for what its worth

value and price

Are friends and family priceless ?

they say you can't put a price a price on true friendship . however a recent study claims that seeing your friends and family everyday is worth the same as an £85.000 increase in salary . The study , wich was published in the journal of socio-economics, took the information from 8000 householdes across britain .
On average a person with annual salary of £10000 who had a lot of face-to-face contact with friends and family is as happy as a person earning £95000 a year who hardly ever saw friends or family. So the rich are not necessarily happier than the rest of us unless they also have good personal relationships in their life.

You decide how much meals are worth, restaurants tell customers

It sounds like a recipe for financial ruin: a restaurant that allows customers to pay what they think their meal is worth. Yet the business tactic is proving a success and "pay-what-you-like" restaurants are spreading across Britain.

The idea was spawned by Michael Vasos, the owner of Just Around The Corner, a French bistro in north London, where customers often spend two hours drinking fine wine and gorge themselves on salmon stuffed with crab. Afterwards, they must work out their own bill and most, surprisingly, leave a fair or generous amount.

"If you give very good service and very good food, people leave a lot in tips," said Mr Vasos. "So I thought why not just leave the whole bill to customers and they can pay what they think it's worth.

"As long as we gave a good show, I knew it would do well and we've been very successful from the beginning."

Mr Vasos has stakes in four other restaurants, all with fixed-price menus. They, do not, however, take as much money as Just Around The Corner. "The other restaurants take about 60 per cent profit a week, this one takes between 65 to 70 per cent each week," he said.

Just Around The Corner's most generous customers were four Americans from the United States government who came in on Christmas Eve. "They had quite a few bottles of wine, champagne and ate three-course meals. They paid £600 and asked the waitress if it was enough. In a fixed-price restaurant they would have probably paid around £250. This is why the restaurant does better as people are more generous," he said.

Mr Vasos also has a foolproof way of ensuring that patrons do not underpay. "When people pay a silly amount, I give them their money back and make them feel very small so they realise that if they want to come back they should really pay more."

He was amazed that pay-what-you-like restaurants were only just catching on as he has been running his business for 18 years. "I'm delighted that other restaurants have now taken the idea on board as it shows customers that others, not just me, can succeed," he said.

Mju, which offers contemporary European cuisine with an Asian twist also realised the potential of the pay-what-you-like policy after one member of staff visited Mr Vasos's bistro.

Last year the restaurant decided to try the strategy out for the month of February and it proved so successful at bringing in new clientele that it is running it again for the next two weeks.

Jeremy Payne, Mju's sales director, said: "Our policy is slightly different as it is just on the food element of your bill, not for drinks.

"People last year would, on average, pay £20 for a three-course meal from our set menu which was really worth £45, so it was slightly lower than we were hoping but it was still a success.

"Pay-as-you-like is something that we would be likely to carry on with but not on a full-time basis."

By Nina Goswami

Black friday

Black Friday is the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States (the fourth Thursday of November), often regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. In recent years, most major retailers have opened extremely early and offered promotional sales to kick off the holiday shopping season, similar to Boxing Day sales in many Commonwealth Nations such as Canada. Black Friday is not a holiday, but California and some other states observe "The Day After Thanksgiving" as a holiday for state government employees, sometimes in lieu of another federal holiday such as Columbus Day. Many non-retail employees and schools have both Thanksgiving and the day after off, followed by a weekend, thereby increasing the number of potential shoppers. It has routinely been the busiest shopping day of the year since 2005,although news reports, which at that time were inaccurate, have described it as the busiest shopping day of the year for a much longer period of time.

The day's name originated in Philadelphia, where it originally was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic which would occur on the day after Thanksgiving. Use of the term started before 1961 and began to see broader use outside Philadelphia around 1975. Later an alternative explanation was made: that retailers traditionally operated at a financial loss ("in the red") from January through November, and "Black Friday" indicates the point at which retailers begin to turn a profit, or "in the black". For large retail chains like Walmart, their net income is positive starting from January 1, and Black Friday can boost their year to date net profit from $14 billion to $19 billion.

For many years, it was common for retailers to open at 6:00 a.m., but in the late 2000s many had crept to 5:00 or even 4:00. This was taken to a new extreme in 2011, when several retailers opened at midnight for the first time. In 2012, Walmart and several other retailers announced that they would open most of their stores at 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day (except in states where opening on Thanksgiving is prohibited due to blue laws, such as Massachusetts where they still opened around midnight), prompting calls for a walkout among some workers. There have been reports of violence occurring between shoppers on Black Friday.