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Fast Food Drive-Thru Times Are Awfully Slow

Fast Food Drive-Thru Times Are Awfully Slow

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Why people insist on using the drive-thru when ordering inside a fast food restaurant might be just as quick is anyone’s guess. Likely, diners just don’t want to bother climbing out of the cars -- it's not because the drive-thru window is neccesarily faster.

The latest Drive-Thru Performance Study for 2014 reveals the average drive-thru experience is close to 3 minutes and 40 seconds.That’s 40 seconds more than the 2013 average even as the average number of cars waiting on line fell from 2.8 to 1.7.QSR magazine, which conducted the survey, explains that preparing more fresh food and getting orders right probably accounts for the longer waits.Believe it or not, lunchtime isn’t when the waits are longest. The period between 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. accounts for the longest waits, followed by breakfast.

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The Top Colleges Where Facebook Gets Their Workers

The Top Colleges Where Facebook Gets Their Workers

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Just up and moving to Silicon Valley won’t necessarily guarantee you’ll get a job at a company like Facebook.It also might be a good idea to have a diploma from an esteemed university as well as majoring in something that will make you an attractive candidate, such as software engineering.Entry level jobs in this field, at least at Facebook, pay around $106,000 annually.However, even though Facebook is a sizable company with 7,185 employees, you’re likely competing with 100 times that number for a single position so be ready to put your best foot forward.As for the top 20 schools attended by Facebook’s staff, here’s the list as found on LinkedIn:

Stanford University (289 alumni) University of California, Berkeley (262 alumni) The University of Texas at Austin (125 alumni) The University of Waterloo (122 alumni) Carnegie Mellon University (119 alumni) University of Washington (98 alumni) Tsinghua University (97 alumni) University of California, Los Angeles  (97 alumni) San Jose State University (94 alumni) University of Michigan (83 alumni) University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (81 alumni) Harvard University (79 alumni) Cornell University (77 alumni) University of California, Davis (69 alumni) University of California, San Diego (63 alumni) University of Southern California (63 alumni) Santa Clara University (58 alumni) Massachusetts Institute of Technology (56 alumni) University of Wisconsin, Madison (49 alumni) University of California, Santa Barbara (213 alumni)

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Walmart Pulling Health Coverage for 30,000

Walmart Pulling Health Coverage for 30,000

Daniel Aguilar/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- About 30,000 people who work part-time at Walmart are going to lose their health insurance coverage.Citing rising costs, Walmart said Tuesday that it had no choice but to end medical benefits for employee who work less than 30 hours weekly.This move affects about five percent of Walmart's U.S. workforce, estimated at 1.3 million.Walmart, the nation's largest employer, said in a blog posting, "Like every company, Walmart continues to face rising health care costs. This year, the expenses were significant and led us to make some tough decisions as we begin our annual enrollment."Meanwhile, Walmart is also lowering the boom on workers with existing coverage by raising their premiums.The discount retailer says it health care costs are rising by $500 million.Meanwhile, Forbes reported last week that the four children of late Walmart founder Sam Walton are each worth an average of about $35-$38 billion.

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Flight Attendant Union Calls for Increased Screening of Passengers out of West Africa

Flight Attendant Union Calls for Increased Screening of Passengers out of West Africa

oleksagrzegorz/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, a union that represents about 60,000 flight attendants, called for increased health screenings on airplane passengers travelling from areas impacted by the ongoing Ebola outbreak.According to a press release, the union said that,"recent events have shown that, today, the airlines and health officials rely too heavily on voluntary disclosure by passengers boarding flights out of Western Africa."

ADA International President Sara Nelson noted that, "flight attendants are the first responders to in-flight medical emergencies and we handle a myriad of health related situations. We are not, however, professional health care providers and our members have neither the extensive training nor the specialized personal protective equipment required for handling an Ebola patient."The AFA says it has been working with health agencies and government officials in the hopes of heightening screening of airline passengers. "We will advocate for all measures necessary to ensure the health and safety of our members," Nelson concluded.

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PepsiCo to Launch ‘Craft’ Soda

PepsiCo to Launch ‘Craft’ Soda

Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- PepsiCo is reportedly launching a "craft" soda called Caleb's Kola.According to Beverage Digest, the new cola is named after Caleb Bradham, the original founder of Pepsi. Caleb's Kola, according to its website, is made with sparkling water, cane sugar and kola nut extract. Its creators were, "determined to craft the best kola using our quality ingredients," and believes it has come up with a recipe with, "just the right amount of carbonation resulting in a distinct foamy head."The move seems to be an attempt to play off the growing craft beer market.Kola nut extract, the website says, has a, "unique, slightly bitter flavor and a small amount of caffeine." Brown spices and citrus notes are also included to help give the beverage its flavor.The drink is currently available at nine Costco locations in New York, Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., according to the website.

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Twitter to Continue Fight for Transparency

Twitter to Continue Fight for Transparency

fazon1/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Twitter says it will "continue to look for comprehensive reform of government surveillance powers" while fighting to release a complete transparency report regarding the surveillance of Twitter users by the U.S. government.In a post to the Twitter blog, the company's Vice President of Legal, Ben Lee, wrote that the company filed a lawsuit in federal court that would allow them to publish the full version of a transparency report released over the summer. Lee said that the company's "ability to speak has been restricted by laws that prohibit and even criminalize a service provider like us from disclosing the exact number of national security letters and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court orders received -- even if that number is zero."Twitter, believing that it has First Amendment rights, hopes the court order will allow the company to "respond to our users' concerns and to the statements of U.S. government officials by providing information about the scope of U.S. government surveillance.""We should be free to do this in a meaningful way, rather that in broad, inexact ranges," Lee wrote.Lee says the company has "tried to achieve the level of transparency our users deserve without litigation, but to no avail."

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Why SodaStream Can’t Compete with Coke and Pepsi

Why SodaStream Can’t Compete with Coke and Pepsi

Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for PMC(NEW YORK) -- While Americans hunger for both convenience and brand-recognition, it seems as if SodaStream just can't pop Coca-Cola and PepsiCo's bubbles.SodaStream announced Tuesday that its sales were lower than expected -- sending its stock plummeting more than 21 percent to $21.63 a share by the afternoon.The Israeli company said it hasn't attracted new American households as it had hoped, and its carbonation-creating products are only in about 1 percent of U.S. homes. In Sweden, SodaStream products, for example, are in as many as 25 percent of households, the company said."Our U.S. business underperformed due to lower than expected demand for our soda makers and flavors which was the primary driver of the overall shortfall in the third quarter," SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum said in a statement.SodaStream did not respond to a request for comment.There may be two reasons why SodaStream hasn't taken a bigger gulp of the two global soda kings' empires, according to Adam Fleck, Morningstar equity analyst."One, their brand names are extremely powerful," Fleck said. "[Americans] know the brands and like the brands."SodaStream has partnered with brands like Kool-Aid, but not soda giants."When consumers want soda, which admittedly is in a declining environment, they want Coke or Pepsi," he said.

The second reason why more Americans haven't jumped on the SodaStream bandwagon is they don't yet buy the benefits of making your own bubbly concoctions."As seen by SodaStream’s rather minimal but notable penetration, there are consumers interested in healthier benefits of carbonating your own soda at home and convenience and not having to lug around cans. But we’ve seen given that minimal concentration, that consumer is few and far between," Fleck said.

The popularity of Keurig "K-cup" systems shows that consumers are willing to pay for convenience. Keurig machines and individual coffee ground cups are noticeably more expensive than the traditional home or office brewing system.And, Fleck says, let's face it, the take-home alternatives of branded soda products are convenient: opening a can from your fridge."Consumers are willing to pay for convenience. And at the end of the day, you can infer that SodaStream wasn’t as convenient as it needs to be," Fleck said.

There's more bad news for SodaStream.Keurig, in which Coca-Cola has a sizable stake, plans to roll out its own soda-making system next year.

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Wall Street Slides Again While Consumer Borrowing Jumps

Wall Street Slides Again While Consumer Borrowing Jumps

JaysonPhotography/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Tuesday marked another day of sharp losses on Wall Street, while the level of consumer borrowing hit its highest point on record.The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 272.58 to a 16,719.33 close.The Nasdaq dropped 69.6 to 4,385.20, while the S&P 500 dipped 29.74 to a 1,935.08 finish, slipping further from the 2,000 mark.Outstanding consumer credit reached $3.247 trillion in August, a $13.5 billion jump, according to the Federal Reserve. Consumer credit increased by five percent.

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GM Recalls 7,500 Patrol Cars over Transmission Issue

GM Recalls 7,500 Patrol Cars over Transmission Issue

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- General Motors is recalling more than 7,500 Chevrolet Caprice sedans from model years 2011 to 2013 over an issue with the transmission.The vehicles, which were sold to police departments as patrol cars, come equipped with a transmission selector lever that contains two pins."If the pins get displaced," the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration explains on its website, "the driver may be able to shift the vehicle from 'Park' without depressing the brake pedal or remove the ignition key without the transmission being in 'Park.'"If either scenario were to happen, the vehicle could start moving, increasing the risk of a crash.So far, GM says it is aware of one crash but no injuries or deaths.A service kit is being shipped to dealers and will be available to affected owners free of charge.

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Delta Customers Report Trouble Booking Flights, Checking In

Delta Customers Report Trouble Booking Flights, Checking In

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Customers trying to check in or book flights with Delta Air Lines on Tuesday had trouble doing so because of a computer issue.The carrier says the problem, which lasted for a couple of hours, affected its mobile app and website."The issue was related to a hardware failure which required immediate maintenance," Delta said in a statement.

The problem has since been resolved.During the downtime, passengers were still able to check in at airport kiosks and book travel over the phone.Delta said the issue did not delay any flights.

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One More Death Linked to GM’s Faulty Ignition Switches

One More Death Linked to GM’s Faulty Ignition Switches

General Motors(NEW YORK) -- One more death has been linked to General Motors' faulty ignition switches.Ken Feinberg's latest report shows 24 deaths are now eligible for a claim. Last week, Feinberg, the independent administrator of GM's compensation program, reported 23 deaths.GM intially estimated that at least 13 deaths resulted from its defective ignition switches.The automaker hired Feinberg to pour through death claims from families whose loved ones died in accidents they believe were caused by the problem. So far, he has received 165 claims. Compensation for each confirmed death claim will be at least a million dollars.The overall compensation program, which launched on Aug. 5, is open for submission until Dec. 31 through GMIgnitionCompensation.com.

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Life After Myspace: Co-Founder Chris DeWolfe’s Latest Project

Life After Myspace: Co-Founder Chris DeWolfe’s Latest Project

Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- There are high school reunions and family get-togethers, but do some of tech's greatest duos ever talk about old times?After selling Myspace to News Corporation for $580 million, co-founders Chris DeWolfe and Tom Andserson were able to take their new windfall and put it toward new adventures."From time to time we do [keep in touch]," DeWolfe told ABC News. "We don't cross paths as much as I think we would like. I haven’t seen him for a while because he is always somewhere else."Anderson has become a bit of a "nomad" -- traveling the world and building an impressive portfolio of landscape photography.For DeWolfe, who launched Myspace with Anderson in 2003 as a place for friends to connect and discover music, life after the social network has been spent building a new empire, the Social Gaming Network (SGN).With surging success in mobile gaming, DeWolfe has branched out into a new partnership with Fox to produce a mobile companion game that will be released simultaneously alongside the upcoming film The Book of Life. The deal is one of the first with a major studio."The mobile gaming business has gotten so big that the top games can gross as much as a blockbuster movie," DeWolfe said.He pointed to "Kim Kardashian Hollywood," which some have estimated could gross $200 million, as one example of a mobile game success story.The game, called "Book of Life: Sugar Smash," will offer in-app purchases, which will allow Fox to develop a new revenue stream that will also be shared with SGN, DeWolfe said.The movie boasts a star-studded cast, including Channing Tatum, Christina Applegate and Zoe Saldana, along with the whimsical touch of producer Guillermo del Toro.“It's super beautiful and something you'd expect from Guillermo del Toro," DeWolfe said. "That’s what attracted us to the project."He said the game was built using existing art and sound from the movie, allowing the developers to incorporate some of the film's memorable lines into key moments in the game.As DeWolfe sees it, the partnership is a win-win for both companies and a model for the future of mobile gaming."If I see a game that is associated with something familiar, and has great art, I'm more likely to download it," he said.

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Drivers Want More Money to Shuttle Facebook Employees

Drivers Want More Money to Shuttle Facebook Employees

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(MENLO PARK, Calif.) -- Think everybody associated with Facebook is happy as a clam? Not if you're a shuttle bus driver.Given how expensive it is to live in Silicon Valley, drivers complain that they're vastly underpaid and under-compensated for taking Facebook workers to where they have to be.Now, there's pressure on Loop Transportation, which employs the shuttle drivers, to allow their workers to unionize.Among the complaints is that some drivers are on split shifts and often wait hours unpaid to bring Facebook workers back to their homes in San Francisco.According to the Teamsters Union, most of the 45 drivers have asked the organization for union representation.The Teamsters also want Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to back the drivers' push for higher wages and better hours.

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Wealthier Americans Giving Smaller Portion of Earnings to Charity

Wealthier Americans Giving Smaller Portion of Earnings to Charity

Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Wealthy Americans gave less money to charity in 2012 than they did in 2006, while those in the middle- and lower-class actually increased their share of donations in that timeframe, according to a report from The Chronicle of Philanthropy.The Chronicle found, using IRS data, that those Americans making $200,000 per year or more, gave 4.6 percent less to charity in 2012 than in 2006. During that same time frame, those making under $100,000 gave 4.5 percent more. The Chronicle does note, however, that wealthier Americans may have given a small percent, but they also gave a higher total figure in 2012, giving $77.5 billion, $4.6 billion more than in 2006.The most generous state in the nation, according to the Chronicle, is Utah -- where residents donated $65.60 for every $1,000 they made. Resident in New Hampshire ended up on the other end of the spectrum, giving just $17.40 for every $1,000 earned.Also of note, 36 of America's 50 largest cities experienced a decline in the rate of giving -- though not necessarily the total amount donated.

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Redbox Instant Streaming Service to Shut Down Tuesday

Redbox Instant Streaming Service to Shut Down Tuesday

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Redbox Instant, a program that aimed to be a competitor to Netflix, will cease operation on Tuesday, Redbox said. In a message to customers posted on the Redbox site, the end of the service was announced as Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time. Customers, the message said, will receive information on applicable refunds.Until the cutoff time, customers should still be able to utilize Redbox Instant.Redbox's streaming service launched in 2013 and was powered by Verizon. Users paid $6 per month, according to Time magazine, and an extra $2 if they wanted to rent up to four DVDs.

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Average Gas Prices Down More Than Five Cents

Average Gas Prices Down More Than Five Cents

FeelPic/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Gas prices fell by more than a nickel from last week, the U.S. Energy Department said Monday.According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the national average cost of a gallon of regular gas is $3.299 this week, down from $3.354 last week. That figure represents a 5.5 cent dip from last week, and a total of 6.8 cents lower than this date last year.Gas continues to be cheapest in the Gulf Coast -- $3.109 per gallon -- and most expensive on the West Coast -- $3.61 per gallon. California is once again the most expensive state in which to buy gas, with the average gallon costing $3.666.

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Turner Broadcasting to Cut 10 Percent of Work Force

Turner Broadcasting to Cut 10 Percent of Work Force

AndreyPopov/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- On the same day the company announced a deal to continue carrying National Basketball Association games, Turner Broadcasting announced 10 percent of its work force.Turner, the parent company of CNN, TBS, and TNT announced Monday that it would eliminate about 1,475 jobs out of its 14,000 full-time employees. Those cuts, "will come at all levels from across the company's news, entertainment, kids, young adult and sports networks and businesses, as well as corporate functions, in 18 Turner locations around the world," a statement read.The cuts come as part of a, "comprehensive initiative and company reorganization to focus resources and prioritize investment in programming, monetization and innovation as near- and long-term drivers of growth."

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Markets Post More Losses as October Slide Continues

Markets Post More Losses as October Slide Continues

tarabird/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- After a strong day of gains on Friday, the markets began the new week on a downward slide Monday.The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 17.72 to fall back below 17,000, finishing the day at 16,991.97.The Nasdaq closed at 4,454.80, a slide of 20.82 from Monday's open, while the S&P 500 dipped 3.06 to 1,964.84.Over the weekend, General Motors announced additional recalls, bringing the total number of cars under recall to nearly 30 million worldwide.

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Hewlett-Packard Splitting Its Business in Two

Hewlett-Packard Splitting Its Business in Two

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(PALO ALTO, Calif.) -- Hewlett-Packard announced on Monday it is splitting into two separate companies in an effort to boost productivity.Its personal computer and printing business will break off into one company, which will be called HP Inc. and maintain the current logo. The remaining business will be called Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and will include the company's technology products, including data storage, servers and software.Weak sales, a 2012 reorganization and tens of thousands of layoffs later, Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman said the split was necessary to strengthen the business."It will provide each new company with the independence, focus, financial resources, and flexibility they need to adapt quickly to market and customer dynamics, while generating long-term value for shareholders," Whitman said in a statement. "In short, by transitioning now from one HP to two new companies, created out of our successful turnaround efforts, we will be in an even better position to compete in the market, support our customers and partners, and deliver maximum value to our shareholders."The split will have to be approved by Hewlett-Packard's board and won't likely happen until the end of next year. Shareholders will own a stake in both companies.Once complete, both companies will be able to enjoy a competitive advantage in their respective areas and pursue interests they never had the freedom to while together, according to the company.Boosted by the profitability of its computing and printing business, company officials said the leaner Hewlett-Packard be able to focus even more so on innovation. The company will have the cash flow to explore emerging technologies and make strategic investments in areas such as 3-D printing, according to HP's statement.The split will allow the newly named Hewlett-Packard Enterprise to become a "simpler, more nimble partner" to its corporate customers, the company said. It is also expected the separation will reduce debt at the operating company level, allowing HP Enterprise the freedom to make investments in next-generation areas that could help drive future business.Whitman will become president and CEO of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and will remain chairman of the board of HP Inc. Dion Weisler will assume the duties of president and CEO of HP Inc. once the split is official.

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Ring Allegedly Stole Identities, Went Shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue

Ring Allegedly Stole Identities, Went Shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue

Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The explosion of identity theft has hit one of the world’s premier luxury department stores.Five people have been indicted in a scheme to use stolen personal information from Saks Fifth Avenue customers to buy hundreds of thousands of dollars-worth of high-end handbags and shoes from the Manhattan, New York flagship store that were later resold on the black market or returned for a store credit.Most of the theft involved designer brands like Christian Louboutin, YSL and Givenchy purchased from the Saks shoe floor, so famous it has its own zip code.“American consumers have never been at greater risk from commercial retail fraud and theft,” said James Hayes, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations' New York field office.This time, though, the crime did not involve hackers or skimmers but mainly sales associates, prosecutors said.“This identity theft ring was allegedly able to walk away with hundreds of pairs of shoes and bags due to the help of store employees," said Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance.Between April and September, Vance said, an alleged ringleader stole credit card data from nearly two dozen Saks customers and shared it with several sales associates.The suspects face a range of charges including grand larceny.According to court records, the sales associates used the stolen personal information to look up account numbers and purchase luxury goods that the alleged ringleader pre-selected from designer brands.In some instances, prosecutors said, the alleged ringleader recruited phony shoppers to pick up the goods from the sales associates and drop them off to her at hair salons or gas stations. Sometimes, the merchandise was returned for store credit used to pay off those in on the scheme.Vance blamed the ring for 91 transactions involving $400,000-worth of fraudulent purchases.

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