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05 Oct 22:43

9 Things We Learned About HSN’s $2.5 Billion Per Year TV-Commerce Operation

by Laura Northrup

(Barbara Wells)
You might not think about HSN very much, but that’s because you aren’t part of their target demographic: women over 35 who enjoy shopping but want to choose from a curated collection of stuff, maybe designed or at least endorsed by a familiar celebrity. If that doesn’t sound like a large portion of the population, you’d be surprised: HSN takes in $2.5 billion per year.

Racked sent a reporter to their studios in Florida to learn more.

  1. Yes, HSN really does take in $2.5 billion per year from shoppers watching at home, either over the phone or online.
  2. HSN knows a lot about you… if you’re a woman over 35 who likes to shop HSN. Their VP of marketing is really, really into their typical customer: “We love her. We talk about her all the time,” she said. “There’s not a minute of the day that goes by that we’re not thinking about her.” In a marketing context, that’s not creepy. Just intense.
  3. HSN uses wheelchairs to whisk on-air hosts quickly from one set to another. Crew members push them. Yes, the hosts can walk or even run, but if they did, they might get a hair out of place or be out of breath when they have to be back on the air within seconds.
  4. The real-time feedback is intense: on-air hosts can see monitors that show how well an item is selling, and they’re able to answer questions that customers ask when they call in immediately on the air.
  5. The only day the channel doesn’t run live is Christmas, when it plays pre-taped sales segments.
  6. HSN was an early version of the online flash sale: reality star and HSN fashion pitchwoman Guiliana Rancic says that she can sell 40,000 of one item in a day on HSN, which isn’t really how sales work elsewhere in the fashion industry.
  7. The idea of over-the-air shopping was born in 1977 when a Florida radio station received a box of can openers from a cash-poor advertiser, and sold them live on the air. It became a regular show, which spread to local public-access cable and then nationwide.
  8. About 43% of the company’s sales actually come in through the website, and those shoppers aren’t necessarily watching the channel live.
  9. Their website features arcade-style games for customers who feel at home with the brand but don’t want to go shopping right now.

HSN and the Power of the TV Shopper [Racked]

05 Oct 19:49

Costco Shrink Rays Bins Of Detergent Pods Ever So Slightly

by Laura Northrup

kirkland_podsThe Grocery Shrink Ray stealthily takes away small portions of all kinds of consumer products: food, beverages, personal care items, and cleaning supplies. Even the super-sized containers at Costco aren’t immune: 130 loads of laundry since his last purchase, Ed noticed that his newest container has fewer detergent pods in it than the last one.

His photo doesn’t show whether the two jars are the exact same size. If they are, that means Costco is using the opaque jars, first instituted for safety reasons, to mask how the jars are now 10 pods less full. That would have been more obvious back when the containers were made from clear plastic.

05 Oct 19:36

BP Must Pay $20.8 Billion In Finalized Settlement With Feds, Five States For 2010 Gulf Disaster

by Ashlee Kieler
(Bob Reck)

Three months after the Department of Justice and BP announced they had come to an agreement to put an end to the legal debacle related to the 2010 explosion at the Deepwater Horizon oil well in the Gulf of Mexico that left eleven people dead and released millions of gallons of oil into the water, the deal has been finalized for $20.8 billion — about $1.3 billion more than the oil company estimated in July. 

The Dept. of Justice today said that BP has agreed to pay $20.8 billion to put an end to five years of legal back-and-forth between the federal government, five Gulf Coast states — Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas — and the oil company.

Under the finalized agreement [PDF], which represents the largest Dept. of Justice settlement with a single company, BP will pay the $20.8 billion tab in installments over a 20-year period, with the first payments occurring one year from today.

The only major change to the settlement since it was first announced in July is a $1.3 billion increase in the amount of money earmarked for natural resource damages [NRD].

Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Monday that the payout related to NRD increased because BP previously didn’t account for $1 billion in restoration work the company had previously agreed to pay.

Representing the largest portion of the deal, the $8.1 billion in NRD funds will go toward federal and state efforts to repair these damages in the area of the spill.

The payment schedule, minus the $1 billion previously agreed upon, is as follows:

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 3.19.30 PM

The NRD money will fund Gulf restoration projects focused on marine mammals, fish and water column invertebrates, sturgeon, submerged aquatic vegetation, oysters, sea turtles, birds and lost recreational use, among others.

BP will also pay an additional $700 million, some of which is in the form of accrued interest, specifically to address any later-discovered natural resource conditions that were unknown at the time of the agreement and to assist in adaptive management needs, the Justice Department said in a statement about the settlement.

Back in July, it was reported that payments related to restoration would cost BP $7.1 million, with $232 million set aside for additional claims.

The company will also pay a $5.5 billion federal Clean Water Act penalty, plus interest.  Under the RESTORE Act, enacted in 2012 in response to the spill, 80% of the penalty will be allocated for environmental restoration, economic recovery projects, and tourism and seafood promotion in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.

The payment schedule is as follows:

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 3.16.34 PM

The settlement also stipulates that BP will pay $600 million for other claims, including those for the reimbursement of federal and state natural resource damage assessment costs and other unreimbursed federal expenses and to resolve a False Claims Act investigation due to this incident, the Dept. of Justice announced.

Separately, the oil company has entered into agreements to pay $4.9 billion to Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas and up to $1 billion to hundreds of local governments to settle claims of economic damages stemming from the massive spill.

“Building on prior actions against BP and its subsidiaries by the Department of Justice, this historic resolution is a strong and fitting response to the worst environmental disaster in American history,” Lynch said in a statement. “BP is receiving the punishment it deserves, while also providing critical compensation for the injuries it caused to the environment and the economy of the Gulf region.”

The settlement will now be published in the Federal Register and will be available for public comment for the next 60 days.

05 Oct 21:53

D.C. fire truck, cop car collide in Northwest

by wtopstaff

WASHINGTON — A D.C. firefighter and police officer have been taken to the hospital after a head-on crash in D.C. Monday afternoon.

Police say a fire truck had its lights on and was headed to a call when it was involved in a crash on Porter Street in Northwest D.C. at about 3 p.m. A Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson says a car drove in front of the fire truck, causing the fire truck to swerve and strike a police car parked alongside the road.

A police officer who was in the police car was transported to an area hospital as was a firefighter. The police officer had neck and back pain and the firefighter’s injuries are not known at this time. Both are expected to be OK, according to police.

Their names and districts are not yet known,

MPD tells me the fire truck — lights on -swerved to miss another car hitting the parked police car. #WTOP

— Mike Murillo (@MikeMurilloWTOP) October 5, 2015

The crash has caused Porter Street to be closed to traffic between Connecticut Avenue and Beach Drive.

WTOP’s Mike Murillo is at the scene. Stay with for update.

The post D.C. fire truck, cop car collide in Northwest appeared first on WTOP.

05 Oct 13:57

Pet of the Week: Cygnus

by Rachel Nania

WASHINGTON — Say hello to Cygnus, a darling black-mouth cur mix pup with the biggest brown eyes and most expressive ears.

At 8 months old, this little boy is playful, sweet and energetic. He loves to run around and chase his toys, and then comes over for a quick intermission cuddle. Cygnus is a bit timid around other dogs so he’s probably not a dog park kind of guy. Although with proper introductions, he might enjoy the company of a canine playmate.

Cygnus is looking for a home with a human companion who will give him love and exercise. Could that be you? If so, stop by the Washington Animal Rescue League and meet him soon.

About WARL: Founded in 1914, the Washington Animal Rescue League is the oldest animal shelter in Washington D.C. Its mission includes rescuing, rehabilitating and finding homes for animals who have no where else to go. The League also supports animals through affordable veterinary care, community outreach and education. Learn more about the Washington Animal Rescue League at

If you are thinking of adding a furry friend to your family, check out these other great shelters in the area:


Humane Society of Charles County
(301) 645-8181
71 Industrial Park Dr. PO Box 1015 Waldorf, Md. 20604

Humane Society of Charles County offers a low cost spay/neuter program to the public. Please call or visit our website for more information. The shelter is also looking for more foster parents to help its animals.

Prince George’s County Humane Society
(301) 262-5625
P.O. Box 925 Bowie, Md. 20718
Prince George’s County Humane Society is also looking for foster parents. For more information, contact the organization.

PAW — Partnership for Animal Welfare
(301) 572-4729
P.O. Box 1074 Greenbelt, Md. 20768

Paws Animal Kingdom
(301) 920-2318
P.O. Box 11531 Takoma Park, Md. 20912

Montgomery County Humane Society
(240) 773-5960
14645 Rothgeb Dr. Rockville, Md. 20850

The Animal Welfare League of Montgomery County
(301) 740-2511
12 Park Ave. Gaithersburg, Md. 20877


Washington Humane Society
(202) 576-6664
1201 New York Ave. NE 20002

ASAP — Alliance for Stray Animals and People
(202) 331-1330
P.O. Box 65438 Washington, D.C. 20035-5438

Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue
(202) 575-2210
Approved applicants may attend monthly adoption meets that are usually held at the house of a volunteer in either Northern Virginia or Southern Maryland.

Lucky Dog Animal Rescue
(202) 741-5428
Lucky Dog is a foster home organization and does not run a dedicated housing facility.

Northern Virginia

A Forever Home
(703) 961-8690
A Forever-Home is a nonprofit dog rescue group that operates in the Northern Virginia/Washington Metropolitan area.

Lab Rescue of L.R.C.P.
(301) 299-6756
Lab Rescue of the LRCP is a volunteer driven, nonprofit organization that rescues, fosters and places homeless, abused, and/or abandoned Labrador retrievers.

FOHA — Friends of Homeless Animals
(703) 385-0224
All visitors must speak to a Friends representative before receiving directions to their shelter location.

SPCA of Northern Virginia
P.O. Box 100220 Arlington, Va. 22210-3220
Animal Welfare League of Alexandria
(703) 746-4774
4101 Eisenhower Ave. Alexandria, Va. 22304

Animal Welfare League of Arlington
(703) 931-9241
2650 S. Arlington Mill Dr. Arlington, Va.

Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation
(703) 295-3647
P.O. Box 223953 Chantilly, Va. 20153

HART — Homeless Animal Rescue Team
(703) 691-HART
P.O. Box 7261 Fairfax Station, Va. 22039-7261

King Street Cats Rescue and Adoption
(703) 231-7199
25 Dove St. Alexandria, Va. 22314

Virginia German Shepard Rescue
(703) 435-2840
P.O. Box 126 Sterling, Va. 20167

The post Pet of the Week: Cygnus appeared first on WTOP.

05 Oct 22:28

DEBORAH SIMMONS: D.C.'s fire-ambulance crisis is a life-and-death matter - Washington Times

DEBORAH SIMMONS: D.C.'s fire-ambulance crisis is a life-and-death matter
Washington Times
Those words were recently strung together by D.C. Fire and EMS Chief Gregory Dean, and when such an official uses words as dire as those in his testimony, for the record, they spell one word: C-R-I-S-I-S.

04 Oct 23:20

Citizenship leads immigrants to integrate, not the other way around

by Cathleen O'Grady

In the midst of a heated global debate about immigration policies, a natural population-level experiment from Switzerland may provide some timely and relevant data for policymakers. It suggests that immigrants who gain citizenship in their new countries go on to have improved integration into the fabric of that country.

Obviously, establishing cause and effect here is very tricky: what if immigrants are only likely to apply for citizenship if they’re already well-integrated into society? Or what if only those immigrants who are well-integrated have their applications accepted? That makes it challenging to tell whether it’s the citizenship causing the integration, rather than the better integration encouraging to citizenship.

It’s an important issue to resolve, because it helps to clarify the question of what role citizenship plays in immigration policy. Some people argue that it should be an incentive, a benefit to be gained in exchange for working hard at integration. Others suggest that it should be a catalyst, helping immigrants become involved in their new societies.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

05 Oct 01:47

Man dead after stabbing in Manassas

by wtopstaff

WASHINGTON — A man is dead after a stabbing in Manassas, Virginia on Sunday.

According to Prince William County police, the stabbing happened after a “domestic altercation.” It happened around 4 p.m. in the 12700 block of Lost Creek Court, near Hoadly Road.

Police said the incident remains under investigation, and no additional information has been released. They say there is no public threat.

The post Man dead after stabbing in Manassas appeared first on WTOP.

05 Oct 01:50

Prince William County community calendar - Washington Post

Prince William County community calendar
Washington Post
Doggiepalooza The fundraiser for the K9 Gunner Memorial Dog Park includes contests, live music, a scavenger hunt and prizes. No retractable leashes. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. WaterWorks Waterpark, Andrew Leitch Park, 5301 Dale Blvd., Dale City. 703-680-7137.
Man dead after stabbing in Manassas, Va.WJLA
Fatal Stabbing Near

all 10 news articles »
03 Oct 13:00

Valve employee uses virtual reality to propose real-life marriage

by Sam Machkovech

Don't worry, there was an actual ring, too. (credit: Kelly Tortorice)

The HTC Vive virtual reality headset hasn't yet reached store shelves, meaning only a select few developers have gotten their hands on pre-release kits and explored the possibilities of "room-scale" VR. For one staffer at Valve Software, the Vive's official SteamVR partner, that meant an opportunity to claim first dibs on doing something nobody else has ever done with a Vive headset: propose marriage.

The news came from the bride-to-be's public Facebook feed, and the proposal took place in a Vive testing room at Valve's headquarters in Bellevue, WA. Kelly Tortorice had gone to the Valve offices—where her then-boyfriend, now-fiancé Chandler Murch works—under the pretenses of trying out a range of SteamVR demos (including the very-impressive Tilt Brush art app) that the company has shown off at various gaming expos in the past year.

"So there I was, typical day... on a sunken ship deck; fixing robots; painting three-dimensional fire; walking through the Alps," Tortorice wrote. "Suddenly, a virtual engagement ring started floating my way."

Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

03 Oct 14:00

Va. records third case of eastern equine encephalitis

by wtopstaff

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia has its third confirmed case of eastern equine encephalitis this year.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says the 19-week-old Racking filly from Chesapeake had not been vaccinated. The horse was euthanized Sept. 24 due to the severity of the illness.

The other cases of eastern equine encephalitis this year also involved horses from Chesapeake.

The disease has a mortality rate of 80 percent. Eastern equine encephalitis typically is transmitted by mosquitoes.

The state veterinarian encourages horse owners to work with their veterinarians to arrange a vaccination schedule.

Virginia had one reported case of encephalitis in a horse last year.

The post Va. records third case of eastern equine encephalitis appeared first on WTOP.

03 Oct 16:02

Prince William cop cleared of shooting crowbar-wielding man

by wtopstaff

A police officer involved in shooting a man wielding a crowbar is cleared following a preliminary review of the case.

Paul Ebert, Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney ruled that the September 23 shooting of Jonathan Alexander Diaz-Chavez, 22, of no fixed address, was justified.

Ebert says he carefully reviewed the evidence and the events leading up to the shooting and finds that the officers “were in reasonable fear of death or serious bodily harm.”

Police said a homeowner at the 7600 block of Lake Drive in Manassas reported an unknown man on her back deck. When police arrived they found Diaz-Chavez lying in a grassy area behind a nearby pumping station. According to police, Diaz-Chavez brandished a crowbar and police gave him “several commands” to drop it  as he walked toward them “in an aggressive manner while making verbal threats.”  Police pepper sprayed him in the face and then chased him across Bull Run Creek into Fairfax County.  After another confrontation, police say Diaz-Chavez came at them again with the crowbar, so one officer shot him in the upper body.

Diaz-Chavez, who survived the shooting, is charged with attempted aggravated malicious wounding of a police officer and has a court date of Nov. 18. Following the shooting he was taken to the hospital and then taken to the Prince William Adult Detention Center.

Officer Kevin Curry, a 17-year veteran of the PWC police department, is named as the officer involved in the shooting.

The police department’s chief says that a formal investigation into the shooting continues.

The post Prince William cop cleared of shooting crowbar-wielding man appeared first on WTOP.

03 Oct 18:33

Manassas Park police roll out 'Code Pink' cop car for cancer - WTOP


Manassas Park police roll out 'Code Pink' cop car for cancer
WASHINGTON — Some local men and women in blue are now riding in pink. The Manassas Park police department has unveiled a pink Ford Interceptor for the third year of what it calls “Code Pink.” The… Manassas Park police hope this pink Ford Interceptor ...

03 Oct 15:58

Prosecutor: Officer Who Shot Crowbar-Wielding Man Justified - CBS Local

CBS Local

Prosecutor: Officer Who Shot Crowbar-Wielding Man Justified
CBS Local
MANASSAS, Va. — The Sept. 23 shooting of a man wielding a crowbar was justified, prosecutors in Prince William County say. Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney Paul Ebert said in a statement Friday that the officers were “in reasonable fear of ...

and more »
02 Oct 22:43

Unconfirmed: Cupcake-Flavored Oreos Are Coming

by Laura Northrup

filledcupcakeNabisco vowed to stop the Oreo flavor leaks, but it looks like they’re back! This flavor appears to be… chocolate and creme filling. That’s not actually a flavor, but the theme is a filled chocolate cupcake. The leaker says that it’s due out in January 2016. As always, we’ll check with Nabisco, and they probably won’t answer. [Instagram]

02 Oct 19:38

CPSC: 129,000 Dishwashers Recalled Over Power Cords That May Burst Into Flames

by Mary Beth Quirk

SKUCalloutDetailsKenmoreEliBecause washing dishes shouldn’t result in a fiery inferno, the Consumer Product Safety Commission is recalling 129,000 dishwashers in the U.S., after reports that power cords used for multiple brands can overheat and burst into flame.

The dishwashers were sold under the labels Bosch, Gaggenau, Kenmore Elite and Thermador according to the CPSC, at a variety of appliance and specialty retailers, department stores, authorized builder distributors, home improvement stores nationwide and online between January 2009 and May 2014 for between $850 and $2600. An additional 45,000 washers sold in Canada are also included in the recall.

So far, 10 reports of fires have been linked to the dishwashers, causing property damage in five of those blazes — but no injuries have been reported.

Consumers are advised to stop using the appliances immediately, and call the recall hotline at 888-965-5813 to arrange for a free inspection and repair

Check the chart below for the brands and model numbers affected — the CPSC also has instructions on how to locate your washer’s serial number if you think it might be included in the recall:


02 Oct 16:52

Walmart Employee In Trouble Over Facebook Video Of Shoplifter Scuffle

by Chris Morran

We’ve told you before of Walmart employees who were fired for intervening in violent or potentially dangerous situations at the store, but here’s a story of a Walmart worker who’s in trouble for not stepping in. Of course, it doesn’t help that he posted video of the incident along with his wisecracking running commentary.

CBS Dallas has the tale of the Arlington, TX, Walmart employee who posted a video on Facebook of what appears to be a customer attempting to steal items during the self-checkout process. As he films the shopper, the employee mocks her efforts at thievery.

He then follows along as she tries to leave the store.

“Have fun,” he taunts, as someone grabs the bag containing the allegedly stolen items. “Have a good day.”

The cashier-cum-cameraman also got footage of the wannabe shoplifter getting into a scuffle with another woman in the parking lot.

Other employees stepped in to try to break up the fight while the cashier continued capturing it all on video.

That’s when he says something that probably sealed his fate at the retailer.

“Yup, and I let it happen,” he says to his own camera, “on the Walmart clock.”

Rather than just show the footage to pals privately, the employee posted it on his own Facebook page.

Not surprisingly, this didn’t go over well with Walmart HQ.

“This type of behavior by a Walmart associate is completely unacceptable,” the company tells CBS. “We are conducting an internal investigation into this matter at this time and will take action as appropriate.”

The employee who shot the video has apparently “resigned” from his gig at the store. No word on whether or not any other workers will be penalized.

02 Oct 14:31

8 Items You’ll Find Deals On In October

by Laura Northrup

(Mike Mozart)
The season is changing, and that doesn’t just mean pumpkin spice lattes and piles of leaves to jump in. It also means that shoppers can get deals on a mix of products from three different seasons in the coming months, if they know where and when to shop. Fortunately, our pals over at Consumer Reports watch prices on items as well as testing them, and here’s what they say you should shop for in October.

Bikes: As appropriate biking weather ends in areas of the country with four seasons, you can get great deals on bikes being cleared out for next year.

Computers: The back-to-school shopping season is over, but some computers are left behind.

Digital Cameras: We’re not sure why prices on these fall: maybe retailers want to clear out old stock before the holidays? Know your own camera needs and research what type is right for you before you start to shop.

Gas Grills: Yes, grilling season is over in much of the country: deal with your sadness by shopping for a new one for next year, maybe.

Lawn Mowers: This, too, will lurk in your garage until needed next year, but the discounts should console you.

Patio Furniture: They have to clear it out to make way for Christmas decorations, so there are deals to be found.

Sporting Goods: Items like camping gear and baseball items may be on sale in your local sporting good store.

Winter Clothing: Using impeccable fashion logic, you need to buy your winter coat long before winter starts. If you need one now, shop now that the first fashion collections of the season have come and gone.

8 Products on Deep Discount in October [Consumer Reports]

02 Oct 16:00

How to Groom a Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire terriers are known for their beautiful silky, flowing coats. However, these long beautiful coats need daily care to prevent tangling. Regular brushing is an essential part of grooming and you'll also need to shampoo and trim your dog to keep his coat in top shape. Effectively grooming your Yorkshire Terrier will keep him feeling comfortable, looking healthy, and happy.


Brushing Your Yorkshire Terrier

  1. Condition your dog's coat. If your Yorkie's coat is dry or has a skin condition that requires moisturizing, buy a spritzing coat conditioner to use before brushing. This helps strengthen the coat and avoid damage from splitting or tearing hairs. If your Yorkie's coat is naturally oily, you can skip conditioning since it might just weigh his coat down.[1]
    Groom a Yorkshire Terrier Step 2.jpg
    • You can also make your own conditioner. Mix 5 parts water and 1 part dog coat conditioner in a spritzer bottle.
  2. Brush sections of your dog's coat. Use a rubber backed pin brush which has metal pins tipped with plastic. Divide an area of your dog's coat into sections and brush from the root to tip with the lie of the hair. Brushing against the lie of the coat is uncomfortable and can lead to tangles. Proper brushing will condition your dog's hair by spreading natural oils throughout your dog's coat.[2]
    Groom a Yorkshire Terrier Step 5.jpg
    • A rubber backed brush will help grip onto the hair and keep hold of the sections.
    • You might want to start brushing an area like the shoulder where your dog is less sensitive and ticklish.
  3. Work out any knots. If you find small knots, work away at them with your fingers, teasing the knot apart. If it is stubborn and can't be worked out, use a comb and slide it between the base of the knot and the skin. Position a pair of scissors above the comb and snip the knot away. The comb protects the skin and keeps you from accidentally snipping it when the knot is raised.[3]
    Groom a Yorkshire Terrier Step 1.jpg
    • Look for knots in areas where the fur rubs together such as the armpits, groin and behind the ears.
    • Check under the tail to make sure there is no fecal soiling in the fur around the anus. If there is, consider bathing your dog, or snipping the soiled hair off if the soiling is extreme.
  4. Comb around your dog's face and ears. Use a comb to gently comb out the fur of your dog's face and ears. Work slowly and pay attention to if your dog starts moving so you don't accidentally poke him in the eye with the comb.[4]
    Groom a Yorkshire Terrier Step 15.jpg
    • You can also clean any buildup from around the rims of your dog's eyes using eye wipes. Be careful so you don't get the wipe into the eye, which can sting.

Bathing Your Yorkshire Terrier

  1. Prepare to bathe your dog. Remove any accessories your dog is wearing such as a collar, bows, or dog clothing. Set him on a comfortable spot on the floor or grooming table. If you use the floor, lay out a large, soft towel. This will also keep hair off the floor. If you use the grooming table, never leave him unattended in case he gets frightened and jumps down, which could lead to injury.
    • Before your bathe your dog, make sure he's been properly brushed. Use a pin brush to completely brush your Yorkie and then use a comb to completely brush him again. This will prevent tangling.
  2. Wet and shampoo your dog. Starting at the top of your Yorkie's head, wet his body completely. Take care not to get any water directly into the eyes. Make sure you wet all the way back to the end of his tail. Squirt some shampoo into your hands and work a lather from the top of your dog's neck to the end of the tail. Shampoo the outside of the ears, the legs, the chest, belly, featherings (the fringe or longer hair), and the rest of the body. To shampoo the head, start at the top and work down to the muzzle.[5]
    Groom a Yorkshire Terrier Step 22.jpg
    • Choose a creamy dog shampoo that will make your Yorkie's coat silky and soft. Look for a tearless shampoo, especially to use on the head. Avoid using shampoo formulated for humans because the pH balance is different and could irritate your dog's skin.
  3. Rinse out the shampoo. Use warm, clean water and rinse the shampoo out of your Yorkie's coat for at least three minutes. Keep rinsing until all the suds are removed and the water runs clear. If you don't get it all the shampoo out, the soap residue could irritate your dog's skin.
    Groom a Yorkshire Terrier Step 19.jpg
    • It may be easier to rinse your dog in a sink. If your dog is larger, you can also set him in the tub to rinse, but he may be frightened by the larger space.[6]
  4. Condition your dog's coat. If you are a using conditioner, squirt a dollop into your hands. Smooth the conditioner over the dog's body, beginning at the top of the neck and working down to the end of the tail. Get the outside of the ears, the legs, the chest, featherings and the rest of the body. Let the conditioner set for 5 to 10 minutes before rinsing off.[7]
    Groom a Yorkshire Terrier Step 23.jpg
    • Rinse the conditioner off for about 2 to 5 minutes.
  5. Brush and dry your dog. Let your dog shake the water off first. This can help to remove about half the water in his coat. Take a towel and rub gently all over the dog's body for about 20 seconds. By this point, your dog will still be damp, but no longer soaking wet. You can now take a pin brush and brush your your dog's coat. Repeat with a comb, but pay special attention to the featherings, ears, and tail. Comb these so that they sit straight.
    Groom a Yorkshire Terrier Step 26.jpg
    • You can also use your pet dryer or a human one on the coolest setting possible (also placed at least 10 inches from the dog and constantly moving). Blow dry your Yorkie while combing him, so that the hair stays straight.[8]

Caring For a Yorkie's Teeth, Nails, and Ears

  1. Prepare to brush your dog's teeth. Choose toothbrushes and toothpastes that are made for dogs. You may want to buy a tiny finger brush with plastic bristles (available at pet stores, catalogs, or from your veterinarian) which may be easier to use than a toothbrush. Clean the tooth brush or tiny finger brush by running it under hot water for a few seconds and rinsing in cold water for a few seconds. Do this before using it in your dog's mouth.
    Groom a Yorkshire Terrier Step 11.jpg
    • Do not use human toothpaste because the high fluoride content can make your Yorkie sick if he swallows it.[9]
  2. Brush your dog's teeth daily. Squirt a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on the toothbrush. Gently move your dog's lip upward so you can see the teeth. Rub the toothpaste on the teeth and don't worry about rinsing since dog toothpastes are designed for your dog to lick away.[10]
    Groom a Yorkshire Terrier Step 13.jpg
    • Yorkies are prone to tartar buildup on their teeth. This buildup can lead to gum recession and the teeth eventually loosening. Brushing is important to prevent tartar buildup and painful, costly dental surgeries.
  3. Clip your dog's nails. Take dog nail clippers and hold your dog's foot firmly in your hand. Pay attention to the shape of the nails and look for the quick. The quick is a blood vessel and nerve that appears dark. Avoid cutting this. Instead, only cut the tip of the nail. If you're unsure where the quick is or how far back to clip, try buffing the point off the nail with a coarse emery board.
    Groom a Yorkshire Terrier Step 17.jpg
    • If you do accidentally cut into the quick, it may bleed a lot, but won't be fatal. You can stop the bleeding by covering it with a little styptic powder.[11]
    • If it's your first time clipping your Yorkie's nails, you may want someone knowledgeable to show you how to clip the nails. Or, it may just be helpful to have the person hold your dog while you do the trimming.
  4. Tweeze inside your dog's ears. Take your tweezers and gently pluck the hair inside the ear. This is optional, as some argue it can make the ears sore and inflame the skin, causing infection. Others believe plucking can improve air circulation within the ear canal, preventing infections.[12]
    • Many veterinarians advise a middle path which is not to pluck unless your dog gets regular ear infections. In this case, plucking can help ear drops penetrate deeper into the ear canal.[13]
  5. Clean inside your dog's ears. If you see wax, usually brown or black, you'll need to use ear wipes or an ear cleaner to remove it. Avoid putting water into your dog's ears, since it will soften the skin and could lead to infection. Instead, squirt a cleanser into your dog's ear and rub it in a circular motion. Place a cotton ball right under the flap and tip your dog's head toward it, so the solution drains out. Wipe out any remaining solution with a clean cotton ball.[14]
    Groom a Yorkshire Terrier Step 10.jpg
    • Never poke anything into the ear canal, even a cotton bud. But, don't be too afraid to clean your dog's ears. It's almost impossible to touch a dog's eardrum, let alone rupture it through routine cleaning. Dogs have "L" shaped ear canals, so as long as you clean straight downwards into the ear canal, the eardrum is not accessible.

Trimming Your Yorkshire Terrier

  1. Trim the hair on your dog's feet. Choose grooming scissors that have a blunt end. This keeps the tips from piercing your dog if he moves unexpectedly while you're trimming.[15] Gently, but firmly hold your dog's foreleg and clip the extra hair between the pads. Cut the hair on the front of the foot in a semi-circle, leaving the hair on top of the paws alone.[16]
    • Using other scissors may thin your dog's hair too much or create split ends.
    • Since the hair on your dog's feet grows quickly, check the length every month to make sure it doesn't drag and interfere with your dog's walking.[17]
  2. Clip your dog's featherings. Try to clip all the featherings, including the beard, at an equal length. You should occasionally trim the featherings, even if you're trying to grow out your Yorkie's coat. Just make sure not to much, if that's the case.
    Groom a Yorkshire Terrier Step 27.jpg
    • Clipping your dog's featherings is a completely personal preference. You may want to find reference photos of looks that you like. For example, a popular cut is the "puppy dog clip", which has the top third of the ears clipped short so the ears stay pricked up and the hair along the jawline is clipped straight.[18]
  3. Groom your dog's top knot. To do this, brush the hair thoroughly so there are no tangles in the hair. Pull a section of hair on the top of your dog's head as though you're making a ponytail. Secure it with a comfortable band and tease the secured hair to make it appear larger. Gather it again on the top of the head and secure it with another band, clip, or bow.[19]
    Groom a Yorkshire Terrier Step 25.jpg
    • You may want to add a few drops of gel to keep hairs in place.
    • If your Yorkie is a show dog, you'll need to groom his top knot.
  4. Have your dog professionally groomed every year. It's a good idea to send your dog to a professional groomer three or four times a year to keep him looking his best. If your dog is a show dog, he'll need a more complicated trim which involves growing the hair to floor length.
    Groom a Yorkshire Terrier Step 29.jpg
    • A show Yorkie should be professionally trimmed every few months.


  • If your dog is a show dog, there should be no traces of any substance but water in the coat after bathing.
  • If your dog's coat is static, you can spray an anti-static (most waterless shampoos work as anti-statics) lightly over the coat. Then comb your dog.
  • Bathe your Yorkshire Terrier every few weeks. Bathing more frequently can strip the coat of natural oils, causing skin problems.

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

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02 Oct 09:09

Final pitch to add private ambulances in D.C.

by Andrew Mollenbeck

WASHINGTON — Fire Chief Gregory Dean on Thursday described a dire ambulance shortage to a D.C. Council committee, just days before a vote on an emergency bill to supplement service with private ambulances.

After a six-month review of the department, the newly installed chief determined it didn’t have sufficient resources to do the job, particularly in responding to ambulance calls.

“Both our people and our equipment are overwhelmed — and on a daily basis,” he told the committee.

The full council is set to vote Oct. 6 on emergency legislation which would temporarily contract with private ambulances to handle low-priority calls.

A surge in calls, setting record highs each month, has strained the fleet. One city official, who did not speak at the hearing, said ambulances were “being run into the ground.”

Over a seven-year period, the ambulance fleet was static, but calls increased 28 percent and patient transports increased 40 percent, Dean said.

“Although we expect delivery of new, refurbished or leased transport units by the end of fiscal 2016, our planned replacement schedule will only allow us to create a sufficient reserve fleet and maintain the status quo,” he says.

Ambulances are in nearly continuous use, leaving little time for vehicle maintenance and repairs.

Council members have largely supported the temporary fix, while having numerous questions about the details.

It’s unclear how many private ambulances would even be sufficient to fill the gap.

“Every time we work with a third party to supposedly create efficiency and build time and cost savings, I’ve seen none of it,” says Councilmember At-Large Elissa Silverman.

During peak call periods, D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services often has no available ambulances.

It has increasingly relied on mutual aid from neighboring counties. In other cases, critically injured patients have been transported by fire trucks.

The post Final pitch to add private ambulances in D.C. appeared first on WTOP.

02 Oct 04:46

T-Mobile, Experian Data Breach Exposes Personal Info For 15M Consumers

by Chris Morran

tmoneversettleSome bad news to start off October — hackers stole personal information for around 15 million consumers from a database of T-Mobile customers and applicants that was held by Experian.

According to Experian, the breach revealed the following information about affected consumers: name, address, Social Security number, date of birth, identification number (i.e., driver’s license, military ID, or passport number) and any additional information used in T- Mobile’s credit assessment process. The company says that no payment card or bank account info was included in the theft.

The compromised data comes from anyone who applied for a T-Mobile account after Sept. 1, 2013 and before Sept. 16, 2015.

The law requires that creditors maintain records of all credit applicants for 25 months in case it’s needed to answer questions or resolve disputes. Because of this requirement, the hackers were able to access all that historical info.

Even though it didn’t include credit card or bank account info, a clever ID thief can do a lot with the stolen information. So far, Experian says it has seen no evidence that the data has been used, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be sold to scammy buyers eventually.

Anyone who applied for a new contract or financed a phone through T-Mobile in the last two years should keep a vigilant eye on their bank and card accounts. Alert your bank and card issuer if you see anything out of the ordinary.

Additionally, Experian is asking anyone who might be affected to go to if they want to register for two years of free credit monitoring.

Customers can also call 866-369-0422 or send an e-mail to if they have questions.

T-Mobile is putting blame for the breach squarely on the shoulders of Experian.

“Obviously I am incredibly angry about this data breach and we will institute a thorough review of our relationship with Experian,” reads a letter from T-Mo CEO John Legere to his customers, “but right now my top concern and first focus is assisting any and all consumers affected. I take our customer and prospective customer privacy VERY seriously. This is no small issue for us. I do want to assure our customers that neither T-Mobile’s systems nor network were part of this intrusion and this did not involve any payment card numbers or bank account information.”

01 Oct 19:13

National Park Service Hiking Entry Fees At 130 Parks To Raise Money Needed For Repairs

by Mary Beth Quirk

Before you head to Yosemite or Yellowstone for your next trip, you might want to check the price of admission: the National Park Service is hiking entry fees at 130 locations in order to raise money it needs to fix trails, bridges, and buildings visitors use every day. In some cases, prices will double, or even triple.

Passes for Yosemite in California, for example, will jump from $20 to $30 for a single vehicle entry, the Rocky Mountain in Colorado will see an annual pass go from $40 to $80 and an annual pass for the Everglades will now cost $40 instead of $25.

Fees for camping, showering, paddleboating, and cave tours at 176 parks will also see a hike, reports the Washington Post.

The National Park Service needs $11.5 billion to do all the repairs necessary to keep up with the 293 million people who visit the parks each year, National Parks director Jonathan Jarvis told the Associated Press.

“We cannot greet them with rundown facilities,” he told the Associated Press.

Most parks haven’t seen entry fees go up since 2008, or some, since 2006. Fee increases were put on hold during the recession, so people would still show up.

If you’re not into paying entry fees, there are two days coming up where all parks will be free to access: on Oct. 8, to celebrate “Senior Skip Day,” says a rep from the NPS, as well as Veterans Day, Nov. 11. If you want extras like camping or boats, you’ll still have to pay for those services and reservations.

01 Oct 18:24

How Drug Companies Use “Product Hopping” To Fight Off Affordable Generic Drugs

by Chris Morran

The makers of Doryx are currently being sued by a company that claims last-minute tweaks to the acne medication have delayed the availability of a generic equivalent.
You’re probably used to the idea of your doctor prescribing you a brand-name drug and your pharmacist automatically substituting a lower-cost generic equivalent that saves you, the drugstore, and your insurer money. But there’s practice known in the industry as “product hopping” that brand-name drug makers can use to repeatedly delay generic versions from reaching consumers.

Getting a new drug on the market is a costly and time-consuming process, which is why brand-name drugs have exclusivity windows that last for years. The lack of competition lets them determine the price, recoup their expenses, and make a profit.

Creating a generic equivalent used to also require significant time and effort to get FDA approval, but the 1984 Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act (aka Hatch-Waxman Act) abbreviated the process so long as the generic was equivalent to the original.

Additionally, for decades states have allowed pharmacists to substitute “AB-rated,” therapeutically equivalent generics for brand-names unless the patient or physician demands otherwise. But for a drug to get that AB rating from the Food and Drug Administration it must, among other factors, not only contain the same active pharmaceutical ingredient as the brand-name drug, but also the same dosage and form.

And this is where “product hopping” comes in.

Imagine you’re the head of a drug company that’s bringing in a pile of cash for your popular brand-name product Morranicillin. You know that the patent on this wonder drug is set to expire in the not so distant future and that GenericCorpUSA is waiting in the wings to introduce a cheaper equivalent that will immediately decimate your market share because most pharmacies will automatically start swapping out the new generic.

But in order for that generic version of Morranicillin to be auto-swapped at the pharmacy, it needs to be virtually identical. So in advance of the generic launch, you tweak the dosage of standard Morranicillin, or switch the standard version from tablets to capsules.

Each time you do this, GenericCorpUSA needs to revise its generic to match. At the same time, the makers of Morranicillin stop selling the older, slightly different version of the drug and flood doctors’ offices with free samples of the version for which there isn’t a ready generic equivalent.

Studies show that doctors often don’t think about the cost of a particular drug they prescribe.

“Doctors’ ignorance of costs, combined with their tendency to underestimate the price of expensive drugs and overestimate the price of inexpensive ones, demonstrate a lack of appreciation of the large difference in cost between inexpensive and expensive drugs,” concluded the authors of one 2007 study.

Additionally, once doctors find something that works, many tend to stick with that brand even when a generic becomes available.

In a brief [PDF] filed with a federal appeals court this week, the Federal Trade Commission argues that, through product hopping, a “brand-name manufacturer’s well-timed tweaks to its drugs can thus create an ever-retreating horizon of generic competition at the expense of consumers.”

The FTC’s brief is related to a lawsuit between two drug companies — Warner Chilcott, maker of brand-name acne drug Doryx, and Mylan, which is seeking to release a generic version.

Mylan accuses Warner Chilcott of violating federal antitrust laws by engaging in three different product hop reformulations of Doryx. The suit claims these changes were or no therapeutic benefit to patients and only served to delay the release of a true generic equivalent for Doryx.

The FTC isn’t necessarily siding with Mylan in this lawsuit, but the agency does believe that the U.S. District Court judge erred in granting summary judgment to Warner Chilcott.

In granting that judgment, the court ruled that Doryx was readily interchangeable with other oral tetracyclines and therefore no reasonable juror could believe that Warner Chilcott had monopoly power.

And even though the court accepted Mylan’s argument that the Doryx product hopping was done “primarily to defeat generic competition,” it also said that Mylan could have invested money to advertise and market its generic product if it wanted to compete with Doryx, rather than relying on the “regulatory windfall” provided by automatic substitution at the pharmacy.

The FTC counters in its brief that the District Court exhibited a “basic misunderstanding of the special characteristics of the pharmaceutical marketplace.”

The agency argues that automatic substitution is necessary to address the “disconnect between prescribing physicians and payors” that “often insulates brand-name prescription drugs from effective price competition.” It contends that without the ready availability of an AB-rated generic, “a given drug may be priced at monopoly levels even if other drugs are therapeutically similar.”

And while product hopping might not be illegal, the FTC says it can sometimes be evidence of monopoly power.

“The manufacturer of a brand-name drug generally undertakes a product hop to preserve high profits that generic versions of the same drug would undercut but that no alternative drug, competing in the same market, has yet disciplined,” explains the brief. “If such a broader market existed, competition from those alternative drugs should already have driven down the price for the brand-name drug, and a brand company would thus normally have little incentive to make minor product changes solely to defeat generic entry.”

The FTC points to the recent Second Circuit opinion [PDF] in a lawsuit filed by the state of New York against drug maker Actavis. The drug company was accused of pulling nearly all of its Namenda IR Alzheimer’s drug from the market shortly before the patent expired, and making a push on the new Namenda XR drug with a patent that protects the company through 2029. By shifting doctors away from prescribing IR, Actavis took away opportunities for generic drug makers to offer a lower-cost version of the original.

In that case, the Second Circuit concluded that the forced switch was anticompetitive because it had the “effect of significantly reducing usage of rivals’ products” in order to protect the Namenda monopoly.

This ruling, argues the FTC, contradicts the conclusion of the lower court in the Mylan case.

The Second Circuit also held that to make an antitrust case, “generics need not be barred ‘from all means of distribution’ if they are ‘bar[red]… from the cost-efficient ones,'” and that when it comes to generic drugs automatic substitution is “the only cost-efficient means of competing available to generic manufacturers.”

Whether product hopping is a matter of legally trying to protect one’s investment or a predatory, anticompetitive practice will likely be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court at some point. Regardless of whether it’s legal, it does highlight the importance of talking to your physician to make sure you’re not being prescribed a brand-name drug just because they haven’t thought about a possible lower-cost generic.

01 Oct 17:15

The Chip-And-PIN Credit Card Era Starts Today. What You Need To Know

by Ashlee Kieler

Over the past few months, you may have noticed more retailers adorning their checkout stands with shiny new credit card readers. While those systems still have an area along the side where you swipe your card’s magnetic strip, they also have a smaller slot (typically) on the front where you simply jam gently insert your card. This is all part of the country’s shift toward more secure, but far from perfect, chip-enabled cards that kicks into high-gear today.

To ensure that customers’ credit card information doesn’t end up in the hands of ne’er-do-wells, credit card companies today implemented a shift in liability that means retailers who haven’t implemented the new EMV systems will be responsible for any fraudulent purchases made with a chip-enabled card.

Under the EMV system — named for EuroPay, MasterCard and Visa and already in use in many parts of the world — consumers will use a smartcard embedded with a microchip and provide their PIN (or a signature) to complete a transaction. The chips make reproducing a card difficult for criminals. Even if the credit card information is gathered, without the chip, the card is useless for in-person transactions.

With the liability shift, first announced by Visa and MasterCard back in 2012, non-gas station retailers who don’t have the systems up and running will assume all liability if an incident of fraud occurs.

That means if a merchant is using the old swipe-and-sign system they are responsible for the cost of fraudulent charges if the customer has a chip card. If the merchant has the proper chip-and-PIN system but the bank hasn’t issued a new chip-and-PIN card to the customer, then the bank is liable.

There are some exceptions to the accountability shift. While changes take place today for Visa, MasterCard and Discover, ABC News points out that American Express won’t shift liability until Oct. 16.

Additionally, the change won’t affect some businesses, mainly gas stations, for a while: Automated Fuel Dispensers (pay at pump) transactions won’t make the change until October 1, 2017.

A survey of 600 small business owners compiled by Wells Fargo earlier this year found that more than half of those who accept point-of-sale card payments were unaware of the requirement change to EMV chip card technology.

Nearly 51% of the small business owners that took part in the survey say they were unaware that after October 1, they would be liable to cover the costs of any fraudulent transactions.

Of the business owners who currently accept point-of-sale card payments, only 31% said their systems are capable of accepting chip-enabled cards.

So what exactly does today’s push for retailers to move to EMV chip-enabled card readers mean for consumers?

Not a lot, really — aside from learning a new way to pay at the register and having a bit of piece-of-mind that your sensitive payment information is more secure.

Instead of simply swiping your card like you’ve done for years, the new terminals require customers to insert their card into a small slot at the front of the machine.

The system then scans the card, reading the chip, which – in my experience – can take a few seconds. The screen then instructs you to either sign your name or enter a PIN and remove the card. (Don’t remove it until you have permission, or you’ll have to repeat the process.)

While the new system is more secure than traditional swipe-and-sign payment methods, customers can continue to use magnetic strip cards if they have them.

Because some businesses haven’t made the transition to EMV, consumers will likely encounter the swipe method for months or years to come.

Still, Sean McQuay, a credit card expert at NerdWallet, tells ABC News that people should be wary of stores forcing them to use the swipe method, noting that the ” terminals will become the path of least resistance for theft.”

Customers should also be aware that the new cards have limitations in their security. For example, it doesn’t necessarily prevent an ID thief from using stolen card numbers for online or phone purchases. There is no such thing as a card that is 100% safe from clever criminals.

[Via ABC News]

01 Oct 15:39

Would You Send No-Show Wedding Guests A Bill For Their Uneaten Dinners?

by Mary Beth Quirk

(via KARE-11)
It’s always a bummer to have to back out of plans you’ve been looking forward to at the last minute, but one Minnesota couple says their regret over missing a relative’s wedding turned to confusion when the newlyweds sent them a bill for the dinner they didn’t get a chance to eat.

The couple were getting ready for a night out a few weeks ago, when the woman’s mom called and said she wouldn’t be able to babysit their kids, reports KARE-11.

Since the invitations said no children, that meant they’d have to stay home that night. She explained to ABC News that she didn’t call or text the bride and groom, because when she and her husband had gotten hitched, the last thing she wanted was extra phone calls on that day.

“We had discussed if we should contact anyone and decided against it because, coincidentally enough, we’d had people RSVP and no-show to our wedding and I knew when I got married I didn’t want to be bothered with phone calls on the day of my wedding,” she explained. “I just assumed, I guess, that we’d let them know the situation later on.”

Then this week, she says they received a bill for the dinner they didn’t get to eat — $75. 90 for two herb crusted walleye, as well as a service and tax charge.

“This cost reflects the amount paid by the bride and groom for meals that were RSVP’d for, reimbursement and explanation for no show, card, call or text would be appreciated,” the note read.

She says they threw out the invoice and don’t plan to pay it, but that she and her husband will likely give a check to charity instead, and send the newlyweds the receipt.

In this situation, etiquette experts (and a little bit of common sense) say that while you should never send someone a bill if they can’t make it to a wedding, the considerate thing to do is to notify hosts as soon as possible if you can’t attend. To that end, however, couples should plan for some guests to be no-shows… or for others to show up unexpectedly.

“General rule is prepare for about 10% of overage or underage when you’re planning a big event like that and catering companies are well aware of this,” Sarah Baumann Rogers, editor of Minnesota Bride, told KARE-11.

The couple in question wanted to remain anonymous, but issued a statement to the couple via ABC about the bill hooplah:

“We apologize for not being tactful in expressing our disappointment in your absence. We waited three weeks after the wedding for any correspondence and received nothing, this along with your last minute RSVP caused us to act on emotion rather than logic,” the statement read.

What would you do in this situation? Take the poll below to weigh in:

Take Our Poll

Guest gets bill after not showing up to wedding [KARE-11]
Minnesota Woman Says She Was Billed by Bride for Missing Wedding [ABC News]

30 Sep 13:31

Prince William County community calendar, Oct. 1-7, 2015 - Washington Post

Prince William County community calendar, Oct. 1-7, 2015
Washington Post
Old Town Manassas walking tour Costumed interpreters share stories about the city during and after the Civil War. Thursday-Friday at noon, Manassas Museum, 9101 Prince William St., Manassas. 703-368-1873. $5. Candidates ...

and more »
30 Sep 13:34

Prince William County adopt a pet - Washington Post

Prince William County adopt a pet
Washington Post
Tina (ID 6374) is an adult cat and has been spayed. TJ (ID 6804) is a neutered terrier and it is best that he is one's only pet. The Prince William County Animal Shelter, 14807 Bristow Rd., Manassas, makes animals available for adoption by residents of ...

and more »
30 Sep 22:19

9 Things We Learned About Why Better Business Bureau Ratings Don’t Mean Much

by Laura Northrup

(amboo who?)
In a lengthy nationwide investigation of Better Business Bureaus across the country, CNN interviewed businesses, consumers, and watchdogs, ultimately learning that how consumers see the organizations as something different, and a good grade from a local Bureau doesn’t guarantee that a business is trustworthy.
  1. The Better Business Bureau isn’t a government entity that serves as a consumer watchdog: you’ll need to contact your state attorney general for that.
  2. There isn’t one single Better Business Bureau covering the whole country: there’s more than 100, which together form the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
  3. The Council does have standards: the former BBB in Los Angeles was shut down after a blogger managed to gain accreditation for the terrorist group Hamas, a prank that was aired on ABC News’ “20/20” in 2011.
  4. Your local Better Business Bureau doesn’t claim to be a consumer watchdog: if you ask (and CNN did) they will claim to be a mediator between consumers and businesses when problems come up.
  5. Companies maintain their good rating if they’re able to “resolve” their complaints, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the customer will be satisfied.
  6. Companies under investigation or actually charged with wrongdoing by government entities can maintain a pristine BBB rating: for example, settling with the federal government over allegedly filing illegal debt collection suits against members of the military didn’t affect the rating of Military Credit Services.
  7. Having active lawsuits from a customer doesn’t necessarily lower a business’s grade.
  8. Local BBBs earn most of their money from dues paid by members, and some former members report their ratings plummeting after they decided not to renew.
  9. Businesses claim that local BBBs put more effort in notifying members than non-members about complaints, when not responding to complaints tanks their rating.

Slammed by the government, A-rated by the Better Business Bureau [CNN]

30 Sep 21:15

Target Charges $1 Extra If You Want Your Applesauce In A Bigger Box

by Laura Northrup

Perhaps Target’s goal is to simplify our lives, reducing the number of boxes that we have to carry out of their stores. Probably not, though. There is no logic behind Target math, but at least now they’ll price match to a store with more logical pricing.

Stuart sent along these examples from his local Target. A box containing four packets of applesauce costs $2…


Put three times as many in a single box, and that’ll cost you an extra dollar.


This may be because it’s harder to stock and move around the larger boxes, but it still makes no retail sense. The last time we checked, Target was in the retail business.

30 Sep 18:42

That Guy Holding A Sign On The Side Of The Road Could Be A Cop Looking For Drivers Breaking The Law

by Mary Beth Quirk

So you’re stopped at a traffic light, when you see something interesting out the window. Of course, you pull out your phone and snap a photo to let all your friends on social media see whatever crazy thing you just saw — which is exactly what New Hampshire police think you’ll do, in violation of the state’s laws on cell phone use behind the wheel. And sometimes, that spectacle by the side of the road has been staged by law enforcement to catch you in the act.

In one recent example, a woman received a $124 ticket after she snapped a photo at a red light of a man with a sign around his neck reading, “Repent! The end is near!” reports the Associated Press.

She said her daughter begged her to take the photo with her phone, and now she’s regretting fulfilling that request: shortly after she took the photo she was pulled over and told the man with the sign was an undercover officer — and he’d just seen her breaking the state’s new law against using phones or other electronic devices while driving.

She says she doesn’t usually use her phone behind the wheel, but was unaware that the new law applies to vehicles that are stopped at stop signs or traffic lights. Her plan is to appeal the ticket.

“I just think it’s a stinky way to do it,” she told the AP of her experience, which was first reported by Foster’s Daily Democrat. “Granted, should I have said no to my daughter? Probably, yes. But I wasn’t even thinking of the law at the time.”

New Hampshire isn’t the only state where police departments are coming up with new ways to take down drivers using their phones behind the wheel: state police in New York use unmarked SUVs to help officers get a peek at drivers’ hands from a higher vantage point, while in California, San Bernardino police officers have posed as panhandlers… but with signs that say they’re not homeless, they’re just looking for seatbelt and cell phone violations.

One police chief in New Hampshire said when the law first took effect in July, he didn’t see as many drivers using their phones. The problem has returned, however, prompting the department to think creatively.

“About two weeks ago, I was sitting in an unmarked car watching traffic, and everyone and their brother was on their phone,” he said. “So we were looking at innovative ways to maybe come down on people.”

Repent! Undercover New Hampshire cops nab cell ban violators [Associated Press]