“You would think that there would be enough data and enough history to see that a little more clearly,” he added. “But it also suggests that times are changing and they are changing fast and more dramatically.”

Strong consumer spending may have saved the economy from ruin during the pandemic, but it has also led to enormous excess and waste.

Retailers have begun to slash prices on inventory in their stores and online. Last Monday, Walmart issued the industry’s latest warning when it said that its operating profits would drop sharply this year as it cut prices on an oversupply of general merchandise.

above a reclaimed strip mine dating back to when this region was a major coal producer. Today, the local economy is home to dozens of e-commerce warehouses that cover the hilly landscape like giant spaceships, funneling goods to the population centers in and around New York and Philadelphia.

Liquidity Services, a publicly traded company founded in 1999, decided to open its new facility as close as it could to the Scranton area’s major e-commerce warehouses, making it easy for retailers to dispense with their unwanted and returned items.

Even before the inventory glut appeared this spring, returns had been a major problem for retailers. The huge surge in e-commerce sales during the pandemic — increasing more than 40 percent in 2020 from the previous year — has only added to it.

The National Retail Federation and Appriss Retail calculate that more than 10 percent of returns last year involved fraud, including people wearing clothing and then sending it back or stealing goods from stores and returning them with fake receipts. But more fundamentally, industry analysts say the increasing returns reflect consumer expectations that everything can be taken back.

burned in incinerators that generate electricity.

stock price plummeted nearly 25 percent in one day. Other retailers’ share prices have also fallen.

Target’s stumbles have been an opportunity for people like Walter Crowley.

Mr. Crowley regularly rents a U-Haul and drives back and forth to the liquidation warehouse from his home near Binghamton, N.Y.

Mr. Crowley, who turns 54 next month, focuses mostly on discounted home improvement goods, which he resells to local contractors, like multiple pallets of discontinued garage door openers, tiles and flooring.

But on a sweltering day earlier this month, he stood outside the warehouse in his U-Haul loading up on items from Target.

“I saw its stock got tanked,” said Mr. Crowley, a cigarette dangling from his mouth and sweat pouring down his face. “It’s an ugly situation for them.”

He bought several cribs, a set of sheets for his own house and a pink castle for a girl in his neighborhood who just turned 5.

“I end up giving a lot of it away to my neighbors, to be honest,” he said. “Some people are barely getting by.”

The buyers bid for the goods through online auctions and then drive to the warehouse to pick up their winnings.

It’s a diverse group. There was a science teacher who stocked up on plastic parts for his class, as well as a woman who planned to resell her purchases — neon green Igloo coolers, a table saw, baby pajamas — in the Haitian and Jamaican communities of New York. She ships other items to Trinidad.

The Pennsylvania warehouse, one of eight that Liquidity Service operates around the country, employs about 20 workers, some of whom have been hired on a temporary basis. The starting pay is $17.50 an hour.

Charles Benincasa, 39, is a temporary worker who has had numerous “warehousing” jobs, the most recent at the Chewy pet food distribution center in nearby Wilkes-Barre.

Mr. Benincasa said his friends and family had gotten in the habit of returning many of the goods they buy online. But as he’s watched the boxes pile up in the Liquidity Services warehouse, he worries about the implications for the economy.

“Companies are losing a lot of money,” he said. “There is no free lunch.”

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Rare 1952 Mickey Mantle Baseball Card Going To Auction

By Associated Press
July 25, 2022

The sale price for the mint condition card is expected to exceed $10 million when the auction begins Aug. 27.

A decades-old, mint condition Mickey Mantle baseball card could break records when it goes up for auction next month.

The collector’s item from 1952 features one of baseball’s most celebrated and charismatic legends, and is widely regarded as one of just a handful in near-perfect condition.

LM Otero / AP

It’s estimated the card could exceed $10 million when the two-day auction starts Aug. 27. The record is $6.6 million for a 1909 Honus Wagner card that was sold at auction a year ago, months after another 70-year-old Mantle card fetched $5.2 million.

No matter the final price for the rare Mantle rookie card, it will be a hefty profit for the current owner, a New Jersey waste management entrepreneur who bought it for $50,000 at a New York City show in 1991.

“Every time he got up to the plate, the crowd would go crazy, the roars would be there. And he never disappointed you. … He had that aura about him,” card owner Anthony Giordano said of Mantle, who spent his entire career with the New York Yankees from 1951 to 1968. “Whether you’re from the New York area or not, or a Yankees fan, it was always Mickey Mantle that was highlighted.”

The switch-hitting Mantle — “the Mick” — was a Triple Crown winner in 1956, a three-time American League MVP and a seven-time World Series champion. The Hall of Famer, who died in 1995, was considered a humble player on the field. When he hit a home run, he would often run the bases with his head bowed.

“I figured the pitcher already felt bad enough without me showing him up rounding the bases,” Mantle once said.

As for the baseball card, its rarity is on par with its subject’s mythical reputation.

“The quality of the card is the key,” said Derek Grady, the executive vice president of sports auctions for Heritage Auctions, which is running the bidding. “Four sharp corners, the gloss and the color jumps off the card.”

Grady said that the collectibles market is having a renaissance, noting that cards that are “the creme de la creme, the best of the best, are still selling despite the economy right now” and that Mantle, “the king” of baseball cards, “has always done well.”

Giordano, 75, said it was time to give the Mantle card a new home.

“It’s the right thing to do,” he said. “My boys and I have had the cards for over 30 years, and we’ve enjoyed it. We’ve enjoyed showing anybody that’s close to me — friends and relatives — and I think it’s time for someone else.”

Before the auction begins, the card will be on display in Atlantic City from Wednesday through Sunday at the National Sports Collectors Convention, and at the New York office of Heritage Auctions the following week.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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They Love Crypto. They’re Trying to Buy the Constitution.

“We’re going to stop it from going into more private hands and actually open-source it, make it a public good,” said Alice Ma, one of the organizers.

In truth, ConstitutionDAO is more a symbolic gesture to decentralization technology than a real-world demonstration of it. Some in the group had initially hoped to make participants fractional owners of the Constitution, but that plan fell apart, possibly because it could run afoul of securities laws. The current plan is to issue crypto tokens, called $PEOPLE, that will entitle participants to vote on certain decisions governing the Constitution’s use, but won’t confer any actual ownership.

In addition, since Sotheby’s accepts only government-issued currency and doesn’t allow DAOs to bid on auctions directly, the group plans to work with a crypto exchange that will convert its Ether to dollars before the bid, and a crypto nonprofit that will place the bid on the group’s behalf. According to the group’s FAQ document, a limited liability corporation will take control of the Constitution temporarily while the DAO figures out a long-term ownership structure.

Many DAOs are speculative in nature; investors buy in hoping that the assets the group acquires will be worth more later on. But ConstitutionDAO’s organizers say making money is not a goal.

“No one is talking about anything related to speculation,” said Will Papper, a San Francisco crypto entrepreneur who is helping to organize the bid. “Everyone’s talking about how we should steward the Constitution.”

Well, that and about a million other things. A spin through the group’s Discord server on Tuesday revealed a torrent of chaotic chatter, debates over fine print and a shocking number of memes involving Nicolas Cage. (Mr. Cage starred in a movie about a plot to steal the Declaration of Independence, which appears to be close enough to the Constitution for the group’s taste.)

There was an audio channel where a man read the entire Constitution, line by line, over a soundtrack of soothing hip-hop beats. There were channels filled with questions for the organizers, which ranged from boring (“Has the L.L.C. structure been run by a tax advisor?”) to intriguing (“Is there a safeguard to make sure the DAO doesn’t vote to eat the constitution? Or other method of destruction?”)

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A Lost Brontë Library Surfaces

The Honresfield Library took shape not far from the parsonage at the edge of the West Yorkshire moors, where Charlotte, Emily, Anne and their brother, Branwell (born between 1816 and 1820), grew up creating elaborate shared imaginary worlds. It was assembled starting in the 1890s by Alfred and William Law, two self-made mill owners who had grown up less than 20 miles from the Brontë home in Haworth (which is now the Brontë Parsonage Museum).

The Laws’ collection, held in the library at their home, Honresfield House, included what Heaton called “grand country-house books” like a Shakespeare First Folio (long since sold off). But the brothers, less typically, were also keen collectors of manuscripts, acquiring the Brontë cache from a dealer who had bought them directly from Charlotte’s widower. William, the more serious collector, also paid frequent visits to Haworth to buy family relics that had been saved by neighbors and relatives.

After the deaths of the brothers (who never married), the collection passed to a nephew, who granted access to select scholars, and had facsimiles made of some items. But after his death in 1939, the originals fell out of public view.

By the 1940s, the collection had become “well-nigh untraceable,” as one scholar put it at the time. In recent decades, some artifacts from the collection, like Charlotte’s writing desk (now at the Brontë Parsonage Museum), have come up for auction. But the whereabouts of the rest remained unclear.

“When I was first approached about this material, I thought, ‘Hang on — maybe it’s that collection?’” Heaton recalled. “To then go actually see it was quite a thrill.” (The sellers, who wish to remain anonymous, are family descendants of the Laws, he said.)

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‘Charlie Bit My Finger’ to Leave YouTube After NFT Sale

The original 2007 video “Charlie Bit My Finger,” a standard-bearer of viral internet fascination, has sold as a nonfungible token for $760,999, and the family who created it will take down the original from YouTube for good.

The original video, which has close to 900 million views, features Charlie Davies-Carr, an infant in England, biting the finger of his big brother, Harry Davies-Carr, and then laughing after Harry yells “OWWWW.”

The owner will also be able to create their own parody of the video featuring Charlie and Harry Davies-Carr.

Many duplicates of the video remain online, including one apparently rebranded by the family itself in anticipation of the auction. But the auction allowed bidders to “own the soon-to-be-deleted YouTube phenomenon” and be the “sole owner of this lovable piece of internet history.”

Disaster Girl,” a meme from a photo of Zoë Roth in 2005 looking at a house on fire in her neighborhood, sold last month in an NFT auction for $500,000. Nyan Cat, an animated flying cat with a Pop-Tart torso that leaves a rainbow trail, sold for roughly $580,000 in February. Jack Dorsey’s first tweet sold as an NFT for more than $2.9 million; a clip of LeBron James blocking a shot in a Lakers basketball game went for $100,000 in January; and an artist sold an NFT of a collage of digital images for $69.3 million, among other headline-grabbing auctions.

During an NFT sale, computers are connected to a cryptocurrency network. They record the transaction on a shared ledger and store it on a blockchain, sealing it as part of a permanent public record and serving as a sort of certification of authenticity that cannot be altered or erased.

There were 11 active bidders in the battle for the NFT that was driven mainly between two bidders named 3fmusic and mememaster. When the bidding ended Sunday, mememaster was outbid by 3fmusic by $45,444. A person with the same name also bought the “Disaster Girl” meme NTF.

years after it was first posted. It was written into a Gerber spot and a “30 Rock” episode and was the subject of countless parody videos. But it’s still well known for setting off a genre of contagiously shareable videos.

Howard Davies-Carr, the father of Charlie and Harry, told The New York Times in 2012 that even though he didn’t think of his sons as celebrities, they had nonetheless become a brand. The family was recognized in random places, like on the subway in London.

In an interview with the brothers in 2017 on The Morning, a British talk show, Howard Davies-Carr said he was filming the brothers growing up “just doing normal things” and that Charlie bit his brother’s finger while watching T.V. after a busy day in the garden.

“The video was funny, so I wanted to share it with the boys’ godfather,” Howard Davies-Carr said, adding that their godfather lived in America and that the video was initially private, but people, including his parents, had asked to see it since it was difficult to share, so he made the video public.

A few months later, when the video had at least 10,000 views, Howard Davies-Carr said he almost deleted it. Profits from the video and other opportunities allowed the family to send Charlie, Harry and their two other brothers to private school, said Shelley Davies-Carr, the boys’ mother.

The video with humble beginnings, which Charlie and Harry decided to sell, helped Shelley Davies-Carr stop working full-time when her fourth child was born.

“I was just watching TV and just decided to bite him,” Charlie Davies-Carr said in the interview. “He put his finger in my mouth, so I just bit.” Harry Davies-Carr couldn’t remember the pain from that bite.

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