TIME Business

Abercrombie & Fitch Is Ditching Its Shirtless Models

Abercrombie & Fitch Open Munich Flagship Store
Hannes Magerstaedt—Getty Images Male models outside Abercrombie & Fitch during the opening of Abercrombie & Fitch flagship store on October 25, 2012 in Munich, Germany.

The store is revamping its image in the face of declining sales

It’s time to take the abs out of Abercrombie & Fitch.

The retail store that once felt like a strange nightclub full of oddly attractive patrons is actually going to be, well, just a normal clothing store, thanks to new rules by Abercrombie brand president Christos Angelides.

That means saying goodbye to the shirtless hunky young men with ripped abs greeting patrons outside.

It also means clerks won’t be known as “models” but as “brand representatives” and won’t have to be beautiful human specimens just to fold a T-shirt: the company is abolishing the attractiveness qualification for new workers, Bloomberg reports.

In the past few months, outlets have turned the music down and the lights up in an effort to boost sales.

Abercrombie & Fitch has seen declining success in recent years, and in 2014, profits shrank 5.1%.

Maybe there’s more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking.


TIME Food & Drink

Cadbury Just Won the Chocolate War

This is chocolate shock and awe

Can’t decide on your favorite Cadbury chocolate bar? No matter. With the Cadbury Dairy Milk Spectacular 7 you get seven bars in one.

There’s just one thing, though. The company made only 50 of these behemoths, which means chocolate lovers will have to pay attention to the company’s Twitter feed to win a bar by retweeting posts about the promotion.

The bar contains fillings of caramel, Daim (crunchy almond butter bar), Oreo, Turkish Delight (a soft, rose-flavored jelly), Fruit & Nut, whole nuts and simply original milk chocolate.

As Willy Wonka once said, “Invention, my dear friends, is 93% perspiration, 6% electricity, 4% evaporation, and 2% butterscotch ripple!”

TIME Business

Groupon May Have Sold Counterfeit Broken Condoms

In Australia

Groupon Australia is recalling Durex-branded condoms purchased on its website in the last month because it turns out they are counterfeit and thus may not safeguard users against pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections.

“It has been identified that the condoms sold are counterfeit goods and may have defects such as holes in the latex,” according to a warning on the Australian Department of Health’s Therapeutic Goods Administration.

The warning applies to condoms sold between March 12 and April 10, 2015 by Edgelounge Enterprises, and Groupon Australia is reaching out is reaching out to the customers who bought the products.


TIME Food & Drink

Here’s What New Coke Tasted Like

Can of New Coke beverage. (Phot
Al Freni—The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Can of New Coke

Thirty years ago, Coca-Cola introduced what seemed like a fizzling new idea

It was, TIME declared, “like putting a miniskirt on the refurbished Statue of Liberty.”

Thirty years ago, on April 23, 1985, Coca-Cola announced that the company would take an unprecedented step in the ongoing cola wars: changing their formula. The secret formula for the classic soft drink would be locked away in a vault, forever, replaced that May with a sweeter pop designed to appeal to changing American tastes.

Prior to the roll-out, the company boasted that the new flavor beat out the classic (and also rival Pepsi) in taste tests. TIME’s food critic Mimi Sheraton weighed in on the taste too, deciding that the new soda wasn’t all that different:

New Coke seems to retain the essential character of the original version in that it, too, imparts faint cocoa-cinnamon overtones and has a balanced, smooth body with no sharpness or overpowering flavor. However, it is sweeter than the original formula and also has a body that could best be described as lighter. It tastes a little like classic Coca-Cola that has been diluted by melting ice. I have always preferred Coca-Cola to Pepsi, finding the latter much too sweet and thin. Most of all, I dislike the citrus-oil flavor I seem to detect in Pepsi. And though the new Coke approaches the sweetness and thinness of Pepsi, it does not have the lemony aftertaste. Therefore, I still prefer Coke. I suspect that those who have preferred Pepsi will continue to do so.

The change was billed as the first in nearly a century of Coke-making (not including the switch from sugar to high-fructose corn syrup, which wasn’t meant to affect the taste). And, as in natural when such a big change comes along, fans were nervous. Even before the New Coke went on sale, consumers told TIME they were nervous that the company would “ruin a good thing.”

Judging by the world’s reaction to the New Coke, those consumers were right: it was only three months before Coca-Cola gave in and brought back Coca-Cola Classic, bowing to pressure from people who were outraged that an American institution had been altered.

But, though the New Coke story has gone down in history as a business and marketing debacle — the president of Pepsi-Cola was quoted in TIME calling it “the Edsel of the ’80s” — that’s not the whole story.

In fact, New Coke wasn’t actually all bad for the company. Coca-Cola denied that New Coke was an elaborate marketing stunt, though that was a popular theory. Still, even accidentally, it worked. Coke’s stock soared when the classic formula came back and even in those anger-filled months between April and July, sales were good: “In May, Coke sales shot up a sparkling 8% over the same month in 1984, double the normal growth rate,” TIME reported. “Some of the increase included sales of old Coke still on store shelves, but most of it was the new drink.” The following year, when the company celebrated its hundredth birthday, it was with reports of sales that continued to climb.

Still, that didn’t keep New Coke (later called Coke II) from one last bit of infamy before it faded into the supermarket shelf sunset: the drink made it to TIME’s list of the 100 worst ideas of the 20th century — right alongside Crystal Pepsi.

Read more about the New Coke story, here in the TIME Vault: Coca-Cola’s Big Fizzle

TIME apps

21 Best Apps for Business Travelers

Getty Images

Equipping you for flight check-ins to electronic signatures to ATM search

The days of paperless travel are upon us, with digital boarding passes, e-confirmations and online travel booking on the upswing. Business travelers need little more than a smartphone or tablet to manage anything from signing contracts to logging expenses and work hours.

These apps do it all, from checking you in to your flight, getting a legally binding John Hancock on those forms, and finding the nearest Wi-Fi, ATM and food stops.

Breeze through travel

Organize your bookings

One of the original must-have travel apps, super-itinerary-maker TripIt pulls together confirmations for hotels, flights and other bookings, combing your email for anything resembling a reservation or sending confirmation emails to your personal email address so that reference numbers are close at hand wen you need to check in. The paid Pro version offers real-time alerts for flight changes, help finding alternative flights and a fare-tracking service that lets you know when you may be eligible for fare refunds.

Price: Free on iTunes and Google Play; $0.99 for the premium version (no ads) on iTunes and Google Play; $4.09 per month subscription for Pro (premium features)

Board by smartphone

PassBook, a surprisingly underused built-in feature of iPhones running iOS 6 and up, automatically saves boarding passes and hotel confirmations from apps including United Airlines, British Airways, Starbucks, Hotels.com and Starwood Hotels. Hit “Find apps for Passbook” to load the ones you use; after that, any bookings you make will automatically land here, to be easily retrieved and scanned for check-in or boarding.

The Android equivalent is PassWallet. Samsung users can download Samsung Wallet from Google Play or the Samsung App Store.

Breeze through the airport Along with showing you the latest status on your flight and gate number, GateGuru displays info about the airport you’re in, giving you the low-down on where to eat, drink and score free Wi-Fi. The Travel Stats tab shows how many miles you’ve flown, which airports you’ve visited and how you rank compared to other GateGuru users. Indispensable for frequent travelers to make the most of a layover.

Price: Free at GateGuru

Get more work accomplished

Scan with your smartphone

Instead of painstakingly angling your phone’s camera just so, load up Scannable and point it in the general direction of the document to be scanned. It uses contrast levels to figure out what you want scanned, then automatically scans the image, straightening and whitening for a professional-looking document. Multiple pages can be scanned one by one and collated into a single PDF, then sent via email or saved to your Evernote account.

Price: Free at Evernote

If you’re a OneDrive user, Microsoft Office Lens lets you scan business cards, contracts, photos, diagrams and other workday minutiae to be deposited into your OneDrive account for later organizing. Choose from one of three image types (photo, document or whiteboard), point your phone at the item to be scanned, hit the shutter and save the scan. Unfortunately, you can’t yet scan multi-page documents, but the app is a handy way to save hard-copy information to your cloud storage.

Price: Free at OneNote

Digitally sign documents

Not all digital signatures are created equal. Though you may have used an image of your scanned signature to “sign” some documents, most legal experts don’t recommend this less-than-legally-binding method for important documents. For high-level contracts requiring a digital signature, use an app like CudaSign, which allows you to trace your signature with a finger using legally recognized eSign technology. Upload documents from email attachments, Dropbox or the camera roll, and add fields for customers to input extra info. CudaSign is encrypted with bank-level security and works with forms from Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Office 365 and more.

Price: $1 per user per month or free trial at CudaSign

Another app for legally binding, secure e-signatures, HelloSign offers the added benefit of integration with Google Apps; documents sent via Gmail for signing have an additional “Sign” icon for one-click access. Documents can also be pulled from Dropbox, Box, Evernote and OneDrive and edited with your company’s logo. Like Cudasign, HelloSign is encrypted with bank-level security.

Price: Free for three signatures a month or from $13/month at HelloSign

Edit and collaborate

If you’re a Google Drive user, you know that Google Docs is an indispensable way to create and edit documents on the go. You can access any file in your Drive and make changes that can be picked up across all your devices. Like the desktop version of Google Drive, you can invite people to work on the same document, with or without an Internet connection.

Price: Free at Google

Make notes and oversee projects

For individual users, Evernote is a brilliant free digital notebook for memos, research and thoughts plus ways to categorize it all. From a business slant, features include the ability to share notebooks with multiple collaborators and oversee a workspace consisting of dozens of notebooks and collaborators.

Price: Free for individuals or $8 per user per month for business users at Evernote

Create graphic reports

If you’re working on a report or presentation, the beautifully minimal Pages is the go-to for iPad. The app supports multi-touch gestures to zoom and move around the page, with 60 templates for text, images and graphs and support for Microsoft Word. There’s a tracking option to record changes with comments and highlight features when working on a collaborative document. If your colleagues use iDevices, you can AirDrop them the document; otherwise, send a link, which always links to the most recent version.

Price: $11.99 at iTunes

Locate conveniences on the go

Find the ultimate meal

If you have a food craving, FoodSpotting will fulfill it. Instead of finding food by restaurant, search by dish. Want dim sum in Hong Kong or fish and chips in London? This app will point you in the direction of the restaurants that serve the best versions, as decided by reviews from other diners.

Price: Free at FoodSpotting

Get your bearings

Need an ATM, a parking garage, a gas station? AroundMe finds the nearest services based on your GPS location, giving you map directions, contact details, website details and Foursquare tips.

Price: Free at AroundMe

Translate the local lingo

Word Lens, which was recently purchased by Google, scans foreign text and translates it into your home language. At the moment, the app supports English, German, Spanish, French, Russian, Italian and Portuguese. Download the app for free with an English/Spanish conversion; for a limited time, the other language packs are free to download too.

Price: Free at Quest Visual

Navigate a new city

Figuring out the bus system in a new city is right up there with navigating a maze blindfolded. HopStop is particularly useful when you arrive in one of the 68 major metropolises it supports, offering bus, subway and walking routes for getting from here to there, along with schedules and transit maps. Cities supported cover North America, Europe and Australia.

Price: Free at HopStop

Hail a cab

Sometimes cabs are the only alternative—and that’s when Uber, now active in 66 countries, comes into its own. In cities where public transport may not be all that, an Uber ride usually arrives in good time. Thanks to the cash-free payment system, you won’t even need any local currency.

Price: Free at Uber

Stay organized

Make your data go further

The Facebook-owned Onavo Extend can save you money on data bills by compressing the sites and emails you access. Adjust the image quality you want to view (a lower image quality saves you more data), and view reports on how much data you’ve saved. Yes, information about your data use does get shared with Facebook, but its uses are strictly practical—for example, telling who is using what mobile services and how to optimize data such as ads for viewing on mobile devices.

Price: Free at Onavo

Score free Wi-Fi

When you’re outside the United States, you probably don’t want to use your data plan at all. WiFi Finder scans for nearby Wi-Fi hotspots using your phone’s GPS, so you don’t need be online to find Wi-Fi. Its database covers 144 countries with over 145,000 logged hotspots in the iOS app and 550,000 in the Android version and the ability to filter results by what type of facility the hotspot is located in—say, a restaurant, hotel or coffee shop—and whether it’s free or paid.

Price: Free on iTunes and Google Play

Convert between currencies

If you’re country-hopping, you’ll need a handy guide for converting shekels, rupees or euros back to the greenback. XE Currency is a no-nonsense way to sort it out, with a table for adding currencies you want to convert to your home currency. You can also add a currency widget to your iOS notification center or Android home screen with live-updating rates.

Price: Free at XE

Record travel expenses

Even if you’re not a convert to IFTTT, the app that links your various web accounts to automate actions, Do Button is unbeatable for saving your business trip expenses. Download the Do Button app, load the recipe for “Save receipts to Dropbox,” and fire it up to snap pictures of your receipts, which get saved to a specific Dropbox folder. Send the link to Accounts to recoup your costs.

Price: Free at IFTTT

Track work versus play

Most of us mix business with pleasure, and that’s just fine. But if you’re getting paid by time spent on work, it’s worth downloading Hours to note how much time you’re spending per project (or networking cocktail event). Set timers by activity or project, including leisure time, and then tap a particular task each time you switch. Reports on the time spent on each project can be exported and shared via email.

Price: Free for iOS at Hours Time Tracking

Android users can go for aTimeLogger, which has a less modern interface than Hours but similar features. The app offers tons of preset categories such as internet, transport and entertainment. Simply tap to start timing. Reports can be generated for date ranges to view the proportions of time spent on different activities.

Price: Free at aTimeLogger

This article originally appeared on Techlicious.

More from Techlicious:

TIME psychology

5 Secrets to Always Making a Good First Impression

Getty Images

Eric Barker writes Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

Research shows that first impressions are even more important than you think:

The findings indicate that getting off on the wrong foot has devastating long-term consequences.

And once first impressions are set, they’re very hard to change.

Via David McRaney’s You Are Not So Smart:

A study in 1997 by Wilkielman, Zajonc, and Shwartz created first impressions in subjects with images of smiles and frowns. The people in the study saw a photo of either a happy or a sad face flash briefly on a screen and then were shown an unfamiliar Chinese character and asked to say whether or not they liked it. People tended to say they liked the characters that followed the smiles over the ones that followed frowns, but later on when they saw the same characters with the expressions preceding them reversed, they didn’t change their answers. Their first impression remained.

Most important part of a job interview? Yup, the first impression:

By careful analysis, the researchers found that all of these factors influenced the final interview ratings, and that this was due to the way they shaped first impressions: after those first few minutes, there was little extra influence of these qualities across the rest of the interview.

So they’re really important. But don’t get too worried; there are a number of simple things you can do to make a great first impression.

Let’s get to it.

1) Assume They Already Like You

Be “socially optimistic.” Assume people already like you and they probably will:

Social optimists, of course, are in the happy position of expecting to be accepted and finding that, generally speaking, they are. Social pessimists, though, face the dark side of what sociologist Robert K. Merton—who coined the expression ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’—has called a ‘reign of error’. Expectation of rejection leads to the projection of colder, more defensive behaviour towards others, and this leads to actual rejection.

(For more on how to get people to like you, click here.)

Okay, let’s get slightly sneakier…

2) Drug Them

I’m not talking about anything illegal or scandalous here. Be like a loving mom and drug them with tasty food. A cheeseburger can be a powerful influence tool:

The consumption of proferred food induces a momentary mood of compliance toward the donor that is strongest at the time the food is being consumed and that decreases in strength rapidly after the food has been consumed.

Neuroscience research shows that two cheeseburgers is the pleasure equivalent of one orgasm.

Or just offer them some coffee. The smell of java makes us nicer to one another:

In a preliminary study, passersby in a large shopping mall were significantly more likely to help a same-sex accomplice (by retrieving a dropped pen or providing change for a dollar) when these helping opportunities took place in the presence of pleasant ambient odors (e.g., baking cookies, roasting coffee) than in the absence of such odors. Participants also reported significantly higher levels of positive affect in the presence of pleasant odors.

(For advice on how to best use caffeine — from a neuroscientist — click here.)

And some ways to click with others are obvious, but even more critical than you think…

3) That Handshake Matters

Definitely shake their hand:

The study was led by Beckman Institute researcher Florin Dolcos and Department of Psychology postdoctoral research associate Sanda Dolcos. They found, as they wrote, that “a handshake preceding social interaction enhanced the positive impact of approach and diminished the negative impact of avoidance behavior on the evaluation of social interaction.”

In fact, a firm handshake was correlated with being hired after a job interview:

Five trained raters independently evaluated the quality of the handshake for each participant. Quality of handshake was related to interviewer hiring recommendations.

(To learn what people can tell about you from your handshake, click here.)

So your handshake should be firm. Should you make yourself sound good or be modest?

4) Spin Things (Just A Bit)

Speak positively about yourself. It’s actually better than being modest:

Overly positive statements about oneself were beneficial only when perceivers had no reason to believe they were unfounded. In addition, conveying self-knowledge was more beneficial than being modest. The results are consistent with the presumption of calibration hypothesis, which states that confidence is compelling because, barring evidence to the contrary, perceivers assume others have good self-insight. Therefore, to make the best impression, people should be as positive as is plausible to perceivers.

Frame the conversation with a few well-rehearsed sentences regarding how you want to be perceived. This will end up being the structure the other person forms their memories around.

Via Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting It Right When You Have To:

The take-home point is that having the appropriate schema or context for encoding information helps us understand and recall this information, but only if we get the schema at the outset.

Sound shady? Not really. Research shows that putting your best self forward actually reveals your true self more accurately:

In sum, positive self-presentation facilitates more accurate impressions, indicating that putting one’s best self forward helps reveal one’s true self.

(To learn a shortcut to bonding with a romantic partner, click here.)

Think you should be suave like James Bond when trying to make friends? Don’t do it…

5) Don’t Play It Cool

You know who makes a better first impression than you do? People with racist beliefs. Seriously. You know why?

Because they have to put in effort to not come across badly. Going the extra mile to come across well has positive effects:

We tested the hypothesis that, ironically, Blacks perceive White interaction partners who are more racially biased more positively than less biased White partners, primarily because the former group must make more of an effort to control racial bias than the latter.

What’s the best way to make that effort? Simply show interest. Listen to what people have to say and ask them to tell you more:

Compared to control participants, participants who received a question rated their debate counterpart more favorably, were more willing to engage in future interaction with their counterpart, and acted in a more receptive manner.

(For more on how to be the kind of person people love to talk to, click here.)

Okay, we’ve got a number of good insights. Let’s round them up.

Sum Up

5 research-backed tips on how to make a great first impression:

  1. Assume they already like you and they probably will.
  2. Drug them! Meet over food or coffee, if possible.
  3. Always shake their hand. It makes a big difference.
  4. Being positive about yourself is better than being modest.
  5. Don’t play it cool. Show interest and ask questions.

First impressions make a huge difference but improving them is quite simple. Even if social skills aren’t your strong suit, you can make a solid connection with people. As Oscar Wilde said:

It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.

This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

Join over 180,000 readers. Get a free weekly update via email here.

Related posts:

New Harvard Research Reveals A Fun Way To Be More Successful

The 8 Things The Happiest People Do Every Day

How To Stop Being Lazy And Get More Done – 5 Expert Tips

Read next: How to Be Cool: 5 Research-Backed Tips

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Business

Former FCC Commissioner: The Time Warner—Comcast Merger Has Monopoly Written All Over It

Michael Copps is a former commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, and currently serves as the special adviser to the Media & Democracy Reform Initiative at Common Cause.

The DOJ must say no

Comcast and Time Warner Cable executives planned to visit the Department of Justice today to try to salvage their companies’ stalled merger. DOJ staff reportedly fear this tie-up would diminish competition. The Federal Communications Commission must also pass judgment on whether the deal serves the public interest. I believe the merger fails both the anti-trust and the public-interest metrics. Further, no set of conditions can ameliorate the harms that would result from allowing the nation’s largest cable company to swallow up its next-largest rival. At stake is more than just who controls the cable programming market; this is about who controls broadband, and how we connect and communicate in the 21st century.

First, some history: Four years ago, Comcast acquired NBCUniversal. As a commissioner at the FCC, I cast the lone vote against that combination. I said I found its marriage of broadcast and broadband, medium and message, content and carriage was “simply too much, too big, too powerful, too lacking in benefits for American consumers and citizens.” Nevertheless, the commission approved the merger with “conditions” designed to offset its defects.

Even as the ink was drying on the conditions, Comcast systematically set about ignoring, skirting, or undermining them. It set about assigning Bloomberg Television to the stratosphere of its channel lineup, thereby breaking promises to locate competing channels in the same “news neighborhood” so viewers could easily surf back and forth. Comcast-owned CNBC, of course, got a prime spot in the listings. When challenged, Comcast unleashed its army of attorneys to bicker over the meaning of “news” and “neighborhood.”

There’s more. Comcast committed to offering standalone broadband in its service territory at affordable rates. But because it prefers to sell more profitable service bundles, the company buried the standalone broadband product in its marketing. That stunt earned Comcast an $800,000 fine, a welcome gesture but a pittance for such a massive firm. A merged Mega Comcast could flaunt any rule it disliked.

At other times, Comcast complied with the letter of the law if not its spirit. Consider Internet Essentials, its low-cost, low-speed program for needy households. It sounds great, but in practice, Comcast has done a better job advertising the program to regulators than to actual users. Thanks to complex qualification requirements and Comcast’s half-hearted ad campaign, Internet Essentials only reaches a fraction of eligible households – a paltry 11% in California. Comcast even admitted that the program was about winning approval of the NBCU merger – not delivering quality, affordable service.

These and other examples should give regulators serious pause. They suggest Comcast is not negotiating in good faith. Rather than a set of conditions to abide, it sees loopholes to litigate.

Comcast’s recent behavior in California, where the state’s Public Utility Commission is reviewing the merger plan, eliminates any doubt. Earlier this year, the commission tentatively approved the deal with a bevy of conditions. Yet again, Comcast dismissed even the most reasonable requests. The firm deemed the requirement that it verifiably extend Internet Essentials to 45% of eligible California households within two years “simply unattainable.

Comcast and Time Warner Cable are accustomed to getting their way. For years, their political action units have distributed mammoth campaign checks to make friends in high places and write their own rules, shutting out competition and consumer protection in the process. Friendly policymakers come in handy when you’re looking to book the next deal or cover for abysmal service. It’s no surprise that last year a University of Michigan consumer study rated Comcast and Time Warner Cable the two most unpopular ISPs in America.

The tide may be turning. Most of the roughly 800,000 citizens who have contacted the FCC are opposed to the merger – and the agency has never approved a merger over this much opposition. Comcast’s customers understand that nothing in this merger would improve shoddy cable broadband service. If anything, the merger would make matters much worse. Mega Comcast would wield more than enough market power to restrain rivals and jack up prices. Perhaps worst of all, the deal would foreclose countless innovations. Would-be creators and competitors may look at Comcast’s dominance, reckon that competing with an 800-pound gorilla is hopeless, and cancel plans to bring a new broadband choice, an interesting cable channel, or an exciting app to market.

This merger has monopoly written all over it, and regulators cannot trust Comcast to abide by conditions. With so much at stake, including who controls our small-d democratic discourse, the FCC and DOJ must say no.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Business

A Brief History of Secretaries

Toni Kari
Phil Slattery—Post Archive/Getty Images Toni Kari, who won the title of "Secretary of the Year" of the Denver Chapter of the National Secretaries Association, in 1964, on Jan. 24, 1964, in Denver

On Administrative Professionals Day, a look back at the 'secretary shortage' of 1957 and 'rebel secretaries' of the 1970s

When offices around the United States celebrate Administrative Professionals Day on Wednesday, they’ll be following the lead of more than six decades of businesses. According to the International Association of Administrative Professionals — formerly the National Secretaries Association — the day started as a 1952 celebration of National Secretaries Week; as of 2000, that celebration has been dubbed Administrative Professionals Week.

And in the ’50s, when the first such celebration took place, there was good reason for the American businessman (he was nearly always a man) to want to thank his secretary (nearly always a woman).

As TIME reported in a 1957 article about “The Secretary Shortage: They’re Either Too Pretty or Too Old,” the record number of women entering the workplace during that decade was not translating to a surplus of stenographers. The young, unmarried cohort that had traditionally served as secretaries was particularly small, due to the Depression-era birth-rate decline, and booming post-war business meant that demand was up. In addition, the opening up of a wide range of jobs to female workers meant that the women who were available for jobs were less likely to choose repetitive secretarial work. (Not that being a secretary was always boring: in a 1954 paean to the magazine’s administrative workers, TIME’s publisher praised bureau secretaries for being able to speak multiple languages, take dictation on two separate stories at once by using both hands — really! — and organize complicated international shipments for war photographers.)

Businesses tried a variety of tactics to change their minds, according to TIME:

Across the country businessmen beg for secretaries with bristling columns of help-wanted ads, promising prestige (“Your Own Office!”), or glamour (“Handle TV Stars!”), or romance (“Young Execs!”). Many big companies, whose long-set salary and seniority schedules make them less attractive than higher-paying small companies, try to make up the difference with a long string of fringe benefits. After a survey of several score firms in the New York area, the Commerce and Industry Association of New York reported that 78.1% offer profit-sharing plans, 52.7% pay full costs for employees’ health and accident insurance. But only the most exquisite melding of money, kindness and men leaves a girl impressed. “Fringe benefits are such old hat,” says one employment agent, “that the girls just want to know how many they’re getting—not if there are any.”

At the time, the magazine guessed at the maturation of the Baby Boom generation would mean that, given another decade, supply and demand would sort themselves out.

And yes, by the late ’60s there were more 20-something working women than there had been a decade earlier — but that wasn’t all that had changed. In fact, TIME articles about secretaries of the 1970s are also about the work shortage, despite what was at the time a high unemployment rate. Attitudes toward secretarial work hadn’t caught up with the rise of Women’s Liberation: Secretaries were thought to get little credit for their work and few opportunities to advance. Those young, educated women who had once been lured in with the promise of “Young Execs!” were giving it a pass.

As TIME reported in 1972, under the headline “Rebel Secretaries,” things were changing:

Last week, responding to complaints from employees, the U.S. State Department ordered its executives to stop treating secretaries as “char help,” to show a little more diplomacy toward them and to encourage independent secretarial decision making. Officials warned especially against the “reliable-old-shoe syndrome,” in which secretaries are assumed to be content with the same duties throughout their career while almost everyone else moves up.

…This week a group of New York City secretaries, backed by members of the National Organization of Women, plans to picket the headquarters of Olivetti Corp., which is running ads that infuriate feminists. The ads promote “brainy” typewriters that are supposed to eliminate some typing errors made by dippy-looking secretaries, who presumably lack the brains to avoid them in the first place. In the TV commercial, the secretary is shown as a vacuous sex kitten who finds that she can attract men by becoming “an Olivetti girl.”

More and more secretaries, like airline stewardesses, are rebelling against being viewed as objects of vicarious sexual pleasure (or being called “dear” and “honey” by men in the office). Linda Lervold, a secretary at a Manhattan ad agency, complains about an office “hotpants party” at which women employees were invited to “show their wares.” A N.O.W. member, Miss Lervold attended wearing distinctly unsexy culottes and gave the host, a vice president, a pair of men’s hot pants. “I don’t think anybody at the party got the point,” she laments.

But, one way or another, the message got through. At the time, the National Secretaries Association counted that half of its members had aspirations of using their jobs to work toward management positions; accordingly, training courses were moving beyond shorthand to include topics like accounting.

And, as computers became a regular presence at the average office, the typing and filing that had once filled a secretary’s days diminished, leaving room for much more and varied work — a change that eventually created the administrative professional role we’re familiar with today.

Read the 1972 report, from a special issue about the American woman, here in the TIME Vault: Rebel Secretaries

MONEY College

Here’s What the Average Grad Makes Right Out of College

new grad in front of height chart that measures salary
Kutay Tanir—Getty Images

Income for new bachelor's degree holders varies widely depending on college major.

Students who graduated college in the class of 2014 earned median starting salaries of $45,478, according to a new report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

The survey, which looked at the first-year income of more than 45,000 graduates, found big differences in pay depending on the new hires’ college majors.

Here’s the breakdown:

Bachelor’s Degree Major Median Starting Salary
Business $49,035
Engineering $64,367
Liberal arts and Humanities $36,237
All $45,478

Final numbers are not yet out for what starting salaries 2015 graduates can expect, but initial NACE projections earlier this year were in the low- to mid-$60,000s for engineers and the mid-$40,000s for humanities majors.

On the highest end are the class of 2015’s petroleum engineers, projected to earn an average of $80,600 in their first year out of college.

For a look at the college majors that pay you back the most, check out PayScale’s 2014-2015 College Salary Report, with information on more than 200 majors.

Read Next: How to Write E-mails That Will Land You a Job

TIME Food & Drink

Here’s How to Score Free Coffee at Pret A Manger

Airside Operations At London City Airport Ltd.
Matthew Lloydg—Bloomberg / Getty Images

Basically: look nice and be charming

If you’ve ever dined at Pret A Manger, you might have received a free coffee, or noticed another customer getting one, for no reason at all. But it turns out there is a reason for this, and it’s all part of CEO’s Clive Schlee’s business strategy.

Schlee has given all employees the power to hand out free drinks (or even, sometimes, free food) to customers they like best. They can give out a limited number of items each week, and that means 28% of customers receive something free.

It just depends on whether or not the staff finds you attractive and likable.

“They will decide ‘I like the person on the bicycle’ or ‘I like the guy in that tie’ or ‘I fancy that girl or that boy,'” Schlee told the London Evening Standard. He said the company thought about offering loyalty cards, but ultimately “didn’t want to spend all that money building up some complicated Clubcard-style analysis.”

Occasionally giving customers free stuff is part of Schlee’s strategy to eventually become as big as McDonald’s or Starbucks, with shops all over the world.

So, next time you’re in Pret, try flashing an extra-special smile at the employees or wearing your cutest shirt. Maybe you’ll get a free cookie out of it.

(h/t Business Insider)


Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com