Blog Posts by CNBC

  • 10 Unusual Retail Experiences

    By Michelle Fox, CNBC.com

    Most people go to a store to buy what they need, and call it a day. However, there are some retailers who are going the extra mile to capture customers. It may include selling unexpected items or giving their customers an unusual experience.

    Costco, for example, employs the first strategy by offering customers a treasure hunt of sorts. While the warehouse store, which is the subject of a CNBC documentary " The Costco Craze," is known for bulk items like pallets of toilet paper and big boxes of cereal, it also sells thinks like diamond rings and coffins.
    Other retailers have taken it a step further by offering something outside the shopping experience that visitors can enjoy while they are bouncing between aisles or hopping from store to store. Their business strategy is simple - lure as many people into their shops as possible. The result: malls and stores that have become a combination shopping/entertainment destination.

    So what are some of the most

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  • 9 Outrageous Bars in America

    By Joseph O'Dell, CNBC.com

    Unbelievable Theme Bars

    It's the weekend and you're ready for a night on the town. So you might just go and pull up a barstool at your favorite local pub - like you do every weekend - and maybe that's worked for you for a long time.
    But like any good relationship, sometimes you need to spice things up with your nightlife. You need to go somewhere different. Somewhere outrageous. Somewhere you can you tell your friends about tomorrow.
    What'll it be tonight? Do you want to hop in your time machine back to the 1920s and sip absinthe? Or are you feeling like going to a place that's been described as a "temple to rum?" Maybe you want to spend the night in an ice chamber. Or maybe you want to go someplace that's as hot as "Heaven and Hell."

    Grab your wallet and your ID, we're about to try something a little different.

    See the full slideshow: 9 Outrageous Themed Bars


    The Edison Lounge is set in an old power plant in downtown L.A.The Edison Lounge is set in an old power plant in downtown L.A.The Edison Lounge
    Theme: Early 20th century
    Location: Los Angeles
    Drink to try: Edison 77

    If

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  • 10 Unusual Vodka Flavors

    By Katie Little, CNBC.com

    A Splash of Bacon, a Sip of PB&J

    Stir in one part candy store, one part alcohol and a splash of cocktail risk-taking. For many vodka producers, this is a recipe for success, as they seek to capture the American consumer and draw attention to their brands through creative new flavors.

    Flavored vodka accounts for approximately 27 percent of leading brand vodka volume, and continues to grow in popularity as total vodka sales also increase, according to market research firm Technomic.

    In 2011, David Ozgo, senior vice president of economic and strategic analysis at the industry's trade group, the Distilled Spirits Council, counted 115 different flavors in the vodka market.

    "They included everything from the basics, like orange, vanilla, and lime, to the more exotic: ginger, pepper, horseradish, bacon, and wasabi," Ozgo said. "Such flavors allow trained mixologists and at-home bartenders alike to develop new and interesting cocktails."

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  • Box Store Weddings

    By Lisa Flam, CNBC.com

    Despite the tough economy, American couples still managed to spend, on average, slightly more than $25,000 on their weddings last year. And when every dollar counts, many turn to warehouse membership clubs to stretch their wedding budget to help bring their dream day to life.

    You may be surprised how many wedding-related items are offered at warehouse stores around the country. There are flowers, wedding rings, outdoor equipment, food and baked goods, alcohol and table linens, all to help make your big day special.

    Whether you're working with a wedding planner to create a grand event at a luxury venue or you're a do-it-yourself couple putting the event together, there may be something from a warehouse club that fits your wedding style and helps your bottom line.

    See the slideshow: Box Store Wedding


    At Sam's Club, diamond engagement rings are appraised at up to two to three times the purchase price.At Sam's Club, diamond engagement rings are appraised at up to two to three times the purchase price.Bridal Ring, 1.26 carat
    Price: $5,775 at Sam's Club
    Stores: Sam's Club, Costco

    For brides who don't need their diamonds to come packaged in a little blue box,

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  • 10 Best Airport Restaurants

    By Colleen Kane, CNBC.com

    What is the deal with airport food? If only some standup comedian would tackle this vexing and universal subject: Airport food is stereotypically lackluster and sold for jacked-up prices by vendors capitalizing on a cranky and imprisoned audience.

    Still, that perception is beginning to change as eateries pop up in airports considered destinations unto themselves.

    To find some of the most praised restaurants, TripAdvisor looked at the busiest U.S. airports, according to the most recent information from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. They then ran down the airports' most recently available list of eateries to determine the eateries with the highest Popularity Index rating based on user-generated reviews on TripAdvisor.com.

    The resulting list of 10 airport restaurants is not exhaustive, but it does reflect the tastes and preferences of the general flying public. This is especially handy knowledge now that food service on flights is rare.


    See the

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  • Cheap Eats at Warehouse Stores Keep Them Coming Back

    By Ellen Lee, CNBC.com

    Even when Marian Pulliam is in Hawaii, away from her Northern California home, she doesn't have to miss one of her favorite meals: pizza and a swirled vanilla and chocolate yogurt from Costco Wholesale.

    Costco Food CourtCostco Food Court Plus, in Hawaii, the Costco food court is outside, and one of the island's hot spots for cheap eats.

    "I love it," said Pulliam, who is 75 and retired. "It's better than most pizza places and it's cheap. It's just really good."

    McDonald's and other fast-food chains have some stiff competition when it comes to drawing hungry, budget-conscious people on the go. Big box destinations such as Costco, Ikea, and Home Depot are making it easy for customers not just to pick up a new couch, but also grab a bite to eat in the process. Shoppers navigating the crowded parking lot and enormous warehouse, after all, can work up an appetite.

    Costco operates a food court at all but six of its 592 warehouses around the globe. They're generally located just outside the checkout

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  • 15 Green Celebrities

    By Regina Hing, CNBC.com

    For all the criticism lobbed at Hollywood over "greenwashing," there are a few true champions of nature among the rich and famous - and these 15 exemplify that.

    We trawled through celebrity track records to see how involved they have been in eco causes in recent years, and weeded out ones who have not actively participated in the movement lately. We looked for people who weren't happy just donating time or money to environmental charities, but those whose work (and name) had as profound an impact on the drafting of a bill or the success of a project. We singled out celebrities who were honest about their limitations and consistent in their actions (Harrison Ford may have been the vice chair of Conservation International, but he also reportedly owns seven private aircraft).

    ..

    What these stars have done is used their fame and wealth to raise awareness about the various conservation issues of their choosing-and, more importantly, set an example-such that thanks

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  • Warehouse Weddings that Take the Cake

    By Lisa Flam, CNBC.com

    Rachel and Brad Kerstetter at their May 2011 wedding.Rachel and Brad Kerstetter at their May 2011 wedding.Sweethearts since high school, Rachel and Brad Kerstetter tied the knot just two weeks after graduating from college. Before the big day, friends had the same question on their minds: Will there be an open bar?

    The couple, both 22 when they married in May 2011, wanted to offer sophisticated drinks and a full bar, but beer was the only alcoholic beverage included in their catering package.

    They were, however, allowed to bring liquor into their reception hall, and after a trip to a BJ's Wholesale Club, they stocked their bar with premixed cocktails like pomegranate martinis, Champagne and wine, all without breaking their budget.

    "As a young couple paying for most of the wedding by ourselves, it helped us get what we wanted," says Rachel Kerstetter, of Louisville, Ohio. "It was nice to say, 'Yes, we are having an open bar.'"

    [Related: Does it Pay to Be A Warehouse Member?]

    Though the wine came from boxes, none of their 150 guests was the wiser. "It was really

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  • Luxury Apps Pamper High-End Shoppers

    By Paul O'Donnell, CNBC.com

    Luxury retailers inhabit an elegantly lit world of richly paneled walls, sleek stone floors and plush goods. For them and their upscale customers, digital commerce is a foreign land, full of flashing offers prompting consumers to download a - gasp! - printable coupon.

    High-end merchants are adapting to the new virtual shopping scene.High-end merchants are adapting to the new virtual shopping scene. Slowly, however, high-end merchants like Neiman-Marcus and luxury brands like Burberry and Stella McCartney are adapting to the new virtual shopping scene, incorporating mobile apps, "augmented reality" and iPad link-ups that extend, rather than sully, the plush experience of their stores.

    Last month Neiman-Marcus introduced a pilot program called NM Service, an app that lets shoppers know which of their favorite clerks are on the floor when they arrive. The app can also be used to make appointments remotely with salespeople or pick out the items that interest them before they get to the store.

    Neiman's new mobile strategy, which imitates a system long available at Apple stores, is being

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  • Unruly Children Seated Nearby? Not If Malaysia Airlines Can Help It

    By Darren Booth, CNBC.com

    If there is an airplane built for creating a zone where you won't find children, it's the double- decker Airbus A380. Malaysia Airlines begins flying this whale of an aircraft July 1 and is attempting to restrict families traveling with children to the all-economy lower deck.

    So far no U.S. airlines enforce children-only seating sections.So far no U.S. airlines enforce children-only seating sections. The airline was the first last year to attempt an outright ban of children under the age of two from flying in first class aboard their Boeing 747 fleet by removing bassinets. Now it's further looking to create a serene area for its higher-yield business class passengers on the A380.

    Malaysia Airlines executive vice president of customer experience Dato' Mohd Salleh told Terminal U that babies and children would still be allowed in business and first on the A380, but the airline will steer families traveling in economy to sit downstairs.

    "Where there is overwhelming demand for seats in economy class from families with children and infants, resulting in a full load in the main deck, we

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