Tennessee Williams once said that, “Luck is believing you’re lucky.” This frankly sounds like a playwright more skilled with letters than with numbers. In any event, The Odds are here to give you the latter using the former. Numbers don’t know the future, but the future will depend on numbers. Better get to know ‘em.
1. Where Will We Get Our Artisanal Cheeses When Whole Foods Is Gone?
Following a series of high profile SNAFUs, Whole Foods might not be around much longer to sell us refreshing, all-natural, organic, probiotic, overpriced anything. The recent spate of hard luck for the supermarket chain began in June, when the New York Department of Consumer Affairs launched an investigation into allegations of gross overcharging at the chain’s New York locations. It faced similar allegations in California last year and was fined $800,000. Also this summer, a photo of what was being sold as “asparagus water” — ostensibly stalks of asparagus soaked in water from its Brentwood, California branch, priced at $6 per bottle — went viral. The bad press in the court of public opinion led the company to tell investors that Whole Foods stock took a sharp 5 percent dip. Is that enough to spell doom for Whole Foods?
Over/under price of Whole Foods stock based on the price of Asparagus Water: 6 Asparagus Water bottles.
2. Get Yourself a Cheap Barrel of Oil
Aspiring Daniel Plainviews of the world take heed, there may be too many of you out there right now. The price of oil just hit a six-year low, with high supply and low-ish demand accounting for the remarkable dip. It’s a surprising situation considering a barrel would have cost you a Benjamin a little over a year ago. The supply glut only looks to get worse. The United States’ nuclear deal with Iran is projected to inundate the market with even more black gold. Major producers such as Saudi Arabia continue to crank up production now that OPEC isn’t stepping in to regulate. Get it while the gettin’ is good.
Over/under on the price of barrels of oil: $40
3. Cheaters Maybe Won’t Have to Worry So Much About the Ashley Madison Hack
Bad week for dirtbaggy Ashley Madison members. Millions of the dating site’s members saw their data outed by a hacker group called Impact Team, leading cheaters everywhere scrambling. Disgraced 19 Kids and Counting star and sexual abuser Josh Duggar and that weirdo Christian pregnancy vlogger Sam Rader were both revealed to be subscribers; are you next? Unless you’re a mid-to-low-profile celebrity with tabloid sites like Gawker or TMZ hunting for your name, probably not. Though you’ve got needle-in-a-haystack level odds against you being found out — that is if you didn’t use your real name or actual email address — none of the embarrassment would have happened if you didn’t use the site in the first place. If you’re still paranoid, Ashley Madison is currently offering a free “full delete” to users.
Odds that you would have been outed if you never used Ashley Madison: 0 in 37 Million
4. Don’t Get Too Excited About an Abridged Workweek
Last week the parent company of clothing store Uniqlo announced that it will provide a four-day workweek for about 10,000 of its full-time employees on a trial basis starting in Japan. The three-day weekend will be in exchange for 10-hour work days during shifts during the rest of the week. The Guardian reported that 22 percent of Japanese workers put in more than 49 hours during their workweek compared to 16 percent of American workers, so this seems like a fairly sweet deal for typically overworked Japanese employees. What are the chances of getting a Friday-to-Sunday weekend here in the States? Not great. The majority of the world works on a five-day business schedule, and a 2014 survey found that 43 percent of American companies let workers compress workdays with longer hours. Yet the majority of those are small companies. Furthermore, only 10 percent of the small business employers say they offer that to all of their workers. It’s going to be a long time before we get to say, “Have a great weekend!” to co-workers on a Thursday.
Odds that the U.S. will adopt a four-day workweek in the next five years: 9 to 1
5. Donald Trump’s Presidential Election Isn’t Anything Special
Hey, didja hear that Donald Trump’s running for president? Course you have, and condolences on that. But don’t worry yet about seeing his last name in gold letters on the side of the White House — November 2016 is still a helluva long way off. The Guardian recently compared Trump’s meteoric rise to Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 run. Early that year, the former New York mayor led the polls by a huge margin, topping other candidates with a rating of about 30 percent. As the nominations neared, The Guardian says, people got to know him as “a thrice-married, formerly pro-choice, kind of rude person from New York.” Sound familiar? Just a reminder: Giuliani isn’t anywhere near the White House, and barring any miracles, Trump won’t be either.
Current odds that Trump will win the Presidential election: 15 to 1