Most media stories set in shopping malls don't really tell you much about what it feels like for the people who work in a big retail operation, or for the people who hang out at the mall. Because the mall's more than just sales.
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We meet Russell, 19, the best mobile phone salesman in the mall — and possibly anywhere. His talent for sales is matched only by those of his girlfriend, Chandler, 18, a waitress.
Yes, some stores are going out of business in the Cool Springs Galleria, but it's just two stores. We talk to staff at one store that’s closing down, and at another, in the food court, where business is great.
In a part of the mall no shoppers ever see, there's a snug, dark little room with 43 TV screens, one for each of the cameras in the hallways and parking lots, the roof and the loading dock. We hang out with the security people who work in there, seeing what they see.
A bad apple, at least at work, can spoil the whole barrel. And there's research to prove it.
Host Ira Glass point out that it's not enough this time of year that we eat millions of turkeys. Someone also went to the trouble to make up a song about turkeys getting the supernatural power to play baseball.
Host Ira Glass talks to Kathy from Hoboken, NJ, who has become obsessed with people who get away with parking violations in her town—where parking is scarce and parking laws are enforced vigilantly. Except when they aren't.
Ira talks to Rev. Donald Sharp, of Faith Tabernacle Church in Chicago.
Host Ira Glass goes to a McCain rally in Lehigh, PA, outside of Allentown. Obama has double-digit leads over McCain in almost every poll.
Host Ira Glass talks with Andy Woolworth, an executive vice president in charge of new product development at the world's largest manufacturer of mousetraps, Woodstream Corporation, in Lititz, Pennsylvania. About once a month, Andy is contacted by someone who thinks he's invented a better mousetrap.
Looked at one way, the current flailing economy is a victim of invention—Wall Street invention. Investors and banks and brokers created all sorts of stuff the world would've been better off without.
Host Ira Glass goes to Union Square, a 15-minute subway ride from Wall Street, where it doesn't look like we're on the edge of an economic abyss.
Ira talks with Michael Greenberger, a former commodities regulator, who tells the story of when it was decided not to regulate credit default swaps. And how that decision was emblematic of the way we didn't regulate a lot of the toxic financial products we're hearing about now.
Ira and Adam answer the question: Was the $700 billion bailout bill signed into law today a good idea or a bad one? (10 minutes)
Host Ira Glass introduces a story on the most ambitious and hopeful solution to urban poverty in the country—the Harlem Children's Zone. The project's goal is nothing less than changing the lives of thousands of children in Harlem, starting at birth and continuing until they go to college.
Musician David Berkeley has gotten a lot of requests in his life, but none quite like the offer his agent got last year. A fan wanted Berkeley to come to his house and help save his relationship by serenading the troubled couple with a personal concert.
Three guys who go by the names Professor So and So, Jojobean and YeaWhatever spend part of each day running elaborate cons on Internet scammers. They consider themselves enforcers of justice, even after they send a man 1400 miles from home, to the least safe place they can bait him: The border of Darfur.
Amy Roberts thought it was obvious that she was an adult, not a kid, and she assumed the friendly man working at the children's museum knew it too. Unfortunately, the man had Amy pegged all wrong.
Host Ira Glass talks about his fear of sleep, and reports on other people who have very strong reasons of their own to fear bedtime. We also hear the sounds of troubled sleepers from a DVD put together by Doctors Carlos Schenck and Mark Mahowald of the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center.
For some people, the fear of sleep is linked to the fear of death. We hear from some of them.
Host Ira Glass introduces four characters: Kay McDonald, who raised a daughter named Sue, and Mary Miller, who raised a daughter named Marti. In 1994, Mary Miller wrote letters to Sue and Marti, confessing the secret she'd kept for 43 years: The daughters had been switched at birth and raised by the wrong families.
One day at church camp, David Maxon challenged the devil to show himself. Just then, a huge thunderstorm started, and David felt sure the devil was behind it.
Host Ira Glass recalls the case of the so-called Detroit Sleeper Cell—four men, arrested in the weeks after 9/11, accused of plotting terrorist attacks. Ira explains that the entire program will be devoted to the story of the man who prosecuted the case...an up-and-coming prosecutor in the Department of Justice, Richard G.
Host Ira Glass talks with an NPR business and economics correspondent about two gatherings he attended—one at the Ritz Carlton and one at a community college in Brooklyn. The first was an awards dinner for finance professionals who created the mortgage-based financial instruments that nearly brought down the global economic system.