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31 Oct 14:20

Forget Black Friday, Holiday Shopping Season Starts Tomorrow

by Chris Morran

While children and parents around the country are sitting around, regretting the huge amount of sugar and chocolate consumed tonight, the folks at Walmart, Amazon and other stores are not only busting out the holiday decorations, but reducing prices and offering short-term large-scale sales for early holiday shoppers.

Four weeks in advance of Black Friday, Walmart says that it is discounting some 20,000 items starting tomorrow, including toys and electronics; items that make up a good chunk of consumers’ Christmas shopping lists.

This will be followed Monday by a 24-hour online sale on Walmart.com, offering free shipping on many orders of $50 or more.

Not to be beaten by bricks-and-mortar stores, Amazon is also planning to kick off its holiday lightning deals on Saturday, and will soon begin doubling up on its Deal of the Day offerings through Dec. 22.

Target is already promoting free shipping on all Target.com orders for the holidays, and starting Sunday users of Target’s Cartwheel coupon app will see deals for 50% off a different toy each day through Dec. 24.

And for folks looking for office supply deals these holidays, both Office Depot and OfficeMax will begin offering deals this Sunday, along with “Every Monday is Cyber Monday” each week through the rest of the season.

Retailers dangle holiday deals as soon as Halloween is over [StarTribune.com]

01 Oct 20:30

Everything You Need to Know About Tire Safety In One Handy Graphic

by Patrick Allan

Your vehicle's tires not only hold the weight of your car, but also the safety of you and your family. This graphic gives you all the information you need for caring for your tires and knowing when it's time to replace them.

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01 Oct 15:00

Ten Things You Should Do When Shopping For A New Car

by Chris Perkins on Jalopnik, shared by Whitson Gordon to Lifehacker

Ten Things You Should Do When Shopping For A New Car

Buying a new car? Read this advice first.

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01 Oct 13:00

Adam Savage's Recommendations for a Beginner Toolbox

by Whitson Gordon

Every budding DIYer has to start somewhere, and building up a solid toolbox can seem overwhelming. Mythbusters host Adam Savage (along with his compatriots at Tested) came up with a good list of inexpensive, beginner tools to start with.

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29 Sep 17:00

The Lemon Law for Everything Else

by SteveLehto on Oppositelock, shared by Whitson Gordon to Lifehacker

The Lemon Law for Everything Else

My client bought a brand new $35,000 boat that never returned to the dock under its own power during the time that he owned it. Most state Lemon Laws do not cover boats but there is a Federal law that does.

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29 Sep 22:00

Find the Solution to Any Stain with This Searchable Database

by Patrick Allan

Find the Solution to Any Stain with This Searchable Database

Nobody likes a big ugly stain on their carpet or clothing. This searchable database has stain solutions for everything from automotive oil to mustard.

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29 Sep 17:00

How to Choose a Reliable Emergency Radio (and Some Good Ones to Buy)

by Alan Henry

How to Choose a Reliable Emergency Radio (and Some Good Ones to Buy)

With luck, you'll never need to rely on an emergency radio, but they're an essential part of any emergency kit. However, not all emergency radios are alike, and buying a reliable one isn't as simple as plucking one from the shelves. Here's what to look for, and some good options for your emergency kit.

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31 Oct 05:46

Dallas nurse who survived Ebola to get dog back

A Dallas nurse who recovered from Ebola will soon be reunited with her dog, which has been sequestered since his owner became ill.
31 Oct 07:30

Virginia Zoo to have seahorse exhibit in 2016

The Virginia Zoo plans to open an exhibit featuring seahorses in 2016.
27 Sep 22:00

Know How to Protect Your Pets When Disaster Strikes

by Dave Greenbaum

Know How to Protect Your Pets When Disaster Strikes

We've covered what to do when disaster strikes , but when pets are involved, you have a few more tasks to take care of. FEMA has a detailed guide on taking care of your pets during a disaster.

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27 Sep 15:00

Top 10 Tricks for Shopping at Amazon

by Melanie Pinola

Top 10 Tricks for Shopping at Amazon

We love Amazon for its convenience, variety, and prices. We also love tricks and tips that help us save money and reap more benefits when shopping the mega online store. Here are ten of our favorite Amazon tricks.

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27 Sep 14:00

Know Which Fish Are Low in Mercury With This Chart

by Dave Greenbaum

Know Which Fish Are Low in Mercury With This Chart

Many of us want to eat more fish, but we're worried about too much mercury. While all of us should be concerned, women who are pregnant or nursing need to pay special attention. A handy chart from Consumer Reports ranks fish by amount of risk in each species.

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26 Sep 16:00

​Install Arduino-Operated Digital LED Lights for the Holidays

by Tori Reid

If you like decorating your house for the holidays, these digital LEDs save the trouble of manual teardowns by using Arduino to modify animation effects each season.

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26 Sep 14:30

Joinery 101: Create Mortise and Tenon Joints

by Kit Stansley on Workshop, shared by Whitson Gordon to Lifehacker

A mortise and tenon joint is one of the most basic and strong ways to join two boards together, but it takes a bit more time (and more tools) than some of the other joinery techniques we've discussed.

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30 Oct 20:49

That “Wild Gulf Shrimp” You Bought Might Actually Be Farmed Whiteleg Shrimp

by Ashlee Kieler

Just because you spent an hour searching the grocery store for the perfect bag of Wild Gulf Shrimp doesn’t mean you’re actually getting wild shrimp caught in the Gulf of Mexico.. In fact a new study released Thursday found that nearly a third of the shrimp products being sold in U.S. stores and restaurants aren’t what they seem to be.

The study from international environmental advocacy group, Oceana, analyzed 143 shrimp products from 111 grocery stores and restaurants in New York City, Washington, D.C., Portland, OR, and the Gulf of Mexico region.

DNA testing revealed that 30% of the products contained some kind of misrepresentation including products where one species was swapped for another; product sold as Gulf/wild shrimp were actually farmed; or bags included a mix of different species.

According to the report, the most common misrepresentation was the labeling of farmed whiteleg shrimp as “wild” or “Gulf” shrimp. However, none of the shrimp labeled as farmed were misrepresented.

And in one of the more disturbing findings, the group discovered that a frozen bag of salad-sized shrimp included an aquarium pet – a banded coral shrimp – not meant for consumption.

“Despite its popularity, U.S. consumers are routinely given little to no information about the shrimp they purchase,” Beth Lowell, senior campaign director at Oceana, says in a statement. “While shrimp is the most commonly consumed seafood in the U.S., and the most highly traded seafood in the world, its high demand has led to conservation concerns as well as a bait and switch on consumers.”

While Oceana found misrepresented shrimp in all regions that were tested, the most came from New York City where 43% of the products were mislabeled.

Products in Washington, D.C. didn’t fare much better, with 33% of products found to be mislabeled.

One might assume that shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico region would have the least amount of mislabeling, but you’d be wrong. The area was found to have about 30% of products mislabeled.

In fact, Portland had the fewest products mislabeled, with just 5% containing misrepresentations.

Overall, Oceana reports that 35% of the 111 vendors selling the tested products sold misrepresented shrimp.

While a majority of the 70 restaurants visited for the study did not include information about the types of scrimp, nearly 31% of those who did provide information sold misrepresented shrimp.

Of the 41 grocery stores included in the study, 41% sold misrepresented products.

“Until traceability is the status quo, consumers should ask more questions about the seafood they purchase, including what kind it is, if it is wild or farm-raised, and where and how it was caught,” Lowell says in the statement.

Oceana is urging the government task force responsible for combating seafood fraud to take a comprehensive approach to addressing issues of traceability to ensure that products sold in the U.S. are safe, legally caught, and properly labeled.

Oceana Study Reveals Misrepresentation of America’s Favorite Seafood [Oceana]

30 Oct 19:40

5 Things We Learned About The Single Mom That Made Tupperware Parties Famous

by Chris Morran

Brownie Wise, the force behind Tupperware's sales party technique, would toss sealed bowls full of liquid to demonstrate the product.

Brownie Wise, the force behind Tupperware’s sales party technique, would toss sealed bowls full of liquid to demonstrate the product.

Whether you’ve ever sat through a sales “party” for some sort of product — whether it’s cleaning products, makeup, weight-loss treatments or marital aids — the mere existence of this type of social soft sell owes a lot to one woman, Brownie Wise, who didn’t just have a made-for-TV name, but who came out of nowhere to make Tupperware a household name before being left with little to show for her efforts.

Over at Mental Floss, writer Jen Doll takes an in-depth look at Brownie’s fascinating life that is definitely worth a read. But if you’re too busy planning your own sales party for this weekend, here are some of the things we learned about this retail revolutionary:

1. Before getting into sales, she penned a women’s advice column

In the 1940s, while working as a secretary at Bendix Aviation in Michigan, Brownie also penned an advice column for the Detroit News under the pseudonym of “Hibiscus,” a well-heeled housewife who lived with her family in a fictional home dubbed “Lovehaven,” even though Brownie herself was a divorced mom living a very different life from the one she described on paper.

2. Tupperware wasn’t her first stab at throwing sales parties

After being less than impressed by a Stanley Home Products door-to-door salesman, Brownie decided to try her hand at a side job selling Stanley items using the company’s experimental program of hosting parties to demonstrate their products.

She was soon earning enough money to do full-time sales and even reached management level at Stanley before being told by the head of the company that she’d never reach become an executive because the halls of Stanley were “no place for a woman.”

3. She discovered the alluring power of being put on a waiting list

Much like a nightclub can give off the impression of being exclusive and popular by having a long line of people waiting to get inside, a good salesperson knows the value of using scarcity to make a product — even something like Tupperware — more desirable. She would take orders from customers regardless of whether the product was in stock because she knew that putting customers on that waiting list made them more eager to buy.

4. She used a glob of raw polyethylene as a good luck totem

The original Tupperware product was born out of surplus polyethylene that Tupper had procured from the military after the end of World War II.

After Brownie joined the company and showed that her sales technique worked, company founder Earl Tupper showed his graciousness by presenting her with a piece of the material. She named the blob of plastic “Poly” and considered it a prized possession that she told her sellers to touch for good luck.

“Just get your fingers on it, wish for what you want,” she’d tell them. “Know it’s going to come true, and then get out and work like everything… and it will!”

5. She was the first woman on the cover of Business Week

By 1954, Wise’s rapidly growing, mostly female army of sellers was bringing in $25 million a year to a company that could barely get off the ground before she came on board. But when she landed on the cover of Business Week magazine that year, and received much of the credit for the company’s success in the accompanying article, Earl Tupper wasn’t thrilled that she might be overshadowing his creation.

Following the publication of the Business Week piece, he left Brownie a note about the piece that read, “good executive as you are, I still like best the pictures … with TUPPERWARE!”

6. Her name was soon expunged from Tupperware history and her books were buried

The final years of her decade with Tupperware were filled with tension, as Mr. Tupper believed her extravagant events and the rewards she handed out were costing him money. He also got to thinking that Tupperware had just become a way for Brownie to market herself to the public.

So in advance of the sale of Tupperware to the Rexall Drug in 1958, Tupper fired Brownie and eventually ordered that her name be removed from the official company history. He also ordered that the remaining copies of her self-help book be buried in a pit near the Tupperware HQ in Florida.

After a legal battle, Brownie, who held no stock in the company she helped to bring to the fore of American kitchen culture, was awarded one year’s salary, around $30,000.

In spite of her meteoric rise, Brownie would never again achieve the same level of success. She passed away in 1992 at her home in Kissimmee, FL, not far from the company that tried to erase her from its memory decades earlier.

30 Oct 18:03

Live The Dream: Hand Out Candy Canes To Trick-Or-Treaters

by Laura Northrup

Most people have bought their Halloween candy, which leaves lots of empty retail space. What’s a smart store manager to do? Fill that space up with merchandise for the next holiday. This makes retail sense, but results in horrified Consumerist readers when they see a huge display of candy canes two days before Halloween.

candy_canes

Liz spotted this display at a Wegmans store in upstate New York. “We can’t even enjoy Halloween anymore!” she wrote, perhaps overlooking that giving out candy canes to children on Halloween would be a fantastic way to enjoy the holiday. It might be problematic for families that celebrate Halloween but not Christmas, though, so maybe it isn’t such a good idea.

30 Oct 17:21

Comcast Does Something Not-Awful, Teams Up With UPS Store For Easier Equipment Returns

by Chris Morran

From stories of waiting hours in line at a local cable office just to hand back your old cable box to tales of being billed hundreds of dollars for equipment that get “lost” in shipping even though you have tracking info showing they were sent back, one of the most frequent complaints we hear about cable companies is that it’s a huge pain in the derriere to return equipment. Comcast, in its bid to do things that aren’t always horrible and anti-consumer, announced today that its customers can now go the UPS store to return their Comcast stuff.

Comcast currently only operates around 500 Xfinity stores, but there are more than 4,400 UPS Stores around the country that should now be willing to accept your returned equipment — free of charge — and provide you a a receipt and tracking information.

Additionally, returns to UPS stores don’t require the customer to provide any packaging, says Comcast. So no need to find a shipping box and bubble wrap.

It’s a smart move for Comcast, which not only needs whatever PR wins it can muster, but which benefits from shorter lines at Xfinity stores. And since many people who return equipment are people who no longer want anything to do with Comcast, it gives those disenchanted consumers a non-Comcast place to go (and keeps them from riling up customers at Xfinity stores).

As we’ve pointed out before, while Comcast brags about its improved customer service scores, it still ranks near the bottom, if not dead-last, in many major customer satisfaction surveys of cable and Internet service providers. The UPS Store partnership allows it to deal with the industry-wide problem of equipment returns without having to invest in new retail locations (and the staff needed to run them).

It still remains to be seen whether or not this arrangement will indeed speed things up at Xfinity stores and reduce lost-equipment complaints from consumers, but it’s a rare pro-consumer move on Comcast’s part, so we’ll take what we can get.

30 Oct 14:53

UK Artist Creates Payday Loan Store For Kids

by Chris Morran

C'mon kiddies, get your 5,000% APR payday loans!

C’mon kiddies, get your 5,000% APR payday loans!

At first glance, the bright blue London storefront with a hand-painted technicolor scene of a cartoon cityscape in the window — complete with a smiling yellow mascot — looks like some sort of kid’s toy store or maybe a daycare center. That is, until you see the sign that reads, “Payday Loans 4 Kids.”

The recently opened Pocket Money Loans, with its offer of 5,000% APR loans (available in only 3 minutes!) for the youngsters, is horrifying some Londoners — or at least those who don’t realize that this is not an actual predatory lending operation.

Instead, the storefront and its associated website are the creation of UK artist Darren Cullen, who is critiquing the way in which actual payday lenders market their products to youth in England.

“Almost all payday loan companies have cartoon mascots, animated characters or sing-along jingles in their adverts,” he explains to HuffPo UK. “Their high street shops often have play areas full of toys and some of them hand out balloons and sweets to kids at the counter.”

Several people, believing this is a real payday loan operation, have vented their rage at the store online, and Cullen says that one in-store visitor refused to believe that it was not actually offering these loans.

“Most of the people who come in just want to be reassured that it’s not real,” says Cullen, “but one guy left believing it was real even after I told him it wasn’t, shaking his head at me.”

moneyproblems

30 Oct 14:05

Town Creates Nation’s First “Craigslist Transaction Safe Zone”

by Chris Morran

While the vast majority of purchases made via Craigslist go down without a problem, those don’t make the news; it’s the rare case of people getting scammed or attacked that earns the headlines. In an effort to reduce the chance of those sorts of incidents, one Pennsylvania community has created what it claims is the nation’s first Craigslist Transaction Safe Zone.

The police in Conshohocken, a borough on the outskirts of Philadelphia, recently decided that the police station parking lot and lobby were probably the safest places in town to allow area residents to arrange to meet with buyers and sellers from Craigslist, as the likelihood of being rooked out of your money or beaten up by a stranger drops when there are police officers in the vicinity and cameras rolling all the time.

Even with the Safe Zone available at all times of day and night, the Conshohocken police chief recommends that people arrange their transactions during the daytime and always bring a buddy.

30 Oct 13:30

October Recall Roundup: Let’s Review The Difference Between Tables And Chairs

by Laura Northrup

In the Recall Roundup for October, some American consumers aren’t clear on how tables work, an appliance that’s supposed to kill bedbugs tries to do so by burning your house down, and a Halloween flashlight can overheat and melt in a terrifying way. Here are the consumer items recalled in the last month.

Three-Lamps_LARGEHome
Waterway Plastics Spa Drain Suction Covers – Drain covers may detach, and could trap a user’s limb in the drain. No injuries reported.
ThermalStrike Expedition bedbug heat treatment system – Poses electrical fire hazard. There has been one report of a minor fire, and three reports of units giving off sparks.
Rejuvenation Haleigh Wire Dome Pendant hanging lamps – lamps may fall off the cord. There has been one report of a falling lamp, but no reported injuries.
Sling Fabric Café Furniture Sets (sold at Costco) – missing washer plate means that chairs may collapse. No reported injuries.
Michaels Stores Folding Tables – tables may collapse if “excessive” weight is placed on them. If you’re wondering what constitutes an excessive amount of stuff to put on a table, the answer is “a person.” Four consumers have reported that they tables collapsed while they were sitting on them. The users, who apparently aren’t clear on the concept of what a “table” is, reported hip, leg, and back injuries when the tables collapsed.

projectorlight
Halloween Items
Meijer image projector Halloween flashlights – may overheat, causing the handle to melt. One user has reported a melted flashlight.

titanium_lopperTools & Gardening
Craftsman Push Mowers (sold at Orchard Supply Hardware) – engine control lever may not control engine, causing engine and blades to run. No injuries reported.
Fiskars Bypass Lopper Shears – Handles may break while cutting branches. There have been 11 reports of handle-falling-off incidents, including some people with bruising or with lacerations that required stitches.
Brigg & Stratton Snapper Rear Engine Riding Mowers – axle failure may lead to loss of brake control. Two users have reported losing brake control, but there have been no injuries.

toy_toasterToys
Just Like Home Toy Toaster Sets (Toys’R’Us) – Plastic toast is not real food, but the plastic toast may crack and break, ending up in a child’s mouth.

Electronics
Sanus Simplicity Television Wall Mounts (Costco) – television may detach from the mount. Two TVs have detached from their mounts, one of which injured a user’s shoulder.

flutterbyBabies & Kids
Baby wipes sold under brands Cuties, Diapers.com, Femtex, Fred’s, Kidgets, Member’s Mark, Simply Right, Sunny Smiles, Tender Touch, and Well Beginnings - contamination with Burkholderia cepacia bacteria
Trimfoot Children’s Soft-Soled Sneakers (sold at Macy’s) – metal eyelet may detach, and children may choke on it. No injuries reported.
Pure Baby Organics Boys’ Hoodies – illegal drawstrings; no injuries reported.
Koala children’s butterfly sandals (Toys’R’Us) – butterflies can come off and pose choking hazard. One parent found a detached butterfly in a child’s mouth, but there have been no reported injuries.

Clothing
Zazou women’s silk scarves – do not meet federal flammability standards. No fires or injuries reported.

Vehicles
KYMCO All-Terrain Vehicles – fuel cap may not vent correctly, leading to pressure in the fuel tank and fires. No fires or injuries reported.
2014 Honda Pioneer 700 recreational off-road vehicles – debris on exhaust plate may catch fire. Eleven minor fires reported, but no injuries.
atvModel year 2008 and 2009 Arctic Cat all-terrain vehicles – front gear case may fail, leading to loss of vehicle control. There have been 44 reports of this, including 10 where the vehicle stopped or the operator lost control. One person sustained broken ribs and knee and back injuries.

Sports & Outdoors
Cane Creek DBINLINE Rear Shocks – may not work correctly, leading rider to fall off the bike. There have been four complaints of failures, with one report of minor injuries.
Louis Garneau P-09 bicycle helmets – may not protect from injuries in cold weather. No reported injuries.

30 Oct 07:47

Study: Mislabeled shrimp at restaurants, grocers

Ever thought that big, pink Gulf coast shrimp you ordered at the restaurant or bought from the store didn't taste juicy or salty enough?
29 Oct 16:31

Manassas Mall to host trick-or-treating - Inside NoVA


Inside NoVA

Manassas Mall to host trick-or-treating
Inside NoVA
Manassas Mall will host its annual mall trick-or-treating from 5-7 p.m. Oct. 31 throughout the mall. Children ages 12 and under are invited to come dressed in their favorite Halloween costumes with their parents and go trick-or-treating throughout the ...

and more »
30 Oct 10:13

Survey: Shrimp in US rife with murky labeling

Consumers around the nation can't be sure what kind of shrimp they're buying if they simply look at the label or menu at supermarkets, grocers and restaurants, an advocacy group says.
29 Oct 21:25

Lysol Buys Google Search Ads To Take Advantage Of Ebola Panic

by Laura Northrup

A few weeks ago, we shared the not-at-all-surprising news that Americans are buying more cleaning supplies, especially disinfectants, than we normally do at this time of year. We can partly credit the Ebola virus. While cleanliness is rarely a bad thing and Ebola is a terrifying disease, we do have to give some side-eye to Lysol for buying ads on Google searches about Ebola.

The search result is no longer there, but Vice’s Motherboard blog took a screenshot at the time. The item urges the searcher to “learn the facts about Ebola virus from Lysol(R).” While it is clearly marked as a sponsored result, it also sat above what might be more helpful links from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, or even Wikipedia.

ebola

Even Lysol realizes that, and their “Ebola Update” page currently refers curious people over to the CDC. At the same time, the page also says:

Lysol products like Lysol Disinfectant Spray and the other products listed here are approved as hospital-grade disinfectants and though not specifically tested to kill the Ebola virus, based on their ability to kill similar as well as harder to kill viruses, these products are likely to be effective against the Ebola virus.

The problem is that diseases tend to spread person-to-person. Ebola in particular spreads through direct contact with bodily fluids, which wiping down every surface in your home will not help with.

“I think this is a corporation riding on false fears of an epidemic to sell its product, thus reinforcing those fears,” a Columbia University epidemiologist told Vice.

No, Lysol hasn’t actually been tested for its ability to kill Ebola. It kills similar viruses, so it’s likely to kill Ebola. However, we like to imagine that researchers with samples of the virus are using it to work toward finding possible cures or vaccines, not testing the efficacy of cleaning solutions that are available at Walmart.

Vice takes a look back in consumer and public health history, pointing out that Lysol advertised its disinfecting power against the Spanish flu epidemic. Sure, Lysol also killed that version of influenza, but that virus was also more likely to be transmitted from person to person.

​Lysol Bought the Top Google Search Result for ‘Ebola’ [Motherboard]

29 Oct 18:58

Dressing Your Baby In A Marijuana Leaf Costume: Totally Chill Or Completely Inappropriate?

by Mary Beth Quirk

On the one hand, marijuana is legal for medical and recreational use in some states in our fair country, and the plant’s leaf is just another green thing that grows in the ground. But on the other hand, babies and marijuana.

In a move that surprises no one, in-the-news costume purveyor BrandsOnSale.com (See: Sexy/Regular Ebola Containment Suit) has a Baby Marijuana Costume for sale.

At least the company admits it’s a controversial move:

“This Halloween dress up your baby in our most outrageous costume yet! The baby marijuana plant costume is just the right combo of cute and edgy that is sure to get stares and laughs from everyone.”

Are you inclined to laugh or stare in steely judgment?

To the poll!

Take Our Poll
(H/T Gawker)
29 Oct 18:17

Halloween Eats: Free Bacon At Arby’s, $3 Burritos At Chipotle

by Chris Morran

While we’re still reeling from the revelation that Arby’s may be shorting customers on their fountain drinks, the fast food chain is doing one thing right this week — offering to give away free bacon to customers on Halloween.

The company says that on Oct. 31, it will bacon-up anything you order, including your shake, at no extra cost if you just say “Trick or meat” when you place the order.

Earlier today, Krispy Kreme announced that it will be giving out free doughnuts to folks in costume on Halloween.

Chipotle is offering $3 burritos (or salads, or tacos) to costumed customers who come in after 5 p.m. on Oct. 31.

And certain Baja Fresh stores are already offering free meals to kids in costume whose parents purchase a meal for themselves. There are various conditions on this deal, so check out the coupon before swooping in with your kids for free eats.

29 Oct 18:07

Reminder: Don’t Post Photos Of Your Paycheck On Social Media If You’d Like To Avoid ID Theft

by Mary Beth Quirk
(nffcnnr)

Cat equivalent of face-palm. (nffcnnr)

One way to be sure you aren’t sharing your financial information with the entire Internet? Don’t post it on social media by way of a paycheck made out to you. Yes, you should be proud that you’re raking in the dough. But if you want to keep your identity safe, plastering it on the web is not the way to go.

Federal prosecutors in Minnesota charged 28 people accused of being part of a conspiracy to cash counterfeit checks, reports CNNMoney, using the bank details of unsuspecting Instagram users who’d apparently posted selfies with paychecks, as well as others.

Just by searching #myfirstpaycheck, the group allegedly gleaned account numbers and bank routing information from victims, who displayed those details clearly in their photos.

The suspects also allegedly stole physical checks from workers and businesses as well.

The defendants are accused of then using that information to open new bank accounts, producing and then cashing counterfeit checks, to the tune of more than $2 million, according to the indictment.

“This case is representative of a recurring trend — the migration of traditional street criminals to white collar fraud,” Minnesota U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger said.

Noted: Do not put your financial information within easy, hashtaggable reach of strangers on the Internet.

#StealMyIdentity: Fraudsters use paycheck selfies to steal bank details [CNNMoney]

29 Oct 17:53

GameStop Decides To Give Employees The Day Off For Thanksgiving

by Chris Morran

GameStop is well known for often getting the jump on new video game releases by opening stores at midnight, so you might expect that the chain would be throwing open its doors as early as possible on Thanksgiving to get out ahead of the Black Friday competition. But today, the retailer announced that its workers won’t be enjoying their Thanksgiving dinner in between dealing with customers.

In a statement released today, the company says that none of its 6,600 stores will be open during the actual Thanksgiving holiday this year “out of respect for our store associates and their families and friends.”

“We believe it’s the right decision not only for our employees, but also for our customers,” says the company.

However, GameStop does still plan to open at midnight on Black Friday, so some employees will inevitably be up all night dealing with customers and praying for the dawn to come. At the very least, they will be doing so with full stomachs and maybe having watched some football with their families.

Costco recently confirmed that it, too, would not open on Thanksgiving. Other big-name retailers that are refusing to follow the trend of opening on the actual holiday include Dillard’s, Burlington Coat Factory, REI, and American Girl.

29 Oct 17:29

Krispy Kreme Handing Out Free Doughnuts On Halloween To Anyone In A Costume

by Mary Beth Quirk

ghostbustersdonutsWant a tasty treat but don’t want to spend any money? Dust off that witch hat/set of cat ears/football jersey/train conductor outfit and head to Krispy Kreme on Halloween for a free doughnut of your choice. You’ve gotta be in costume in the store, and it’s gotta be Oct. 31 only. Though feel free to wear a costume any day of the year that you like. [via Krispy Kreme on Facebook]