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The Consumerist

Unofficial Calorie Count For Arby’s Meat Mountain: There Are Worse Things You Could Eat

Thu, 2014-08-28 16:50

Reddit user The_Motivated_Man tallied up the various ingredients in the Meat Mountain to reach this unofficial calorie count.

Reddit user The_Motivated_Man tallied up the various ingredients in the Meat Mountain to reach this unofficial calorie count.

For the last few days, the Internet has become more than a little obsessed with the Arby’s Meat Mountain, a pile of protein including roast beef, ham, turkey, steak, bacon, brisket, chicken tenders, and various cheeses. While you might initially think that this would be off the calorie charts, an unofficial tally of the nutrition info shows that it’s not even in the range of many chain restaurant calorie bombs.

Redditor The_Motivated_Man took on the challenge of breaking down the components of the Meat Mountain to see what it would all add up to. You can see his results above.

If accurate, the Meat Mountain is indeed a massive amount of calories (1,275), but that’s only about 2/3 of the recommended daily calorie total for most people. But it wouldn’t even put the sandwich on this year’s list of the most calorie-filled chain restaurant items.

CHECK OUT OUR ROUNDUP OF READER-SUBMITTED MEAT MOUNTAIN PHOTOS!

The lowest calorie count on that list was 1,500 (for the Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory), while some items, like Joe’s Crab Shack’s The Big “Hook” Up meal, crossed the 3,000 calorie line. By comparison, the Meat Mountain looks like light fare.

While 1,275 calories is nothing to sneeze at, the bigger concern for some Arby’s customers may be the sodium count. At 3,536mg, that’s significantly more than the recommended daily maximums.

Of course, this is all very unofficial an unscientific. The Mountains will likely vary greatly from Arby’s to Arby’s. So don’t take these numbers as gospel.

The Hamptons Can’t Even With This Rosé Shortage Right Now

Thu, 2014-08-28 16:42
(ChrisGoldNY)

(ChrisGoldNY)

If ever there was a time for the residents of the Hamptons to not even be able deal with a situation right now, it would be this moment: There have been reports that wine stores in that posh part of Long Island are running low on rosé wine. Will everyone just have to go thirsty? Aren’t we living in like, 2014? It’s the future, people. I can’t even. [insert relevant hashtag].

As breathlessly reported by that esteemed chronicler of the lifestyles of the New York wannabe famous set, Page Six, wine stores in the Hamptons are running “dangerously low” on rosé this weekend.

Why, might you ask, are the good denizens of the Hamptons suffering so from the lack of their summer beverage of choice? Because they’ve already guzzled it all.

We hear rumblings that restaurants and wine shops are low on local favorite Wölffer Estate, as well as imports like Domaines Ott and Chateau d’Esclans’ Whispering Angel, because the summering hordes have been tirelessly swilling all season long.

Page Six goes on to list which stores out of each particular rosé, including one shop that has ordered an “emergency” pallet.

Let’s all hope it doesn’t get as bad as 2012, when, apparently, Page Six notes, “rosé was running so low by Labor Day, some stores limited customers to four bottles apiece.”

!!!FOUR!!!!!EACH! Please. Have you even met the Hamptons?

It’s also worth reading this very funny Gothamist take on the shortage, even just for the “Greyer Gardens” tent I sort of want to live in. Correction! Very much want to live in.

Rosé running dangerously low in the Hamptons [Page Six]

Amazon Wants College Students To Join Prime, Offers Cash And Scholarships

Thu, 2014-08-28 16:39

Students who are heading to college can find scholarships from a wide variety of sources, but did you ever expect to see one from Amazon? The Amazon Student scholarship uses all of the usual criteria to select its winners: GPA, extracurricular activities, and test scores. It’s also only open to members of Amazon Student, the version of Amazon Prime meant to hook college students.

Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 10.36.36 AM

There are apparently fifty scholarships available to full-time students at accredited not-for-profit colleges in the United States. The other part of Amazon’s offering of cash to college students is much simpler than accepting scholarship applications: they’re offering ten bucks each to students who convince their friends to sign up for the Student program.

Originally, Amazon Student was free for as long as customers were on college, and offered a limited set of Prime benefits to students. Now the plan is a little bit different: students can still receive those limited benefits for free for six months, which include free 2-day shipping, but not streaming video, music, or the all-you-can-read Kindle library. After six months, Amazon Student members have to pay up for the regular Prime program, but at half price. For that, they receive the full set of Prime benefits.

Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 10.34.39 AM

Amazon Student Scholarship [Amazon]

After Denial, Dairy Queen Admits It Was Victim Of Hack

Thu, 2014-08-28 16:16

(The Joy of the Mundane)

(The Joy of the Mundane)

After initially denying reports of data breaches at a number of its stores, soft-serve royalty Dairy Queen has finally admitted data breaches at a currently undisclosed number of locations.

On Tuesday, cybersecurity expert Brian Krebs wrote that he’d been hearing reports for weeks that DQ customer payment data had been compromised by hackers, but couldn’t confirm these rumors. Then his bank sources began telling him they had detected a pattern of fraud on cards that had all recently been used at Dairy Queen stores in several states.

At the time, a rep for DQ HQ in Minnesota said the company had received no reports of data breaches from its stores. But DQ locations are almost all franchised, and the company inexplicably has no policy requiring that franchisees alert HQ in the event of a security breach or problem with their card processing systems.

But last night, DQ HQ admitted to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that “customer data at a limited number of stores may be at risk.”

“We are gathering information from a number of sources, including law enforcement, credit card companies and processors,” said the company in a statement that doesn’t reveal the number of stores or locations involved.

Atlanta Walmart Receives Early Morning Delivery When Woman Gives Birth In The Store

Thu, 2014-08-28 15:41

(Ben Schumin)

(Ben Schumin)

So far this year we’ve reported on two women who gave birth in the parking lots of separate Walmart stores. This week, a woman finally made it inside the store before welcoming her bundle of joy.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that a woman delivered her baby in the early morning hours on Tuesday.

The woman was inside the store shortly after 5 a.m. on Tuesday when her baby made its debut before paramedics could arrive.

A spokesperson for the ambulance company tells AJC that the baby was crying when paramedics arrived, but appeared to be fine – along with the new mom.

The baby and woman were transported to an area hospital for evaluation.

It’s unclear whether the woman was an employee of the store or if she was a customer. The AJC’s request for comment was not immediately returned by Walmart’s corporate office.

Woman gives birth inside Roswell Walmart [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

Everyone Is Freaking Out Because Hello Kitty Isn’t A Cat

Thu, 2014-08-28 15:38

(frankieleon)

(frankieleon)

You know those days when you learn something about the world and suddenly everything shifts to one side and it feels like all your thoughts are just spilling out of your brain like so many useless, wrong facts? That’s how many people are apparently feeling upon learning this week that Hello Kitty, that ubiquitous face that launched a bajillion cute products, is not, in fact, a cat.

Who could issue such a life-changing pronouncement? An anthropologist who’s spent years studying the Sanrio character, Christine R. Yano. As part of her upcoming gig curating “Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty,” opening in OCtober at the Japanese American National Museum, she shed light on a few things about Hello Kitty to the Los Angeles Times and promptly freaked everyone out.

Yano says she was right there with the rest of the world — describing Hello Kitty as a cat in the written information for the exhibit.

“I was corrected — very firmly,” she says. “That’s one correction Sanrio made for my script for the show. Hello Kitty is not a cat.”

Here is where we pause for effect.

SO WHAT IS SHE?!? She has funny ears and whiskery things and she sure seems like, well, a kitty cat who might like to purr and hang out on your lap right at the moment you need to get up and do something.

“She’s a cartoon character. She is a little girl. She is a friend. But she is not a cat,” explains Yano. “She’s never depicted on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature. She does have a pet cat of her own, however, and it’s called Charmmy Kitty.”

Note to cat owners: If Mr. Fuzzybottomsnuggletimes starts carrying a purse and asks for his own pet, something is afoot. It’s only a matter of time, now that everything has changed.

Hello Kitty is not a cat, plus more reveals before her L.A. tour [Los Angeles Times]

JPMorgan Chase, At Least Four Other Banks Hit By Hackers In Coordinated Attacks

Thu, 2014-08-28 15:21
(Digiart2001 | jason.kuffer)

(Digiart2001 | jason.kuffer)

No one is too big to get hacked — and that includes JPMorgan Chase and at least four other banks that were hit by hackers earlier this month. The FBI is investigating the blitzes, which seem to be sophisticated, coordinated cyberattacks that grabbed gigagbytes of data.

According to sources cited by the New York Times, hackers grabbed information including checking and savings account information, but no one is quite clear on why the hackers went after the banks or what they’ll do with the information.

The FBI and several security firms are reportedly trying to figure out whether the attacks were aimed at trying to reap financial reward or gather intelligence in an effort to spy on Western banks.

Thus far, there are no numbers on how many, if any customers have been or will be affected, but one source says JPMorgan hasn’t seen fraud levels shoot up.

“Companies of our size unfortunately experience cyberattacks nearly every day,” said a JPMorgan spokeswoman. “We have multiple layers of defense to counteract any threats and constantly monitor fraud levels.”

An FBI spokesman added that the agency is coordinating with the Secret Service as well.

“Combating cyberthreats and criminals remains a top priority for the United States government,” he said.

So now we just wait and see — and as always, keep an eye on your bank accounts, safeguard your passwords and monitor all your information for fraud.

JPMorgan and Other Banks Struck by Hackers [New York Times]

Plan Your Thanksgiving Centerpiece Before Labor Day

Thu, 2014-08-28 00:04

ross_halloweenI feel conflicted. On the one hand, the gradual creep of the beginning of “fall” means that we get Pumpkin Spice Lattes before Labor Day, and…well, that’s pretty much the only advantage I can think of, but I like lattes. Stores have to fill shelves with something now that back-to-school season is over in most of the country, but it’s still August. That is far too early to be thinking about Thanksgiving decorations.

Yet here we are. Well, here reader Tim is. While shopping at the discount store Ross, he noticed a shelf full of turkeys and pumpkins. The pumpkins, we can excuse: it is almost actual fall, and Halloween is two months off. Is Thanksgiving really such a decoration-intensive holiday that we need to start planning centerpieces three months in advance?

No… I don’t really want to know the answer to that question.

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Have You Experienced An Infestation Of Car Spiders?

Wed, 2014-08-27 23:30

(Richard Bartz)

(Richard Bartz)

After posting about today’s recall of Suzuki Kizashi sedans that are susceptible to cracked fuel lines due to spider webs, we learned that the problem isn’t limited to Mazda and Suzuki vehicles. There have been reports of other spider-infested ventilation systems from at least two other companies, Honda and Hyundai.

You haven’t heard about it simply because companies haven’t recalled the affected cars, so the companies wouldn’t have to deal with bad publicity that mostly consists of people writing, “AAAHHH! SPIDERS!” (We’re guilty of that.) A member of the extended Consumerist family had a negative pressure problem with her fuel system due to spider webs, and the dealership blamed her for…parking near spiders, apparently.

It raises many interesting questions: why are these spiders attracted to gasoline? Are these Japanese and Korean car companies using a common part from a common supplier in all of these models that is particularly welcoming to spiders?

That’s why we’re turning to you, our readers. Consumerist Hive Mind, have you experienced a spider infestation in your own car’s fuel venting system, or in any other gas-using vehicles or appliances that you own? Suzuki and Honda make off-roading vehicles: do spiders get in there, too?

If you have firsthand experience with this, or can put us in touch with someone who does, please let us know at tips@consumerist.com. Put SPIDERCAR in the subject line.

Here Are All The Photos Of Arby’s Meat Mountain Sandwiches We’ve Gotten So Far

Wed, 2014-08-27 23:00

We learned something this week, and it’s that people like taking photos of their off-menu Arby’s Meat Mountains and sending them to us. In the spirit of convenience, we figured we’d put’em all in one place. You know, before this Meat Mountain thing blows over, or erupts or whatever it is mountains do when you’re sick of hearing about them and how much meat they have.

The more Meat Mountains we see, the more we’ve come to appreciate their differences. Each one is like a meat snowflake, unique in its posture, the texture of its bun, and the way the layers of meat are piled just so. These sandwiches seem to be falling into one of three categories, or Meat Mountain Ranges, if you will.

And I will:

THE “PRETTY ONE”
geoffMM

If you get this sandwich, workers at your Arby’s are excited about the new gimmick and aren’t tired of making it yet. Yet.

For example, here’s Consumerist reader Geoff’s experience getting that sandwich above that appears ready for its closeup. Geoff has probably the prettiest Meat Mountain we’ve seen thus far, maybe because by now, this whole Meat Mountain thing is catching on and getting workers excited to make it, too.

“They all crowded around and chuckled while it got made, and when they handed it to me, the shift manager said, still grinning, ‘If you’re gonna have a heart attack, don’t do it here, OK?’ ” writes Geoff.

You can see the love it was made with in its presentation — evenly placed, alternating meat layers, thoughtfully placed cheese and a sturdy bun that can contain its insides, at least until the first bite. That’s The Pretty One.

Another example, as photographed by Consumerist reader Michael:

michaelMMFB

THE “JUST EAT ME ALREADY”
matthewMM

Mostly self-explanatory. Matthew’s sandwich and its brethren barely realize they are not simply piles of meat, but are also supposed to serve as a single sandwich entity. These pieces of meat are trying to escape, after being unceremoniously dumped on the sacrificial bun. That’s why it’s blurry, the meat is trying to get away.

THE ONE YOU ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF EATING RIGHT NOW

Doug's sandwich.

Doug’s sandwich.

Something about these sandwiches has made you stop and reflect on what happens to a sandwich while it’s being eaten, and to take a photo of that moment, capturing each and every layer as evidence of your conquest.The result? A challenge. Because you have to finish what you started.

(@yourbizman)

(@yourbizman)

 

THE “WE DIDN’T KNOW WHAT WE WERE DOING YET”

You will always be our first.

You will always be our first.

It seems like only a few days ago that we first heard of the Meat Mountain, because it was. And on that day, our earliest submissions from Joe and Derek just show that Arby’s workers were as surprised by the sandwich as everyone else was.

“They had to call someone to find how how to ring it up and get a print out of how to make it after showing them the Consumerist article,” wrote Derek.

Leaning towers of meat with haphazardly placed layers and a bun that can’t possibly stand up to all those ingredients is a sure sign that you’re dealing with an inexperienced Meat Mountain maker. It all ends up in your stomach though anyway, right?

Such enthusiasm in days of yore!

Such enthusiasm in days of yore!

ConAgra May Face Federal Misdemeanor Charges For 2007 Tainted Peanut Butter Case

Wed, 2014-08-27 22:34

Image (1) peanut2.png for post 5296338Do you remember what you ate eight years ago? The government does. Maybe. People who filed recall claims for Peter Pan or Great Value (Walmart) peanut butters that were recalled in 2007 received a letter this week notifying them that they were victims of a crime. A crime? Yes, ConAgra Foods may face misdemeanor charges for its role in a salmonella outbreak that made hundreds of people ill.

No, this isn’t the Peanut Corporation of America salmonella outbreak in 2009, or the Sundland salmonella outbreak in 2012. This case is about an earlier peanut butter Salmonella outbreak that you may not even remember. Peanut butter from a ConAgra plant was recalled in early 2007, with 425 confirmed cases of illness, about 20% of whom ended up hospitalized. There were probably many more people who were infected, but not seriously enough that they saw a health care professional.

Wait, though…giving people the runs is a crime? It can be. While no charges have been filed yet against ConAgra, the company may be charged with a misdemeanor under the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act. Since you can’t put a corporation in prison, the plea deal would probably involve a fine. Don’t cry for ConAgra, though: they told shareholders in their annual report that, after already spending more than $14 million on matters related to the recall, the company’s profits won’t be affected.

After taking into account liabilities recorded for these matters, we believe the ultimate resolution of this matter should not have a material adverse effect on our financial conditions, results of operations, or liquidity.

The most likely scenario, according to ConAgra itself, will be a plea deal. Since you can’t throw a company in jail, they will probably have to pay fines.

Don’t confuse these charges with the class action suit filed against ConAgra back in 2007 by people who became ill, but weren’t interested in ConAgra’s offer of a free jar of peanut butter.

The Department of Justice has a site set up where victims can find out about public court dates and the progress of the case. The site isn’t live yet, but when it is, you can find it by clicking here.

The timing is interesting, with another peanut butter outbreak and recall happening right now. Also, executives of PCA, the company behind the 2009 peanut butter recall, are currently on trial, charged with felonies under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act. The executives themselves are on trial, not the company, which is now defunct.

Petition Asks LEGO To Realize That Science Isn’t A Limited-Time Job For Women

Wed, 2014-08-27 22:31

P1070985m4Earlier this year, LEGO woke up from its swingin’ ’60s Don Draper haze and realized that women scientists exist and — hey! – maybe it would be a good idea to reflect that reality in its vast line of minifigs. The resulting set — featuring an astronomer, a paleontologist, and a chemist, all female — went on sale recently and sold out quickly, never to return. But some say LEGO should consider bringing on these female scientists for a full-time gig.

The idea for the LEGO Research Institute came from Ellen Kooijman, a female geochemist and LEGO fan whose proposal on the LEGO Ideas platform quickly garnered the 10,000 votes needed for consideration. Then the sets went on sale and sold like hotcakes, both because of the appeal and because some people just love LEGO.

But because the Research Institute was a fan-created set, it was only available for a limited time, and a rep for the company confirmed to the NY Times last week that there are no plans to resurrect it.

In the hopes of changing LEGO’s mind, more than 1,500 people have already signed a petition asking the company to bring back these female scientist minifigs and make them permanent.

“A large section of LEGO’s customer base is female,” reads the petition, “an even larger section have used their voices and wallets consistently for three years to communicate they are wanting, ready for, and will purchase sets like the sold out LEGO Ideas Research Institute… With proven market demand why would LEGO not make more of these?”

In her review of the minifigs, Kooijman had a number of nice things to say about the final product, but did offer a couple of criticisms from a real scientist.

“I strongly discourage wearing make-up in the lab, because it may cause contamination of the samples,” she writes. “I’m surprised they didn’t give her protective gloves though, like the previously released scientist figure had. In my personal version I will definitely change that, because safety comes first!”

S.C. Supreme Court: You Can Get Workers’ Compensation For Company Kickball Injuries

Wed, 2014-08-27 22:13

(Fixa.tv)

(Fixa.tv)

Sure, you’re a team player, and I don’t mean that only in that annoying officespeak, but during actual sporting events where you play on a team. So what happens if you get injured playing kickball or softball at a company event? One court says employees could be eligible for workers’ compensation in those cases.

The South Carolina Supreme Court ruled today that a worker who shattered two bones in his leg during a company team-building kickball event should get workers’ compensation.

Workers’ comp commissioners in the state had denied his claim at first, as participating in such things is voluntary. An appeals court upheld that ruling, reports the Associated Press, which brought it to the state Supreme Court.

While it’s an employee’s choice to be on a company team and they can show up or not, the court said in ruling for the employee, in this case the worker had worked with his boss to organize the event. Because he was in charge, the game became part of his job — he basically had to be there.

As justices noted, the man’s boss said he would’ve been “surprised and shocked” if he hadn’t showed.

“Although the event may have been voluntary for company employees generally, the undisputed facts unequivocally indicate [the worker] was expected to attend as part of his professional duties,” the court wrote.

Dissenting justices wrote, however, that even though he would’ve had to be there, there’s nothing that said he was required to play.

State court: Workers’ comp OK for kickball injury [The Associated Press]

Chipotle CEO Details Why His Company Is Better Than Other “Irrelevant” Fast Food Chains

Wed, 2014-08-27 21:59

(Adam Fagen)

Most mega fast food chains are being pulled in two directions these days — trying to satisfy those consumers who want quality ingredients and healthier options, while also pushing bottom-dollar value menu items to diners whose primary goal is to eat something fast and cheap. It would seem like one of these would have to win out in the long run, and according to the co-CEO of Chipotle, the cheap and easy route will soon be a thing of the past.

In an interview with The Street, Chipotle co-CEO Monty Moran says the company is taking down traditional fast food, which he deems “irrelevant,” by opening more locations and showing customers that the other chains don’t care as much about the consumer or their employees.

“By traditional fast food I mean where the predominant goal is the cheapening of the raw ingredients, the automation of the work such that anyone could do it that you don’t need training so that they turn over their employees without any care for them, where it’s a game of value meals and cheapening and cheapening the food experience,” he says.

Another reason Chipotle will contribute to the downfall and replace traditional fast food chains is its emphasis on where food comes from.

“Get suppliers to start thinking how they raise food differently because there are more folks like Chipotle, they will have to do things according to our protocols,” he says. “A fifth way is changing customer perception so that customers are aware where their food comes from and start making demands of grocers and restaurants to provide food in a way that makes sense to them.”

It’s hard to imagine how fast food is irrelevant considering McDonald’s alone is 20-times larger than Chipotle. But even with such a wide gap, Moran says Chipotle will continue leading the way – through its own locations or imitations – in changing the face of fast food.

Chipotle’s Monty Moran Unwraps the Restaurant’s Success Story [The Street]

A Bunch Of Meanies Are Stealing Corn From Nice People In Connecticut

Wed, 2014-08-27 21:00
(PepOMint)

(PepOMint)

Just because something isn’t sitting in a store with a price tag on it doesn’t mean it’s free, people. Which is why it’s quite rude that big old meanies have been swiping corn at Connecticut corn farms, not because they’re hungry and in need of a snack, but to sell for 100% profit off the back of a truck.

Two recent thefts at farms about 25 miles apart in Connecticut are ticking off the farmers who raise that corn to sell at farm stands in the area for a living, reports the New York Times.

A father and son team have been charged in one of the thefts, after the farmer caught up with them when they fled with their allegedly ill-gotten gains. He says the twosome targeted 40 acres of his family farm that lies outside a locked gate, and worked their way through the rows before he confronted them.

“One was holding the bag, and the other was filling it up,” the fourth-generation farmer said.

They were easy to spot when he caught up with them just before police did.

“They had corn tassels in their hair,” he told the NYT, “A dead giveaway.”

While the two suspects are facing three months in prison and $500 in fines, other farmers in the area say that wouldn’t be the right punishment for the alleged crime.

“Heck, I don’t want these guys to go to jail,” said the sales manager at another farm with an unsolved theft of its own. “I want them to pick weeds on farms for two summers in a row. See how much of an appetite they have for stealing corn after that.”

Farmers suspect that the thieves are swiping the corn and selling it miles away, off the backs of trucks instead of at local markets where everyone knows each other.

It isn’t easy to keep an eye on all those fields, which makes finding the perpetrators tough. For now, some farms are installing surveillance cameras, and trying tricks like planting “cow corn” used to feed animals along the edges to dissuade thefts.

“Eat that and you will never steal corn from there again,” a farmer advised on one of the farms’ Facebook pages.

Crime Where Telltale Clue Is a Corn Tassel [New York Times]

Reminder: If A Store Won’t Sell You A Laptop For $10, It’s Not Bait And Switch

Wed, 2014-08-27 20:51

Not $10.

Not $10.

It’s not the fastest or best computer you’ll see, but the laptop that reader J. spotted for sale at her college’s online bookstore was a deal she couldn’t pass up. An AMD E300 processor! 2 gigabytes of ram! A 320 gigabyte hard drive! All this for only $10. She placed an order and waited…only to have her order rudely canceled with no notice.

Here’s the item on the site. J’s college bookstore is run by eFollett, the company that runs all bookstores not already run by Barnes & Noble, or so it seems.

hplaptop

Oddly enough, the item is still on the site, but marked down to only $5, and also not available for actual purchase.

She was able to put the order through, and took a screen grab:

follet

This should have been no surprise whatsoever to anyone whose order was canceled. While it would be awesome to get a $10 laptop, any consumer who knows enough to pounce on that order also knows that this is some kind of error on the retailer’s part. You’re not scamming the company, but you also aren’t placing that order in good faith. Especially if you order multiple computers to re-sell elsewhere. Jennifer didn’t do that in this case, but we read FatWallet, too, and know that it’s something that happens.

People frequently complain that issues like this are “bait and switch,” but we’ve gone over this many times: a transaction isn’t bait and switch when you place an order and the retailer cancels it and refunds your money. For bait and switch to happen, the retailer would have never intended to sell the item to you at all, and then tried to sell you a different item with a lower price and/or fewer features than the low-priced item that served as the “bait.”

Is it annoying when a company offers an amazing price and then snatches your order away? Yes. However, it’s not surprising, and retailers have no obligation to honor a price that they posted in error.

In this case, when you order a $10 laptop, a $25 laptop, a $69 iPad, 14¢ Cheerios, or $16 Copic markers, you are Michael Bluth.

You’re opening a bag that says “Dead dove–do not eat,” somehow expecting to find something other than an inedible dead dove.

It wasn’t very nice of the bookstore to cancel the order out from under J. without even sending her an e-mail, though, and we have contacted Follett to ask about that. We’ll update this post if we hear anything back.

Online Retailer Will Fine You $250 If You Even Threaten To Complain About Purchase

Wed, 2014-08-27 20:50

The Terms of Sale on the Accessory Outlet website say you can be fined $250 or more for even threatening to complain about a purchase.

The Terms of Sale on the Accessory Outlet website say you can be fined $250 or more for even threatening to complain about a purchase.

If you were put off by KlearGear.com’s ridiculous “Non-Disparagement” fee, which penalizes customers for sharing their bad shopping experiences with the public, another online retailer is apparently trying to go one further, by not only banning customers from saying bad things online, but by also forbidding them from even bringing up the threat of a complaint or a credit card chargeback.

Buried at the bottom of the Terms page for OnlineAccessoryOutlet.com, you’ll find the following insanely overreaching stipulations (bolded for emphasis):

“You agree not to file any complaint, chargeback, claim, dispute, or make any public forum post, review, Better Business Bureau complaint, social media post, or any public statement regarding the order, our website, or any issue regarding your order, for any reason, within this 90 day period, or to threaten to do so within the 90 day period, or it is a breach of the terms of sale, creating liability for damages in the amount of $250, plus any additional fees, damages – both consequential and incidental, calculated on an ongoing basis.”

The Terms also claim the customer agrees that, even after the 90 days are up, the “sole method of dispute resolution in all cases… shall be binding arbitration to take place in New York City, with all expenses paid by the respective parties.”

So if your purchase is late, lost, damaged, broken, etc., and you even make the vague statement of “I’m going to write about this on Facebook” or “I’m going to call my bank to cancel this charge,” Accessory Outlet will tag you for $250. And even if you wait the full 90 days for that period to end, the only way to resolve the issue is by traveling — at your own expense — to New York City for an arbitration hearing.

And this is apparently neither a joke nor an exaggerated policy made in the hope that someone will be too scared of the fine to complain.

One Accessory Outlet customer in Wisconsin was fined the $250 for telling the retailer that she would issue a chargeback on her credit card because the $40 iPhone case she’d ordered hadn’t arrived after 10 days. And then when she refused to pay that fine, it was sent to collections.

The customer has sued Accessory Outlet in a New York state court, arguing that the $250 “debt” she is now being hassled over is bogus. According to the complaint [PDF], the “terms are unenforceable, both because they are unconscionable as a matter of law and because [the Plaintiff] never agreed to them.”

That last claim is the most obvious and the easiest to prove. Though the Terms are on the Accessory Outlet website, at no point in the purchase process is the customer required to check a box or otherwise acknowledge that the Terms have been read. We attempted to verify the Plaintiff’s claim by going all the way through the ordering process (up until actually hitting the “complete purchase” button, of course) and could not find any place in which it was even suggested that we read the Terms before placing an order.

According to the customer, she placed her order on July 6 of this year. Four days later, she received an e-mail saying her order had shipped. The customer then checked the supposed USPS tracking number of her order and found that it had not been received by the Postal Service.

When the item had not been received by July 16, she contacted the company via its website and requested that the order be canceled. Accessory Outlet replied that it could not be canceled because it had shipped.

The customer checked the USPS tracking number again and then replied to Accessory Outlet that she would be requesting a chargeback from her credit card company because she believed the retailer was lying about whether the order had actually shipped.

This is when they told her about the $250 fine that she hadn’t agreed to.

The company told her in an e-mail that not only would she be hit for the $250 penalty but that her account would be sent to a collections agency, which would “put a negative mark on your credit for 7 years and will also result in calls to you home and/or work.”

Accessory Outlet also threatened her with the prospect of “additional fees for any correspondence with your card issuer… billed to you on an hourly basis and a flat rate $50 fee for the dispute or claim.”

When the customer replied that she had the right to contact her credit card company, the retailer replied that she now owed them “damages” and that her account would be referred to “multiple collections agencies.”

After receiving additional, similar e-mails from Accessory Outlet, the customer responded that she was getting a lawyer.

To which the retailer replied:
“Contact your lawyer, spend more time and money if you wish. You will be billed and the amount we bill you for will continue to rise with every email and every second we dedicate o correspondence of any kind pertaining to your breach of the terms of sale. Thank you.”

A subsequent e-mail from Accessory Outlet personally attacks the customer and closes on a menacing tone:
“Read the agreement or have someone competent do so for you since your emails make it clear you did not read the agreement or do not understand the clauses contained therein. You obviously do not know how to use the tracking or are ignoring it… You are playing games with the wrong people and have made a very bad mistake given the legally binding contract we have in place. One we have successfully enforced on many individuals the same we will do with you.”

The customer eventually received her order — nine days after it supposedly shipped — and claims it was defective and unusable. Her complaints to Accessory Outlet received no response.

She seeks to have her alleged debts voided because she did not actively agree to the Terms of Sale, nor was she required to view them. Additionally, the customer claims the terms are unreasonably favorable to Accessory Outlet.

“I want to go online and warn other customers about Accessory Outlet’s unfair terms and shoddy products,” said the customer in a statement. “But I’m afraid Accessory Outlet will claim I owe it more money and try to ruin my credit.”

“Accessory Outlet is using unfair terms hidden in fine print, along with threatening emails, to bully a customer into keeping quiet about her bad experience with the company,” said Scott Michelman, the Public Citizen attorney handling the case. “But terms that prevent a customer from speaking publicly about her transaction and from contacting her credit card company are unreasonable and unenforceable.”

Heat Wave Leaves Hundreds Of Thousands Of Tomatoes To Rot Stinkily In Fields

Wed, 2014-08-27 20:10

Live rotting tomato coverage! (Fox2Now)

Live rotting tomato coverage! (Fox2Now)

Sure, farming can be stinky business. There are all those acres in need of fertilizer, after all, making things grow. But it’s an overdose of tomatoes that’s making fields stink to high heaven in Illinois, just south of St. Louis, Mo.

The usually delicious, delectable fruits grew like crazy this year, reports Fox2Now, which at first was a good thing for the farmer. But after a few weeks of plentiful tomatoes, everyone had their fill.

“If you grow in high volume and they all come at one time with full moon, there’s no way you can control them. You either have too many or you don’t have enough,” the farmer explained. “It’s a perishable item. That’s why vegetable growing is kind of tricky. It’s supply and demand.”

Then came a heat wave — zapping the tomatoes more quickly than workers could pick them, he added.

That’s left somewhere in the hundreds of thousands of pounds of tomatoes rotting on the vine, with the stink caught by the heat. And it’s been too hot to get workers out there to clean it up, bringing in the flies and all the smells.

“It smelled just like swamp,” said one passerby who was out walking with her daughter. “Once we turned the corner (the smell) definitely took us over.”

Despite the locals pinching their noses, the farmer says he can’t do much about the stench for now.

“We’ll put the mower in them, mow them down, get the fields cleaned up, get the plastic picked up… I don’t think the odor is that bad. It’s better than cabbage, put it that way,” he added.

Hundreds of thousands of tomatoes left to rot in field [Fox2Now]

Tim Hortons: Nice To Meet You, America! Have A Buffalo Crunch Doughnut

Wed, 2014-08-27 18:59

(@AsEatenOnTV on Twitter)

(@AsEatenOnTV on Twitter)

You might’ve heard that Burger King is merging with Tim Hortons, a restaurant chain based in Canada. But because many Americans might not be as familiar with the company, Tim Hortons is offering a sort of “howdy do!” from our neighbors to the north, apparently, by way of a “Buffalo Crunch” doughnut.

Perhaps because we all look like a bunch of frankenfood enthusiasts, what with our cronuts and biznuts and whatnots, Tim Hortons is bringing a thing that appears to be dough combined with buffalo sauce to the New York State Fair right now, reports GrubStreet, as spotted first(ish) by @AsEatenOnTV on Twitter.

Jumping into frankenfood territory and not looking back, Tim Hortons’ pull-apart yeast doughnut is dunked in Buffalo sauce and sprinkled with crushed chips, with a handful of corn-chip strips in the middle for decoration.

And just like wings, the doughnuts come in mild and hot varieties, with ranch dressing on the side, because if there’s a condiment we Americans love, it’s ranch dressing. Unlike wings, these pastries don’t contain any meat, however. The doughnut goes for $2, not to mention the cost to your soul for having eaten such a thing.

Again, this thing is only at the New York State Fair… at least, for now. But put it between a bun and we could be looking at the future of the Burger King/Tim Hortons marriage. Please don’t do that, though, Canada.

Seven Crumbs Locations To Reopen Next Month With The Addition Of Non-Cupcake Treats

Wed, 2014-08-27 18:40

CrumbsIf the closure of Crumbs Bake Shop last month left a cupcake sized hole in your heart, you may be able to fill that void next month as the new company operators prepare to reopen at least seven locations.

The Wall Street Journal reports that a U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New Jersey gave its stamp of approval to a joint venture to acquire Crumbs’ assets in exchange for the cancelation of $6.5 million in debt.

Just a week after Crumbs shuttered its stores in early July, Marcus Lemonis, star of reality TV’s The Profit, and snack-maker Fischer Enterprises announced plans to use the Crumbs name to sell their own non-Crumbs’ retail products – as well as the once-popular cupcakes.

Before anyone can consider the new joint venture the savior of Crumbs, the WSJ reports that court filings show Fischer Enterprises had actually provided a $5 million investment to Crumbs in January, but the out-of-court restructure never took place resulting in Crumbs entering bankruptcy.

Following Tuesday’s court approval, Scott Fischer, COO of Fischer Enterprises, announced that the company will reopen about two dozen Crumbs locations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston and Washington D.C.

Seven of those locations will reopen next month and the rest in the months following, but don’t expect to find any in your area mall. Under the restructuring plan, all mall locations in the Northeast will remain closed.

The stores will have a decidedly different appearance than those consumers previously visited. Although Crumbs cupcakes will still be prominently displayed, the shops will incorporate other food brands owned by the new investors. A full list of offered treats hasn’t been released, but Fischer Enterprises owns Dippin’ Dots, Doc Popcorn, Mr. Green Tea Ice cream, and Sweet Pete’s Candy, while Lemonis has stake in several other dessert companies.

Crumbs Bake Shop to Reopen Stores After Court Approval [The Wall Street Journal]

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