Sarah Gonzalez

Even under a mask, Yesenia Ortiz likes to wear her lipstick every day.

"You know Latina girls," she says, laughing.

She keeps a folded-up paper towel under the mask she wears all day, "because I don't want to ruin my mask."

Ortiz works at a grocery store called Compare Foods in Greensboro, N.C., unloading trucks and restocking shelves.

Customers have been "asking me every day for alcohol, Windex, Clorox for wiping," Ortiz told NPR in late April. "Every day! 'Oh, we don't got none. We ran out. I'm so sorry.' They get so frustrated."

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Many essential workers are making as much money now as they were before the pandemic, before their jobs got risky. But higher-risk jobs are supposed to pay more, so why isn't it happening? Here's Sarah Gonzalez with NPR's Planet Money podcast.

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Spring is usually the start of the planting season, but with the coronavirus pandemic spreading, farms and farmworkers are having a tough time. Here's Sarah Gonzalez with our Planet Money podcast.

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On the Caribbean island of Barbuda, land cannot be bought or sold. The whole island is shared communally. And it's been that way since the 1800s. But Planet Money's Sarah Gonzalez went there and found that capitalism is creeping in.

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The world is running low on helium, and this is not just about balloons. You need helium to run MRI machines, send astronauts into space and make cell phones among other things. Sarah Gonzalez, with our Planet Money podcast, has the story.

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Your recyclables may be getting picked up, but they may not be getting recycled. And Sarah Gonzalez with our Planet Money podcast reports that could be a good thing if you care about the planet.

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So in 1987, something convinced many U.S. cities to pick up recyclable items from residents' homes. Sarah Gonzalez with our Planet Money podcast reports it started with a garbage barge and the Mob.

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Mexico's criminal gangs have turned their expertise at smuggling illegal goods to smuggling a legal one. The gangs move drugs and weapons and also, apparently, gasoline. Here's Sarah Gonzalez with our Planet Money podcast.

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In 2010, Panera started opening nonprofit cafes called Panera Cares. They told customers, pay what you can afford. Sarah Gonzalez with our Planet Money podcast looks at how that experiment turned out.

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