Lest you focus solely on the more serious stories in the financial press, such as Netflix's battles with Blockbuster or the impressive financial performance of Chico's FAS, here's a brief recap of some recent and weird financial news:
- Yum! Brands
(NYSE:YUM)unit Taco Bell might want to reconsider any plans for giant burritos. In New Mexico last month, a middle school was locked down and streets closed as police took positions on nearby rooftops. They had received a report about a boy carrying a "long and wrapped" object into school. It turned out to be a 30-inch burrito.
- According to a Wall Street Journal article, a popular place for college students to hang out at is. Wal-Mart
(NYSE:WMT). Students have devised a host of games that they play in stores across the country, often in the middle of the night. There are scavenger hunts, for example, where teams try to load carts with items from A to Z. And exercises where students fill their carts with a set number of items and then switch carts and see which team can correctly re-shelve all the items first.
- General Motors
(NYSE:GM)and Ford (NYSE:F), pay attention: Car-makers aiming to grab as much market share as possible might want to include some features to attract stupid vehicle thieves -- perhaps escape latches in trunks, for example. I suggest this after reading about a thief in Fresno who locked himself in the trunk of the car he was stealing and who must have been mortified when the police came to his rescue.
- Girl Scouts these days are finding that they have some significant things in common with most American businesses: deadbeat customers. In Wisconsin, after trying other collection methods in vain, some scouts are suing for amounts due ranging from $300 to $1,500. We Fools can scan many companies' balance sheets and we'll find allowances for "doubtful accounts." They're listed among assets, but are really liabilities, representing money that probably will never arrive. Learn more about what these numbers tell you in this 2001 Whitney Tilson article, where he exposed problems at Lucent
(NYSE:LU), among other companies.
- Don't worry about missing your favorite soap operas if you're a student at Muskego High School in Wisconsin. When the school district found itself with $500,000 left over after a $36 million renovation, it spent $51,000 on large-screen plasma TVs for the cafeteria and nearly $200,000 on fancy decorative doors. This is a reminder for us American taxpayers that too often we pay more taxes than we need to, for various unnecessary expenses. It's all the more reason for us to plan carefully for our retirements, perhaps trying to select sensible places in which to retire as we make sure we'll have enough set aside to live comfortably. Do yourself a favor and grab a free trial of our Rule Your Retirement newsletter, which features, among other things, interviews with folks who retired well (and often early).
If you think these stories are just plain silly, and you crave some serious stock investment ideas, check out our suite of stock and mutual fund newsletters, which deliver promising recommendations each month. Or just curl up with an informative and amusing Fool book.
LongtimeFoolcontributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of Wal-Mart. The Fool has a disclosure policy.