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Zachary Crockett

Junk Mail

Why does the mailman bring us so many catalogs, credit card offers, and pizza coupons? Because his job depends on it. Zachary Crockett checks the mailbox.

2/25/24
22:04

Personal Injury Lawyers

If you can make it through three years of law school, you too might end up on a billboard. Zachary Crockett makes the case.

2/18/24
21:03

ATMs

Why do you have to pay $4 to get $40 cash at a bar? And who does it go to? Zachary Crockett checks his balance.

2/11/24
24:02

Dental Insurance

Why is it separate from medical insurance? And is it really insurance at all? Zachary Crockett goes in for a cleaning.

2/4/24
19:38

Store-Brand Products

Those low-priced staples on grocery-store shelves — where do they come from? Zachary Crockett finds out at a national convention for private-label manufacturers.

1/28/24
20:59

Sex Scenes

Behind these steamy sequences, there are body doubles, pubic wigs, legal documents, and dedicated choreographers who make sure everyone is comfortable. Zachary Crockett fast-forwards straight to the good parts.

1/21/24
22:18

Used Golf Balls

American golfers lose 300 million balls a year — and all those bad swings are someone else’s business opportunity. Zachary Crockett hits the links.

1/14/24
21:27

Superhot Chili Peppers

The market for gustatory pain is surprisingly competitive. Zachary Crockett feels the burn.

1/7/24
18:10

Greeting Cards, Pizza Boxes, and Personal Injury Lawyers

In a special episode of The Economics of Everyday Things, host Zachary Crockett explains what millennials do to show they care, how corrugated cardboard keeps your food warm, and why every city has a billboard for a guy who calls himself “The Hammer.”

1/3/24
55:13

Card Counting

Casinos think they can stop skilled gamblers from eking out a tiny edge at blackjack. Is that a losing bet? Zachary Crockett doubles down.

12/31/23
21:55

Michelin Stars (Replay)

Only the finest restaurants have a chance to bask in their glow. Sometimes, it’s a bit too bright. Zachary Crockett squints at the menu.

12/24/23
18:32

Greeting Cards

The tradition of sending cards to loved ones was in decline — until it was rescued by a new generation. But millennials have their own ideas about what sentiments they want to convey. Zachary Crockett is thinking of you on your special day.

12/17/23
19:24

Horseshoe Crab Blood

How does the blood of a 450-million-year-old arthropod help prevent lethal infections in humans? And could we exhaust the supply? Zachary Crockett wades in.

12/10/23
17:50

Romance Novels

How did love stories about vampires, cowboys, and wealthy dukes become the highest-grossing fiction genre in the world? Zachary Crockett gets swept away.

12/3/23
22:15

My Sharona (Replay)

Can a hit single from four decades ago still pay the bills? Zachary Crockett f-f-f-finds out.

11/26/23
18:47

Graffiti

Is graffiti public art, or public nuisance? It depends who you ask. Zachary Crockett tags in where it all started.

11/19/23
16:18

Private Jets

Executives shell out millions of dollars for the privilege of flying private — but that convenience comes at a steep cost to the rest of us. Zachary Crockett prepares for takeoff.

11/12/23
21:11

Pistachios

How did a little green nut become a billion-dollar product, lauded by celebrities in Super Bowl ads? Zachary Crockett cracks open the story.

11/5/23
19:32

Cadavers – Part 2

In the final part of our series, Zachary Crockett talks to a man with a storied — and controversial — career in the body parts business.

10/29/23
18:27

Cadavers – Part 1

In the first of two episodes, Zachary Crockett digs into the strange and discomfiting history of cadavers, and the industry that has emerged around them.

10/22/23
21:40

Car Washes

Why are these sudsy roadside stops one of the fastest growing industries in America? Zachary Crockett takes a look under the hood.

10/15/23
19:34

Tattoo Parlors

More people than ever before are getting tattoos — but social media has flipped the trade’s business model on its head. Zachary Crockett dips into the ink.

10/8/23
19:37

Pizza Boxes

There’s more than meets the eye to the box that stores the pie. Zachary Crockett cracks the lid.

10/1/23
16:45

Used Hotel Soaps (Replay)

Hotel guests adore those cute little soaps, but is it just a one-night stand? Zachary Crockett discovers what happens when we love ’em and leave ’em.

9/24/23
16:52

Mobile Home Parks

They’ve long been associated with crime and blight. Now, the investors are moving in. Zachary Crockett follows the trail.

9/17/23
22:29

Truffles

It takes fungi-sniffing dogs, back-room deals, and a guy named “The Kingpin” for the world’s most coveted morsel to end up on your plate. Zachary Crockett picks up the scent.

9/10/23
20:55

Prop Money

Who makes the stacks of fake cash used in movies — and how do they stay clear of counterfeit law? Zachary Crockett follows the fake money.

9/3/23
21:52

Home Staging

How do you turn an empty house into a buyer’s dream home? Zachary Crockett pulls back the curtain.

8/27/23
22:42

Girl Scout Cookies (Replay)

How does America’s cutest sales force get billions of Thin Mints, Samoas, and Tagalongs into our hands every year? Zachary Crockett digs in.

8/20/23
15:48

“Happy Birthday to You”

The most popular song of the 20th century — and a key part of a ubiquitous American ritual — was also the subject of a years-long legal battle. Zachary Crockett blows out the candles.

8/13/23
15:25

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