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Fallout: The Financial Crisis

Small talk: Food, college jobs, gold rush

Marketplace Contributor Mar 27, 2009
Fallout: The Financial Crisis

Small talk: Food, college jobs, gold rush

Marketplace Contributor Mar 27, 2009


KAI RYSSDAL: We spend a lot of time on this broadcast bringing you the big business stories. Except for the next minute and a half, during which our own Rico Gagliano and Brendan Newnam will quiz the Marketplace staff to find out about this week’s — let’s just call them colorful — stories. The stuff you might want to talk about at a dinner party this weekend.

Brendan Newnam: Stacey Vanek-Smith, senior reporter at Marketplace, what are you going to be talking about this weekend?

Stacey Vanek-Smith: Food auctions.

Newnam: What is a food auction?

Vanek-Smith: Well, it’s just like an art auction, except they’re selling big quantities of damaged food.

Newnam: Seven thousand pounds of brautwurst to the gentleman on the phone.

Vanek-Smith: Yeah. It’s not exactly like your Sotheby’s Picasso auction. Because, you know, this guy in Pennsylvania started getting this food from supermarkets that they were tossing, and he’s selling all this food to people whose grocery bills have gone up because food inflation is so high and nobody has a job.

Newnam: Auctions which once sold great art, they’re now selling stale bread.

Vanek-Smith: Oh yeah. Last year it was all about the paintings of cans of Campbell’s Soup, and this year it’s the actual cans of Campbell’s Soup.

Rico Gagliano: Jeremy Hobson, reporter. What is your story?

Jeremy Hobson: Well, it turns out if you’re looking for a job, the place to go is back to school because college towns have some of the lowest unemployment rates in the country.

Gagliano: Really? Like how low?

Hobson: Ames, Iowa, where Iowa State University is, has a 3.8 percent rate. Keep in mind the national unemployment rate is 8.5 percent.

Gagliano: So are there professional beer pong leagues now or something?

Hobson: Maybe everybody’s getting out of town after they’ve embarrassed themselves with a midnight streak on the quad and they’re leaving all those jobs open. The possibilities are endless.

Newnam: Phyllis Owens, commentary editor for Marketplace, what’s your story?

Phyllis Owens: Well, the second California gold rush is on. A few hours outside of Los Angeles they’re panning for gold.

Newnam: Are you serious?

Owens: Yes. And guess what? They’re finding it!

Newnam: What’s going on?

Owens: Apparently during the gold rush something like 80 percent of the gold was never uncovered, so people are really finding money there.

Newnam: So what are we doing here right now?

Owens: My point exactly.

Newnam: Let’s get out of here!

RYSSDAL: That is just a taste of Rico and Brendan’s podcast. They call it “The Dinner Party Download.” Let us know what you think of it, and everything else you hear on the broadcast.

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