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Outside the Box: Show me the money!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Need smart, sound financial tips? Contact a broker. Interested in the bizarre ways people are making money using kegs, beetles, and rats? Read on, because this week’s Outside The Box is green in more ways than one.

Keg Stand
Kegs across the nation have been mysteriously disappearing in the past few years in a matter sure to concern college students everywhere. Jeff Becker, president of the Beer Institute (where do I apply!), reported industry losses of close to $50 million a year from the missing kegs. The problem is simple economics and a twisted form of recycling. A keg deposit is typically around $20, but with metal prices rising scraping a keg at a metal yard can fetch a hefty $55 depending on the location. Thieves are making a tidy profit from snatching unprotected empty kegs and costing consumers. Michigan has tripled its deposit fee and other states could follow if the problem persists. Remember, this kind of recycling is not only illegal, but wasteful since kegs can be used for 20 years or longer. Make a stand for the environment (and your wallet) and protect your kegs!

It’s Been A Hard Day’s Night

...And insect smugglers have been working like dogs illegally trying to ship a container filled with 1,500 dead beetles from Thailand to a French collector. Some of the beetles were endangered species, including the ground beetle, noted for its ability to spray foul -smelling gas from its abdomen. The black market for wild animals is the third-most profitable smuggling operation behind only illegal weapons and drugs- and that is something to make a stink about.

Tastes Like Chicken
Hundreds of rats are being shipped alive across China and being consumed in restaurants throughout the country. Unlike the beetle smuggling it is completely legal, although gross and yucky. China’s upper class likes to eat exotic food and the millions of rats displaced by a flooded lake fit the bill. Dishes at these restaurants can cost as much as $20! Bon Appetit.

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