Conditions improved Thursday, with winds dying down and the promise of a cooling trend beginning this weekend. But the latest major fire, near Cal State, San Marcos, is only 5 percent contained.
Perhaps it shouldn't come as a surprise that Shutterfly, an online photo printing service, sent out a mass email with the subject line: "Congratulations, you're pregnant!" -- even to people who were not, in fact, pregnant.
According to a survey by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans will put an average of $241,080 into a child born in 2012 (incidentally, the average calf costs about $363.69). To mix animal metaphors, there's profit to be made off the nesting impulse. The global baby care market was worth $44.7 billion in 2011 and by some estimates, it could be as big as $66.8 billion by 2017.
Shutterfly made the kind of honest mistake that keeps marketing departments up at night. The company's chief marketing officer has since sent an email with language like "Please accept our most sincere apologies... We know this is a sensitive issue."
But the fact remains: Pregnant people (and their supportive counterparts) spend a lot of money. Why not wish for more of them?
Companies do all sorts of marketing sommersaults to sell goods to expectant parents, despite the "sensitive" nature of species procreation.
A few strategies:
Pretend like you're selling luxury cars: Meet "The Leather Aston Martin James Bond Baby Stroller": It features "aluminum alloy wheels," is made of "fine leather and air-ride suspension," and costs $3,000.
Go green, recycle: When a baby outgrows this $999.16 "pure wool felt" hanging tripod crib, the crib lives on organically: "grow something else, flowers or tomatoes.... A transparent hood, durable and lightweight, which turns it into a small winter plants shelter, in the garden or on the terrace."
Use the words "all-in-one": Bonus points if you also include the phrase "multi-tasker," or "more than two hands."
Take, for example, the Combi All In One Mobile Entertainer. It's not only a high chair, it's also a walker, noise-maker, and vintage car.
Baby straight jackets: Aww.
Parents (or people who have had parents): If babies double as a money-making venture, what do you think it's important for companies to remember? What kinds of sales pitch works best?
Betty Reid Soskin has seen World War II, the civil rights movement, and lived "lots and lots of lives." The 92-year-old shares what she's learned with guest host Celeste Headlee.
Some chemical in octopus skin acts as a repellent to the little suction cups on the arms, a surprise finding shows. Without it, the eight-armed creature would tie itself in knots.
The Skylock can let you share your bike with others — and it'll send you a text if it thinks a thief has his hands on it.
Recently released Medicare data show that 1,800 doctors and other health providers nearly always charge Medicare the highest rate for patient care. Experts challenge the legitimacy of the charges.
Today we're trying to resolve a paradox. Inflation is on the rise in America, yet interest rates are getting lower still. On the one hand, there's word this morning the Consumer Price Index went up three tenths percent in April, the most in 10 months. Yet, look at benchmark interest rates. To look at this we turn to Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial in Chicago.
And, we been covering an ongoing swarm of protests by fast food workers looking for higher pay in the U.S. Now the protests are going global, involving fast food workers across more than 30 countries, from Argentina to New Zealand. Marketplace's Krissy Clark has some international comparisons.
Meanwhile, in Jersey City and other towns along the New Jersey side of the Hudson River, small-scale entrepreneurs are taking aim at that urban ritual of waiting for the darned bus. Private operators of mini-buses now ply the streets. Amid questions about safety and traffic, there are new regulations on the way. Marketplace's Dan Weissmann takes us to the "Wild West" of the Hudson.