David and Chana buy a toxic asset, from a guy named Wit Solberg, who used to work on Wall Street and now helps small banks who've been saddled with toxic assets. Turns out...it's hard to buy a toxic asset.
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In the Middle East, hundreds and hundreds of tunnels connect the Gaza strip and Egypt, allowing supplies to bypass the Israeli blockade against Hamas-controlled Gaza. Producer Nancy Updike speaks with Ira about the tunnels, and plays tape from an interview she conducted with a tunnel owner.
Because of the University, State College is in the only county in Pennsylvania where GDP grew in 2008. Producer Nancy Updike visited with local businesses and learned several tips for thriving at the nation's top party school.
Adam Davidson and Chana Joffe-Walt from Planet Money head to the Hunts Point Market in the Bronx, a bustling area of vegetable and fruit commerce that only comes alive at night. Planet Money is a co-production of NPR News and This American Life.
When a new Chick-Fil-A sandwich shop opens, people line up 24 hours in advance to be one of the hundred people to get a free year's worth of chicken sandwiches. Comedian/musician Dave Hill and writer Shaina Feinberg headed down to Orlando, Florida to experience the night before an opening.
We hear 5 employees of different Circuit City store locations read their accounts of what it was like when the largest electronics chain in the US had less than 2 months to liquidate its entire inventory and close its doors.
Well over two years ago, long before the country chose Barack Obama...a company called Tigereye Design in Greenville, Ohio chose him. The owners liked Obama as a candidate and they approached him and asked if they could make buttons and posters and yard signs for the campaign and its online store.
Most media stories set in shopping malls don't really tell you much about what it feels like for the people who work in a big retail operation, or for the people who hang out at the mall. Because the mall's more than just sales.
We meet Russell, 19, the best mobile phone salesman in the mall — and possibly anywhere. His talent for sales is matched only by those of his girlfriend, Chandler, 18, a waitress.
Yes, some stores are going out of business in the Cool Springs Galleria, but it's just two stores. We talk to staff at one store that’s closing down, and at another, in the food court, where business is great.
A tale of two Santas. There's Tim Conaghan, a full-time professional Santa with a big belly and a real flowing white beard.
In a part of the mall no shoppers ever see, there's a snug, dark little room with 43 TV screens, one for each of the cameras in the hallways and parking lots, the roof and the loading dock. We hang out with the security people who work in there, seeing what they see.
Host Ira Glass talks to Randall Bell, who specializes in assessing how tragedy affects real estate. He's found that the market is much quicker to forgive and forget a scandal than the neighbors are.
Rachel Louise Snyder reports on the struggle to save the Cambodian economy. Right now, Cambodia is competing with other nations for the business of big clothing companies all over the world—buyers like the Gap, Nike, Adidas.
Contributor David Sedaris uncovers a disturbing and hidden trend that's taking place where small-minded people collide with big retail stores.
John Hodgman provides an occasionally true account of seven days spent at the Mall of America. After crossing mall officials, he goes rogue, drinking from the flume ride and exploring what he describes as a secret tunnel lined with human skulls.
A fable about gossip and the service industry involving a cat and a baboon, by David Sedaris. David's story was recorded live at UCLA's Royce Hall, as part of UCLA's Performing Arts series.
Dawna Lentz was a new employee at Quiznos sub shop in Seattle when the franchise owners just gave up. They stopped buying supplies, stopped answering their phones.
This American Life producer Sarah Koenig checks out competing sales techniques at a Chevy dealership on the south side of Chicago. It turns out the number two salesman thinks he's number one, and the number one salesman...is a grandmother, Yvonne Hawk.
They are ordinary people who go undercover in coffee shops and chain stores, spying for The Man. This American Life producer Lisa Pollak reports.
When you're in school, you're supposed to be a Renaissance person — do art, literature, sports, music—and be enthusiastic about it all. You get graded for effort.
Jonathan Goldstein with a story of the kind of preferential treatment we all dream of, where waiters routinely bring us extra appetizers on the house, delivery men throw a little something special into our take-out orders, and deli owners regularly comp us free pickles and chips. He talks with his friend Howard, who lives this dream, about all the work that went into making it a reality.
A man tries to unload a piece of junk he bought by selling it on eBay...not by concealing its many terrible properties...but by bragging about them. Which gets results.
Host Ira Glass goes to a busy Target store one week before Christmas. Most shoppers he talks to don't think any of their gifts will be returned.