Marketplace's Scott Jagow reports, they pay someone.

Hmmm, tastes a bit like chicken ...

Nov 25, 2004
You can't blame vegetarians if they dread Thanksgiving. While everyone else is munching on turkey, vegetarians can only pile their plates with side dishes. Unless they buy a "tofurkey."Reporter Mitchell Hartman visited the town of Hood River, Oregon, to hunt down the tofu alternative for Thanksgiving.

A valley fights back and wins

Nov 24, 2004
Last spring, the Shenandoah Valley took an economic hit. Poultry giant Pilgrim's Pride announced it was closing its turkey processing plant in Hinton, Virginia. Hundreds of people lost their jobs and about 150 turkey farmers were left with no one to buy their birds. But instead of simply accepting the situation, a group of farmers said "not in our Valley". And they formed the Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative. Seven months later, the Hinton plant is poised to reopen... as Martha Woodroof reports.

The changing family

Nov 24, 2004
Hectic work lives and demanding careers are stretching families further and further apart. Thanksgiving is one of the few holidays when we try to go home again and recreate a kind of Norman Rockwell picture. In Italy, people also cling to the notion of a tightknit family - complete with children, parents, and grandparents. But the reality is that life is changing there, too. And as Megan Williams reports, some family members are getting left out.

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