business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  Bloomberg reports on a new IRI study saying that "nearly three-quarters of European consumers are cutting back spending on everyday items, including food, to make ends meet amid a worsening cost-of-living crisis.

"A new survey shows that 71% of consumers across six key markets in Europe have already made significant changes to how they shop as they battle to cope with inflation that is reaching levels not seen in four decades."  The study also suggests that "58% of consumers already report that they have cut down on essentials, with 35% dipping into their personal savings and taking out loans to pay bills."

•  Fox News reports that Starbucks customers are "furious" about "a new tipping system that allows customers who are paying with card to leave the barista a tip … The new tipping feature getting rolled out across North America prompts customers who paid by card to have the option to leave a $1, $2, 'other amount' or 'no tip' after they have inserted their card to pay for their beverage or baked good."

The story suggests that some employees find the new system to be uncomfortable as well.

"Furious?"  Really?

•  Axios reports that "the custom of emptying wallets for a lavish dinner on a first date may be on its way out … The collision of a number of trends - including skyrocketing prices, the pandemic's popularization of outdoor hangouts, and the rise of online dating - is starting to kill the traditional dinner date.

"Today's young people prefer long walks in the park, picnics or sampling street food - especially if it's a first date with a person you've only just met on a dating app."

The story suggests that "the grand gestures we saw in romantic comedies 20 years ago might be going out of style … The new first date is all about keeping it casual."

I just found this interesting because it reminded me that the last time I went out on a first date was on September 10, 1979.  It wasn't a lavish dinner - we just went out to a local Mexican restaurant.  The irony is that it took my date - who almost four years later married me - about six months to tell me she hated Mexican food.