Numlock News: June 22, 2023 • Pizza, A Conspiracy To Fix the Price of Bread in Canada, Fish
By Walt Hickey
Canada Bread, the largest producer and distributor of bread in Canada, has admitted to colluding over price with rival Weston Foods and will pay a record CA$50 million fine over the price fixing on four different occasions in 2007, 2010 and 2011. It is the first plea agreement to emerge from a seven-year investigation into allegations that multiple Canadian bakers and grocers collaborated to fix the price of bread. The story first broke in 2017, when Loblaw Companies, which owned Weston Foods, admitted they participated. Because all companies in the Canadian food space must be hilariously named, Canada Bread parent Grupo Bimbo said it will consider all legal options for those responsible.
Unilever, which owns brands like Dove, Vaseline and SheaMoisture, has an entire laboratory where they specifically test products to gain a larger share of the $1.8 billion spent by Black consumers in the U.S. on hair products. Black women, long underserved by beauty companies, are seen as a massive potential market, using twice as many products for hair care compared to white women. Unilever has 400 scientists, analysts and stylists working in the R&D facility with the intention of retooling its products to better compete. In 2020, the company rolled out Mele, a skin care line specifically designed for people of color.
Every year over 400,000 people visit Montana and go fishing. It’s a huge tourism business for the state and has sustained a considerable industry of fly-fishing guides, tours and schools. One new change for the business came following the massive floods in and around Yellowstone National Park last June, which after all was said and done ended up being a huge boom for fish habitats in the river. It’s actually forced the guides, many with decades of experience, to relearn the new contours of the Yellowstone River on which they make a living, finding new channels and gravel bars and new areas where fish end up congregating.
The IRS is on a roll when it comes to clearing its backlog, which stood at 13.3 million unprocessed paper returns at the end of the 2022 filing season but now has been slashed down to just 2.6 million returns as of the end of the 2023 season. In addition to all that, the day-to-day customer service is way up, as 35 percent of calls are now being answered, which may sound absolutely terrible but the IRS operates more under a “batting average” tier of customer service and as recently as last year that was a paltry 11 percent. The difference? Eighty billion dollars.
The Tony Awards on June 11 did a solid job of boosting Broadway revenues for the week after, with Broadway’s grosses up 6 percent week over week. The winning play, Leopoldstadt, saw capacity jump 21 percent week over week to hit 84 percent capacity, grossing $924,033 for the week, a level not seen since it opened. Kimberly Akimbo, which won best musical, saw grosses jump $170,000 week over week to $695,405, the highest gross of its nine-month run.
Domino’s, an ostensible pizza company that still managed to produce probably the single most reliable technological gain of any company outside Silicon Valley, announced it will now be able to deliver pizzas not merely to addresses but also to just points on a map, a new service called Domino’s Pinpoint Delivery which will definitely not be abused to send pizza to mountaintops and oceanic trenches within less than a week. It is a legit tech achievement that will likely have other delivery-based restaurants jealous, with Domino’s 20,008 locations no longer bound to the capricious confines of the United States Postal Service. Same-store growth was up 3.6 percent, fueled by carryout sales that were up 13.4 percent.
Thrilling news out of San Francisco, where the Millennium Tower — a 58-story financial district high-rise — is no longer sinking into the ground at an alarming rate. The tower, a 2009 residential building located at 301 Mission St. that is the tallest in the city, was found in 2016 to have sunk substantially, at that point leaning 24 inches west and 7.9 inches north. I asked my friend who makes buildings for his job, and he insisted that’s not really considered good for buildings. Starting in November 2020, a $100 million project to install 18 concrete pylons 275 feet down to the bedrock began, and as of today they’ve successfully transferred 18 million pounds off of the compressing soil and onto some rocks that my friend who makes buildings for his job, Winston, insists can handle it.
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