iStock/Thinkstock(ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.) -- A 10-hour stream of kindness abruptly ended at a Florida Starbucks Wednesday evening when customer No. 458 broke ranks and declined to "pay it forward" for the next drive-thru patron.
"She got a free drink from the previous customer," Celeste Guzman, manager at the Starbucks on Tyrone Boulevard in St. Petersburg, told ABC News on Thursday.
"She was happy about that," Guzman said. "But she didn't want to pay for the next patron.
"It all started at 7:21 a.m. yesterday morning when a woman paid for her iced coffee and decided to pay for the caramel macchiato the customer behind her ordered as well," Guzman said.
For the next 10 hours, more than 450 customers at the drive-thru graciously accepted the kindness of strangers and then paid for the next customer's order.
"Our barista would tell the customers: 'Your drink has already been paid for by the previous customer. Would you like to return their favor and pay it forward?'" Guzman said.
But that all came to a halt at 6 p.m., when a woman pulled up in her white Jeep Commander and ordered an ice-coffee.
"She didn't want to pay for the next customer,” Guzman said. "I don't think she understood the concept of 'pay it forward.'
"Sometimes customers can't pay it forward, because they can't afford the order."
But the random acts of kindness began anew Thursday, Guzman said, when one customer bought a $40 gift card for the next customer at the drive-thru.
Chris Hondros/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Bank of America reached a record-breaking $16.65 billion settlement with the Department of Justice on Thursday.
The deal resolves an investigation into allegations that the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank misled purchasers of mortgage-backed securities prior to the 2008 financial crisis.
The settlement is the largest ever reached between the federal government and a company.
“At nearly $17 billion, today’s resolution with Bank of America is the largest the department has ever reached with a single entity in American history,” Associate Attorney General Tony West said in a statement Thursday.
The previous biggest bank deal involved JPMorgan Chase, which agreed to pay $13 billion for its role in selling flawed mortgage investments.
Bank of America is expected to pay $9.65 billion in cash; the rest will go toward consumer relief.
“This historic resolution -- the largest such settlement on record -- goes far beyond ‘the cost of doing business,’” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. "Under the terms of this settlement, the bank has agreed to pay $7 billion in relief to struggling homeowners, borrowers and communities affected by the bank’s conduct. This is appropriate given the size and scope of the wrongdoing at issue.”
iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Sales of existing homes in the U.S. rose last month to the highest level since last September, a report out Thursday shows.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) says sales jumped 2.4 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.15 million.
"I'm not surprised at all that the numbers are up. It's summer time and this is when the masses want to buy real estate. It's warm out. We had a really slow start to the year because it was just too cold to go outside and go to work certainly too cold to buy a home. So we're catching up now," says Kathy Fettke, CEO and founder of Real Wealth Network.
Sales of previously-owned homes are at the highest pace of this year and have gone up for four straight months, according to the NAR.
Fettke says now is a good time to buy a first home.
"There's more inventory out there and that's really great news for home buyers. Interest rates are still low. Home prices are up but only up 4.9 percent from last year. So it should still be fairly affordable in certain markets for people to buy their first home," she explains.
Despite the good news, existing home sales are still down 4.3 percent from July of 2013.
iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- UPS warned customers on Wednesday that they may have been one of the U.S. retailers whose customers may have had their data compromised as a result of exposure to malware.
According to a press release, UPS customers who used a credit or debit card at one of the 51 impacted UPS locations between Jan. 20 and Aug. 11 may have had their personal data exposed. As of Aug. 11, UPS says the malware has been eliminated from their computer systems and that customers can shop at all UPS Store locations without concern.
Tim Davis, President of The UPS Store, Inc., said that he understands how, "this type of incident can be disruptive and cause frustration." He apologized for, "any anxiety this may have caused our customers," while stating that resources were deployed to address the data intrusion as soon as the malware was located.
UPS notes that the 51 impacted locations represent just about one percent of the company's 4,470 franchised locations in the U.S.
iStock/Thinkstock(RIGA, Latvia) -- Give yourself a break at work, literally, if you want to be the best possible worker.
That’s the advice of Julia Gifford, whose Latvian-based Draugiem Group is an umbrella organization for many IT-related companies.
Using the time tracking app DeskTime, Gifford says the best formula for maximizing your time on the job is 52 and 17: that’s 52 minutes of full-steam-ahead work followed by a 17-minute break or “recuperation,” as she puts it.
According to Gifford, it’s not about working longer, it’s about working smarter with frequent breaks.
During those 52 minutes, the most productive employees work with purpose and take a well-deserved break so they can hit the ground running again in what Gifford labels “the 100 percent dedication theory.”
Target(NEW YORK) -- Target announced it would drop its annual earnings forecast by about 50 cents per share on Wednesday, part of ongoing fallout from the data breach the company experienced late last year.
The company announced that its second quarter adjusted earnings per share was just 78 cents, down 20.6 percent from the second quarter in 2013. Target is currently anticipating annual earnings of $3.10 to $3.30 per share for the full year.
A press release from Target noted a dip of 1.3 percent in second quarter U.S. Segment transactions. Still, that figure was slightly higher than that of the first quarter.
iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- How real is the reported threat to Nutella hazelnut spread?
According to the Financial Times, there was poor weather in Turkey, where approximately 70 percent of the world's hazelnuts originate. But Somerset, New Jersey-based Ferrero USA, the company that makes and distributes the sweet stuff for its Italian parent company, says fans have no need to worry.
"Inclement weather last spring in Turkey has impacted this year’s hazelnut harvest," a spokesperson for Ferrero USA said in a statement to ABC News. "We are tracking this issue closely and there’s no foreseeable impact on the availability of Nutella. As always, we will maintain the high quality of the Nutella product that consumers know and love."
The price of hazelnuts has spiked more than 60 percent this year, according to the Washington Post. Ferrero buys as much as a quarter of the world's hazelnuts, according to the Post.
Jenny McCoy, chef instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education, said she doubts any shortage may actually happen.
"Ferraro has been in the hazelnut product business for quite some time and I feel certain they've secured crops for their annual production needs. Being the consumer of 25 percent of the world's hazelnuts, they've been aware of this issue for many months sooner than the rest of us," she said.
Either way, any hazelnut shortage may be good news for small farmers, such as those in Oregon. McCoy said they grow "far more delicious hazelnuts" than those of Turkey, and are enjoying the increase in hazelnut market prices.
"In the meantime, regular consumers, chefs and small food producers looking to purchase hazelnuts may see some difficulty if harvests are as low as predicted -- mostly because the costs will be too high for most budgets. I'll be curious to see if restaurant menus change and chef's consider other nuts instead. Perhaps it is time for a revitalization of the walnut," she said.
Every day, businesses like Ferrero, which are dependent on food commodities, like hazelnuts, are closely watching the prices of their ingredients.
Earlier this year, the price of limes more than doubled due to shortages from the produce's main exporter, Mexico. Rain and a bacterium affected harvests there, analysts noted.
As concerns continued into the spring, restaurants turned to other citrus fruits to take its place, but not necessarily because they couldn't buy the fruit. Many businesses chose to pay higher prices to continue serving dishes with the fruit, or limited them on an as-needed basis.
Last year, it wasn't weather, but strong demand that led to "fears" of a chicken shortage before a heavy chicken-wing weekend: the Super Bowl. The National Chicken Council says about one billion chicken wings can be consumed during the Super Bowl. Fortunately, the wing scare ended up as hype.
Rising almond prices also scared health nuts last year, due to a shortage of honey bees that influenced lower almond production levels in California.
When there was mild hysteria over the price of avocados in January, a spokesman for the restaurant chain Chipotle told ABC News that prices had increased, but the company didn't stop serving guacamole then, nor in 2011, when there was a similar price hike.
"The sky is not falling," Chris Arnold, a spokesman for Chipotle, told ABC News at the time.
iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Fashion Institute of Technology graduate who is suing her alma mater and Barnes & Noble for selling a backpack she designed without, she argues, giving her any profits says it is “confusing” to see her backpack on the streets.
“It is a very confusing feeling knowing that my backpack is my design and I see people on the street wearing it all the time and I have not received any monetary value for it at all,” Diana Rubio told ABC News.
Rubio, 33, from Carlstadt, New Jersey, was a Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) student in 2010 when she designed “The Everything Backpack” for a class project.
In a copyright-infringement lawsuit filed Monday in Manhattan Federal Court, Rubio claims the New York City school entered her design in Barnes & Noble’s “Back to Campus” contest and she won.
The bookstore then began selling her bag for $39.95 and identifying Rubio as the backpack’s designer both on its website and on a tag inside the bag.
Rubio’s lawsuit claims that she “has received no payment…nor has she authorized the manufacture, marketing and sale of such backpacks.”
“I did receive the formal paperwork that goes with if someone is going to produce your bag -- the sign-your-rights-away waiver -- but I did not sign it,” Rubio told ABC News. “I feel a little bit betrayed,” she said.
Barnes & Noble responded to the lawsuit by saying the issue is between Rubio and her alma mater.
“We pay royalty fees to FIT for student designs…this matter is between FIT and Ms. Rubio,” the bookstore chain said in a statement to ABC News.
FIT officials told ABC News they are aware of the lawsuit and looking into it.
“Although we have not been formally served with the lawsuit, we are aware of it and we have begun our fact finding to learn the circumstances and, if appropriate, do right by Ms. Rubio,” the school said in a statement.
Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The owners of Vevo have ended the sales process of the popular video-streaming site because of expected continued growth, the New York Post reports.
Universal Music, Sony Music Entertainment, Google and the Abu Dhabi Media Group have ended all sales talks with big-name companies such as Liberty Media and Guggenheim Digital Media, among many others.
Vevo, launched in 2009 by Universal Music, is expected to reach 227 million viewers worldwide as of Dec. 31, which the Post reports is just one reason the current owners have decided to keep the site.
iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Bank of America is expected to agree to a $17 million settlement on Thursday in connection with its sale of mortgage-backed securities prior to the 2008 financial crisis.
The bank is expected to agree to the deal with the U.S. Department of Justice and state attorneys general, in what would be the largest settlement ever with a bank or private company. The previous record settlement was a deal with JPMorgan for $13 million related to its losses in the London whale case. JPMorgan was accused of failing to, "keep watch over its traders as they overvalued a very complex portfolio to hide" $6 billion in trading losses.
The $17 billion is the equivalent of approximately three years of Bank of America profits.