The most normal things can have loaded backstories: ‘The Economics of Everyday Things’ examines hidden and unexpected histories

Business February 22, 2023
Listen to ‘The Economics of Everyday Things’

From Freakonomics Network comes “The Economics of Everyday Things.” If you’re wondering about miscellaneous questions such as who chooses the snack rotation in your office’s vending machine or how much a century-old elm tree from a suburb is worth and who values it, this series will pique your curiosity. Tune in to hear about the hidden parts of things around us everyday.

In the trailer, journalist and host Zachary Crockett explains, “No matter how banal an object may seem to be, there’s often a fascinating system of politics, competition, and chaos at play just beneath the surface.” New, weekly episodes can be streamed in any order and run less than 20 minutes on average.

Crockett is joined by guests like everyday people, professors, researchers, business owners, entrepreneurs, and economists.

Crockett drove up to the gas pumps and asked all about gas stations. He dives into local gas station ownership, where profits come from, what happens to station owners when gas prices soar, and more fueled questions.

Any fans of Girl Scout Cookies? Stream the episode that explores who makes Girl Scout Cookies a lucrative, billion-dollar operation. Hear from the national career record holder for Girl Scout cookie sales, Katie Francis, seven-year-old girl scout Isla Baris, a food editor, and more.

Episode three covered The Knack’s hit single from 1979, “My Sharona.” Crockett investigated how this smash single is still making money and even spoke to the real Sharona the song is named for. Berton Averre, lead guitarist and co-writer for The Knack, joined this episode to talk about the band’s history, co-writing the song, and influence from Elvis Costello, jamming with Bruce Springsteen, their record deal, and “f-f-f-find” out where the signature vocal pattern came from.

This episode offers a full break-down of the band’s royalties, and their revenue stream that Averre still approximately makes six-figures a year from. Hear how Weird Al Yankovic parodied the song in “My Bologna,” RUN-DMC’s sampling in 1987’s “It’s Tricky,” and licensing “My Sharona” for movies/TV/ commercials, and more.

What happens to used hotel soaps after they’re used a handful of time? The fourth episode answers these kinds of questions.

We recommend this series for fans of “No Stupid Questions,” “Secretly Incredibly Fascinating,” and “Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness.” Tune into all four episodes the series has released so far on your favorite podcast streaming platform.

Listen to ‘The Economics of Everyday Things’

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