What in the World—Week of November 21

Banksy accuses Guess of theft
Famed graffiti artist Banksy has accused fashion retailer Guess of using his designs without permission, even urging shoplifters to visit one of its stores in London. “They’ve helped themselves to my artwork without asking, how can it be wrong for you to do the same to their clothes,” he wrote on Instagram. The Guess shop features the famed artist’s Flower Thrower graffiti, as well as clothing bearing some of his images, according to the BBC. The retailer is currently promoting a capsule collection combining what it describes as “iconic motifs” from the artist’s graffiti with “Guess attitude” across T-shirts and sweatshirts for men and women, and an array of clothes for kids. A copyright lawyer said it appears that Guess has legitimately sourced the artists work in partnership with Brandalised, a company that licenses designs by graffiti artists and describes its products as “By fans. For the fans.”

VW introduces an electric office chair
Are you ready for The People’s Chair? Volkswagen’s Commercial Vehicles unit in Norway has created a prototype for an office chair using the company’s EV technology. According to a release, the chair has LED lights, driver assistance and an infotainment system, and is capable of travelling up to 20 km/h with an estimated range of 12 kilometres. It also features what the company describes as a “practical trunk” with enough room for a laptop, quarterly reports, and documents relevant to an office job. There’s also a trailer hitch, because why not? “Finally, office workers can experience something close to what people who use a car in their line of work experience every day,” says Volkswagen. It doesn’t seem that the company will put the chair into production, however, saying only that it will be available for test driving throughout Norway in the coming months.

Beyond Meat’s sales slump
Once the darling of the food industry, plant-based meat brand Beyond Meat has lost some of its sizzle, says The New York Times. The company has seen its stock price fall by 83% in the past year, and recently shed about 19% of its workforce. Sales this year are likely to show only “minor growth,” well below the 33% the company had anticipated. And after a recent pilot of the McPlant burger, made with a Beyond Meat patty, McDonald’s says it has no plans to make the sandwich a permanent addition to its menu. Industry watchers are waiting to see if Beyond Meat’s troubles are specific to the company, or a possible sign of bigger problems within the plant-based meat industry. Speaking with the Times, one food analyst said that volumes in the sector have declined for 22 straight months. While some have attributed the slowdown to food inflation, which is causing people to seek out cheaper animal products, there is speculation that the plant-based meat industry has achieved saturation among people willing to eat what the Times describes as “faux burgers and sausages.”

No more ‘Cream City’ jerseys for Bucks
The NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks can no longer wear the Cream City jerseys that became popular with their fans during the 2019-20 season because they interfere with the technology used to digitally insert advertising into their telecasts. Citing an interview with UniWatch, a site dedicated to sports attire, USA Today reported that the jerseys blend into the ads shown on the basketball court, creating a “surreal, pixelated effect.” Bucks CMO Dustin Godsey said the team first noticed the problem during the bubble season, when digital ads became more prevalent. That led to the NBA and its partners banning cream-coloured jerseys throughout the league. Unfortunately, fans are still stuck with the Miami Heat’s 2022-23 City Edition jersey.

Sam’s Club drops price of hot dog and drink deal
In what seems destined to result in a frank exchange with its primary rival in the cheap hot dog space, the Walmart-owned Sam’s Club last week lowered the price of its hot dog and drink deal from $1.50 to $1.38, undercutting the famed Costco price by 12 cents. It comes even as the price of frankfurters rose by 15.2%, according to the U.S. Consumer Price Index. According to CNN, Costco’s famed $1.50 hot dog deal has been in place since the mid-1980s, with the company selling an estimated 122 million last year. Costco co-founder Jim Sinegal is famously said to have told current CEO Craig Jelinek, “If you raise the f-ing hot dog, I will kill you.” While the hot dog combos are a loss leader, food court offers can entice customers to stick around and shop more.

David Brown