The Beach: A Bargain or A Bummer?

In this weekend’s New York Times, Roxane Gay gives a litany of reasons to hate the beach.

In Haiti, beach bodies are simply bodies, and beach reads are simply books, because the beach is all around you. … But for the rest of us, the beach exerts a different kind of gravitational pull. Sixty-one percent of Americans don’t live anywhere near a beach. We spend a surprising amount of time hearing about this place we will hardly ever see. We watch commercials, TV shows and movies in which nubile young women and their strapping male counterparts frolic on sand, their hair golden and sun-streaked. Long walks on the beach are the supposed holy grail of a romantic evening. The beach becomes a kind of utopia — the place where all our dreams come true.

Banning Laptops, Making More Money

August First Bakery & Café in Vermont used to offer free Wi-Fi to customers when it opened its doors four years ago, but it has figured out a better way to make money: get rid of Wi-Fi and implement a “no screens” policy during lunch hours (smartphones are okay):

“We saw a lot of customers come in, look for a table, not be able to find one and leave,” [owner Jody] Whalen says. “It was money flowing out the door for us.”

That’s why Whalen decided there’d be no more screens. It was a gradual move. She started by shutting down the Wi-Fi two years ago. Then, the cafe banned screens during lunch.

“A lot of people were disappointed,” Whalen says. “But we actually saw our sales increase.”

What’s socially acceptable when it comes to using a laptop in public, anyway? Student Luna Colt says it’s about how much money you spend.

But according to Whalen, it’s less about how much a laptop user buys and more about how much space and time they take up.

We recently got a new office, and while I waited for it to be ready, I worked from home and tried working at a coffee shop a few times. The Wi-Fi cut in and out and I didn’t want to feel like I was wearing out my welcome, so instead, I spent the month working from my couch.

Photo: Anthony Mayfield

Working Remotely And Feeling Good About It

Christopher Groskopf works remotely as a developer for NPR, and he wrote a post on OpenNews about what he's learned about working from home.

Putting on Your “Work Face” When You’re Having a Bad Day

When I worked in an office and was having a bad day, I coped by keeping to myself at my desk, and taking breaks to go outside and breathe. If something was bothering me, I tried to not let it show on my face. NPR's The Salt asked some waiters how they cope with having a bad day while having to interact with customers and provide service with a smile.

Going to the Library Makes You $2,282 Happier Per Year

Via Annalise Quinn's Book News report for NPR, The UK government's "Department for Media, Culture & Sport" -- sounds like a fun department! -- has conducted a study to see just how much perceived value we get from participating in sports, the arts, and the library.

Who Had the Richest Parents? Comparing Current Income to How You Grew Up

Love your water cooler chat, Planet Money, and love that you followed through on it and tracked down then parsed a longitudinal government study following 12,000 people for 30 years. Enter many strangely fascinating graphs.

Some Outsourced Jobs Returning to the U.S.

American companies have sent manufacturing work to places like China because it was cheaper to produce goods in places with very low wages, but increases in pay are sending previously outsourced work back home. This is known as "reshoring."

When We’re Better At Advocating For Our Friends Than Ourselves

In a simulation, she had men and women negotiate a starting salary for themselves. Then she had them negotiate on behalf of someone else. When the women negotiated for themselves, they asked for an average of $7,000 less than the men. But when they negotiated on behalf of a friend, they asked for just as much money as the men.
Emily Amanatullah, assistant professor of management at the University of Texas, makes an argument for treating ourselves like a very good friend.

Duke Says $60K Tuition Is a Bargain

In 1984, it cost $10,000 a year to go to Duke University. Today, it's $60,000 a year. "It's staggering," says Duke freshman Max Duncan, "especially considering that for four years." But according to Jim Roberts, executive vice provost at Duke, that's actually a discount. "We're investing on average about $90,000 in the education of each student," he says. Roberts is not alone in making the claim. In fact, it's one most elite research institutions point to when asked about rising tuition.

How I Got My Job: Assistant Producer for an NPR Game Show

So there's a lot that I do. We have three different modes of production: pre-show, during show, and post-show. And it changes from month to month, week to week.