Photos.com/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Looking for temporary work as retailers start hiring for the holiday season?
Although most stores and other businesses are predicted to boost their seasonal employees from last year, getting a job may not be as easy as answering a few simple questions, such as, "Can you work weekends?"
According to a survey of big retailers by the consulting firm Hay Group, 18 percent said they want temporary workers who align with their brand culture.
That basically means some retailers want hires, even if they're only seasonal, who are familiar with the store, its products and the kinds of customers it attracts.
Last year, just four percent in the Hay Group survey looked for the same things from its seasonal workers.
Without mentioning names, Craig Rowley, the global leader of Hay Group’s retail practice, said that some stores have prepared a custom test that prospective employees will have to take before they even get to the interview process.
Such is the new paradigm in the increasingly competitive world of retail sales, particularly during the busiest shopping time of the year.
LornaWu/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Microsoft announced on Monday that it would open its first flagship store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
According to a blog post written by David Porter, Corporate Vice President of Worldwide Retail Stores for Microsoft, the New York City store will "serve as the centerpiece of our Microsoft Stores experience." It will contain retail space in addition to experiential space to allow for further engagement with customers and partners.
While the flagship store is under construction, the company also plans to open up other stores. The blog post notes that 10 new locations -- not including the Fifth Avenue store -- will open in time for the holiday season.
The flagship store, which Porter says is "five years in the making," will be "worth the wait."
Furthermore, Porter says, "we could not be more excited to join one of the most visited streets in America."
Microsoft currently has 104 retail stores in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, and online stores in 189 countries.
Purestock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If you're in a bind to get cash from an ATM, make sure the machine is in your banking network. Otherwise, you might have to fork over a fee of $4.35, which is the average cost of going outside your ATM network, according to Bankrate.com.
That average transaction fee is a new high in Bankrate.com's eighth consecutive annual analysis of banking fees.
The average fee for using an out-of-network ATM increased 5 percent over the last year; it increased 23 percent over the past five years, according to Bankrate.com's report released Monday about checking account and ATM fees.
Bankrate surveyed the 10 largest banks in 25 of the nation's biggest markets from July 10 to Aug. 6.
The average overdraft fee -- if you take out more money than you have in your checking account -- set a new record high for the 16th consecutive year: $32.74.
Bankrate.com said the percentage of non-interest checking accounts that are completely free has decreased to 38 percent. Five years ago, that percentage was 76 percent.
But there's good news for bank customers, said Greg McBride, Bankrate's chief financial analyst.
"Regardless how high the fees go, they are completely avoidable," McBride told ABC News.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Bill Gates is the wealthiest person in America for the 21st straight year, says Forbes magazine. He is worth $81 billion, up $9 billion from 2013.
Coming in behind Gates in this year's Forbes 400 list is Warren Buffett with $67 billion, up $8.5 billion from 2013. Larry Ellison rounds up the top three with a net worth $50 billion, an increase of $9 billion.
According to the magazine's latest rankings, the average net worth of each member on the list is $5.7 billion, the highest amount to date. Last year, the average was $5 billion.
When combined, the wealth of the Forbes 400 is $2.29 trillion, up from $2.02 trillion in 2013 and the highest figure to date. The record amount is partly due to the strength of the U.S. stock market.
To find out who else made the list this year, click here.
General Motors(NEW YORK) -- More deaths have been linked to General Motors' faulty ignition switches.
Ken Feinberg's latest report shows 23 deaths are now eligible for a claim. Last week, Feinberg, the independent administrator of GM's compensation program, reported 21 deaths.
GM intially estimated that at least 13 deaths resulted from its defective ignition switches.
The automaker hired Feinberg to pour through death claims from families whose loved ones died in accidents they believe were caused by the problem. Compensation for each confirmed death claim will be at least a million dollars.
The overall compensation program, which launched on Aug. 5, is open for submission until Dec. 31 through GMIgnitionCompensation.com.
iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Consumer spending rose by 0.5 percent last month after falling flat in July, the Commerce Department reported Monday. The increase was greatly driven by car sales.
August's boost marked the best figure since June when spending also rose 0.5 percent.
"The trends are pretty good. Consumers aren't spending with great gusto, they're not borrowing aggressively, but they are spending their income and adding to economic growth," said Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody's Analytics.
He said the bump in August is a good sign for the third quarter.
"The economy in the current quarter is doing pretty well. Growth is going to be over 3 percent, which is not too bad. And it's laying a pretty good foundation for growth going into the end of the year and as we approach the key Christmas buying season," Zandi said.
Ello(NEW YORK) -- It may seem like the last thing the world needs is another social network, but one upstart has become a breakout hit. Less than two months after its launch, Ello has managed to rise above social media malaise because of what it doesn't offer its users.
The social network is invitation only. The only way to join is to request an invitation or know someone who is already on Ello.
The site has surged so much since its Aug. 7 launch that there are reports it receives tens of thousands of requests for invitations every hour. Once users have scored a coveted invite to Ello, they're welcomed by a look that is decidedly different that other social networks.
Ello's interface is clean with plenty of white space.
Absent are the newsfeed and right rail advertisements we've grown accustomed to on Facebook or the promoted tweets on Twitter. Ello, which doesn't charge users, promises to never sell advertising.
It's something the Burlington, Vermont-based social network feels so strongly about that they've even created their own manifesto that is proudly displayed on their website.
"Your social network is owned by advertisers," it reads. "Every post you share, every friend you make and every link you follow is tracked, recorded and converted into data. Advertisers buy your data so they can show you more ads. You are the product that's bought and sold."
Users who click "I Disagree" are re-directed to Facebook.
Free is nice and lovely but at some point, creator Paul Budnitz and its team realize they'll have to find a way to monetize the site while keeping Ello an advertising-free zone.
The solution: The team plans to create special features users can add to their accounts, and if they like them, chip in "a very small amount of money."
A sneak peek of what's to come: Private messaging, iOS and Android apps and a notification center.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Harley-Davidson will recall over 100,000 motorcycles which have a problem with the clutch that could cause the vehicles to crash.
Harley-Davidson has been looking into the issue since May, and has received 632 warranty claims and 266 reports of issues from customers. In total, the company says it has identified 19 crashes with three minor injuries linked to the clutch issue. Approximately 105,746 motorcycles could be affected by the recall.
Customers will be notified and the repairs necessary to mitigate the clutch problem will be provided without cost to the vehicle owner.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Electronics have become such a big part of our lives that the thought of being without them, even for a short time, terrifies some people.
For the most part, Americans seem pretty happy with their devices, according to the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index, although maybe not as pleased as last year, depending on the gadget.
Using a scale of zero to one hundred, customers gave personal computers a 78 rating, which is down slightly from 2013. Meanwhile, laptops got a score of 76, compared to 80 last year, while tablets fell from 81 to 80.
However, desktops seem to be making a comeback of sorts, the ACSI found, rising from a score of 78 to 81 in 2014.
As far as computer brands are concerned, Apple ranked first in customer satisfaction, followed by Dell and Acer.
Meanwhile, TVs, which seem low-tech compared to everything else these days, rated the highest among everything in the ACSI with score of 86, a slight improvement from last year.
iStock/Thinkstock(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia) -- The restaurant where missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham and Jesse Matthew allegedly went shortly before she disappeared could face legal trouble if it is confirmed that she drank there.
Surveillance footage from neighboring restaurants and witness testimony places 18-year-old Graham and 32-year-old Matthew in Tempo Restaurant in Charlottesville, Virginia, shortly after 1 a.m. on Sept. 13, according to police. But the owner said that none of the staff saw her inside.
The allegations could be very detrimental to the restaurant. Virginia's Department of Alcohol Beverage Control classifies serving someone underage a Class 1 misdemeanor that can be punishable by up to a year in prison and a possible $2,500 fine.
Brice Cunningham, the owner of Tempo Restaurant, said the restaurant is cooperating with the police investigation.
"I notice Mr. Matthews, as I told police. They ask me for his description, I came forward and gave them the information I had," Cunningham told ABC News. "We didn't see her, we didn't notice her. And she hasn't been here -- as far as we know and the staff knows, nobody saw her."
Even though he says none of his staffers saw Graham inside, Cunningham does know of one woman who was near the door who claims to have seen Matthew and Graham "leaving together." Cunningham said that woman saw Matthew "holding her with an arm around her. And she did look drunk."
The sales ticket indicates Matthews had beers, Cunningham said.
Charlottesville police have confirmed that they have witness testimony that contradicts Cunningham's version of events. Police Chief Timothy Longo said Thursday "we have at least one witness that will put her inside of that restaurant."
Though that could lead to potential legal action, the police focus remains on finding Graham and he deferred from going into too much detail about Tempo Restaurant's role.
"Well, clearly there's a conflict, and I'm not going to question the position of ... the owner of the restaurant," Longo said Thursday. "I'm not in a position to challenge his perspective and I'm not going to."
The Virginia Department of Alcohol Beverage Control would not release any records relating to Tempo Restaurant's liquor license to ABC News, saying the information was unavailable at this time "in light of the investigation being conducted by the Charlottesville Police Department."
Cunningham said that the restaurant's alleged involvement in the timeline leading up to Graham's disappearance is already having a negative effect on sales and his staff.
"We have a heart too. We are really affected, I am, by the desperation of Hannah -- I am. It's really saddening me," Cunningham told ABC News.
"The mood that there is at this place is jovial ... and we don't want the sadness of Hannah's desperation to carry along to us. I mean, it's difficult enough to bear to be part of it," he said.
iStock/Thinkstock(ONTARIO, Canada) -- You never know what will come in the mail, as Yvonne Lavasidis learned last Monday when she received a letter that brought her to tears.
"Dear Yvonne, Well, I’m a doctor now! It's taken me a long time, I know, to come back around to Dairy Queen but I have thought of you and your kindness often," the note reads. "You are an incredible boss and an even better human being. Thank you for supporting and encouraging me, for BBQing halal chicken for me, and allowing me to study for my MCAT's in the back when no customers were around. Much love, Nabiha"
"Obviously I was so very touched,” Lavasidis, 42, told ABC News. “I was in tears when I read the note for the first time, and every time I read it, it still brings tears to my eyes."
Lavasidis owns a Dairy Queen in Markham, Ontario, Canada, with her husband and brother, and managed Nabiha Islam three or four years ago for about two years.
"She was a wonderful employee and so bright and one of those kids that you know will be exceptional and find success," she said. "I have so many young successful kids. I have one who's a nurse at the local hospital, but she'll take the occasional shift just for the fun of it, if you can believe that. It's just a nice atmosphere for working."
Lavasidis said she makes a point to create a fun, supportive working environment, throwing parties for staff throughout the year and barbecuing often in the back.
"I work in the store with the staff and have the opportunity to really get to know each person, so it's a nice thing to see that young people who have found success take the time to take a pen and write a note. It's so thoughtful," she said. "Sometimes you don't realize how perhaps you might be influencing someone."
Since her husband posted a picture of the letter online, the story has gone viral.
"It's so lovely for me because really it was just a note between two people," she said. "Everyone's response and reaction to it is very nice to see."
Mark Wilson/Getty Images(NEWPORT BEACH, Calif.) -- Bill Gross is about as eccentric as eccentric billionaires get. Worth an estimated $2.3 billion, he's always done things his way, but his departure from the firm he started has shocked investors.
PIMCO (Pacific Investment Management Company) announced on Friday that the 70-year-old has resigned "effective immediately." Gross is leaving for Janus Capital Group, where he will start work Monday out of an office in Newport Beach, California.
"Today, with a mixture of excitement and sadness, I am announcing that I have decided to join Janus Capital Group and end my association with PIMCO," Gross said in a statement. It was not without great thought and deliberation over quite some time that I decided to begin this next chapter."
Here's a sample of his known eccentricities.
"On the trading floor, Mr. Gross doesn't like employees speaking with him or making eye contact, especially in the morning, current and former employees say. He prefers silence and at times reprimands those who break it, even if they're discussing investments, these people say," the Wall Street Journal reported in February.
Gross told CNBC that characterization was "unfair." After all, he allowed employees to play rock music at 8 a.m. and he was behind "a conga line to let employees know it's okay to scream and shout and let it all out."
2. The Cat Whisperer
In Gross' newsletter in April, he mentioned his late cat.
In the three paragraphs about Bob, Gross wrote, "I often asked her about her recommendations for pet food stocks, and she frequently responded –- one meow for 'no,' two meows for a 'you bet.' She was less certain about interest rates, but then it never hurt to ask."
3. Erotic Nature of Sneezing
"There's nothing like a good sneeze; maybe a hot shower or an ice cream sandwich, but no –- nothing else even comes close. A sneeze is, to be candid, sort of half erotic, a release of pressure that feels oh so good either before or just after the Achoo!" he wrote in a newsletter.
4. Not Holding Back
During one investment committee meeting, Gross took issue with a French-born vice president.
"I never understand what you're saying. Ever," Gross said, according to the Wall Street Journal. The next day, that vice president resigned.
5. Gross = Secretariat
In late 2013, Gross reportedly said in front of several traders, "if only [former CEO Mohamed El-Erian] would let me, I could run all the $2 trillion myself. ... I'm Secretariat," referring to the champion thoroughbred horse. "Why would you bet on anyone other than Secretariat?" Gross said, according to the Journal.