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Zachary Crockett

Wine Corks

Why do we use a specific kind of tree-bark tissue to seal up 70 percent of wine bottles? Zachary Crockett takes a sniff and gives the waiter a nod.

6/9/24
21:09

Self-Checkout

Grocery stores have turned shoppers into cashiers. Zachary Crockett runs two bags of chips and a Gatorade over the scanner.

6/2/24
23:49

Carnival Games (Replay)

Does anyone ever win the giant teddy bear? Zachary Crockett steps right up.

5/26/24
19:58

Car Colors & Storage Units

Presenting two stories from The Economics of Everyday Things: Why does it seem like every car is black, white, or gray these days? And: How self-storage took over America.

5/19/24
41:24

Weather Forecasts

With industries relying on them and profits to be made, weather forecasts are more precise and more popular than ever. But there are clouds on the horizon. Zachary Crockett grabs an umbrella.

5/19/24
16:44

College Fraternities

A fraternity’s budget includes broken windows, liability insurance, chili dog breakfasts, and the occasional $40,000 DJ. Zachary Crockett crashes the party.

5/12/24
19:24

Bail Bonds

How does bail work — and who’s really paying? Zachary Crockett follows the money.

5/5/24
21:26

Car Colors

So many vehicles on the road today are white, black, or gray — but automotive designers find that consumer preferences may be changing lanes. Zachary Crockett surveys the lot.

4/28/24
21:59

Storage Units

Americans love to buy new stuff and hate to get rid of old stuff, which is why storing it all has become a $45 billion business. Zachary Crockett cleans out the garage.

4/21/24
19:23

Movie Sound Effects

The background noises you hear in film and TV — from footsteps to zombie guts — are produced in specialized studios by professionals known as Foley artists. Zachary Crockett makes some noise.

4/14/24
22:54

Top-Level Domains

Those letters at the end of web addresses can mean big bucks — and, for some small countries, a substantial part of the national budget. Zachary Crockett follows the links.

4/7/24
19:42

Cemeteries

The verdant lawns promise everlasting rest — but what does it mean to sign a lease for all eternity? Zachary Crockett finds out where the bodies are buried.

3/31/24
21:29

Pet Movers

Relocating halfway across the world is hard enough for humans. For pets it can require a specialist. Zachary Crockett waits at the airport, holding a sign saying “Fluffy.”

3/24/24
19:17

Prosthetic Limbs

More and more Americans rely on prostheses. They’re custom-fitted, highly personal, and extremely expensive. Zachary Crockett investigates.

3/17/24
21:22

Houseplants

Interest in houseplants has exploded in recent years. But what causes floral trends, and prices, to grow? Zachary Crockett sows a few seeds.

3/10/24
18:18

Bowling Alleys (Replay)

Once America’s favorite recreational activity, bowling has been in the gutter for decades. But some surviving alleys are resetting the pins. Zachary Crockett laces up.

3/3/24
19:51

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

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