• THE ISSUE: Half way through the five-hour west coast flight, the food cart finally makes its way back to your seat. Through the fog of your glucose-deprived brain, you squint at the menu card and examine your “dining options.” You settle on the ham and swiss baguette and reach for your credit card, anticipating the satisfying crinkle of tearing cellophane.

    “We’re all out,” the flight attendant says with robotic brevity that tells you she’s been delivering this good news story for while. She takes pity on you with an extra two-pack of cookies and a free refill of warm Diet Sprite.

    THE VICTIMS: Economy class is no picnic (literally, because picnics have tasty food), but we endure it because we want long-distance air travel and we want it cheap. So we consent to being crammed into a metal tube with somebody else’s elbow jammed into our ribs, some kid’s foot in our lumbar, all while foregoing the complimentary booze that our ancestors drank while they toasted the miracle of flight.

    And we

    Read More »from Overdue Idea: New airline class - Dignity
  • William Reihl remembers the chorus of boo’s that greeted him when he first began talking about Millennial men and their increasing role in household buying decisions, once considered the purview of women.

    Granted, Reihl, managing director of global brand marketing with the New York-based agency Ketchum, was addressing a roomful of professional women at the time. They were in Chicago to attend a conference on the subject of marketing to moms and in walked this guy wanting to discuss the world’s newest generation of men and the shifting portrait of the modern family and its purchasing habits.

    The jeers weren’t spiteful. Not really.

    The research behind Reihl’s controversial topic is serious stuff to marketers and, indeed, anyone interested in better understanding the Millennial mind.

    Millennials are the folks who follow Generation X. They are the world’s first true digital natives who, now in their early 20s and 30s, are gaining steam in the economy and in the workplace.

    Much has been

    Read More »from Marketing in the modern age of the Millennial man
  • For many, the barometer of a classy restroom is a free gum-and-mints spread (it’s free right?), unless of course you’ve freshened up in the Shaw Club Hotel and Spa, recently crowned Canada’s Best Restroom.

    With its high-tech clear-to-cloudy glass doors, infinity sink and oh-so-sophisticated décor, the Niagara-On-the-Lake establishment earned the top honours from voters via business services company Cintas Canada’s Best Restroom Contest.

    It’s the sort of washroom people rave about, Rachael Keshishian, survey editor for the contest, told Yahoo Canada Finance.

    “Obviously people remember when they visit a dirty or uninviting washroom, and that’s not the kind of reputation a company wants,” says Keshishian. “When you do something to provide a great experience, it’s going to make a difference to your customers and they are going to talk about it, and they are going to want to come back.” 

    Sure, they could have tried to find the cleanest washroom but the finalists go far beyond the

    Read More »from Shaw Club boasts Canada's Best Restroom
  • THE ISSUE: Deciding to have kids means giving up a LOT. In no particular order, say goodbye to: sleeping in, driving anything cool, buying nice things, you know what I’m talking about. It also means pretty much giving up to the idea of seeing first-run movies in an actual theatre (good luck avoiding spoilers on the latest Hunger Games flick while you wait for it on iTunes).

    Sure, you can get a babysitter, but that can often logistical nightmare, not to mention an additional 40-buck hit. So you say goodbye to those spur-of-the-moment weekday movie outing, or the Friday night horror flick that now takes a week of planning to make happen.

    THE VICTIMS: There seems to be a cult of privation regarding parents these days. “Pricey childcare? Too bad, you chose to have had kids. No social life? Live with it.” Well, that ends here. It’s time daycare moved to the multiplex.

    Sure, some theatres have ‘mommy days’, with low-volume PG romantic comedies that you can barely hear over the screaming

    Read More »from Overdue Idea: Daycare at the movie theatre
  • Some new statistics to make investors feel even worse while watching the stock markets sink: A new study shows the richest 1 per cent of the world’s population are getting richer and own almost half of global wealth.

    According to the annual Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report, global personal wealth grew by 8.3 per cent US$263-trillion last year, creating a greater divided between the rich and poor that could trigger a recession.

    “The overall global economy may remain sluggish, but this has not prevented personal wealth from surging ahead during the past year,” the report states.

    It says the world’s wealthiest hold 87 per cent of the global wealth, and the top percentile alone account for 48.2 per cent of assets. Meantime, the bottom half of the global population own less than 1 per cent of total wealth.

    It says that 3.3 billion people, more than 70 per cent of adults worldwide, have wealth below $10,000. 

    The report says global median wealth  - which is the minimum net worth of the top

    Read More »from Growing wealth gap could trigger next recession: report
  • It’s no secret bitcoin’s reputation has taken a beating thanks to online gamblers and money launderers, not to mention high-profile hacking scandals and business boondoggles that have left investors penniless.

    But believers in the digital currency say the bad times are behind them, and, in Canada, the future is looking brighter than ever.

    “Bitcoin is making a comeback,” says Joseph David, CEO of Calgary-based Cavirtex, Canada’s largest bitcoin exchange.    

    David spoke to Yahoo Canada Finance on a recent visit to Toronto where Cavirtex is the first-ever bitcoin representative at the World Money Show, taking a table alongside established bankers, traders and investors.

    In the months since the painful collapse of Mt. Gox, the world’s largest bitcoin exchange, crypto currency believers have been fighting to convince the world of the currency’s legitimacy.

    Tokyo-based Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy in February, following the disappearance of nearly US$500 million, apparently at the hands of

    Read More »from Bitcoin believers say future is bright for digital currency in Canada
  • So you think you’re sly, pumping the breaks a second after seeing the police cruiser on the highway. Unfortunately, the fine officer of the law is wise to your commuter Jedi mind tricks and pulls you over.

    For the police officer, your excuses – though well thought out – are probably not going to do much to deter or escape his B.S. meter. For him, it’s all in a days work, after all, on an annual basis 750,000 drivers in Ontario alone are busted and convicted for speeding.

    At the top end, if you’re 50 km/h over the limit, you’re apt to have your car impounded and get slapped with a hefty fine of up to $10,000.

    But that’s the worst-case scenario for dangerous drivers.

    What about the law abiding ones with the occasional penchant for heavy right-footedness – how much does a speeding ticket cost them?

    Well, that’s a bit of a discretionary gray area.

    In some province’s traffic patrol is a little more lenient, in other’s they just might toss a few demerit points at you to make a… point. Some

    Read More »from Just Explain It: The true cost of speeding tickets
  • THE ISSUE: You’re stopped at a red light with about 5 minutes to get to daycare before the cutoff time, at which point you assume they’ll claim your kids and set them to work sewing wallets for export, or worse, charge you extra. The signal turns green, but the car in front of you doesn’t move; the driver is checking email (which is illegal, you know), or daydreaming, or maybe air drumming Phil Collins; just not clueing in that it’s time to move.

    You hit the horn, the HONK jolting the guy from his trance. But instead of hitting the gas, he gives you the finger, and makes increasingly threatening gestures in your direction. Clearly he’s taken offense, and you’re now going to pay for your reasonable impatience with obscenities and abuse.

    THE VICTIMS: Some drivers enter traffic just itching to lean on the horn, while some never use it, even if they may be completely justified.

    It’s understandable, as a loud toot in traffic is often a precursor to an outbreak of road rage, or at the very

    Read More »from Overdue Idea: The escalating car horn
  • Technology-loving Canadians are paving the way for a brave new shopping environment that may soon see us using watches, eyeglasses and even kitchen appliances to make purchases more often than cold, hard cash, according to a new PayPal Canada survey examining our changing retail habits.

    Indeed, so enamoured are we already with convenience, experts predict the future of money will eventually become digital and mobile.

    “We are on an exponential technology curve where one year to the next massive transformations are taking place,” says Doug Stephens, a Toronto-based retail industry futurist.

    That means retailers who don’t have a firmly-built mobile strategy in place over the next five years will find themselves in serious trouble.

    “You are going to be playing an enormous amount of catch up,” Stephens says.

    Here’s what the future could look like, according to survey results:

    • More than a third (35 per cent) of Canadians said they would be likely to use an Internet-enabled car to pay for gas
    Read More »from The future of money in Canada is digital
  • In a lot of ways, public perception of cybercrime has evolved from the Hollywood cheese of 1995 flick Hackers when the Internet was hardly a household necessity. But there’s still a lot of murkiness in the digital underworld.

    With the Internet symbiotically weaved into everyday life, cybercrime has become a credible threat costing Canadians US$3 billion in 2013, according to a report by tech security firm Symantec. It’s a massive leap from last year’s $1.4 billion but a small percentage of the $113 billion cost worldwide in 2013.

    And in an age of mobile banking it begs the question, how safe is your money?

    A survey by BMO found that more than two thirds of Canadian’s use banking apps on their smartphone.

    But despite the overwhelming adoption, privacy and security remain the number on concern.

    Some banks have taken steps to improve security by offering 100 per cent guaranteed protection should mobile app fraud occur.

    Scotiabank subsidiary Tangerine became the first Canadian bank to

    Read More »from Just Explain It: How safe is your money from digital thieves?
  • In a new survey sure to draw a few Guy Fawkes-masked grins, Canada placed second when it comes to wage discrepancy between the top brass and the standard worker salary.

    On average, Canadian CEOs earned 206 times as much as their worker counterpart, according to data from the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), the largest federation of unions in the U.S.

    While the average Canadian employee earned about US$42,253 in 2012, the CEO made about US$8.7 million says the AFL-CIO.

    Exec earnings from the study are slightly inflated when contrasted with a review of pay at Canada’s 100 largest companies released in June by consulting firm Global Governance Advisors. The CEO-focused study found a median compensation of C$5.6-million last year, an 11 per cent increase from 2012 and another step up the ladder after salaries dropped in the aftermath of the financial downturn in 2008 and 2009.

    Prior to the recession, the median salary for a CEO was C$5.8

    Read More »from Canadian CEOs earn 206 times more than employees
  • THE ISSUE: We’ve all been there. You’re in line for your medium black with sugar, knowing you have 8 minutes to get your coffee and get to work. There are a few people ahead of you, but the line is moving smoothly; people are rattling off their regular orders quickly and getting them filled. Suddenly, it all stops. 

    Up front, you hear: “Can you tell me about the sandwiches? Does the BLT have ketchup?” The momentum lost, all eyes wish death upon the Tim’s newbie at the counter. Might as well text “Running L8” to your boss right now.

    THE VICTIMS: Believe it or not, there are some Canadians who never visit a Tim Hortons. But check the lineups at any Timmy’s in a high-traffic area and you’d have to wonder where those people are hiding. Whatever the virtues of the coffee, we pour it down our throats like ritual. For the true believers, to interrupt that is disaster.

    And Tim Hortons knows it has a problem with long lines. In fact, they’re over the moon that they have more customers than they

    Read More »from Overdue Idea: The Tim Hortons Priority Card
  • For the past few years of the Toronto International Film Festival, the Four Seasons Toronto in Yorkville has earned a reputation as the mecca for celebrity peeping plebes and starry-eyed, Sharpie-marker toting autograph stalkers.

    Now the hotel has a more delectable distinction as Canada’s priciest city-situated accommodation, according to a list compiled by

    Catching a bit of shuteye in the most affordable double room at this luxurious 55-storey hotel in October will cost you US$532.

    Regrettably that doesn’t account for the film-themed cocktails like the King’s Speech or Slumdog Millionaire you will undoubtedly charge to your room from the hotel’s renowned dBar.

    But you can always pocket the matches for free, right?

    Coming in at number two is the Ritz-Carlton in both Montreal and Toronto.

    Staying at the most affordable double room at the Ritz in Montreal will set you back $505 a night, and in Toronto the cost is slightly more manageable at $468.

    For the elegantly toupéed,

    Read More »from Toronto boasts Canada's priciest hotel
  • How do you fill the shoes of a man who built one of Canada’s biggest companies from scratch, rising from a lowly car salesman to become the country’s wealthiest person? It’s a tough question that someone will have to answer when Jim Pattison, 86 and recently crowned Canada’s richest man, finally decides to step down as head of his namesake company.

    Pattison has been part of the Western Canadian business firmament for decades. But if you live east of the prairies, the Jim Pattison Group just may be the biggest Canadian company you’ve never heard of, though you’ve probably been a customer.

    Even if you haven’t purchased a car from Pattison, there’s a good chance your hair spray was packaged by his company, or you may have visited one of his grocery stores on a trip out west. And chances are you’ve bought a book or magazine from his North America-wide distribution business, which places periodicals at store checkouts.

    Oh, and if you’ve visited the new Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto or picked

    Read More »from Jim Pattison: the biggest Canadian succession dilemma you’ve never heard of
  • Canada is second only to New Zealand when it comes to good customer service according to a survey by service support company Zendesk. 

    Canadians were joined by their equally northern brethren in Norway for second place with 92 per cent customer satisfaction, just a smidgen below the Kiwis’ 93 per cent ranking.

    While the tired Canadian stereotype of politeness likely plays a role, there’s more to customer service, retail consultant Ed Strapagiel tells Yahoo Canada Finance.

    “It’s much more involved than just being a friendly face or being polite, it’s about things like price checks, short lineups at the checkout, having a size available or having a clean store and staff who have the knowledge (of products),” he says. “There’s a whole system in behind the service that makes that service shine through.”

    He points out that although polls like Zendesk’s are nice nods to Canadian’s politeness, the retail sector isn’t just full of saints.

    “In Canada we have lots of retailers whose sales

    Read More »from Canadians rank #2 in world for customer service: report
  • While uncomfortable airline seats topped the list of TripAdvisor’s annual air travel survey this year, an even more cringe-worthy inconvenience seems to be hogging the headlines – unruly passengers and flight diversions.

    In August, two CF-18 fighter jets escorted a Sunwing flight bound for Cuba back to Toronto’s Pearson International Airport after two twenty-year-olds got drunk and lit up a cigarette in the lavatory.

    In 2013, Sunwing got hit with a $40,000 bill after a family from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia was busted puffing on cigarettes in the bathroom.

    There’s always got to be a few daredevils out there willing to question why some planes still have ash trays in the lavatories next to the “do not tamper with the smoke alarm” stickers, right?

    While only, 45 per cent of those surveyed were concerned with unpredictable flight delays – diversions can be an annoying and costly affair.

    And they’re kind of common.

    According to the International Air Transport Authority, between 2007 and 2013

    Read More »from Just Explain it: How much does a diverted flight cost?
  • THE ISSUE: You sit down in the hair stylist’s chair and look hopefully at the reflection of your unruly locks, imagining a tidier, better-looking you. Magic is going to happen here. The stylist inquires as to your wishes, and after a quick back-and-forth, begins to cut. There’s a short silence, and then she exhales and says, “Sooo, how’s your summer going?” Your stomach tightens as you realize this is going to be 45 minutes of awkward hell.

    For those of an extrovertish persuasion, the idea of small talk to accompany a haircut may be appealing, but there’s also a large (likely quiet) contingent out there for which the prospect of forced banter turns the experience into a dental-level stress event.

    Sure, you can signal that you’re not the chatty type by giving Clint Eastwood-style short answers until the stylist gives up. But who wants to do that? You feel like a jerk and wonder if the stylist is quietly developing a hate-on for you while he makes hair decisions that could have serious

    Read More »from Overdue Idea: The no-talk hair salon


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