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Happy Thursday Folks!

Good morning! I hope this Thursday finds you well, and not in too much pain on account of the nasty weather. Sounds like you guys better pull the lawn chairs in and turn off the sprinklers. The radar shows some more rain headed our direction so grab your rubber ducky rain boots and rain jacket! On to the news!

Shein’s influencer trip backfires

Fashion influencers were invited to tour a Shein model factory

Illustration: Francis Scialabba, Photos: Shein

Fast-fashion behemoth Shein recently pulled a Willy Wonka and invited a few influencers to tour one of its 6,000 factories. But instead of generating positive PR, the creators who went are getting flamed for promoting what’s being called a propaganda trip.

Despite the brand’s history of alleged environmental harm and human rights abuses, a bunch of videos set to upbeat music show the fashion influencers praising their all-expenses-paid journey to a Shein “model factory” in Guangzhou, China. The clips have incited an online firestorm, including a viral parody in which a sustainable fashion supporter pretends to gush over the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory.

In a now-deleted video, Dani Carbonari, who’s been especially dragged for calling herself an investigative journalist but sounding like a Facebook uncle, said, “The China trip has been one of the most life-changing trips of my life,” and that her “biggest takeaway from this trip is to be an independent thinker, get the facts, and see it with your own two eyes.”

But actual investigative journalists have seen Shein’s inner workings with their own two eyes. A documentary released last fall revealed that workers were being paid pennies per clothing item on 18-hour shifts with almost no days off…which makes sense for Shein’s cheap and fast business model. Two dozen members of Congress have asked the SEC to halt the brand’s desired IPO until allegations of forced labor are investigated.

Zoom out: Brand trips have been a thing since the early days of YouTube vlogging, but the public has soured on the promotional vacations, so they’re becoming riskier for companies. Tarte Cosmetics recently came under fire for “tone-deaf” displays of luxury on an influencer trip to Dubai, and for reportedly giving creators of color second-class treatment.—ML

HR you ready for the future?


The world of work is changing rapidly (no secret there), and employees are looking for fairer, more fulfilling positions.

Add the emergence of AI to this mix, and the recruitment industry is feelin’ more unpredictable than, well, ever.

Success comes down to doing more with less, and Indeed FutureWorks is the event with the tools and solutions to help you do it. This premier HR event includes opportunities to:

  • explore relevant and interactive roundtable discussions
  • network and join a growing community of global talent leaders
  • discover the latest tech and techniques to make hiring and retaining top talent easier

Join Indeed FutureWorks in person from September 20–21 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, or enjoy complimentary virtual access on September 21.

Tour de headlines

Debris from the Titan being unloaded


 “Presumed human remains” found with Titan sub wreckage. After debris from Titan—the submersible that imploded en route to the Titanic, presumably killing its five passengers—was brought to land in Canada yesterday, the US Coast Guard said that likely human remains had been found among the wreckage. The Coast Guard, which is among the governmental entities investigating the implosion, plans to bring the materials to the US for analysis.

 It’s still smoky out there. Wildfires continue to rage in Canada, and the wind keeps blowing the smoke into the US. Yesterday, smoke hovered over the Midwest while also heading east. All told, air quality alerts were in effect in 20 states and applied to almost a third of the US population, according to the Washington Post. In other unpleasant outdoor conditions, the heat wave in Texas shows no signs of letting up. It’s been blamed for at least nine deaths and is straining the state’s power grid. But solar power has helped stave off blackouts.

 Everyone in South Korea just got younger. South Koreans officially became a year or two younger yesterday. Unfortunately, the nation hasn’t discovered an elixir of youth it can export like a K-Pop group; it’s just changing how it determines ages. Traditionally, South Koreans counted babies as one year old at birth, and added a year for everyone on Jan. 1 (so a baby born on Dec. 31 turned two very fast). But a new law that just took effect brought the nation’s age counts in line with international customs.

Mass flight cancellations put a damper on the 4th

Airport departures dashboard with all flights canceled or delayed

Francis Scialabba

Now may be the time to invest in an Amtrak pass. A combination of thunderstorms and staffing shortages led to more than 20,000 delayed and 5,000 canceled flights across the country this week.

And as we head into the Fourth of July weekend, with the TSA predicting tomorrow will be the busiest day of air travel since the pandemic began, more chaos is likely still to come.

What’s the problem? The bad weather isn’t helping, and workers remain hard to come by even as travel has come roaring back post-pandemic. Scott Kirby, CEO of United Airlines, which has had the most cancellations, blamed FAA staffing issues. And he’s not alone, an audit of the FAA found:

  • 77% of critical facilities (like Air Traffic Control) are staffed below the 85% level the agency considers necessary.
  • FAA facilities in New York and Miami are staffed at 54% and 66%, respectively, which “poses a risk to the continuity of air traffic operations.”

That’s not all. As of Saturday, a new 5G service is expected to cause more delays and cancellations, as planes without updated equipment might experience interference from wireless transmissions, which bad weather could exacerbate.—CC

Costco pushes out moochers

Three hands holding a Costco card

Hannah Minn

Gone are the days of snagging your grandpa’s Costco card and buying a metric ton of ham on visits home. The retailer said it’s getting serious about preventing non-members using members’ cards to enjoy the bulk riches.

Technically, it was always against the store’s policy to use someone else’s membership card. But workers at the home of the $1.50 hot dog will now require shoppers using self-checkout to show their IDs. And those IDs had better match the Costco cards.

Why now? The retailer relies heavily on membership fees—which brought in $4.2 billion in 2022—to offset its cheap prices, low margins, and now, inflation. Costco’s profits dipped 4% last quarter despite a 2% increase in revenue.

So if you want to keep buying cheap rotisserie chickens, you’ll have to join the ranks of Costco’s 124.7 million cardholders. A Gold Star Membership will set you back $60, while an Executive Membership costs $120 and offers some bonuses (like a 2% rebate at the end of the year as well as auto and travel perks).

We are entering the “no sharing” era: Costco is taking a page from Netflix’s playbook. The streamer started cracking down on password sharing and immediately saw a huge spike in subscription sign-ups.—MM

Key performance indicators

Leonardo DiCaprio throwing money off a yacht in The Wolf of Wall Street

The Wolf of Wall Street/Paramount Pictures via Giphy

Stat: If you’re hoping to pivot to a high-paying job, you might want to go back to school—not to level up your skills but to become eligible for an internship on Wall Street. Interns at Citadel are making a median $120 per hour this summer, a 25% jump from last year, according to Bloomberg. Big banks are also shelling out to nab young talent (Citi’s paying $50 per hour), and offering perks like sign-on bonuses. In what we’re sure is totally unrelated news, recent and soon-to-be college grads polled by the CFA Institute ranked finance as the No. 1 industry they’d like to work in (in 2021, it ranked fifth). Citadel got more than 69,000 applicants for its internship program.

Quote: “Dead forever.”

That’s how Steven Roth, chairman of one of New York City’s largest commercial landlords, Vornado Realty Trust, described Fridays at the office to investors, per the Wall Street Journal. And Mondays? They’re “touch and go,” Roth said. But he doesn’t think you’re going to kill his business by refusing to put pants on—the company is betting that workers will still be willing to schlep into the office on other days, as long as the commute’s not too bad. And it’s betting big, pouring $1.2 billion into revamping office buildings next to Penn Station.


What else is brewing

  • New York Yankees pitcher Domingo Germán threw a perfect game—MLB’s first since 2012.
  • The 23 biggest banks all passed a stress test that simulated a severe recession, the Federal Reserve said.
  • Protests erupted in suburban Paris after police fatally shot a 17-year-old during a traffic stop. French President Emmanuel Macron called the death “inexplicable and inexcusable.”
  • Simone Biles, gymnastics’ GOAT, will return to competition in August for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics, potentially putting her in position to compete in the Paris games.
  • Luxury watch prices are at their lowest in almost two years, Bloomberg reports, in case you were looking for a bargain on a Patek Philippe.
  • Madonna is putting her upcoming tour on hold after being hospitalized for a severe bacterial infection.


To do list Thursday

 Rosé all day: The best pink wines for when you want your drink to be Barbiecore.

 Follow the rules: This game asks you to pick a password. It’s harder than it sounds.

 Watchin’ the trains go by: You don’t have to sit by the railroad track to get a glimpse, thanks to freight train livestreams.

 Commitment inspo: May we all go as hard as Jennifer Lawrence eating spicy wings (YouTube).

 Level up: Starting your journey to become a CFO? Find out which stakeholders have a say in potential candidates and what factors companies consider behind the scenes.


 Workin’ it: Indeed FutureWorks is the premier HR event confronting the rapidly changing world of work with fresh tech, techniques, and solutions. Join in person from September 20–21 or enjoy complimentary virtual access by registering.*


 Money’s calling: Season 4 of Fresh Invest, our podcast with Fidelity®, drops soon, and we wanna answer all your investing-related questions. Let us know what you’re thinkin’ in this quick survey and you might win a $250 AmEx gift card.

You new coworker: AI

Tech Brew graphic

 If you use enterprise software—like 90% of high earners do—say hello to your new colleague: AI. Dig into the stats here.

 Strava (your fit friend’s favorite place to flex) is the leading platform at the center of connected fitness. Watch our interview with the company’s chief business officer.

 Employee data: HR teams have a ton of it, but how can it be used to improve your business? HR Brew is here to help.

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