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Marketplace for Wednesday, April 17, 2013

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Episode Description 
Fresh & Easy may be leaving town, but other British retailers are still trying to make it work in the U.S., like Fairway. Thieves are apparently not getting the toner at the market, but on the black market. We take a look at the latest product that's being stolen. Plus, Freakonomics stops by for a chat about smoking and the workplace. Can workplaces really discriminate against smokers?

The Excel mistake heard round the world

The flurry of budget deficit reduction talks we've heard in the past three years was based on faulty research--an Excel spreadsheet mistake.
Posted In: Economics, economists

Cupcakes meet bitcoins

Baker Jennifer Longson runs one of a handful of retail businesses that accept bitcoins as payment. Where some see twin bubbles, she insists cupcakes or bitcoins are sticking around.
Posted In: bitcoin, Small Business, cupcakes

High-end versus low-end: How do you succeed in the grocery business?

Britain’s Tesco aimed for the low-end U.S. grocery market and crashed. New York’s Fairway chain went public, aiming at the higher end. Is there no middle ground?
Posted In: grocery store, Tesco, Fresh & Easy, Fairway

When airlines outgrow their computers

American lost access to its computer system yesterday and had to ground hundreds of flights. Maybe it's time for the industry to hit the update button.
Posted In: American Airlines, computers

The strange and common things you can find for sale on the black market

The arrest of a man for selling $370,000 worth of toner cartridges is a reminder that there are all sorts of mundane materials and products that have a second life on the black market.
Posted In: black market, toner

The economics of PG-13 rated movies

The MPAA responds to calls for better policing of violence in movies, by increasing the TYPE SIZE on existing explanations. Why? To protect its business at the PG-13 level.
Posted In: MPAA, movie ratings, Entertainment, film

Online gun sales take off

Failure of efforts to require background checks casts spotlight on online gun sales.
Posted In: gun sales, guns, background check

Help wanted: No smokers need apply (Map)

In many states, it is perfectly legal to not hire someone who smokes. Should employers also be able to weed out junk-food lovers or motorcyclists -- or anyone who wants to have a baby?
Posted In: cigarettes

As Apple stock drops, Exxon back on top

As AAPL hovers near $400, Exxon takes back the top spot as the most valuable publicly traded company on the planet.
Posted In: Exxon, apple

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Hot Cakes
El Ten Eleven
Anything New
Bibio
The Hardest Part
Kisses