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Black Friday Frenzy!; 2012 Race; Interview with Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn; Food Delivery To Airport Gate; AT&T Prepares For Merger Failure; 100 Places to See before You Die; CNN Top Ten Heroes
Aired November 25, 2011 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Let the bargain hunting begin. I'm Carol Costello. Nearly one in four Americans say they plan to shop on this Black Friday. And the crowds are certainly coming out. But how much do they plan to spend?
ALINA CHO, CNN ANCHOR: Demonstrations right now in Cairo's Tahrir Square with protesters demanding an immediate end to the country's military leadership and the White House is on their side -- on this AMERICAN MORNING.
COSTELLO: And good morning to you. Happy Black Friday. It is November 25th.
Ali and Christine are shopping already. That's why they're not here.
Good morning, everybody. I'm Alina Cho, along with Carol Costello.
Up first to Black Friday -- brawl landing one man in jail in the Orlando area. Take a look at the video, which is just in to CNN while we were hoping to get it, but we'll get it to you soon. It was shot by a shopper who witnessed the scuffle, apparently.
Police say two men were fighting at the jewelry counter at a Wal-Mart. It happened around 1:00 in the morning. That's when an officer got involved and pinned one of the men to the ground for resisting arrest. Nobody was injured.
COSTELLO: That wasn't all, also a bruising beginning for Black Friday in the Los Angeles area Wal-Mart.
Things got a little out of hand last night when the doors finally opened, at least 10 people suffered minor injuries in the rush to get into the store. Apparently, according to police, this female customer wanted to get to the front of the line so she used a can of pepper spray to do that on the other customers. They're still looking for that woman.
CHO: There's also been an overnight shooting incident at a mall in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Shots were fired around 2:00 a.m. Eastern near a food court entrance at the cross creek mall.
Police are now looking for two suspects. Right now, we don't know if this is at all connected in any way to Black Friday shopping.
COSTELO: OK. So, 152 million Americans are expected to shop somewhere this Black Friday weekend and they're not going to experience incidents like that.
CHO: Hope not.
COSTELLO: I don't think so.
Chris Knowles is joining us live from the Macy's in Manhattan this morning.
So, people still there shopping, I presume, Chris.
CHRIS KNOWLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, yes. This is big stuff down here, Carol. You know, this Macy's here at Herald Square, the biggest Macy's in the world , and they do things big. Typically around 4:00 in the morning, they open with throngs of people.
This year, they switched it up. For the first time they opened up at midnight and we were there -- 10,000-plus people waited in line and broke through the store. One of the big places they ended up was in the shoe section, women shoe section, we're told, where they had boots going for 20 bucks that typically go for 60.
Fragrance is always big at this Macy's, as well. Those are the big items. Other places, LCD TVs, some of the lowest prices ever we're told.
Now, back out here live, we're here with shoppers.
You know, we want to go straight to the source. We have ladies from New York.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good morning.
KNOWLES: Good to see you.
Now, as you can see they are packed down with bags this morning.
Tell me what are some of the things you're shopping for?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mostly clothes.
KNOWLES: How did you? Did you find good deals?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we did.
Well, we found a purse in Macy's for like $30. And we have some Victoria Secret fragrances. A lot of good deals.
KNOWLES: No Justin Bieber fragrance?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
KNOWLES: Are you too old for that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
KNOWLES: I asked you earlier, are you done shopping?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
KNOWLES: Where else could you possibly go?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Old Navy.
KNOWLES: Old Navy. And who is going to carry the bags?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My dad's picking us up.
KNOWLES: All right. And I hope your dad -- who is paying for this, dad, by the way?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMAEL: No, us.
KNOWLES: All right. Thanks for stopping. Merry Christmas, happy holidays.
Just a few of the people that have crowded down here looking for those great deals and, as you mentioned, 150 million-plus expected to do that and, oh, by the way, then there's that Cyber Monday thing. I am going to be all over Amazon looking for that Ali and Christine book.
COSTELLO: Good going. I cannot believe those girls did not buy the Bieber perfume.
CHO: Chris, will you please --
KNOWLES: I know. For $65, they said no.
CHO: Please, I am begging you, I am begging you to buy it for her. I will pay for it myself. All right --
KNOWLES: It would be my pleasure if I could just get a whiff.
CHO: Oh, man. All right, Chris Knowles, thank you so much.
You know, as you can see there, there's a big appetite for bargains in this brutal economy. Just take a look at a brand-new CNN/ORC poll -- 23 percent of Americans say they plan to shop somewhere today.
Now, compare that to just 19 percent in 2006 when the economy was a lot stronger. And when asked to describe the economy now, look at these numbers -- 85 percent say poor. Just 15 percent said good.
COSTELLO: Start of the holiday season -- also good for those looking for part-time work. Retail experts say about half a million seasonal employees will be hired this year. They need the part-timers to staff all those extended shopping hours.
CHO: But a small business owner in Georgia is stirring up a little bit of controversy with this new H.R. policy.
Have you heard about this? He says he's not hiring until, quote, "Obama is gone." Bill Looman has the message posted on his company's trucks. Take a look at that. He says he wants to hire people, but in the current economic climate, he just can't afford it.
COSTELLO: For the Republicans vying for the presidential nomination, debate performance meant everything in the polls. With Iowa just around the corner, time is running out for candidates to set themselves apart.
Here's CNN's deputy political director Paul Steinhauser.
PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN DEPUTY POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Hey. Good morning, Carol, Alina.
You know what? Many Americans have holiday shopping on their minds today. For some of us, it's all about the race for the Republican presidential nomination. With Thanksgiving over, the GOP candidates are heading back on the campaign trail with just 5 1/2 weeks to go until the first votes in the nomination battle.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And Iowa has the first, and in some respects, one of the most powerful voices as to who our nominee will be.
GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm always reminded when I show up in Iowa, you know, that's the pundits always think they're the ones that pick presidents. Nope. It's the people of Iowa that pick the presidents.
STEINHAUSER: And expect to see most of the major candidates spend a lot of time in Iowa from now until the January 3rd caucuses, which kick off the primary and caucus calendar.
A new poll likely to take part in the Republican contest there, it indicates that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is on top of the field, with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney second and Congressman Ron Paul third, with everyone else in single digits.
The survey was conducted almost entirely before our debate Tuesday night right here in Washington.
Now, coming up in just over two weeks, the next two debates in Iowa, of course -- Carol, Alina.
COSTELLO: Thank you, Paul.
CHO: We're watching, Paul. Thank you.
We have an update now on an amazing story we first brought you earlier this week. Do you remember this story? The helicopter pilot who survived a stunning crash is now talking about just how he managed to walk away from that wreckage there with just a couple of scratches.
Now, he was installing lights on a waterfront Christmas display in Auckland, New Zealand, when things went horribly wrong. You saw the chopper blades get clipped a cable and broke apart, and the pilot said he was saved by his seat belt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GREG GRIBBLE, PILOT WHO SURVIVED CHOPPER CRASH: Because it happened so quickly it was like a dream really. It was like "bang" and then the next thing I had a couple of guys undoing my belt. There's a bit of blood on the back there. But I don't know if it was my head that hit the back there or if it was my seat. Bit of a graze there -- left leg's got about two of those.
That's your main belt that's connected to the floor of the aircraft, OK? I must have slid right inside of it, and thrown me out and drag me back and backwards. You know, if I wasn't wearing that, it would have been all over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHO: Moral to the story: wear your seat belt, always.
Despite the trauma of the crash, though, Greg Gribble says he is actually eager to get back in the pilot seat. Good for him.
Still ahead, the weather is pretty decent today, but we have our eye on Sunday. A storm system could snarl your return trip home this holiday weekend. Reynolds Wolf is up next to tell you about it.
CHO: Also head, flying Virgin America. The Web site meltdown now at four weeks and counting. What's going on? We'll tell you.
COSTELLO: Also up next, everyone seems to want hot, new, high- tech toys for the holidays this year. From fancy TVs to cool little tablet computers. So, what are the best deals out there?
We'll take you inside a Best Buy store live, to go through the store with the CEO.
It's eight minutes past the hour.
COSTELLO: So much better than Nickelback.
Good morning, Atlanta. It's sunny and 36 degrees right now. It's looking to be a beautiful day there, a high of 66 later on.
Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING.
A lot of you are already returning home from the Black Friday sales. Several stores opened their doors early this year, but that did not sit well with everyone. Best Buy opened at midnight, much to ire of some of its employees.
Here to talk about that is Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn.
BRIAN DUNN, CEO, BEST BUY: Good morning.
COSTELLO: So, you opened at midnight. How have things been going?
DUNN: Well, as you know, as you mentioned, it was not our original plan to open at midnight. The market moved to the midnight, and I got to tell you, I have been out since 8:00 last night, and we had customers lined up at every one of our stores, big crowds, and our employees just did a great job in being there and connecting with our customers.
But I was pleasantly surprised with the sort of huge crowds and the attitude of the shoppers. Very, very upbeat.
COSTELLO: Well, you were, you are like -- it's insane. There were 2,000 people camping out in front of one of your stores in Florida -- 2,000. Some of them brought tents with them.
What were they all waiting for?
DUNN: We had tents in front of the majority of our stores and they were waiting for some of our great doorbusters. We had a 42- inch, $199 Sharp television. We had a $99 connected DVD player.
They were waiting for these doorbusters. But even after the doorbusters are gone, the consumers are in. The doorbusters are doing what they're supposed to. They're representative of the great value we have throughout the stores, and our consumers are pouring in and it has just been terrific.
COSTELLO: Did it surprise you, though? I mean, the economy is down, people don't have much money and they're camping out for hours and hours on the Thanksgiving Day holiday. One man had shifts of relatives come in so that they could take turns eating at home and then they went right back to the tent at Best Buy.
I mean, are they spending a lot of money or they're searching for bargains? What are they doing, these customers of yours?
DUNN: Well, I'll tell you what, it's a great time to be a customer. There are great values available and what we're finding is customers are having multiple items in their basket. It's not just one item, but we are seeing the consumer in and they recognize that there's great values to be had and they're taking advantage of them.
COSTELLO: There have been some ugly incidents early this morning at a Wal-Mart store in Los Angeles. Some woman supposedly used pepper spray to get to the front of the line.
How do you prevent that sort of thing from happening at your stores?
DUNN: We take our Black Friday preparation very, very seriously. We have rehearsals and dry runs. And we are actively outside working the lines, talking to the folks that are in line, letting them know two hours before if they're in line early enough to get the doorbuster, so, they're not disappointed in the moment.
We take the safety of our employees and our customers very, very seriously -- as you would expect us to.
COSTELLO: OK. Let's talk about your employees -- because you have been getting some criticism for opening at midnight. One of your long time employees in Tampa posted an online petition. And I just want to read you part of that.
"A midnight opening robs the hourly and in-store salary workers of time off with their families on Thanksgiving Day. By opening the doors at midnight, Best Buy is requiring team members to be in the store late on Thanksgiving Day. A full holiday with family is not just for the elite of this nation. All Americans should be able to break bread with loved ones and get a good night's rest on Thanksgiving."
Now, more than 15,000 people signed on that petition. What do you have to say to them? Are you ruining Thanksgiving?
DUNN: Well, you know what, I don't think we are ruining Thanksgiving. I think the consumer has clearly moved and wants that midnight opening. I was out last night, eight o'clock, just spent all night visiting stores, and as I mentioned earlier, I was really surprised about a couple things. One, the sizes of the crowds and the sort of upbeat attitude of the customers.
And I got to tell you, I know some of our employees were very unhappy about that opening. The majority of our employees understood the business rationale, and all of our employees. Certainly, all the ones that I saw rose to the moment and did a great job taking care of our customers.
COSTELLO: OK. So, will we see next year stores opening even earlier? Why not just stay open on Thanksgiving Day and have people shop when they want to?
DUNN: Yes. Well, I certainly hope it doesn't come to stores being open on Thanksgiving Day. And every holiday season is different. And, what I'd love to do is us through this holiday season, and then, we'll start mapping out our plans for next holiday season.
COSTELLO: All right. Brian Dunn, thank you so much for joining us this morning. We appreciate it.
DUNN: Thank you.
CHO: We have a developing story now. The White House this morning is now weighing in on the leadership crisis in Egypt, calling for a speedy transfer of power to a civilian government. That's just what protesters had been demanding, in fact, dying for. Demonstrators are out again today and mass in Cairo's Tahrir Square.
CNN's Ivan Watson is in the thick of it. He is live in Cairo for us. Ivan, good morning to you. You see the demonstrations. They're just massive. They've been going on for almost the entire week now. A lot of people still asking questions, you know, why after the fall of Mubarak in February, I mean, this is reminiscent of that, why are we still seeing these types of protests, and protesters/demonstrators are just angry now at the other leadership now, the interim, what was supposed to be the interim leadership. the military and, so, that's why they're out in force.
They're demanding for a change and, of course, the parliamentary elections are on Monday. So, we'll have to keep an eye on what happens there.
COSTELLO: There is a stalemate. Protesters want the military to give up governmental power. They want a democracy in Egypt. They want to elect their own leaders and the military keeps controlling things. And you saw that the police out there in the crowd beating protesters. We talked to an Egyptian-American journalist earlier who said she was beaten by the military police.
CHO: And sexually assaulted.
COSTELLO: Sexually assaulted. So, things are quite nasty there. But as you can see, the protesters, they're not giving up.
CHO: Keep an eye on that.
Meanwhile, keep an eye on the weather, as well. Our Reynolds Wolf is in the Extreme Weather Center with a look at that. Hey, Reynolds. Good morning.
REYNOLDS WOLF, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hey, guys. Taking a sharp look at what's happening around the country in terms of the weather and what do they mean for a lot of travelers, not just the shoppers. I mean, obviously, today is a huge shopping day, but a lot of people just trying to get home and start the next holiday.
Get closer to Christmas and what not. But one of the big stories we have out over the four corners, we're seeing some scattered showers, highest elevation, seeing some snowfall. We take a look at the time lapse and here we go from Friday. We're going to fast forward this and take you from Friday and Friday evening.
The storm doesn't really intensify, but it will spread more shower activity into parts of the central plains and then from Friday evening all the way into Saturday, we see more shower activity. Again, nothing severe at this point, but at least some rain from just near Chicago and Green Bay, southward to Shreveport and Dallas.
That's on Saturday morning and then going from Saturday and then going all the way into Sunday. We see this beginning to build into parts of, say, the Ohio Valley and into the southeast. Maybe some thunderstorms into parts of North Georgia and see some snow right behind it in the highest elevations back into parts of the Appalachians.
And then, as we get into Sunday evening, mainly, it's going to be an issue on the eastern seaboard, but better conditions back over towards Chicago into St. Louis. That's going to be the big issue that we're going to be seeing and dealing with certainly over the next couple of days.
For today, though, shopping should be great for you along parts of the eastern seaboard. Very mild, warm conditions for you. Very mild this time of year and look for more cloud cover in the Western Great Lakes. Plenty of sunshine for much of the great basin into California. Pacific Northwest could see some snowfall in the highest elevations of the cascades.
Some places very close to a foot and then some wind gusts could be kind of strong, too, especially I'd say by late afternoon anywhere from 25 to 35-mile-per-hour range. Just keep that in mind. That's your forecast. Let's send it back to you in New York.
CHO: All right, Reynolds. Thank you so much.
WOLF: You bet.
COSTELLO: Still ahead, Hungry while waiting for your flight to board? Are you hungry? We'll tell you what airport is now starting food delivery service right to the gates.
CHO: I love this. You can eat before you get on the flight. You don't make such a mess there.
Also ahead, how to make money when the economy is failing? Why not rent out your stuff, like, your grill, your car, even your four- year-old daughter's bike. That's what one very creative man did, and we'll speak to him live, next. Twenty minutes after the hour.
CHO: Welcome back. It's 24 minutes after the hour. Watching your money this morning.
For the fourth straight week, Virgin America is experiencing big problems with its website. Customers complain they can't book flights online or even check in, and some are even being charged too much. The glitch is in Virgin's new reservation system could cost the airline dearly during the busy holiday travel season.
Chicago's O'Hare airport is now starting food delivery service to the gates and for no extra charge. The before-you-board program allows travelers to ordered food in terminals with a free app available for both iPhones and androids. Orders usually take about 20 minutes to arrive. The service is also available at New York's JFK International Airport and Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
An abbreviated session on Wall Street today. Right now, futures for the Dow, NASDAQ, and S&P 500 are all lower, so we could see a sell-off at the opening bell. Markets close at one o'clock eastern this afternoon.
AT&T setting aside $4 billion in case its merger deal with T- Mobile falls through. The cash would cover potential fees. AT&T insists it's still pushing forward with the merger plan. It hit a snag yesterday and the telecoms withdrew their application with the FCC.
The price is dropping for Research in motion's playbook tablet computer. It now sells for about $200. U.S. retailers are slashing the price to clear inventory during the holiday shopping season. Some analysts think that means R.I.M. is selling the devices at a loss.
China is in the lead when it comes to smart phone. It's now the world's largest smart phone market growing 58 percent in the third quarter. That's according to a report by research firm, Strategy Analytics. What's behind the surging Chinese demand? Better deals on using expensive models like Apple's iPhone.
Up next, a big brawl inside a nail salon caught on tape and the manicure claws come out. We'll tell you what happened. AMERICAN MORNING is back after a break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You need to shop. Shop with a conscious.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need stuff for our families and our work every day, and I think this is the deal. I'm going to go and get it. They're not writing my checks and they're not saving me no money, so I'm here.
CHO (voice-over): The "Occupy Wall Street" movement attempting to occupy Black Friday, but shoppers say it won't stop then from snagging those bargains on this AMERICAN MORNING.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: And welcome back. It's 30 minutes past the hour. Top stories for you now.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COSTELLO (voice-over): In Egypt, the scene is set for another million man march demanding an end to the country's military leadership. Things right now are under control or seem to be in Cairo's Tahrir Square. Forty-one people have died, more than 3,000 and others injured in violent clashes with police over the last week.
CHO: An Egyptian court has ordered their release, but three American college students remain in police custody at this hour. The three all attending the American university in Cairo were arrested earlier this week on suspicion of violence during those Tahrir Square protest.
COSTELLO: And while reporting on the Tahrir Square protest, Egyptian-American journalist, Mona Eltahawy, says she was arrested and abused by police. Earlier on AMERICAN MORNING, she talked with me about her nightmare ordeal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MONA ELTAHAWY, JOURNALIST: I was cornered by four or five riot police, and they beat me with their sticks, and then, I tried to break (ph) on my left arm and on my right hand, and then, they dragged me beyond what was basically the frontline into this no man's land all the way to the interior ministry, which was close by.
And, as they were taking me there, I experienced a terrible sexual assault. I mean, basically, just hands everywhere, groping, hands between my legs. I lost count of the number of hands that were trying to get into my trousers that I was trying to (INAUDIBLE). They were calling me all kinds of terrible names. I fell to the ground at one point, and they dragged me by my hair.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: Unbelievable. Mona was blindfolded and held (ph) for 12 hours. She was interrogated. Talking about her experience, you know, she's talking about it because thousands of Egyptians suffer the same kind of abuse, but they have no voice.
CHO: When I heard the story, I didn't believe it, but it's true. Things got ugly at a beauty salon in Georgia. Just look at this. It was a knockdown, drag out fight. It happened at a Wal-Mart nail salon, and as you can see, brutal. Teenage bystander was hit in the mouth with (INAUDIBLE) shattering her teeth.
The brawl broke out when a woman burst into the salon screaming over prices. Her kids started fighting with other children and that's when things turned ugly.
COSTELLO: A violent start to Black Friday. A brawl landing one man in jail in the Orlando area. Take a look. This video was shot by a shopper who witnessed the scuffle. Pplice (ph) say two men were fighting at the jewelry counter at a Wal-Mart store around 1:00 in the morning.
That's when the officer got involved, pinned one of the men on the ground for resisting arrest, and in the end, no one was hurt.
CHO: We all get along here on Black Friday. You know, things got a little out of hand last night at a Los Angeles Wal-Mart, too, when the doors finally opened. At least, ten people suffered minor injuries in the rush to get into the store. And police are mow looking for a female customer who they say used a can of pepper spray in some kind of altercation with other customers.
COSTELLO (on-camera): And just as Black Friday shoppers hit the mall, in Fayetteville, North Carolina, gunfire erupted overnight. CNN affiliate, WTBD reporting shots were fired around 2:00 a.m. eastern near a food court entrance. Police say several more shots were fired after one of the suspects ran inside the mall.
They're now looking for those two suspects. Right now, we don't know if this is in anyway connected to Black Friday shopping. We'll bring you the latest developments as we get them.
CHO (on-camera): Either way, it's not good at all. The "Occupy Wall Street" movement has a new target on this Black Friday, target and dozens of other retailers. They're hoping to hit the big corporation right where it hurts, the bottom line, but as Ken Pritchett tells us, shoppers may not feel like cooperating.
KEN PRITCHETT, KTVU-TV CORRESPONDENT(voice-over): "Occupy Oakland" volunteers served up turkey insides at Frank Ogawa Plaza, but instead of planning traditional; after Thanksgiving shopping trips, protesters here are planning boycotts. They want people to skip the sales at major retailers.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You need to shop, shop with the conscience.
PRITCHETT: As part of what's being called "Occupy Black Friday," Hadas Alterman says we could see protesters picketing big chain stores or even occupying them.
HADAS ALTERMAN, OCCUPY OAKLAND: "Occupy Oakland" encourages diversity of tactics and sort of feels that people have, should be empowered to do autonomous options.
PRITCHETT: The National Occupy Black Friday movement has set its sights on the top 100 publicly traded retail stores, and they want shoppers to think about who they're giving their money to.
MIKE RUFO, OCCUPY OAKLAND: Until people change their behavior and send a different message through the system about what their values are, then the system will start to respond.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is how we do it.
PRITCHETT: But a Black Friday boycott isn't getting a whole lot of support from these shoppers -- who are camping out at the Emeryville Best Buy waiting to pick up a cheap flat screen.
DAVID GOMES, BLACK FRIDAY SHOPPER: This is kind of a tell tale sign that there's not going to be much of a Occupy Black Friday.
KAWNDA SMITH, BLACK FRIDAY SHOPPER: We need stuff for our family and our work everyday. And I think this is the best deal I'm going to get and they're not writing me my checks and they're not saving me no money. So, I'm here.
CHO: That was Ken Pritchett from our affiliate, KTVU, reporting.
COSTELLO: If you're one of the 152 million Americans out there shopping on this Black Friday weekend, send us an iReport. If it's big crowds or "Occupy Black Friday" protests, CNN wants you to share your video with America. Check it out at cnnireport.com.
CHO: You see all those people out there because they're looking for a bargain. You know, there are all kinds of ways to make a buck in this economy. Don't believe me?
Well, up next, you're going to meet a man who is willing to rent out just about anything he owns. His shower, his beloved family pet, his dog, and his four-year-old daughter's bike. Can you believe it? We're going to talk to him live, next. It's 35 minutes after the hour.
CHO: Good morning, New York City. Take a look at that beautiful shot of Central Park and the leaves. Sunny and 48 right now, going up to a high of 59 degrees on the weekend after Thanksgiving. Unbelievable.
Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING on this Friday. It's 38 minutes after the hour, and it's a whole new take on small business. A man found a way to make a little extra money in a shaky economy by renting out just about everything in his life, and we mean everything.
Joining us from San Francisco this morning is Rob Baedeker. He documents his experience in this week's issue of "Newsweek" where he's a contributing writer. So, you did this for the story, but how did you come up with the idea, Rob?
ROB BAEDEKER, CONTRIBUTOR, "NEWSWEEK": Well, I'd seen this going on. You know, sites like Airbnb that allow you to rent out your extra bed to people over the internet have been around for a little while, and I knew it was going on. I'd never done it personally. So, I decided, you know, why not do it full on and take two weeks and really try to make some money and rent out anything I could.
CHO: All right. And you did make money. So, let's look at the first thing you rented, your old camping trailer. You got 45 bucks a night for it. How that go? BAEDEKER: It went great. Yu know, I have to tell you, I was a little nervous about opening up our home and our camping trailer to complete strangers. I sat down and asked my wife, is this going to be OK and, you know, we were a little skeptical, not only letting people stay with us, but giving someone our key to our house that we never met.
My daughter was very excited about it. It's hard to explain the concept to a four-year-old of renting your house out to strangers, but she got into it.
CHO: Well, we want to talk about your daughter in just a second, because we want to talk about some of the other things you rented. Your car, that could be had for $150 a week. There's your old guitar, $50 a month for that. And, Rob, you went after your four-year-old daughter's bike for $5 a day. Was it really worth it? How did that go over with her?
BAEDEKER: Well, you know, she's four. So, her attention can be diverted really easily. We discussed it. And I think she came around to it. You know, we got a little extra cash, and we could use that to buy balloons or something.
CHO: OK. There you go.
BAEDEKER: It was sort of a wash.
CHO: So, you're going to let her use the money. That's fair.
BAEDEKER: Yes, yes.
CHO: Here's the one that really got us. You rented your dog. Now, why in the world would you rent -- now, why in the world would you rent that cute dog?
BAEDEKER: Why in the world would I do that? Good question, Alina. I realized, you know, our dog, she's been a great, loyal member of the family, but she hasn't been pitching in, you know, financially, right? So, I thought it was time to make Clementine, you know, sort of pay her fair share. And, you know, she's lazing around most of the day, sleeping on her bed.
And it turns out there are people who love dogs, who aren't able to have one in their apartment. I found exactly such a person by putting an ad on craigslist, and I met up with her and let her play with Cleme for an hour and she paid me $3. So, it was sort of a win/win situation. I got paid to have someone exercise my dog.
CHO: All right. So, it's like babysitting kids. You have him for a while and then you give it back to the owner. You know, your daughter's bike, you also rented your electric sander, your deck. So, you did this for two weeks. How much did you make in the end?
BAEDEKER: In the end, I made $654.85. CHO: All right. That's a little less than I thought, to be honest. I thought you would have made a little bit more, but, I mean, not bad, not bad.
BAEDEKER: Hey, I was impressed.
CHO: Yes. OK.
BAEDEKER: I didn't take too much work.
CHO: You know, it will go towards a holiday shopping, hopefully. You know, this was, obviously, an experiment for you. So, what was the take away from all of this?
BAEDEKER: There were a couple. You know, as I said, I was pretty skeptical about giving my things out to strangers, you know? A woman rented my electric sander, and she seemed nice, but, for all I knew, she could have been, you know, the serial sander snatcher of San Francisco. You know, who knows what you're going to get.
So, my faith in humanity was restored a little bit by the people I met. We don't meet our neighbors as much these days as we might have in the past, and we're online a lot, and we have social networks, but we tend to not meet people in real life in the same kind of ways. So, that was one. And the other was that we all have a lot of stuff that's sitting around, not being used. And it can be --
CHO: Don't need to tell me.
BAEDEKER: -- use it to make a little cash.
BAEDEKER: That's right. Everybody can look in their basement and find things that might be a new revenue stream.
CHO: And as a journalist, I'm happy to report that you got a story out of it, too, in the next issue of "Newsweek." Rob Baedeker, thanks so much for joining us.
BAEDEKER: Thank you.
CHO: Great to see you.
COSTELLO: He has a great attitude.
CHO: Yes, yes. And he got it all back, and he made 670 some odd dollars, so --
COSTELLO: Can't beat that.
Morning headlines coming your way, next.
Plus, ever dream of traveling the world? Up next, the 1,000 places to see before you die. It's 42 minutes past the hour.
COSTELLO: Forty-five minutes past the hour. Here are your morning's top stories.
Former First Lady of Chicago, Maggie Daley has died. She died last night after battling breast cancer. She was just 68 years old. Daley is the wife of former Mayor Richard Daley. She died at home at about 6:00 p.m. surrounded by her family.
Markets open in about 45 minutes. Right now futures for the DOW, NASDAQ and S&P 500 are all pointing lower. So we could see a sell-off at the opening bell. Markets close at 1:00 Eastern this afternoon.
A violent start to Black Friday: Police in Florida say two men were fighting at the jewelry counter at a Wal-Mart around 1:00 in the morning. That's when an officer got involved. This video shot by a shopper who witnessed the scuffle.
The Occupy Wall Street movement has a new target, holiday shopping. Protesters are planning to picket at a bunch of stores today. They say they will hit corporate America where it hurts in the wallet for the corruption of Washington.
Starting today, two major U.S. malls will track every step shoppers take by monitoring their cell phone signals. Officials at the mall in southern California and Richmond, Virginia, say no personal data will be collected. Insisting they're simply trying to identify shopping patterns.
No Black Friday door busting deals for the President. He's at the White House awaiting on his Christmas tree. First Lady Michelle Obama will receive the 18-foot tall balsam fir this morning which will be displayed in the Blue Room.
And two of the country's top college football teams go head-to- head today, LSU putting its number one ranking on the line against the southeast conference rival, Arkansas. Arkansas is ranked third in the country.
And that's the news you need to start your day. AMERICAN MORNING is back after a break.
CHO: Good morning, Dallas, Texas; cloudy and 51 degrees going up to a high of 66 degrees.
COSTELLO: Oh nice weather over much of the country. That's good.
COSTELLO: A best seller gets a makeover. "1,000 Places before You Die" adds 200 more entries to its list of dream destinations. Some of these new additions, well, they might surprise you.
For a sneak peek inside we're here with the book's author, Patricia Schultz. The last edition was 2003 and this new edition, Patricia, includes so many more places.
PATRICIA SCHULTZ, AUTHOR: Yes, 100 actually.
COSTELLO: You are a traveling woman --
SCHULTZ: A crazy woman, I know. Somebody has got to do all the homework. The first book came out in 2003 and the world has changed so much. I've changed so much and really, I think, no sooner was the ink dry on the original edition that I was thinking of a revision because I wanted to include so many more places. And so many places have come on my radar, have opened up to tourism and it needed to be included in the book.
But that's the nature of any travel book.
COSTELLO: The book is heavy.
CHO: It's heavy. It is heavy. Did you actually travel to all of these places?
SCHULTZ: Yes, most of them.
SCHULTZ: I know.
CHO: And some of the places may surprise you. You know like former war zones.
CHO: You know Croatia, Slovenia. Talk about that.
SCHULTZ: Well, these -- you know when I was doing the first book they just weren't really welcoming tours and they have no infrastructure. There were no hotels, restaurants. They weren't very welcoming. The former Yugoslavia countries Croatia, Montenegro, Slovenia, through the '90s really they were having a series of war. It wasn't the first place you'd think of to go.
SCHULTZ: But lately, I've gone a number of times. Croatia, Dubrovnik, the city of Dubrovnik is fascinating and they spent so much energy and money repairing, restoring and it's as beautiful as it ever was.
CHO: I heard Croatia is just beautiful, spectacular.
SCHULTZ: And the coastline, the Dalmatian coastline 1,000 islands, very popular for yachting in the summertime. It's a kind of eastern Mediterranean Riviera in the ways that Italy and France haven't seen in decades.
COSTELLO: What are the prices like there?
SCHULTZ: Not bad, very -- not the giveaway budget, you know, budget-friendly places you would hope for as they were maybe decades ago. But quite reasonable and you know as with everything, if you do your homework and you go on a shoulder season you can find things.
Zagreb, the city of Zagreb they call it -- the capital of Croatia -- they call it the new Prague. I'm not so sure about that. But it's very fascinating. And Slovenia north of Croatia is beautiful, beautiful; they have Alps that run across Italy into northern Slovenia. So it's a place a corner of Europe that you might not think of that I would really, really recommend.
CHO: What about other places a little bit closer to home?
SCHULTZ: Well, in the U.S., only 30 percent of Americans have passports, number one.
CHO: Wow, really?
SCHULTZ: So -- I know, we're I guess too comfortable traveling within this magnificent country we have. There are so many beautiful cities. Charleston in South Carolina, I just love. And there are islands off the coast of Charleston that are very easy to get to, very lovely.
COSTELLO: I must say when I -- when I read about that pick in your book, I was surprised by that. I have been to Charleston and I think it's lovely, too, but you say it's one of the most fascinating cities to visit in the United States.
COSTELLO: So what sets it apart?
SCHULTZ: Well, you know it was very wealthy before the civil war. All of the money from the plantations was poured into Charleston. It was one of our most flourishing cultural hot spots. It had the first opera, it had the first museum, the homes, they are magnificent many of them now are B&B's or inn's that are very reasonable.
In the summertime they have a tour of the homes, you can go into the homes the gardens, the azaleas and magnolias are blooming. It's wonderful. Good eating city.
CHO: Good shopping?
SCHULTZ: Good shopping. Good eating city. We love to eat.
CHO: Yes, I was there a couple years ago for a wedding and I stayed at this historic inn called the Planter's Inn. And it was really beautiful.
SCHULTZ: Yes, oh it's beautiful and there are a number of those.
CHO: You know where -- where are, now, Carol touched on this a little bit. You know in this economy a lot of people want to -- obviously visit all of these places but they can't afford to. So where are the best deals?
SCHULTZ: You know some in South Carolina, South America for me is always kind of surprisingly kind of underrated. You go in there, it's tourism galore. It's mostly European, a lot of Canadians. I think maybe it's too close for us. We head either east to Europe or west to Asia.
But Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, prices are very reasonable. And in Ecuador which is on the equator and hence the name. The weather is always nice. So when you go when it's considered off season, it's very reasonable. Quito, the capital of Ecuador is a world heritage site; small inns, colonial inns. It's lovely the people are wonderful and it's a real deal. I think it really is very budget-friendly.
CHO: Did you get to work right after the first edition came out in 2003? It must have taken you that long.
SCHULTZ: Never missed a beat. But I have been traveling all my life. I just think it's important.
COSTELLO: It is important because it opens your mind. I mean it gives you so many new ideas it makes you more creative, I think. But what I was going to ask you. If there is one place that people absolutely have to go, where would that place be?
SCHULTZ: Well, apart from New York City, we're only half kidding when we say it's the center of the universe. I'm a New Yorker born and bred. I love Italy. I just love Italy.
CHO: I have to agree.
SCHULTZ: I love everything about it and it's a relatively small country when you consider compared to the U.S., or Russia, China the major powers. They are so much jam-packed into it, you know, from the Alps and the (INAUDIBLE) in the north and all the cities around Florence and Venice, can you have a bad meal?
SCHULTZ: A resounding no. And the museums and, you know, you can just walk through Florence and not pay a penny and you come home with an experience that is worth a million dollars.
COSTELLO: Well you walk through Rome and Rome is a museum.
SCHULTZ: It is. It's an open air country. The whole country is just a museum; the antiquities, the art, the style, the design, the lovely people. And really sometimes just to sit in a cafe it's like a Fellini movie. You know, this cast of characters you wonder where they come from and wonderful people; very welcoming and easy on the eyes.
CHO: Yes, they are. You can get your exercise just walking up and down the steps.
SCHULTZ: You can. Walk off those gelatos.
COSTELLO: Right. Oh, we can dream, can't we?
SCHULTZ: Yes. Well, the book is great for dreaming, but it's also, hopefully, meant to get you off the couch. Because the more you travel, the more you realize it's very easy to do it. It enables you. You realize, I can do this and I had a great time doing it and --
COSTELLO: You know, the thing that people don't realize it doesn't matter much where you go. There are great things to do in each city in this country.
SCHULTZ: Exactly. I know. I know.
COSTELLO: And we don't experience them enough.
SCHULTZ: No. And you have to, I think, remove yourself from this bubble, you know, the day to day stuff. And it weighs you down. And travel just, I think, lightens you and enlightens you and it makes you a better person. I think it does. It makes you more interesting. It makes you understand just what the world is about.
COSTELLO: Ok, I'm going to read your book, again. Cover to cover. It took me a long time.
SCHULTZ: I'm going to come back -- I'm going to come back and quiz you. There are hundreds of new places and all of the old places were rewritten, rethought, reorganized with new material.
COSTELLO: That's awesome.
CHO: Patricia Shultz, thank you so much.
SHULTZ: Oh, thank you very much.
COSTELLO: Thank you.
It's five minutes until the top of the hour. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NATE BERKUS, MEMBER, AMERICAN RED CROSS CELEBRITY CABINET: Hi, I'm Nate Berkus. And as a member of the American Red Cross Celebrity Cabinet, I'm committed to emergency preparedness and disaster response and lending a helping hand to those in need. Now, I am thrilled to help introduce one of this year's top ten CNN heroes.
BRUNO SERATO, TOP TEN CNN HERO, 2011: I came to this country 30 years ago. I love to cook, but to be in the restaurant business, you must love the people.
In 2005, my mom was on vacation from Italy. I said Mom, let's go the Boys and Girls Store. And this little boy, five-years- old eating potato chips for dinner. He was a motel kid.
I find out, a poor family who has nothing else, you live in a motel. When they go back after school, there's no dinner, there's no money. Mom said, You must feed him the pasta.
I'm Bruno Serato and I listened to my mama and now my mission is feeding hungry children.
I don't give the kids leftovers. I make fresh pasta.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All the kids start getting excited.
SERATO: Are you hungry? Are you hungry?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's good to get free dinners.
SERATO: Right now we are between 150 to 200 kids, seven days a week.
Who likes a pasta?
SERATO: My mom, she made me start and now I could never stop.
I'll see you sooner.
They're customers, my favorite customers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: There are less than two weeks left to vote for the CNN Hero of the Year. Just head to cnnheroes.com and don't forget to tune in live on Sunday, December 11th as Anderson Cooper hosts "CNN HEROES, AN ALL-STAR TRIBUTE," live from Los Angeles.
CHO: That does it for us for the week. Thanks for joining us on AMERICAN MORNING. "CNN NEWSROOM" with Hala Gorani starts right now. Hey, Hala.