If you're a member of the "no iron" club, there are plenty of methods to keep wrinkle free. This trick speeds up the classic spray bottle technique.
If you're a member of the "no iron" club, there are plenty of methods to keep wrinkle free. This trick speeds up the classic spray bottle technique.
I suspect there isn't a person in the world who hasn't had trouble trying to find a wall stud when hanging a picture, shelf, or TV mount. Most stud finders are inconsistent at best. In lieu of buying yet another tool, here are a few tips for finding a stud without any fancy equipment.
Younger generations of Americans are turning against frozen and processed food in general, and even the pseudo-foodie makeover couldn’t rehabilitate the image of Hot Pockets. However, Bloomberg Businessweek points out another problem for low-cost frozen foods like Hot Pockets: at the end of last year, temporary increases to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), what were once called “food stamps,” began in 2009 and expired at the end of 2013. Hot Pocket sales fell when recipients’ SNAP allowances did.
“For our Hot Pockets brand, it was not surprising to understand the value our products offered to the SNAP consumer,” a Nestle spokeswoman told Businessweek, and a Nestle executive specifically mentioned SNAP recipients as a factor in Hot Pocket sales during a recent sales call.
Every Food Trend Goes Against Slumping Hot Pockets, Even Government Spending [Bloomberg Businessweek]
Yes, the idea of falling in love with a dog in a pet store is so ingrained in our national ideas about pets that there was even a popular song about it.
Adopting a pet on impulse is rarely a good idea, even if you’re not drunk. However, that’s not why the industry is moving away from selling dogs in stores. Years of campaigns by animal welfare organizations have turned many pet lovers against the large commercial dog-breeding facilities required to keep stores nationwide supplied with puppies. While the U.S. Department of Agriculture does inspect these facilities, that doesn’t mean that they’re where you picture the parents of your family’s beloved Maltese living.
“The regulation of breeders is so poor that all it really does is give consumers and the general public a false sense of security that their dogs are coming from a humane environment when they’re not,” Cori Menkin of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals explained to NPR.
That doesn’t mean buying puppies is out of fashion. NPR spoke to the owner of two Petland stores in Florida who has one store that sells nothing but puppies and supplies for new puppies, and another full-service pet store that still makes 85% of its revenue from puppy sales and puppy supplies. Yet some municipalities, including one of the towns where she has a store, have proposed bans on the sale of puppies. Some of these bans have passed.
Large national chains like Petsmart and Petco have moved to a model where they do not sell dogs or cats, though, instead opening up space in their stores to house animals from local rescue groups, and having rescue clinics on store grounds. These happen to drum up business for pet supplies, too: why not pick up some food for your new cat, since you’re already inside a pet store?
Consumerist reader Michael noticed that his “22 oz.” Arby’s cup only holds 21 ounces of liquid. A quick look at the underside of the cup (see below) confirms that this cup can’t possibly hold the amount of liquid advertised.
Consumerist reader Michael recently bought a small drink from an Arby’s in Ohio. And printed right on the Arby’s-branded paper cup it clearly states “22 oz.”
But then Michael noticed some text on the underside of that same cup that states “21 oz.”
Since you can’t put 22 ounces of liquid into a 21 oz. cup, Michael busted out the old measuring cup to confirm that the cup does indeed hold the smaller volume of liquid.
Michael says he’s not terribly upset about the shortchanging — after all, 21 oz. is still quite a bit of drink for a small size — but it does bring up the question of how widespread this particular apparent mislabeling might be, and how long Arby’s has been selling drinks in these particular cups.
To see if this issue was relegated to just the franchise visited by Michael in Ohio, we sent a Consumerist reporter to buy a small soda at an Arby’s in Arlington, VA.
Lo and behold, these cups also stated 22 oz. on the outside of the cup and 21 oz. on the underside. And the measuring cup test confirmed that the Arby’s cup could only hold 21 ounces.
We also looked at other sizes of drinks available from Arby’s, but only the “22 oz.” cups were different from the size printed by the manufacturer on the underside.
When reached for comment on this issue, a rep for Arby’s would only tell Consumerist, “Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We are looking into the matter.”
Fast food customers already get less than they pay for at the soda fountain thanks to the huge volume of ice used to water down most soft drinks; no company should be using mislabeled cups — which could be in violation of the law — to give customers even less value.
We have brought this story to the attention of the offices of the Attorneys General for Ohio and Virginia to ask which, if any, state laws might apply to the labeling/size of fountain sodas and where consumers in these states can go if they believe they are being shortchanged. If we hear anything back, we will update.
A lone bear cub was spotted hanging out around Ashland, OR, reports KGW.com, visiting a hotel first.
That proved uninteresting to our protagonist, who hopped out a window and headed across the street to check out the Rite Aid.
Once in the store, shoppers snapped pics of his wanderings, as he walked the aisles solo, until police were able to scoop him up in a shopping basket.
His mother wasn’t spotted nearby, and it’s doubtful she’d take him back now that he’s got the stink of humans on him. Je’s now in the care of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife who will keep him until he can be moved to a rehab center or zoo.
Hope that trip to Rite Aid was worth it, buddy — he’ll never return to roaming in the wild, due to his sojourn into the world of humans.
Touting bouncing toys as therapy tools used to develop balance and coordination skills, SkyMall points out that this way, “hot dogs can finally be healthy” (though who wants a healthy hot dog if you can’t even eat the darn thing?).
I’m also curious as to what makes this inflatable bouncing toy a hot dog — sure, it’s got a vague hot doggish color, but what kind of a hot dog has to label itself as HOT DOG”? And where’s the bun? Not to mention condiments. It might as well be a bouncing slug, for all that it’s got that very portly, un-hotdoglike shape and little nubbins on the top.
Consider my jumping hot dog dreams unfulfilled, until there’s a more realistic version, at least.
*Thanks to Jenny, lover of all things hot dog related, for the tip!
This cat isn’t thrilled about paying monthly rent, either. (Melisa Bernard)
The Associated Press reports that pet security deposits and monthly pet rent has become the norm for the millions of pet owners living in apartments and rental properties across the nation.
Pet security deposits can reach into the hundreds of dollars, while rental payments range anywhere from $10 to $50 per month. In many cases, the fees are non-refundable.
Some pet owners, like Los Angeles-based Fred, say they’re feeling the pinch and are often faced with choosing between their pets and a place to live. He recently moved out of an apartment that was charging $50 a month for him to keep his Pomeranian.
“They are exploiting the fact that more and more people have pets,” he said. “First they ask for a deposit, then rent. How much more are they going to try and squeeze out of us?”
Tammy Kotula, a spokesperson for online listing subscription service Apartments.com, says just two years ago the pet rents were rather unheard of.
According to a renter surveys from Apartments.com, 78% of renters say they paid a pet deposit, up from 63% that paid one the following year. Of the residents who paid deposits, 29% reported paying monthly pet rent this year, another increase from 20% that paid last year.
While many rental and property management companies use the funds brought in from pet deposits and monthly rentals to pay for things like dog-poop picker-uppers and cleaning services when a resident moves out, others have added the cost to boost their bottom-line.
A manager of over 400 properties in Oregon tells the AP she added a monthly fee and deposit after she was told the charge was becoming the norm and that it could help boost revenue.
“One out of 50 people will say, ‘I can’t believe you charge pet rent,’ but most accept it,” she says.
The woman’s properties charge a $500 deposit and $20 a month for dogs, while cats have a $10 monthly fee and a $400 deposit.
A rental company in Maple Grove, MN, charges $40 per month for dogs, with a deposit between $400 and $600.
A quick survey of my Consumerist brethren found a mixed bag when it comes to pet policies in the areas we call home.
Like I previously mentioned, I’d love to have a cat (or 9), but pet ownership has been vetoed for now.
But if we do join the club, we’ll have to abide by our Arlington, VA, apartment company’s policy, which only allows cats. Residents can have a maximum of two cats for which they must pay $30 per month per cat, and that’s after forking over a $300 initial pet fee.
Kate, who also live in Arlington, recalls paying a flat fee of $150 to her property management company when her family adopted a cat five years ago. The one-time, flat-rate fee, which covers up to two cats, has since increased to $200. No dogs are allowed in her building.
Mary Beth in New York says she’s never paid a monthly fee or deposit for her cat. Lucky!
Fido will cost you: Pet rents become apartment fad [The Associated Press]
A team at our parent company, Consumer Reports, is working on a project that needs your help. Click over to Crowdsignal.org and take a short quiz about your mobile phone carrier’s performance to contribute.
Fairfax County Animal Watch
No incidents were reported by the Animal Control Division of the Fairfax County Police Department. For information, call 703-246-2253. FAIRFAX CITY. The following incidents were reported by the animal control section of the Fairfax City Police Department.
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Depending on the type of food, “organic” could mean that a packaged product has no genetically modified ingredients, that a vegetable was grown without synthetic fertilizers, or that a meat animal was raised without the use of growth hormone injections or antibiotics. For other products, what it should mean is clear: organic cotton fabric, for example, comes from cotton plants grown using organic agriculture methods.
When it comes to shampoo or dry cleaners, though, how do you know that something marketed as “organic” really meets the standards? What are the standards for organic shampoo, anyway? There is no government body regulating what that word means and certifying products. Industries have their own certifications, but the average consumer doesn’t know what “NSF/ANSI 305” means, or know to look for that on the label of their soap.
The Associated Press reports that this leaves consumers in a difficult spot, and end up depending on retailers. Whole Foods, for example, set its own standards for body care products in the absence of any government agencies overseeing that industry. They have a list of ingredients that are banned, like triclosan and microbeads.
The meaning of ‘organic’ hazy for nonfood items [Associated Press]
With limited options, the Pennsylvania clerk says she chose Raid wasp and bee killer after a woman dressed all in black with a mask over her face walked into the store late Sunday night.
“That’s a heads up anyway,” she deadpanned to WJACTV.com about the mask. “Then she throws this black bag on the counter and tells me, ‘Put the money in the bag,’ and I’m like, ‘What?’ So she says it again and I’m like, ‘Excuse me?'”
That’s when she grabbed the can of bug spray and waited, giving the woman a chance to leave, as seen in the surveillance footage. After she stayed put, PFFFFFFFT out comes a spray of insecticide, shooting the suspect right in the face.
“She just stood there and then started walking out the door and I kept spraying her as she was walking,” the clerk said.
Although authorities warn others in similar circumstances not to confront someone who could be armed, the clerk says that’s the very reason she reached for the only weapon she could find.
“When she pulled her hands back towards herself, I didn’t know if she had anything on her and I wasn’t letting her get to it first,” she explained. “I just got mad. I’ve got better thing to do with my night than that.”
She described the woman as having a deep voice, with long brown hair and thick eyebrows, and someone who will definitely be avoiding Raid for a while.
It also left behind a sac filled with hundreds of spider eggs, reports the Daily Mail, eggs that would’ve eventually hatched and turned just as deadly as their apparent parent. Though who knows, the giant spider in the bananas might’ve just been the babysitter.
In any case, the family says it was “deeply traumatized” by the unexpected arachnid delivered to their South London home by a company called Waitrose.
The father managed to trap the spider at one point, pinning its leg in the fruit bowl, it just chewed that appendage off and escaped.
The family called supermarket and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, but both said they weren’t equipped to deal with the spider, whose venom can kill within two hours. The police were no help either, but Waitrose eventually sent a pest control expert, who was able to corral the spider with a three-foot stick and lock it into three boxes, calling the thing “hardcore.”
He also found the sac of spider eggs, and stuck them in the freezer to kill them.
The dad managed to take pictures of it, though the family fled the house for the evening, unable to rest easy with the beast in the house.
“We were terrified. We got ourselves and our kids out of the house straight away,” he said.
“The safety of our customers is our absolute priority,” Waitrose said in a statement. “We did everything we could to look after our customer during what was a distressing incident and we’ve apologised personally. Although this is highly unusual, we’re taking it very seriously and will be working with our supplier to minimise the risk of this happening again.”
The chain offered the family £150 of shopping vouchers and a family day out to make up for the scary experience. I would probably demand a new brain so I could forget what had just happened.
Here at Consumerist, we pretend to hate holiday mashups while secretly loving them. Still, we have to admit that we were a little confused when we saw that Hallmark now has Halloween ornaments. Yes, it’s a long-established fact that the gift chain puts its Christmas ornament collection out in July, but we thought they were just that. Christmas tree ornaments. Not so.
Here’s the rather blurry photo that tipster Beth sent us of the display at her local Hallmark store. The ornament label is hard to read, but the one with the pumpkin is called “Happy Halloween.”
That raises many questions. “Is this a Halloween-themed ornament for Christmas, or a Christmas-style ornament for Halloween?” Beth asked. We were confused, too, so we took her question to Hallmark.
A Hallmark spokesperson explained that the ornaments are “intended for Halloween decorating.” Wait, Halloween trees are a thing other than at Hobby Lobby? Yes. Yes, they are. Hallmark sells Halloween ornaments, which make sense when you see them in context with the rest of the collection. Maybe not so much when they’re placed in a display among Christmas ornaments.
Their spokesperson explained:
Halloween is second to Christmas in holiday decorating, so we hear a lot from our consumers that they want this type of product. Some people like to decorate with “Halloween trees.” There may be some consumers who carry the Halloween ornaments over to Christmas, but the intent is for celebrating Halloween. Of course, people can use the ornaments however they’d like, and people do tend to get creative!
Well, we can’t disagree with that. People are entitled to use ornaments however they like. The pumpkin ornament makes sense in this context, and is adorable either way. That doesn’t mean I’m putting up a Halloween tree, though.
Since it first began marketing stuffed-crust pizza, the flavor wizards oer at Pizza Hut have found some very strange things to stuff in there. Marmite? Sure. Fish eggs? Yum. Apple turnovers? Sounds great! Most of the more interesting variations have come out of Pizza Hut’s international branches, and maybe it’s no coincidence that these are doing better. Here’s another example: a pizza surrounded by dough-wrapped fancy sausages, available in Luxembourg.
Brand Eating reports that the sausage is called mettwurst, and is a smoked and cured pork sausage with origins in Germany. The pizza comes with mustard for dipping, presumably after you tear the part that looks like pigs in blankets off the rest of the crust. The mustard is also a regional specialty.
Pizza Hut has produced crusts stuffed with hot dogs, but with the hot dogs rolled up inside the crust lengthwise. This looks more like a combination pizza and appetizer tray, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
This Pizza Hut Pizza is Stuffed with Fancy Sausage [Brand Eating]
The outage started around midnight Pacific time. Calls routed through the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) in Colorado that couldn’t be routed were supposed to go through a PSAP in Miami instead, but a coding error meant that the system in Colorado had no idea that there was a problem. Instead of going to Miami, thousands of call went nowhere.
If you’re interested in the technical reasons for the outage, you can read up about it in the FCC’s full report, but the reasons for the outage are problems with the phone system as a whole. We really have two different 911 systems operating right now: the legacy systems that have run phone and emergency services for years tended to be located near their customers, not across the country. Now that telecoms are switching to an Internet Protocol-based phone system, emergency systems are switching as well.
Giantmicrobes Inc. has sold out of all three of its Ebola offerings, including the original plush toy as well as the gigantic Ebola Virus and the Ebola Petri Dish selections.
The company promotes the toys as “uniquely contagious,” as part of its roster of gag gifts that it says also serve an educational purpose.
“Since its discovery in 1976, Ebola has become the T. Rex of microbes,” the company says on the Ebola listing, reiterating that you do not want to get real Ebola. The toy, sure. But not the virus that has killed thousands of people in the latest outbreak, mostly in West Africa.
“You do not want to get Ebola,” warns the website. “A short incubation period of 2 to 21 days presages symptoms which include fever, aches, sore throat, and weakness, followed by diarrhea, stomach pain, vomiting, and both internal and external bleeding. And then, for between 50-90 percent of victims, death.”
There’s always Cholera or Norovirus to cuddle up with at night.
According to a new survey by CreditCards.com, nearly half of America is at least giving some thought to avoiding stores that have been the subject of a data breach.
The good news for the retailers, is that only 16% of survey respondents said they would definitely not shop at a store that had been recently hacked. That means that the overwhelming majority of Americans have not completely written these particular businesses off just yet.
Interestingly, those consumers with the most to lose from ID theft — people earning $75,000/year or more — were significantly more likely than shoppers earning $30,000/year or less to forgive retailers and try again.
Female survey respondents were also more likely than males to let breach bygones be bygones, with 56% of women saying they would either definitely or probably shop at a store where a security breach had occurred, compared to 48% of men.
In terms of age, the older the consumer, the less willing they were to be bitten by the breach bug twice. According to the survey 55% of people over the age of 65 would avoid a store with a recent data breach, compared to 41% for those in the 30-49 age group.
What will ultimately determine whether or not previous hacks keep shoppers away is how the 29% of shoppers who says they would “probably not” shop at these stores behave. A lot of people claim “never again,” but only a few ever hold true to that pledge when it comes to retail businesses, especially if they really liked that store before the hack.
“I’m guessing a lot of people have the initial emotional reaction of, ‘Wow, I don’t want to shop there anymore if they’re going to be that loose with that data,'” explains David Just, professor of applied economics management and director of graduate studies at Cornell University. “Your initial response is fear. You feel like you’ve been violated. You don’t know what’s going to happen to your credit.”
One’s decision to forgive a retailer for a data breach may be tied to how integral that store is to one’s shopping plans.
“It depends on the type of retailer,” says Jeff Foresman, information security compliance lead at Rook Security in Indianapolis. “A retailer such as Target where consumers have other options for shopping might lead people to shop elsewhere. But if a building contractor has a business account at Home Depot, he won’t necessarily go elsewhere after a breach.”Take Our Poll
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