Archive for the ‘consumption’ tag

#  Spending to Boost the Economy →

February 21st, 2009 at 10:44 // In Worth Knowing 

Apparently, economists think there are better and worse ways for us to spend our way out of the recession. Some of their most interesting suggestions:

Tyler Cowen, George Mason University: In my view, fixing the banking sector is more important than getting the stimulus right. So if you can afford to lose the money, go to a large bank (more likely to be insolvent), find their most overpriced service, and buy as much of it as you can. That way you are doing your part to recapitalize our banking system.

Ethan Harris, Barclays Capital: Get a haircut. It is a purely domestically produced service with extremely high labor content. This means no drain in spending power out of the country: it is “Buy American” without violating any trade agreements.

Robert Shiller, Yale University: I suggest using it to give an extra-generous tip to taxi drivers. They talk to lots of people, especially active business-oriented people, and they will be feeling more upbeat, sensing that some people are feeling flush, and they will communicate this feeling to numerous people, thereby helping restore confidence.

(via Ideas)

#  Tribute to Fallen Sodas →

February 11th, 2009 at 19:17 // In Worth Distraction 

I enjoyed this remarkably complete — Super Mario Soda, anyone? — compilation of the varieties of branded sodas no longer being produced.

(via BuzzFeed)

#  The Science of Shopping →

January 13th, 2009 at 20:48 // In Worth Considering 

Chipping away at the “to read someday” pile, I found this bit from The Economist.

To be on the right-hand-side of an eye-level selection is often considered the very best place, because most people are right-handed and most people’s eyes drift rightwards. Some supermarkets reserve that for their own-label “premium” goods.

I’m definately going to be thinking about this next time I’m shopping.

#  Upgrading →

December 10th, 2008 at 21:09 // In Worth Reading 

What luxuries — nicer versions of necessities — do you think are worth their cost? Also: what recession?

(via Kottke, whose opinions are worth perusal)

#  GoodGuide →

September 14th, 2008 at 16:11 // In Worth Knowing 

For the eco-conscious consumer, there’s a new time sink aid available: GoodGuide. It’s description of itself:

GoodGuide™ provides the world’s largest and most reliable source of information on the health, environmental, and social impacts of products and companies. GoodGuide’s mission is to help you find safe, healthy, and green products that are better for you and the planet. From our origins as a UC Berkeley research project, GoodGuide has developed into a totally independent “For-Benefit” company. We are committed to providing the information you need to make better decisions, and to ultimately shifting the balance of information and power in the marketplace.

(via Snarkmarket)

#  Real Generics →

July 28th, 2008 at 21:41 // In Worth Considering 

At Snarkmarket, Matt offers some advice I find both intriquing and scary:

If you’re like most people, you purchase Benadryl. A slightly smaller and savvier subset of you will always reach for the drugstore’s “generic” counterpart, e.g. Waldryl. Stop this madness, all of you.

As you might know, Benadryl (available at for $5.29 for a box of 24 capsules) and Wal-dryl ($3.99 / 24 capsules) are otherwise known as “25 mg. of diphenhydramine HCI.” Compare. Yes, that is 400 tablets containing 25 mg. of diphenhydramine HCI, for about $10 when you factor in shipping. Once more with feeling:

Benadryl - 22¢ / pill
Wal-dryl - 16¢ / pill
True generic - 2.5¢ / pill

While the price is amazingly good, I’m (perhaps erroneously) worried that quality assurance must be much less rigorous.

#  100 Things →

June 18th, 2008 at 19:04 // In Worth Considering 

I sometimes fancy myself rather spartan, but living with only 100 things — as Dave Bruno is trying for — sounds like a bridge too far.

“Stuff starts to overwhelm you,” says Dave Bruno, 37, an online entrepreneur who looked around his San Diego home one day last summer and realized how much his family’s belongings were weighing him down. Thus began what he calls the 100 Thing Challenge. (Apparently, Bruno is so averse to excess he can’t refer to 100 things in the plural.)

(via kottke)

#  All the Cement and Iron

June 18th, 2008 at 17:22 // In Worth Knowing 

Apparently it’s going to China. Blake Houshnell calls a chart of China’s cement use “staggering,” while Joshua Keating points out the recent uptake in theft of India’s manhole covers is being blamed on China’s ravenous demand for iron.

#  Destee Nation →

June 14th, 2008 at 13:34 // In Worth Knowing 

In this weekend’s New York Times Magazine, Rob Walker highlights this interesting business:

Sometimes, it takes a minute for visitors to the Destee Nation Shirt Company in Seattle to understand the common theme linking the wide array of T-shirts on sale. Many have a vintage look and seem to advertise businesses from a bygone era, or to offer made-up riffs on such advertisements — a faux faded logo for Blue Moon Burgers, the dubious-sounding Tractor Tavern and so on. But each has a tag attached, giving the story of each business, as well as its address. “Then it hits them,” says Matt Morgan, the founder of Destee Nation. “These places are all real.”

#  What Every Mile Costs →

June 10th, 2008 at 15:32 // In Worth Seeing 

Nothing in this table about the cost of driving different vehicles should surprise you, but the presentation’s rather clever.