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Episode No.

Date
Length
No. 56

Snake Venom

Why does treating a venomous snake bite cost as much as a house? Zachary Crockett slithers over to North Carolina to find out.

7/14/24
24:51
No. 55

Direct-to-Consumer Mattresses

Online companies promised to bring transparency to the mattress-buying experience. Did that work out? Zachary Crockett takes a look under the sheets.

7/7/24
24:10
No. 54

Ghostwriters

Channeling the voices of celebrities can be a lucrative career — one that requires empathy and discretion, as well as literary chops. Zachary Crockett checks the acknowledgements.

6/30/24
23:59
No. 53

Food Trucks

How did mobile kitchens become popular with hipster gourmands? And just how much money can a popular truck make from a lunch shift? Zachary Crocket drops some napkins.

6/23/24
23:37
No. 52

Little League

Youth baseball — long a widely accessible American pastime — has become overrun by $10,000-per-year for-profit travel leagues. Zachary Crockett peers inside the dugout.

6/16/24
25:21
No. 51

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
No. 50

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
No. 13

Carnival Games (Replay)

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

5/26/24
19:58
No. 49

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
No. 48

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
No. 47

Bail Bonds

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

5/5/24
21:26
No. 46

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
No. 45

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
No. 44

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
No. 43

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
No. 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
No. 41

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
No. 40

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
No. 39

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
No. 9

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
No. 38

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
No. 37

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
No. 36

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
No. 35

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
No. 34

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
No. 33

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
No. 32

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
No. 31

Superhot Chili Peppers

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

1/7/24
18:10
No. 30

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
No. 10

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
No. 29

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
No. 28

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
No. 27

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
No. 3

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
No. 26

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
No. 25

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
No. 24

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
No. 23

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
No. 22

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
No. 21

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
No. 20

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
No. 19

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
No. 4

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
No. 18

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
No. 17

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
No. 16

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
No. 15

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
No. 2

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
No. 14

“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
No. 13

Carnival Games

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

8/6/23
19:58
No. 12

Women’s Sports Bars

Most sports bars rarely screen women’s games. Zachary Crockett taps into the strategy of one woman who changed the channel.

7/30/23
19:20
No. 11

Cashmere

Once a luxury good, the soft fiber is now everywhere — which has led to a goat boom in Mongolia. Zachary Crockett tugs at the thread.

7/23/23
15:46
No. 10

Michelin Stars

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.

7/16/23
18:32
No. 9

Bowling Alleys

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.

7/9/23
18:29
No. 8

Delaware License Plates

Vanity plates might be 2KUL4U, but in the Blue Hen State, low-digit plates command high-digit prices. Zachary Crockett sums up a big market in a small state.

7/2/23
14:19
No. 7

Animal Urine

One creature’s trash is another’s cash. Zachary Crockett flushes out the numbers with a man who found profit in pee.

6/25/23
13:45
No. 6

T. rex Skeletons

How do they emerge from the Upper Cretaceous period to end up in natural-history museums and private collections? Zachary Crockett digs for answers.

6/18/23
19:29
No. 5

Sports Mascots

We’re not sure what that creature cavorting on the sidelines is — but it doesn’t come cheap. Zachary Crockett gets the ballpark figures on everyone’s favorite ballpark figures.

6/11/23
15:20
No. 4

Used Hotel Soaps

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.

2/12/23
16:52
No. 3

My Sharona

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

2/5/23
18:24
No. 2

Girl Scout Cookies

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

1/29/23
13:19
No. 1

Gas Stations

In our first episode, host Zachary Crockett sidles up to the pump to ask: Who owns your local gas station, and where do their profits really come from?

1/22/23
14:02

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