Sunday, December 23, 2018

Uncover the psychology behind why people buy

“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.”

“We get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more, perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.”
~ Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky - Dhillon 13

Ninth Avenue Dr C ... 

The New York Times: “Insults since Mr. Trump became president arehighlighted in yellow; the most recent updates are shaded purple. (This list covers tweets since Mr. Trump declared his candidacy.)”

The Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia, called out shoppers for “showrooming” in a viral tweet.
It said that customers have been coming in and taking pictures of books, then buying them on Amazon. It said some are even bragging about doing it.
  • Showrooming is still a problem for small, independent retailers without an online presence, but both indie bookstores and print books are on the rise.

Fountain Bookstore has a bone to pick with some of its customers. Well, maybe customers isn’t the right word. According to a viral tweet from the bookstore, these shoppers come into the store and look around, taking pictures of books to later purchase on Amazon. The store says that some of them even brag about it. “This is not ok, people,”the store said in the tweet. This idea resonated with many on Twitter, as the tweet amassed nearly 10,000 retweets and almost 50,000 likes…” 

The psychology of deadly force

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Learned Her Most Important Lessons from Restaurants Bon Appetit

24/7 Wall Street: “Hundreds of CEOs earn eight-figure salaries — at least $10 million — each year. And many pull in even higher salaries, several times that amount. Top-performing — and sometimes less than top-performing — CEOs are rewarded with lucrative contracts that generally include salary, bonuses, stock and options grants, and benefits. In a few cases, CEOs are set to earn more than $100 million in total compensation in 2018. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from Equilar Inc. on the total compensation of American CEOs to determine the highest paid CEOs in 2018. 

The Elena Ferrante Books Are Explicitly Political – Something People Are Finally Catching On To With The TV Shows

Maybe some reviewers were, shall we say, confused by the idea of books that were about the friendship of two women also being about politics. Ferrante was never unclear, though. The author’s point: “Elena and Lila were alienated from history in all its political, social, economic, cultural aspects — and yet they were part of history in everything they said or did.”  – Los Angeles Review of Books
MIE: “KFC selling logs for your fireplace that smell like its original recipe fried chicken. You can get them at for $18.99.” 

A peckish parrot has been caught ordering strawberries, a watermelon and even a water boiler through his foster owner’s electronic personal assistant.
Rocco, an African Grey, requested the items through an Alexa device while his minder was out of the home. Luckily, due to a parental lock, none of his attempted purchases went through.
Rocco, who lives with Marion Wischnewski in Berkshire, U.K., has attempted to order everything from kites and lightbulbs through Alexa since moving to her home. He also gets the device to tell him jokes and play his favorite tunes.
“I’ve come home before and he has romantic music playing,” Wischnewski told The Times of London. “He loves to dance and has the sweetest personality.”
Alexa for animals

 “Individuals expect honesty to be less pleasant and less socially connecting than it is.

The Supreme Court is considering whether the Constitution’s ban on excessive fines applies to the states as well as to the federal government. If the SC needs more motivation to curb the abusive process of civil asset forfeiture they need look no further than Philadelphia. In a field filled with outrageous stories of injustice, the situation in Philadelphia where houses have been forfeit stands out.

A forfeiture petition for one property lists one gram of marijuana, a half gram of cocaine and some over-the-counter pills as justification for taking. In one case recently settled in a $3 million class-action lawsuit, Norys Hernandez nearly lost the rowhouse she and her sister owned after police arrested her nephew on drug dealing charges and seized the house. Another family named in the suit fought to save their house from the grip of law enforcement after their son was arrested for selling $40 worth of drugs outside of it. Of the lawsuit’s four named plaintiffs, three had their houses targeted for seizure after police accused relatives dealing drugs on the property. None of the homeowners were themselves accused of committing a crime.
As families fought to keep homes targeted by the DA, the revenues from the forfeiture sales became a big moneymaker for local law enforcement – netting some $6 million annually in the best years. The proceeds turned into an unregulated budget split between the police and DA. The money made off of the seized homes went to buy wish list items ranging from new submachine guns to custom uniform embroidery.

As if that weren’t enough, sometimes police officers were the buyers of the foreclosed properties! How’s that for demand creates its own supply?

“I am genuinely distressed to learn that the DA’s office permitted police officers to acquire forfeited homes of Philadelphians at public auction,” said University of Pennsylvania Law School professor Lou Rulli. “This disturbing revelation underscores one of many serious flaws in civil forfeiture — law enforcement is able to directly benefit from the actions they take to seize private property, often from lawful homeowners who have done no wrong.”

This story takes the cake:
Biddle recalled an instance, in 2007, when he purchased a property on the 5700 block of Chester Avenue for $21,000. To his surprise, he found a buyer just a few days later who was willing to pay nearly double that amount. He inked the sale.
At the next forfeiture open house, an incensed DA staffer, who by now knew Biddle on sight from his repeat visits to forfeiture auctions, approached him.
“They said, ‘That guy we took the house from? You just sold that to the guy’s mom,’” Biddle recalled. “They were pissed, but they knew I couldn’t do anything about it.”
Records show that it took the District Attorney’s Office three years to seize the property back, through a second forfeiture action filed against the pair.
This is from an excellent investigative report by Ryan Briggs.
Addendum: See also my piece with Makowsky and Stratmann forthcoming in the JLS, To Serve and Collect: The Fiscal and Racial Determinants of Law Enforcement.