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This Week in Financial Blunders: International (and Texas) - Quicken Loans Zing BlogIt’s the middle of February, which means we’re in the midst of cabin fever season. To be more specific, you’re at that phase in cabin fever when you’re so batty you’re ready to turn the whole house into a pillow fort for reasons you can’t put into words. Don’t be alarmed – it’s only natural to want to change your surroundings after being nailed by this much winter. When a good part of the country is covered in snow and the weather gets you down, sometimes it’s best to hear how the rest of the world is making out to take your mind off of things. That’s why we’re going international in This Week in Financial Blunders! See the world through the filter of poor monetary decisions. (Texas counts as international, right? It’s warm there at least. Well there’s a story from there, too.)

Tesla Foil

Elon Musk, the vocal owner of Tesla Motors, has had some major hiccups in his attempts in selling his electric cars in China. Despite being his biggest market next to the U.S., Reuters has reported sales in China have been horrible for Tesla, and Musk is not pleased to say the least. How bad are the Tesla sales in China? Like 120-cars-were-sold-across-the-whole-country bad. Again, 120 cars were sold across the entire country of China. According to the article, Musk was hoping for sales in China to rival the sales in the U.S. “as early as 2015.” Musk is reacting appropriately it seems – he’s threatened to fire overseas executives according to a leaked internal email. “We have no choice in this regard. There is no way that we can afford to subsidize a region of any size in the long term without causing serious harm to the company,” Musk said in the Reuters article. He has reason to be concerned: In 2014, the stock rose just under 48%, but dropped 7% mid-January after an “unexpectedly weak” fourth quarter, and then dipped another 0.5% last Tuesday.

¡Grandes Impuestos!

Obesity and weight loss has been a prominent health issue in the U.S. for a while now, and with approximately 18% of children struggling with obesity, it’s understandable why. Puerto Rico has had it even rougher, with over 28% of their children considered obese. How can the country curb this epidemic? Puerto Rican legislators are debating a bill that could help curb it, which includes taxing the parents of obese children up to $800. According to an article in The Korea Times, the controversial bill “aims to improve children’s well-being and help parents make healthier choices” according to Sen. Gilberto Rodriguez.

So how would this fun-sized fat tax work? According to the article, the public school teachers of Puerto Rico would flag potential obesity cases, and then the Health Department would meet with the child’s parents to determine whether the obesity is a result of bad eating habits or a medical condition. If the child agrees to a planned diet and exercise program, then he or she would be eligible for re-evaluation in six months. If the child still isn’t meeting the state-determined standards, the parents can be fined in the range of $500 to $800. The bill hasn’t passed yet, and it entered public hearings last Monday.


Something spooky – and tech-savvy – is happening in Austin, TX: An eight-year-old MacBook Pro went up for sale on eBay last week. It sent auction prices soaring because the laptop is allegedly haunted. According to the New York Daily News, roughly 130 bids have pushed the price over the $3,000 mark at the time the article was published last Wednesday. The seller, who goes by wfatzinger on his eBay listing, had a hilarious description of the item titled “HAUNTED 2007 Apple Macbook 13.3” (White) (VERY HAUNTED).”
How does a laptop get haunted? That’s a very good question that’s explained in great detail by wfatzinger in the post:

“It’s unclear just how this laptop came to be haunted, but I 90% bet it was the time I left it in a graveyard next to an abandoned mental hospital all night by accident. I was doing some sketches in the graveyard (I’m an amateur sketch artist) and I brought the computer with me to play some music while I honed my craft.”

The user then claims the songs in his iTunes library “had become scary or haunted,” and the background image on his laptop had changed to a “scary photo.” Oh, the computer also writes cryptic messages on paper if you leave a pen around it, but nothing on a word processor. It’s unclear how much this spooky gadget went for – the page now says the listing was ended by the seller because due to an error. Attempts to cleanse the device have failed, but items include a certificate of the haunting, “Ghostly Photos” and “Several Edgar Allan [sic] Poe stories pasted into text docs on the desktop.”

Well I hope your cabin fever has been curbed, at least during the read. Let’s keep the fun coming! Post your additional financial blunders in the comments section, and we’ll gab about them with you.

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