The Daily Valet. - 3/12/24, Tuesday

Tuesday, March 12th Edition
Cory Ohlendorf  
By Cory Ohlendorf, Valet. Editor
Nothing quite drags down an otherwise fine morning like stepping in used chewing gum.

Today’s Big Story

Chew on This


No one wants to chew on gum much, as sales continue to slump post-pandemic


“Do you want some gum?” I feel like I used to hear this more. And if you feel like less people are chewing, chomping, popping and snapping their gum lately, you’re right. Apparently, gum has fallen out of fashion. And like so many things in life, we can blame the pandemic.

Ever since we started wearing masks and eliminated close-talking from our social habits, our need for chewing gum has dropped significantly, along with our desire for it. The Associated Press reports that since the onset of COVID-19 in 2020, chewing gum sales have dropped by as much as a third—and even now, in 2024, they’ve barely seen any rebound.

It’s a similar story globally. Worldwide gum sales rose 5% last year to more than $16 billion, according to market researcher Euromonitor. That was still 10% below the 2018 sales figure. Some makers are responding to the bland demand by leaving the market altogether. In 2022, the parent company of Trident, Bubblicious, Dentyne and Chiclets, sold the brand to an Amsterdam-based conglomerate.

Mars Inc., which owns the 133-year-old Wrigley brand, thinks it may have an answer: repositioning gum as an instant stress reliever rather than an occasional breath freshener. In January, the company launched a global ad campaign promoting its top-selling Orbit and Extra gums as tools for mental well-being.

According to The Takeout, chewing gum’s reputation (and future in general) is in limbo right now, because more people are trying to do things like curb their sugar and carbohydrate intake, which means sugary bubble gum is out for them. And there are those who also avoid artificial sweeteners due to the belief that they’re bad for you (see the recent Diet Coke controversy), while others are being more mindful about how gum contributes to littering these days. I’m more of a mints man, myself, but what about you? Do you still chew?

New England settlers picked up the Native American practice of chewing spruce sap, and in 1848, the first commercial chewing gum debuted under the name State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum.

This Is Really Bad for Boeing, Right?


The company fails nearly half of the audits during an FAA examination and the whistleblower is dead

With Boeing facing multiple government investigations, the company needs to make “a serious transformation” around its safety and manufacturing quality, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Monday. And that’s putting it mildly. Of course, this whole debacle began after a panel blew off a Boeing 737 Max jetliner in midflight.

Over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Department of Justice launched a criminal investigation into the Jan. 5 blowout on an Alaska Airlines jet. That followed the company’s admission that it couldn’t find records that the National Transportation Safety Board sought for work done on the panel at a Boeing factory.

Meanwhile, a six-week audit by the Federal Aviation Administration of Boeing’s production of the 737 Max jet found dozens of problems throughout the manufacturing process at the plane maker and one of its key suppliers, reports the New York Times. Of the 89 safety audits conducted, the company failed 33 of them. Even more concerning, the former Boeing worker who raised concerns about the planemaker’s production standards at its North Charleston 787 Dreamliner factory has been found dead. According to the BBC, the 62-year-old died from a “self-inflicted” wound and police were still investigating.

House to Move Ahead With Bill Targeting TikTok


Despite Trump’s opposition and the app firing back

House Republican leaders are moving this week to pass legislation that would force the Chinese owners of TikTok to sell the platform or face being banned in the United States—even after former President Donald Trump came out against targeting the popular social media app he once vowed to ban. A vote for the bill would represent an unusual break with Trump by the GOP, but Speaker Mike Johnson and others have already forcefully come out in favor of it.

For years, U.S. officials wanted to take action against TikTok over alleged national security concerns about the Chinese government's access to user data. And it’s not just America. Lawmakers in Europe and Canada have also escalated efforts to restrict access to the app. The FBI has repeatedly warned that the Chinese government, through its alleged relationship with ByteDance, may be able “to control” software on millions of devices in the U.S. or could conduct influence operations on the app around the world.

However, the Chinese government has said it will oppose any attempt to force ByteDance to sell its stake in TikTok. It fired back on Monday, replying in a letter from the House China Select Committee, defending its right to engage users to advocate against a fast-moving House bill before the vote on Wednesday. If it passes, it will force ByteDance to divest its ownership of TikTok within 165 days or risk a ban from U.S. app stores.

Dig Deeper:
Top intel agency tells Axios that China used TikTok to influence U.S. elections.

The Talk Around SXSW


The films, bands and tech products, including an AI Marilyn Monroe

The South by Southwest Film and Television Festival and Conference kicked off over the weekend down in Austin with a colorful roster of red carpet premieres, star-studded panels and splashy activations. It’s a big year for music, apparently, and the lineup includes everything from “hyperpop firebrands to urbano changelings.”

In terms of movies, people have been talking a lot about Jake Gyllenhaal’s role in the reimagining of the 1989 Patrick Swayze cult film Road House. And best of all, you won’t have to wait long to see it—the movie lands on Prime Video on March 21. The thing people have been chatting a lot about is the Drake-produced strip club docuseries Magic City: An American Fantasy. Variety commended the way the filmmakers walked a fine line with the nudity and “if strip is art, the art is being celebrated.”

Of course, people tend to think about SXSW as an arts-only kind of festival, but under the surface is “a burgeoning tech scene,” reports Mashable. For instance, Tulpamancer was unlike anything being shown in the AI space. The interactive experience from artists and directors Marc Da Costa and Matthew Niderhauser is an intersection of generative artificial intelligence and virtual reality, which lets you see your past, future (and maybe even death?). There were also some AI ghosts (like Marilyn Monroe) and even an NFT embroider that creates AI-generated designs to mint as NFTs—and then stitches them onto merch like hats and shirts.

Belfast band Kneecap have pulled out of the festival over SXSW's sponsorship with the U.S. Army.

The Long Read


Climate change is threatening to turn sublime summer stone fruits disgusting, or rob us of their pleasures entirely


Fruit trees evolved to live in more stable conditions; they’re exquisitely well adapted to the rhythm of a usual year. But instead of reliable seasons, they’re getting weather chaos.

- By Zoë Schlanger
Read It:
Fruit Chaos Is Coming


How Are Your Windows Looking?


If they could look better, consider some custom coverings during this massive sale


Northern Heights wood blinds, from $101.99 / $45.89 w/code CELEBRATE

Finding good window coverings can be a challenge. They should be good looking yet practical. is a leading maker of custom window treatments—experts in everything from blinds and shades to shutters—no big surprise there, right? But what you might not know is that they’re currently celebrating their 28th anniversary with their biggest sale to date. Get up to 55% off sitewide on fully custom coverings in a range of colors, styles and materials when you use code CELEBRATE. It’s like getting two rooms finished for the price of one.


Acadia composite shutters,
$124.99 / $81.24


Roman shades,
$92.99 / $65.09

Get up to 55% off your custom window coverings through Wednesday, March 13th.

Morning Motto

Losses can be lessons.


Wins + lessons=life.




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