The Week in Review: Funny Money Stories

1. 102,000 cupcakes! Small bakery burned by Groupon

When a small London bakery offered a 75-percent discount on 12 cupcakes on the discount website Groupon, they neglected to set a limit. The shop was “unable to cope when 8,500 people signed up,” MSNBC reports. “Need a Cake bakery, which employs eight, had to bring in temporary workers through an employment agency to fulfill the orders, at a cost of $19,500 — wiping out profits for the year.”

2. Reality TV shows spawn American collectible craze

Reality TV is supposed to reflect America’s attitudes. Instead, it’s now shaping them – especially ones that involve selling junk and/or valuables for cash. “The flea market industry, with estimated annual sales of $30 billion, has been energized by the renewed interest in antiques and collectibles,” USA Today reports. “Such shows, including A&E’s Storage Wars and the History Channel’s American Pickers and Pawn Stars, have frequently ranked among the top 10 cable shows.”

3. A rabbi’s startup rewards moms for watching ads, playing games

Josef Gorowitz runs a tech startup called Swagbucks. “After becoming a rabbi, Gorowitz launched the service in 2008 with five software developers who shared his background in Talmudic scholarship,” Bloomberg reports. “Gorowitz was convinced a tech startup could be as rewarding as a career in a synagogue.” How’s it working out so far? “Analyzing the Torah has improved his team’s critical thinking and code-writing.”

4. The dirty little secret of online travel sites

You already know not to believe everything you read on the Web. But even the stuff you buy? “It’s the dirty little secret in the world of the online travel agencies,” CNN reports. If you use online services like Expedia or Travelocity, “you always run a tiny risk of arriving at your hotel and finding it overbooked. But there’s an additional risk when you use a third-party provider. If its software doesn’t properly hook up to the hotel’s electronic booking system, you don’t have the room the site claims you reserved.”

5. Listing of the week: bachelor pad clock tower

The most expensive apartment in Brooklyn? It’s a converted clock tower. Price: $23.5 million. “The 7,000-square-foot space is defined by four 14-foot-high glass clock faces,” MSNBC reports. Peering out between each working clock hand are 360-degree vistas of the New York City skyline including views of the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges.”

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