Guy Sie via Flickr CC /

The word vitamin has only been around for just over 100 years.  But now vitamins are a $36 billion dollar-a-year industry. Today, the history and science behind a mostly unregulated market.

Plus, can a dress shirt be racist?  An online retailer has come up with an algorithm they say ensures a near-perfect fit... But part of that data set includes ethnicity, prompting questions about the connection between ethnicity and biology.

10.07.15: Star Wars, IKEA Hacking, & Flood Watch

Oct 7, 2015
Pineapples101 via Flickr CC /

The first Star Wars film may have been released 38 years ago, but its hold on the popular imagination remains as strong as Darth Vader’s death-grip. On today’s show, a look at the role fandom has played in the success of the Star Wars franchise. Plus, from data collection to the latest internet tracking technology, online advertisers go to great lengths to find out who we are and what we like. We’ll enter the world of intelligent marketing to find out just how much, or little, they really know about us.

kbrookes via flickr Creative Commons

Thanksgiving is no time to be a food killjoy. We’re not going there. Instead, how about considering our food behavior, especially when it comes to shopping for it, serving it, and opening a fridge full of leftovers? You won’t get any lectures from Kusum Ailawadi, who spoke at the recent Ted-X Amoskeag Millyard. She’s professor of marketing at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and has done a lot of research on what goes in people’s grocery carts using the real-life laboratory of the American supermarket. She and her team captured data from thousands of shopping trips across the country over a four year period. She’s sharing some practical knowledge from her findings before we dig in this Thursday.

Taylor Quimby / NHPR

This past Saturday, I visited Durham New Hampshire for the 700 family yard sale, an annual fundraising event for the St.Thomas More Parish that’s been held every year for more than three decades. When I arrived, parking was scarce – and a crowd of a hundred people or so had already gathered to get a sneak-peek at the goods laid across dozens of tables. I joined the growing throng – and produced this audio postcard.

Leo Reynolds via flickr Creative Commons

The Saturday show bring you a spectacular mix of the best of Word of Mouth. On this week's show:

  • Joyce Maynard stops by the studio to talk about her new novel After Her, and why the last thing she feels is shame when it comes to her decision to discuss her relationship with J.D. Salinger.
  • Eating Trader Joe's Trash. New Hampshire native and documentary filmmaker Alex Mannis' film Spoils gives a fly on the dumpster account of Brooklynites who forage in the urban jungle of grocery store cast offs.

offleaseonlyfl via Flickr Creative Commons

A 2012 study from the University of Michigan shows that female drivers now outnumber male drivers for the first time. At the same time, there is some evidence revealing that buying a car at a dealership can be a much harder experience for women than men.  What about when shopping for vehicles online?  Writer Jamie Page Deaton is managing editor of US News Best Cars, and talked with us about the role gender can play when buying a new car, in person and online.   

Tim Barry
Amanda Loder / NHPR

With Christmas a week away, shoppers are crowding into malls, outlets, and downtown shopping districts looking for last-minute gifts.  But, for those looking for unusual handmade gifts, there’s another, unorthodox, option available.

theloushe via Flickr Creative Commons

If you have kids, odds are you’re trying to track down at least one hard-to-find toy this holiday season. Those in the market for high-quality educational toys might have to look a little harder. The toy aisle divide between big chain stores and smaller, independent retailers is growing, and it may determine whether or not you’re able to find the ideal gift for your child.


Photo by pix.plz via Flickr Creative Commons

When you’ve got a few extra bucks burning a hole in that wallet, what better place to spend it than your local mall? These cavernous halls of commerce give us The Gaps, J-Crews, and Sunglass Huts we love so dearly. Ahhh, can you smell the Cinnabon?