I've Always Wondered...

Have you ever wondered...

• Why 1 rotisserie chicken costs less than 2 chicken breasts?

• Or why hotels don't give you a but you get a sewing & mending kit?

• What does the inscription on all of your zippers mean?

• And just who exactly invented the  you can buy at the stadium?

If you're like us, you've got a lot of questions about the small, simple, brilliant and ubiquitous things in the world of business and money. 

And we want to help answer them. Send your questions in now and starting in January we will answer them -- online and on air. 

Listen for the first part of our series next month. We'll select the top questions and let you, the listeners, vote which ones become Marketplace stories. 

Imagine it: One person asks a question, 11 million people will learn the answer.

And Kai will even give you a shout out on air if your question is picked.  How cool is that?

Submit your question via Facebook, Twitter or shoot us an email. Or, better yet, click on the 'record' button below to leave us a Marketplace Voicemail.

About the author

Tommy is a producer on Marketplace with Kai Ryssdal. Before that he worked at CNN Radio as a producer, correspondent and anchor, where he covered everything from the national elections to a story where he had to hike through a New Jersey swamp wearing a blindfold. Before CNN Radio, Tommy worked at both CNN.com and CNN TV, and, before that, did a stint at This American Life.
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- I've always wondered why the highway/freeway signs are green. Was that the cheapest color? Is there some benefit to the color green for remembering exit numbers?

I always wondered why why some cars comes with a yellow rear turning signal and others not!!

These are great, guys! Thanks so much for your submissions so far, and keep them coming. There are no questions too small or too strange. We're gathering them as I write this via Facebook, our website and Twitter. And don't forget to record your questions using the button at the bottom of the post up there. We'd love to make your voice a part of the show. Happy wondering!


Marketplace Producer

And BTW, a bear might bare looking into this issue as well.

Great! I hope the story category runs for years. We may get a chance
to learn a whole lot of stuff we should have learned in high school.

Here's my first proposal:

I've heard (even from Mr. Ryssdal in a 'holy smokes' moment) that
"Lawn grass is the largest cultivated crop." But what exactly does
this mean? Largest in square kilometers, in dollars invested per
square kilometers or just raw dollars invested?

Given that we don't eat the crop, what need is being met by this
investment? Is there a corporate interest that stokes this need in
ways that bear closer examination?

Or are we just ex-British colonists apeing our aristocratic English
forebears with their handsome greensward sweeping down from the
hilltop country house to the river flowing through the estate?

Attitudes toward lawn grass run very deep and with almost irrational
force. I read not long ago (somewhere here in New England, I think)
of a property owner who planted wildflowers ('weeds'!) in their front
yard. This meadow flourished right down to the town road. A neighbor
hauled the meadow owner before the town demanding that the town mow
the weeds. Indeed there was provision in town law for expenditures to
mow uncultivated property. The town adjudicator asked the owner if
they had planted the flowers. They said "Yes", so the "problem" was
neatly sidestepped since the town law was inapplicable (the flowers
having been planted, were therefore "cultivated").

Foolishness aside, it seems there are environmental costs to this
obsession with lawn grass. In an article from The New Yorker (within
the past 15 years or so, entitled as I recall "Monoculture") the
author maintained that the lawn-grass monoculture was a disaster as a
'crop', with many adverse effects (including our friends the bees, who
have nary a flower to visit in a sea of lawn grass...suburbia is a
desert to a bee.)

Some highway departments have taken to planting wildflowers in median
dividers and along roadways so as to avoid the need to mow the
monoculture. What kind of savings have been realized? How widespread
is this practice?

Who are the vested interests in lawn grass cultivation? Are fools involved?
Are we the fools?

"Lawn Grass": As Jerry Seinfeld would crack, "What is the deal with THAT?"

This deserves a much bigger story; immense lawns of manicured turf that are never used for anything but lookin' at are extremely wasteful on many different levels.


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