The Japanese might have pioneered the Toyota Production System (which I believe to be the forerunner of lean) and are known as some of the best -- and most fair -- negotiators in the business. But when it comes to spending on the home front, they aren't exactly a role model for the rest of the world. Consider how one man recently paid $910 for a bunch of grapes Yes. $910 -- you read that correctly. According to the above linked article on MSNBC, "A new variety of premium grapes debuted in Japan on Monday, with a single bunch fetching as much as 100,000 yen ($910)....The bunch that fetched the top price had about 35 grapes, each slightly smaller than a ping pong ball." Now, I'm all for shelling out the bucks for an exotic but tasty -- and tradable, among foodies -- commodity like truffles. But nearly a thousand bucks for something that in a month would turn into a garden variety raisin? No thanks.
- Jason Busch