Police say that’s what happened last month in Lovejoy, GA, where a customer noticed a distinct odor to her drive-thru burger order.
“When she opened it, she discovered a partially smoked marijuana cigarette,” a police lieutenant tells the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Not exactly pleased with her unexpected topping, the customer took the burger back to the Wendy’s and complained to the manager, who then contacted the police.
The lieutenant says the employee fessed up when confronted with the tainted food: “She had been smoking while she worked. When she was fixing the burger, part of the marijuana fell into the burger.”
Police charged the 32-year-old employee with possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, and the AJC reports that she has subsequently been fired from her job.
Just over a year ago, fast food workers at restaurants like McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, KFC and more walked off the job in 60 cities in an effort to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Today that effort continues with workers expected to strike in more than 100 cities.
Along with members of their communities and labor organizers, workers will be marching outside the restaurants where they work across the country, with the strike’s coordinators touting a 100-city plan.
Things kicked off this morning with strikes starting early, including 100 protestors who blew whistles and banged on drums outside of a McDonald’s at 6:30 a.m., reports the Associated Press. Customers will likely have to learn to deal with the disturbances, as it sounds like most locations will be going about business as usual.
One Burger King employee taking part in the demonstrations today said her employers understand why she’s not at work today.
“My boss took me off the schedule because she knows I’m participating,” she told the AP. She added that her manager did warn workers that anyone who was on the schedule today but didn’t show up on time would be sent home.
So will these protests achieve the goal of raising minimum wage from $7.25 per hour? It’s going to be tough — companies have been warning customers that if wages are hiked, so will the prices for food offered at their restaurants. And many locations are owned by franchisees, allowing the corporate overlords to say they don’t control worker pay at those restaurants.
It also remains to be seen how Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s promised vote on the wage hike does — it’ll likely founder in the House due to Republican opposition there.
It could come down to individual states, like in California, Connecticut and Rhode Island where state governments raised their minimum wages this year. New Jersey is also on track to lift the base wage to $8.25 per hour after voters approved a hike last month.
Fast-food strikes return amid push for wage hikes [Associated Press]
A waterproofing treatment that perfectly repels water, turning it into tiny beads that roll off the surface? We’re sure that people could think of many wonderful uses for such an item, from waterproofing hiking boots to covering their roommate’s towel with the stuff. Alas, Rust-Oleum NeverWet isn’t bad, but not quite as advertised.
At least the product’s ads make the way that things are supposed to work look really, really pretty.
Our colleagues over at Consumer Reports put on their (non-waterproof) lab coats and got to work testing. They slathered NeverWet on a variety of surfaces: cloth, wood, plastic, paper, just about every surface possible. (Unlike one tester on YouTube, they did not try to apply it to water.)
The coating does work exactly as advertised, but not for long. It’s more like SoonWet, our sibling publication observed dryly. The coating doesn’t last long, can rub off using only a finger, and doesn’t adhere well to plastic and glass at all.
Claim check: Rustoleum NeverWet [Consumer Reports]
The Internet has given new life to a nearly 4-year-old video of a GameStop employee’s screaming, box-tossing, not exactly ethnically sensitive rant, in which he loudly vents about those pesky customers that make his job such a pain in the rear-end.
Someone on Reddit has resurrected the above brief video — which is probably NSFW, depending on your place of business so we recommend busting out the headphones — begins with a joking but tense discussion of meeting certain sales goals for the day, then quickly devolves into reenactments of aggravating customer behavior.
“I got no goals, you know why?” asks the employee. “Because I got 10-year-olds running around the store… [semi-intelligible screaming and tossing of random video game cases into the air].”
He then puts on an exaggerated accent to impersonate “Mexican” customers who apparently really want to play FIFA soccer games, at least according to this guy.
The short clip ends with the surreal image of, what is presumably another GameStopper… doing jumping jacks.
As some on the Reddit thread have pointed out, there is something very George Costanza-like about the whole scenario. Serenity now, little Georgie… serenity now.
A few months ago we told you about scammers calling in bogus bomb threats to retail stores, demanding money to not set the (nonexistent) devices off. Now comes the story of a Pennsylvania woman who was conned out of $1,000 by a caller who claimed he was holding her father hostage.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the 23-year-old woman recently received a call on her cellphone.
“We have your dad hostage,” screamed the voice on the other end of the line. “Leave work right now.”
The caller told her that he and her father had been in a car accident, but that her dad had refused to provide insurance information or be cooperative. And so the caller had taken him hostage and claimed to be holding him hostage at gunpoint until he received $1,000 to pay for damage to his vehicle.
“I had to swear that if I wept or cried or got anyone’s attention, they would come to my house and kill my family,” she recalls. “I had to continue to talk to him.”
She was told to leave work and go to a MoneyGram wire transfer location, where she was to send the money to a woman in Puerto Rico. Not knowing what else to do, she followed their instructions.
After the money had been wired, the caller instructed the woman to go to a nearby hospital and circle around the building without parking. He did not make good on his promise to let her speak to her father, and the illusion of the scam came crashing down when the caller said that her dad had driven away in his truck… because he doesn’t own a truck.
“Now I am thinking, this is a scam,” she tells the Inquirer.
And she was right, as her pops had not been in any sort of auto accident or taken hostage. He’d been safely working away at his job, which she would have found out had the scammers not been so successful in keeping her on the line.
Police believe the same caller recently failed at a similar shakedown attempt with another area woman, and say this type of scam has been popping up all over the region, with some 100+ victims up in the Boston area.
The woman tells KCTV-5 in Kansas City that she saw the man’s hand under the dressing room wall while he lay on the floor, filming her.
She didn’t want him to get away, so instead of just yelling and staying put, she took action — sprinting from the dressing room with her hands covering her breasts as she ran.
“I followed him. I shouted, ‘Stop! Help me!’ I just screamed and chased him topless through the store,” she said. “I know I shouldn’t be chasing someone … I was just enraged. I was at a store in a very private place, and I was enraged and I wanted to get the phone.”
She realized when she hit the front doors of the store that she should probably not take her mad dash outside while half-clothed.
“At that point, I just started crying because I was so upset that he was getting away. When you feel violated, what you really want is for justice to be done,” she says.
Other shoppers had witnessed the chase and helped by going after him outside, and police caught up to the suspect and arrested him three blocks from the store. He’s been charged with breach of privacy, but that’s not enough, explains the victim.
“He is clearly mentally ill, and he clearly needs treatment and he needs to go into the system … so he can get his treatment,” she said.
We salute you, brave lady with no care for her own personal dignity. I’m not sure I could be so courageous in the face of general mortification.
Rioters destroyed storefronts in downtown Oakland, California five months ago, filling the area with sadness and boarded-up windows. All of the businesses have fixed up their public faces except one. One retailer’s huge building still has boarded-up windows and looks abandoned. Local residents call the blighted storefront “depressing,” and the city issued a citation for “blight.” The blighted business? Sears.
It’s easy to make fun of Sears, and we often do. In this case, the issues are much more complex than just assuming that Sears doesn’t care about its stores. A whole building of broken windows is a bigger problem than a few stained carpets or empty racks here and there.
The real problem is Sears’ legacy. Specifically, that huge building that a very different company called Sears, Roebuck & Co. built in the 1930s. Yes, technically Sears Holdings and Sears Roebuck are the same company, but every American consumer knows that they aren’t really the same company at all.
Oakland Sears still hasn’t repaired windows [San Francisco Chronicle]
About two million people should be checking your social media accounts and anything else one might have a login and password for: Hackers have snagged usernames and passwords for millions of Facebook, Google, Twitter, Yahoo and other sites accounts, according to a new report.
Researchers at cybersecurity firm Trustwave say the ginormous data breach happened because of keylogging software maliciously installed on a whole lot of computers worldwide, reports CNNMoney.
The malware simply boosted login details for various websites over the past month and had been sending that information to servers controlled by the attackers.
In late November researchers were able to get a lock on the server, which is in the Netherlands. Once they were in they discovered account information for more than 93,000 websites. Yes, 93,000 — that’s a lot more than just Facebook.
Of course social media was a target hit hard by the hackers, with the below numbers showing just how widespread the attack was:
• 318,000 Facebook accounts
• 70,000 Gmail, Google+ and YouTube accounts
• 60,000 Yahoo accounts
• 22,000 Twitter accounts
• 9,000 Odnoklassniki accounts (a Russian social network)
• 8,000 ADP accounts (ADP says it counted 2,400)
• 8,000 LinkedIn accounts
Any company involved in the breach has been notified by Trustwave. So should you be worried about your account? ADP, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter all said they’ve notified any users affected and reset passwords if their accounts were compromised.
“We don’t have evidence they logged into these accounts, but they probably did,” said John Miller, a security research manager at Trustwave.
The trouble might not be over yet — the hack started Oct. 21 and could still be going, as researchers haven’t been able to track down other similar servers to the one they cracked in the Netherlands.
If you’re still worried run your antivirus software and make sure your security patches are up to date on all your Internet browsers, Adobe and Java.
Under AT&T’s new “No Annual Service Contract” options (which will become available starting Sunday, Dec. 8), smartphone customers with their own devices — whether they purchased the phones at full price, fulfilled their most recent contracts, or purchased a device through the AT&T Next early upgrade program — can get $15 off their monthly plan. Customers with multiple devices on their Mobile Share plans may see additional discounts depending on which tier of data service they choose.
(NOTE: Existing customers with out-of-contract phones will need to contact AT&T in order to get the discount. It will not be applied automatically.)
So a subscriber with a 2GB/month data plan and owns her phone will be able to get a plan that costs $80/month, $15 off the current $95 plan. This puts AT&T within striking distance of the $70/month plan offered by T-Mobile.
The main difference is that T-Mo’s plan offers unlimited data. Since many consumers still don’t crack the 1GB/month line on data over wireless (though that will surely change in the coming years), 2GB is probably sufficient. And T-Mobile’s LTE coverage lags far behind its larger competitors.
Sprint only charges $60/month for its unlimited data plan for customers who pay full price for their own phones, which is still significantly less expensive than the $80 you’d pay with the AT&T discount. Again, some people will continue to choose AT&T because of its larger coverage area.
There are several reason why AT&T would make this offer.
1. It allows the company to retain some customers who own their phone and complain about having to pay the same monthly subscription as people whose phone purchases were subsidized by AT&T. Of course, you will eventually need to get a new phone, which would mean paying full price for a new device or getting a subsidized phone and losing the discount.
2. Offering the monthly discount may encourage some customers to pay full price for future devices. The age of device subsidies for subscribers is fading and these discounts could nudge some people toward going out of pocket.
That said, you should do some math before plunking down hundreds of dollars for an unsubsidized phone. A savings of $15/month is only $360 over the course of two years. Many smartphones cost north of $400 when paying full price. Hopefully there will be price competition as wireless companies make the transition toward unsubsidized plans.
3. Including AT&T Next customers in the discount takes away one of the biggest problems with the early upgrade plan, which may make it more attractive to some subscribers. Being part of the Next program is a way to both keep the discount and get a new device on a regular basis. Of course, you never actually own the phone you have — unless you choose to not upgrade — meaning you’re effectively locked into AT&T service so long as you want to keep upgrading.
While the discount is still not the best deal available from the major wireless providers, it does give us hope that this will continue setting off the chain of dominos that leads to more competitive monthly rates and real pricing competition on smartphones.
If we can get to the point where the unsubsidized cost of a smartphone is not prohibitive for most people, then consumers will be able to take those devices from carrier to carrier without being nailed with early termination fees. Consumers will finally be allowed to vote with their dollars instead of being stuck in a hellish merry-go-round of upgrades and contracts.
Ben was caught in the Great Yahoo Purge of 2013. The company figures that you’re not going to come back for the webmail address that you registered in 1999, and decided to “reclaim” usernames that hadn’t been used in a very long time for reuse. The problem was that Ben’s ID was still in the system, but not available for him to sign in to.
“My account was ‘reclaimed,’” he writes, “but it still has all of the associated data and is not even available for new subscribers.” Oh, dear. He tried to sort this out with Yahoo support, but the representatives he spoke to didn’t understand why this was a problem. They suggested that he register for a new account.
That would be a good idea if it solved any of his problems. It doesn’t. He still had an old account floating around that he couldn’t access but that wasn’t purged either. His information was still in that account. He still didn’t own his old Yahoo ID and e-mail address, which was kind of the point of all this.
He wasn’t getting anywhere with Yahoo. You’d think they’d be delighted that someone still wants to use their service, since apparently employees themselves don’t. so he asked us to. We reached out to Yahoo, and they told us that they would check out the situation, but couldn’t share customer details with us. That’s fair.
Meanwhile, on Ben’s end, mysterious things began to happen. He received some kind of automated reset message at his alternate e-mail address. He tried to log in, and miracle of miracles: it worked. He logged in. Ben and his old account were reunited at last.
What happened to his account? Yahoo can’t tell us. Is there a way to get your own account out of limbo without enlisting Consumerist to chat with the public relations department? Maybe. Ben thinks that it was our prodding that got Yahoo to fix his account, not his own customer service fight.
That means that the school already owes $126,000 in fines and that the amount will continue to grow every day until National College honors the subpoena from Kentucky AG Jack Conway.
Additionally, lawyers for the school have been ordered [PDF] to pay $10,000 to the AG’s office, with the court saying that the school has “repeatedly abused the legal system to obstruct a valid investigation by the Attorney General.”
This case goes all the way back to December 2010, when Conway’s office issued a subpoena related to its investigation into allegations of misleading marketing practices at for-profit schools operating in Kentucky.
National attempted to block the subpoena, claiming that disclosing the information requested by the state would be in violation of the Family Education Rights and Protection Act (FERPA), which requires student and/or parent permission to release information from a student’s education record.
But Conway’s office argued that FERPA is intended to protect students, not institutions, and that the requested documentation could be provided without the inclusion of any information that would identify any particular students. Additionally, FERPA itself states that prior consent is not required if “the disclosure is to comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena.”
“In short, National College’s attempt to invoke FERPA is yet another example of a continuing pattern of meritless litigation tactics to obstruct and delay the lawful investigation of the Attorney General,” reads today’s order, which requires that National, which did turn over some requested documents earlier this year, fulfill the remaining requests of the subpoena within 10 days.
If the school can make good on the subpoena request by that deadline, some of the $1,000 daily sanctions may be suspended, but the $10,000 fine against the school’s lawyers remains.
“National’s actions to date have to make you wonder what they’re trying to hide from investigators, their students and prospective students,” Attorney General Conway said.
The state filed suit [PDF] in September 2011, alleging violations oft the Kentucky Consumer Protection Act by the making of false, misleading and deceptive disclosures regarding the rate at which National students were able to obtain employment in their field of study.
According to the state, the school was dramatically overstating the percentage of its graduates that were able to find work. For example, National had posted on its website that the job-placement rate at its Louisville campus was 96% in 2010, but the numbers reported by the school to its accrediting body were only 60.1% for that year. In fact, alleged the AG’s office, National posted highly inflated job-placement stats for at least four of its locations in Kentucky.
The school subsequently adjusted the stats on its website, before doing a complete revamp in recent years. The 2011 lawsuit is still pending.
We’ve reached out to National for comment on today’s court order. A rep for the company says neither it nor lawyers for National have seen the order, so we forwarded them a copy of the document that we had no trouble obtaining.
UPDATE: Even after receiving the PDF of the court documents, the National rep refused to comment other than to say he would wait until seeing the actual court papers. You can’t say we didn’t try…
In addition to the National litigation, Conway’s office earlier this year also filed suit against the operators of the for-profit Spencerian College campuses over similar allegations of misleading job-placement statistics.
There might have been thousands of people who received vouchers from Walmart during Thanksgiving weekend that entitled them to order a television online at a certain price. For many of them, the voucher didn’t work, so they called the toll-free number on the voucher. For some reason that isn’t clear to anyone yet, this number was forwarded to a spa in Wisconsin.
The spa receives maybe a few dozen calls per day under normal circumstances. Instead, their phone rang constantly all day, and according to the Lake Country Reporter, they had to call in extra staff to help answer the phones as hundreds of calls poured in. All they could do was tell callers, “nope, we’re not Walmart.”
Angry Black Friday calls mistakenly routed to Mukwonago spa [Lake Country Reporter]
but none of them have written to us about it yet. The voucher was an even bigger problem
Our warm and comforting colleagues over at Consumer Reports taste-tested different brands of chicken noodle soup, and came to a conclusion straight out of this site’s comments section: consumers are better off taking fifteen minutes to make their own soup at home. [Consumer Reports]
It’s not every day where you could be risking contracting a contagious disease just by flying from point A to point B. That’s why passengers on a US Airways Express flight from Austin to Phoenix over the weekend were likely a bit concerned when they were reportedly told to get a tuberculosis test on the chance that their fellow flier might’ve had it.
Health officials for Maricopa County say that while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sounded the alarm that resulted in medical personnel removing the man from the plane before it reached the gate, everything is just peachy.
“All of our preliminary tests have come back negative, and after discussions with the CDC it was decided that this man should be allowed to fly,” a spokeswoman for the Maricopa County Department of Public Health told Reuters.
At first no one was officially naming the tuberculosis threat, but passengers had reported being told to get tested for TB after the incident.
The CDC has a “do not board” list of travelers who are contagious, which is supposed to keep them off commercial planes. While that flight was in the air over the busy travel weekend, the CDC contacted the Transportation Security Administration to inform it that the passenger wasn’t supposed to be on a plane.
As soon as the plane landed, firefighters and paramedics met the flight and took the man off. At the time, health officials said that even if passengers had indeed been exposed to active tuberculosis, it wasn’t likely anyone would actually catch it since the flight was so short and the passenger wasn’t coughing.
The medical director for disease control at the county health department also added that no passengers need to go get tested for TB. The all clear has been sounded, and I’ll be bringing a face mask on my next 8-hour flight just in case.
MusicBrainz is a free-to-use encyclopedia of music-related metadata (all that information, like artist name, track name, composer, etc.), and like a lot of free-to-use services, it has a commercial tier for companies whose use would put an undue burden on the service. Yesterday, the folks at MusicBrainz sent over a cake to Amazon to remind the online giant that it hasn’t paid a 3-year-old invoice for its commercial use of the service. Let’s hope the accounts payable people got the message before someone just left it in the break room for everyone to gorge on. [via Boing Boing]
Have you ever wondered about the people who made your clothes? Not just the people who sew the fabric pieces together, but the people who produce the fabric, transport it from place to place, grow or extract the raw materials, and every other phase of creating a single item of clothing?
The team over at NPR’s Planet Money did, and they’ve spent years trying to create t-shirts for their listeners from a bale of raw cotton so they can follow the process. They partnered up with Jockey, funded the whole thing on Kickstarter, and now the shirts are here. So is the beautiful site of videos, photos, and explanations of where these shirts came from.
The cotton used for the Planet Money shirts was grown in Mississippi from seeds created in a Monsanto lab. Reporters followed the path it took from there to Indonesia, then Bangladesh, or to Colombia, depending on which version of the shirt you followed. In between, they did the thing that every modern consumer secretly wants to do, whether they realize it or not: met everyone whose hands, warehouses, or ships the shirts passed through.
- Humans are kind of incidental to the whole process. Cotton harvest? By machines. Cotton yarn spun? By machines. Fabric knitted? By machines. The part that requires the most human labor is sewing shirts together.
- The garment industry follows poverty. Wherever there’s infrastructure for factories and people fresh from rural villages willing to work for the world’s lowest wages, that’s where your clothes come from.
- The reverse is also true. When wages climb too high, the industry leaves. While reporting this project, the Planet Money team learned that Jockey plans to end its relationship with the factory in Colombia where the pink women’s shirts for the project were made.
- Change follows the garment industry. Two sisters who worked on the Planet Money shirt are living examples of this change: the older sister had a marriage arranged by her parents, and the younger one has her own money, doesn’t live in her parents’ village, and is dating a man who not only isn’t from her parents’ village, but is a different religion. Gasp!
- Monitoring the cotton harvest in real time as your $600,000 John Deere self-driving harvester gobbles cotton balls in the field? There’s an iPad app for that. No, really, there is.
- The USDA grades cotton so manufacturers can choose the precise best strain for their project.
- It is shockingly cheap to ship something from the United States to Indonesia, then to Bangladesh, and then back to the U.S.
- When Korea and Bangladesh first teamed up to produce clothing and build factories in the latter country, the workers thought each other’s food was really gross.
Where was the shirt you’re wearing right now made? Mine was made for Banana Republic in Vietnam…but that label doesn’t say anything about where the thread was spun, where the cotton was grown, or anything at all about the family history and future hopes of the people behind it. Maybe just as well: that tag would be really big and probably itchy.
The ticket, which went viral after the driver posted it to her Google+ account, shows that a ticket was given for “Driving with Monitor visible to Driver (Google Glass),” an alleged violation of a California law that prohibits drivers from operating a vehicle if he or she can be distracted by a visible TV or other video monitor used primarily for entertainment or business applications. Screens for things like GPS and rearview cameras are allowed.
However, the driver argues that she was merely wearing the Google Glass and it was not turned on, which she maintains is like trying to ticket someone for driving with an unplugged TV in the passenger seat.
“There is nothing illegal about simply wearing the Google Glass while it is not turned on,” said her lawyer.
Of course, there is the little part where she was also allegedly driving 80 mph in a 65 mph zone, but that is — for want of a better word — a pedestrian issue compared to whether or not the simple wearing of Google Glass violates the law. Of course, why would you actually wear the device if you’re not using it? Not saying she was using it, but just curious what purpose it served other than to earn geek cred from other drivers who noticed.
Both sides will make their case when it comes to trial on Jan. 16. We predict that at least 4 tech bloggers will be on hand, attempting to record the trial with their own Google Glasses.
There are things in this world worth fighting over. And while for many a prime parking spot a the grocery store might be one such reason, that doesn’t mean you should pull a shotgun on your fellow shopper for a below par parking job. We’ve got some other ideas on how to handle such a situation.
Police in Manchester, N.H. say the trouble started when a 53-year-old man was pulling into a spot at a supermarket parking lot. Apparently the guy in the next space had made the unforgivable mistake of encroaching into his desired spot, say cops.
So he allegedly started yelling at the culprit, a 38-year-old man with his 2-year-old daughter in the back seat and his mother loading groceries into the trunk.
While the men argued as the guy tried to pull into the tight spot, the man tried to talk his new enemy down.
“I said to him, ‘Look man there’s an infant in this car don’t hit this car it’s not gonna be good. At that point he reached down and pulled up a firearm, which I guess later on was found to be a shotgun and said something to the effect ‘Well how good do you think it’s gonna work out for you?”” the man told WBZ-TV.
He says that’s when the man raised a rifle through the window of his pickup truck and threatened him, although the suspect didn’t point the gun directly at him. Still, scary enough, he told cops.
“He just acted like a complete maniac,” he said.
Police arrived on the scene and found the suspect’s 12 gauge Remington shotgun and 10 shells sitting on the passenger seat, and arrested him on a charge of one count of felony criminal threatening.
4 Things To Do Besides Pulling A Gun When You Can’t Get The Parking Spot You Want:
1. Take a huge, deep lungful of air in slowly through your mouth, and let it out through your nose.
2. Count backwards from 20
3. Go find another spot
4. Make sure you never park less than perfectly in the future to inspire good parking karma
We’ve all been there, we’ve all seen the monstrous SUV taking up two parking spots. But violence, or the threat of it, is never the answer.
FastCompany’s Austin Carr details his own experience trying to get an answer to that question, having purchased one of the $99 kits for his mother to try out.
Carr’s mom had not yet sent in her swab kit, and now he was just trying to find out if she should hold onto it, ask for a refund, or just toss it in the trash as a lesson learned. And what about the customers who had sent their kits back to the company but had not received results?
The FDA order stops the company from marketing and selling the kits as a method for diagnosing diseases and conditions, as that makes the kit a regulated medical device under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. But does the order stop the company from testing those kits it has already received? Maybe there are some tests the company could do that would not violate the FDCA? It’s all very unclear, and the company’s response thus far has not made it any more transparent.
In response to Carr’s questions on this topic, a 23andMe rep would only say, “Our response to the FDA is in progress. I can’t comment any further than what we’ve already stated on our blog and in our communications directly to customers,” and later added, “We are still working on getting answers to your questions, as well as questions from many other customers about the implications of the FDA letter.”
We’ve also reached out to 23andMe to see if it has any updated information for consumers. If so, we’ll post it here.
Meanwhile, the company now faces a possible class-action lawsuit in California from a customer who claims that the advertising for the product was misleading, the results “meaningless” and that 23andMe is more interested in compiling a huge bank of DNA information that it can then market to researchers.
“It seems to me to be a very thinly disguised way of getting people to pay them to build a DNA database,” says the plaintiff’s lawyer.
How’s a person supposed to get into the holiday spirit with Grinches running around putting the kibosh on warm, wonderful and glowing Christmas lights? Well in an Orange County suburb, those so-called meanies are worried not about the strands adorning a particular home, but the strings of lights stretching across neighborhood streets, potentially creating fire hazards and roadway traps for emergency vehicles.
The neighbors in the community see the lights stretching across their suburb’s streets as holiday happiness, but that festive glow is also an “unpermitted encroachment” according to county officials who have ordered them removed, reports the Los Angeles Times.
While there’s the normal amount of outrage from residents who love the zigzagging lights at being told they’ve got to take them down by tonight or face fines and even prosecution (“This is America,” said one), the county says it’s about public safety. Decorate your house in all the lights you want, but going house-to-house isn’t a good idea.
“We don’t have issues with any of the other lights,” a county spokeswoman. “We fully support that.”
Due to the uproar from residents, the county says it’s willing to work with the neighborhood to get a permit for street decorations and consider extending tonight’s deadline, as well as waiving permit fees. But it’s not going to be easy coordinating all those homeowners to come in and apply for one.
“It would be more ideal if the homeowners’ association came to the table and offered themselves as the single permittee,” said the county spokeswoman.
That’s a long shot as well, since the HOA’s president says it isn’t meeting again until next year.
“We want the holiday spirit,” he said. But “the association has zero involvement.”
Time to take matters into your own hands, Whoville. Get a permit or face the Grinch (albeit a Grinch concerned about the safety of people but you get it).