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An inside look at top retailers and the consumers they covet

Science/math students/educators get $25 tix to "Curious Incident" play

Okay, any student or educator with a valid student ID can get up to two tickets for $25 each at "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time," now playing at the Orpheum Theatre through Sunday, Dec. 4.

Ticket prices normally range from $39 to $139 for the play, which is about a 15 year old autistic teen who relates better to algebra than human beings. The 5-time Tony winner for 2015, including best play, was described by Star Tribune Drama Critic Rohan Preston as "Retaining the luster" of the Broadway version.

To get the $25 tickets, show up at the Orpheum box office two hours prior to showtime. The seats are subject to availability and only cash is accepted.

Don't leave too soon after the play ends or you'll miss the main character Christopher solving a difficult algebra proof in less than 4 minutes. Over my head, but thoroughly entertaining.

Best Buy, Cub make AFA's "naughty" list for being secular at Christmas time

The American Family Association just released its annual "naughty or nice" list of retailers. The criteria for determining whether a retailer is naughty or nice is based on "Christmas-friendly advertising in print or broadcast, including websites, media advertising and store signage.

“Each year, American Family Association makes every effort to ensure that Christmas isn’t repeatedly watered down, especially when it comes to choosing gifts for our loved ones,” said AFA President Tim Wildmon. “That’s why it’s crucial to continue to encourage governments, companies and retailers to keep the word ‘Christmas’ alive—and keep Christ in Christmas.”

Six retailers/ restaurants make the AFA's 5-star list for promoting Christmas in an exceptional way: Wal-Mart, Lowe's, Kirkland's, Lowe's, Hobby Lobby and Michael's. Forty three others make up the "nice" list including Banana Republic, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Penney's, Macy's, Menards, Hy-Vee, Kmart, Cabela's, Sam's Club, Dick's Sporting Goods, Home Depot and Toys R Us. 

No Minnesota companies made the "nice" list, but several made the "naughty" list including Best Buy, Supervalu (Cub Foods) and Maurice's. They were criticized for using "Christmas" sparingly in advertising. Click on each retailer in the link above for a brief description of the reasons for its rating. For Best Buy, the AFA wrote, "Company refers to Christmas infrequently, or in a single advertising medium, but not in others."

Target was left off all the lists, but would likely have joined the other Minnesota companies on the naughty list. The AFA singled out Target for a boycott after it expressed support for gender neutral bathrooms earlier in 2016. The site is still selling "I boycott Target" buttons and T-shirts.

The AFA is a non-profit based in the United States that promotes Christian values. The Southern Poverty Law Center has described it as a hate group.