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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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Why is it that road crews will hold a sign bearing an orange square with four block letters (SLOW) that from a distance looks just like the stop sign that's on its other side? Seems like something less stop sign-like (maybe a yellow yield sign?) would allow drivers more time to stop if necessary. Glad to get that off my chest.

The Federal Reserve Bank has been buying US Treasury Bonds for several years now. I've always wondered what happens to interest payments and maturity payments that the Treasury Department makes on these bonds.

I've long wondered what an iPhone would cost if it was "assembled" in America.

I've always wondered what sodas would look like without added coloring.

We have often wonder how the term "Highball" got its start in both the the rail industry as well in the spirit (bar) sector.

I've always wondered why rental car companies give you two keys that can't be separated. If you lose one, you lose both.

I am not sure if I am suppose to e-mail these to Marketplace or post them here. Either way, hopefully, someone can clarify these things that I have always wondered:

1) How do buffet restaurants figure out the price to charge customers in order to still make a profit? Do you they know the average amount that a customer eats and the cost of that food?

2) How do small towns have sufficient funds to build churchs all over the place? Where is the congregation to support these churchs financially? You will pass three houses in 50 miles, but there will be at least one church or more that typically looks recently built.

3) In many major tourist cities (NYC, DC, Rome, Paris), there are an omnipresence of street vendors located right next to one another that sell the exact same tee-shirts, hats and other souvenirs. How do these locations make a profit with so much identical competition mere feet from one another?

4) Why are beverage sizes in countries outside of the U.S. so much smaller in size? Coke bottles are smaller, bottles of water and glasses served at restaurants are smaller. Are Americans a lot more thirsty?

5) Why doesn't the government force universities to lower their tuition prices, as opposed to simply increasing the amount of federal student financial aid given to students?

6) Why do auto companies create futuristic models for car shows that they never end up mass producing?

7) Who is buying haute couture clothing that you see on the runway -- and more importantly, where are they wearing these outlandish outfits once they purchase them? I never see anyone out at bars, clubs, or even the grocery store wearing these crazy outfits.

I've always wondered what retailers do with their unsold merchandise. Walmarts, Targets, grocery stores, car dealerships, etc.

How much does it cost to recycle glass? How much energy and water does it take to turn a glass bottle back into a glass bottle? Is recycling really worth it???

I've often wondered, how do gas stations know how to raise or lower their prices?

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