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The Consumerist

Smartest Person Alive Invents Gadget That Fills & Ties 37 Water Balloons At Once

Thu, 2014-07-24 23:00

(Bunch O Balloons)

(Bunch O Balloons)

On the one hand, who wouldn’t want to be sitting pretty in a backyard fort with hundreds of water balloons that took only minutes to fill and tied themselves. On the other hand — no, I can’t. There is no downside to a device that allows you to fill 37 balloons with water at one time and spares you the time/pain of tying all those slippery little suckers.

A dad of two (who might not be the smartest person alive per se, because that is a very difficult thing to determine) figured out how to make his children the overlords of all others with his Bunch O Balloons device on Kickstarter. It reached its $10,000 funding goal in under 12 hours, and hit $161,252 total as of this writing.

It seems so simple, it’s one of of those things you’ll be lamenting forever that you didn’t come up with first: Attach the stem of the gadget to your hose and turn on the water to fill the balloons. You then apparently give it just a “gentle shake” over a plastic tub, and pop, wurble gurgle, 37 filled and tied water balloons.

Even if a few break, that’s a lot less work than the old way — if this thing works as demonstrated, which of course, we can’t know at this point.

And if you’re thinking of the impact this surge in water balloon production could have on the environment, the plastic stems are recyclable and the balloons are made from biodegradable material.

Again, they tie themselves. Just don’t let these babies get into the wrong hands — I’m looking at you, kid with the bad attitude who always tries to sabotage the neighbors’ block party — or face certain drenching.

*Thanks for the tip, Jenny!

Cottonelle Toilet Paper Contained No Cotton Until 2013

Thu, 2014-07-24 22:49

Have you ever stopped to wonder whether Cottonelle brand toilet paper has any cotton in it? Well, of course it does–”cotton” is right there in the name, right? That’s what Ed had always thought. Then he saw a sign on the shelf at Sam’s Club that challenged his assumptions. Not that he had really given toilet paper ingredients enough thought to form any assumptions.

That’s the thing with toilet paper: unless you have an allergy or are particularly eco-conscious, you don’t really think about what’s in it at all.

touchofcotton

“I guess I always assumed with the name of the product, it already had [cotton] in it…” Ed wrote when he sent us this picture. That would make sense, but in fact Cottonelle, as a brand name, is meant to convey the idea of soft, cuddly cotton while not containing any. At least, not until 2013.

That’s what a spokesperson for Kimberly-Clark, the company behind Cottonelle, told us. This probably isn’t a question that they get very often, but K-C got back to us very graciously with an answer. The spokesperson explained:

Cottonelle first introduced cotton in the brand’s Cottonelle Clean Care toilet paper in March 2013, albeit a small amount. At the same time, Cottonelle began communicating this news to consumers, so it’s likely that the shelf tags appeared around this timeframe. The brand name helps to convey Cottonelle’s message of softness, i.e., cotton is soft and so is Cottonelle.

That means it’s not in every product Cottonelle makes, but that one, and the signage that Ed saw at Sam’s may date back to the introduction of the product in 2013.

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Here’s Why Honey Nut Cheerios Don’t Contain Nuts

Bank Of America To Pay $16.6M To Settle Allegations Of Processing Drug Traffickers’ Transactions

Thu, 2014-07-24 22:47
(Adam Fagen)

(Adam Fagen)

Processing transactions for drug traffickers is a big no-no, which is why Bank of America has agreed to pay $16.6 million to resolve federal allegations that it was involved in moving money around for ten traffickers over the course of four years.

The bank agreed to pay $16.6 million to resolve allegations that it processed several hundred transactions for drug traffickers who are subject to U.S. sanctions, Reuters reports.

The settlement puts an end to a U.S. Treasury Department case that the bank knowingly processed transactions when there were problems with its sanctions-related systems and controls.

According to the case, Bank of America processed around $91,000 in transactions for six designated narcotics traffickers between 2005 and 2009 and failed to file timely reports on accounts owned by four other traffickers.

Officials with the Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control reported that 79 transactions the bank processed after October 2006 constituted an “egregious” case, because the bank knew of an issue, but waiting more than two years to fix it.

An official with Bank of America said on Thursday that the matter was addressed in 2009 by improving its systems.

The bank could have faced a penalty of more than $83 million, but because of the bank’s efforts to fix the problem, officials settled for a reduced amount.

Bank of America to pay $16.6 million to resolve U.S. sanctions violations [Reuters]

Local And Regional Grocery Stores May Have Sold Recalled Fruit

Thu, 2014-07-24 21:38

(afagen)

(afagen)

While Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s get the headlines, Wawona Packing Company sold fruit that’s potentially contaminated with Listeria to wholesalers, who then sold it to local and regional grocers. According to Food Safety News, reports in the media indicate that contaminated fruit may have been sold at Food 4 Less, Foods Co., Giant Food Stores, Martins, Hannaford, BJ’s Wholesale, Dillons, Save-a-Lot, Fry’s Food Stores, King Soopers, Raley’s, Stop & Shop, Big Y Foods, and Ralphs. [Food Safety News]

Restaurant Turns Yelper’s Lame Abortion Joke Into Fundraiser For Domestic Violence Crisis Line

Thu, 2014-07-24 21:11

The original Yelp review has since been deleted, but not before the Internet saved this screengrab for posterity.

The original Yelp review has since been deleted, but not before the Internet saved this screengrab for posterity.

Just like the rest of the Internet, Yelp is not immune to idiots who pepper their “reviews” with boorish, sexist statements that are probably intended to be funny. Most businesses would simply ignore this sort of non-feedback, but a restaurant in Portland (the one to the upper-left) saw a chance to turn a cheap abortion-based semi-joke into a worthwhile cause.

On the Yelp page for East Portland eatery EastBurn, someone named “Lee M.” wrote the following groaner (which has since been deleted):

“My friend and I picked up some hot girls here, but he got his pregnant. But she was Canadian so she went home and got a free abortion so it’s all cool now. You can get grilled cheeses here for $5.”

To which EastBurn owner Mike Bender replied:

“5 stars to you Lee M. for making an example of how this kind of disrespect toward women is shameful and not at all funny… As a thank you for spotlighting this kind of behavior, all proceeds through August from the sale of EastBurn’s Grilled Cheeses will go to the Portland Women’s Crisis Line.”

“It just seemed like a good thing to do,” Bender tells the Oregonian about his decision to donate the money to the crisis line. “We do a lot of benefits here and thought it was a good opportunity to give back…It’s especially pervasive in the restaurant industry [disrespect towards women] and it’s not cool.”

[via Eater]

Walmart: Ice Cream Sandwiches That Don’t Melt After 12 Hours Outside Just Have Less Cream

Thu, 2014-07-24 21:00

(WCPO News)

(WCPO News)

You see an ice cream sandwich and think, “Mmm, ice cream sandwich!” But wait — it’s been sitting out for more than 24 hours… and it’s still recognizable as an ice cream sandwich. Something seems freaky here.

We joined one woman in a collective side-eye at the idea of an ice cream sandwich that refuses to melt, even after spending hours outside of the freezer’s frigid embrace. It just didn’t seem right, the Cincinnati mom told WCPO News (warning: link has video that autoplays), after she found her son’s ice cream sandwich sitting mostly intact on the patio table, 12 hours after he left it there, on an 80-degree day.

“I thought that’s quite weird,” she said of the Walmart Great Value brand sandwich. “So I looked at the box, and it doesn’t say artificial ice cream. It says ice cream.”

She repeated the experiment with another sandwich and got the same result. That made her wonder what could possibly be in there to extend the life of a very meltable food past what would seem reasonable.

Walmart says it’s just got less cream in there, making it more affordable, it said in a statement to WCPO (*editor’s note: a previous version of this post said there was more cream, based on the print statement accompanying WCPO’s news story. That statement appears to be wrong or at least contradicts itself in the video with a totally different statement regarding the amount of cream.).

So basically don’t worry about it not melting, it’s cheap!

Other ingredients might have something to do with it as well — WCPO points out that the Walmart sandwich includes corn syrup, guar gum and cellulose gum. A cup of Haagen Dazs ice cream with no syrups or gums left out by WCPO melted into a puddle quickly.

All the ingredients in the ice cream sandwiches are A-OK under Food and Drug Administration guidelines, so we’ll just have to get used to ice cream that doesn’t melt, or buy something that does.

Why don’t ice cream sandwiches melt anymore? [WCPO News]

Would You Like A Side Of Cocaine With Your Extra Value Meal?

Thu, 2014-07-24 20:45

(Steve)

(Steve)

Most fast food meals come with a side of fries and a drink, but at one Philadelphia McDonald’s there was apparently another option: cocaine.

Following a month-long undercover operation, local law enforcement officers arrested a cook at a suburban Philadelphia McDonald’s for allegedly selling cocaine, NBC Philadelphia reports.

The 29-year-old cook would reportedly leave the kitchen line to deal in the parking lot. In all, undercover officers say they purchased drugs from the man four times in the last month.

When officers returned to the restaurant this week to arrest the man they allegedly found cash and 157 dime bags of crack cocaine packets in his possession.

Officials estimate he could have been grossing as much as $1,500 per week in cocaine sales.

“When not working as a crew and preparing food, he was out in the rear parking lot selling crack cocaine so in a sense it can give you a new definition of what may be considered a Happy Meal,” one officer says.

McDonald’s Cook Sells Crack at Main Line Burger Joint: Police [NBC Philadelphia]

Amazon Still Not Interested In Reuniting Lost Kindles With Owners

Thu, 2014-07-24 20:27
Are you missing this Kindle?

Missing one of these?

Two years ago, we tried to reunite a Kindle left behind on a plane with its owner, and we didn’t succeed. The reader who found it didn’t trust the airport lost and found, and Amazon wasn’t any help. Even though Amazon knows full well who each Kindle belongs to, with their e-mail address and even their credit cards and billing addresses. That doesn’t matter, though. When Steve called about a Kindle that he found, Amazon told him to throw it away.

If you’re wondering why he didn’t turn it in at the lost and found of the place where he found it, well, he found it right outside of his back door. “It was just the tablet, as in someone dropped it somehow,” he wrote to Consumerist. A less honest person would see this as a sign that the universe wanted him to have the very latest version of Kindle Fire HD, but Steve is honest. It bothers him that he has this Kindle.

“I asked if they would contact the owner and then I could send the tablet to Amazon and they could in turn send it to the customer,” he told us. “I didn’t ask for contact info for obvious reasons.” Yet Amazon still isn’t in the business of reuniting customers and Kindles. What was he told when he asked Amazon? “Instead of trying to get the tablet to its owner, Amazon told me to throw it away!”

What’s curious about that piece of advice is that you’re not supposed to toss items with rechargeable batteries in the trash, and Amazon has a mail-in recycling program for Kindles.

In the meantime, Steve’s best option may be putting up posts on Craigslist and other free, popular classified-ad venues. If that doesn’t work, he can either keep the device or turn it in to local police. The latter option is probably the better one if his conscience is bothering him.

Still, we contacted Amazon to find out whether “eh, throw it away” is an official policy when an honest person turns in a wayward Kindle. We’ll update you when we find something out.

Cruise Ship Passengers Tell Senators Their Horror Stories During Committee Hearing On Industry Safety

Thu, 2014-07-24 19:45

(afagfen)

(afagfen)

From the widely reported horrific conditions of the Carnival Triumph’s Poop Cruise, to the nightmarish experience of sexual assault while onboard, cruise ship passengers recounted their horror stories during a Senate Commerce Committee hearing aimed at boosting protections for travelers in the industry.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller is the chairman of the committee and called for this hearing to raise awareness about the lack of oversight and accountability for passenger safety in the industry, reports the Associated Press.

This hearing follows a bill he introduced last year aimed at improving such protections for cruise ship passengers, and was held in part to discuss how that bill could help.

One woman told senators that she was choked and raped on a Royal Caribbean cruise in 2006 by one of the company’s workers, and then made to collect evidence in trash bags. No one took her to the infirmary immediately or gave her another cabin to stay in during a cruise to Mexico.

Even when the FBI got involved, her rapist wasn’t arrested or tried in the United States, she says.

“Cruise consumers have virtually no rights or protections,” the woman said. “I know this first-hand.”

Another woman told her tale of woe as well, recalling the horrible conditions on board the Carnival Triumph — you’ll remember the red biohazard bags filled with feces, sewage swelling through shower drains, and other nightmarish conditions reported at the time in 2013.

“It was soon very clear that Carnival Cruise Lines had no plan in place for such a disaster,” she said, adding that she was worried about fights as food hording began, with staff seemingly directionless. “They were essentially winging it.”

While Rockefeller maintained throughout the hearing that most cruise ship passengers have a great time and don’t experience any problems, everyone should be protected.

“In spite of the evidence that crimes, fires, mechanical failures, drownings and mishandled medical emergencies occur with disturbing regularity on cruise ships, the industry continues to deny that it has a problem,” Rockefeller said.

Cruise passengers recount horror stories to Senate [Associated Press]

GM Expects To Pay Upwards Of $600 Million To Victims Of Ignition Switch Defect

Thu, 2014-07-24 19:39

(paul bica)

(paul bica)

Last month General Motors detailed its plan to compensate victims of crashes resulting from the long-ignored ignition defect, saying individual payouts could range anywhere from around $20,000 to the double-digit millions. Today, the car maker revealed how much it expects to pay in total when all this compensating is done.

In its quarterly financials [PDF], GM reported that it’s estimating that all payouts will add up to around $400 million, but concedes that it could go as high as $600 million.

The car company notes that these are just estimates and that there is no actual upper limit set for compensation payouts. That’s good to know, as there is still a lot of investigating to do before the full number of ignition-related incidents is tallied.

Additionally, the total amount will be affected by the number of potential claimants who choose to pursue legal action against GM instead of accepting a payout.

GM explained in June that potential claimants can file a claim with the company to preview their eligibility and payment, but their legal rights are not waived until they actually accept the compensation.

One other thing that may reduce the compensation amount for GM is the limited window of time to file claims. As of now, it will only be processing claims between August 1 and December 31. While that does give people five months to file, there is always the possibility that some eligible claimants will miss the deadline.

Robbing A Bank While Wearing A Shirt With Your Name On It Isn’t A Great Plan

Thu, 2014-07-24 19:04

(maybeemily)

(maybeemily)

If only all suspects would do police the favor of wearing their identifying information on their shirts, the world would no doubt be a much more peaceful place. Alas, not everyone can be as courteous, but police in Denver say a man accused of robbing a bank did them a solid by displaying his first name right there on his shirt.

While one might wake up on the day they decide to go rob a bank and think, “I better not wear anything that calls attention to me, like a shirt with my name on it,” officials say the 68-year-old suspect did exactly the opposite with his black t-shirt.

He also used a car registered under his name for his getaway vehicle, reports ABC Denver, after allegedly walking into a Wells Fargo bank and demanding money from two tellers.

After they filled a zippered bag with cash, he walked out and took off. Investigators found the suspect though the car’s license plates, and showed tellers his DMV photo along with a few others in a lineup.

They positively identified him as the man who’d robbed the bank that morning, leading police and FBI agents to track the suspect down and arrest him.

He reportedly waived his right to silence, and told officials he and his wife had been evicted three weeks ago and were living out of a hotel, and that he’d woken up that morning and driven straight to the bank to rob it while his wife slept. He apparently didn’t comment on the decision to wear that shirt, on that particular day, so we’ll have to wonder forever.

He was booked on investigation of felony robbery involving $20,000 or more.

Police: Denver robbery suspect wore shirt with his name on it, drove his own car to bank hold-up [ABC Denver]

Appeals Court Allows Farmers To Keep Feeding Unnecessary Antibiotics To Animals

Thu, 2014-07-24 19:03

(Teresa RS)

(Teresa RS)

More than 35 years ago, the FDA acknowledged that feeding medically unnecessary antibiotics to farm animals may encourage the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which poses a huge health risk to humans. In 2012, a federal court ruled that the FDA is required by law to hold hearings in which the drug makers would need to prove the safety of non-medical use of these antibiotics. But today, a the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the lower court’s ruling, saying it’s up to the FDA to decide if it wants to hold such hearings.

At issue in the case is 21 U.S.C. § 360b(e)(1), which states that the FDA “shall, after due notice and opportunity for hearing to the applicant, issue an order withdrawing approval of … any new animal drug if the Secretary finds… that experience or scientific data show that such drug is unsafe for use under the conditions of use upon the basis of which the application was approved or the condition of use authorized.”

Advocacy groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council argued that this statute requires the FDA to hold a hearing if it has determined that the use of a drug may be unsafe. The government contends that it doesn’t actually mandate that any such hearing be held, just that a hearing is required before the FDA can withdraw approval.

After years of having petitions ignored or denied by the FDA, the NRDC and others sued to compel the agency to conduct these long-delayed hearings. The lower court agreed, but the government appealed the ruling.

Today, a divided appeals panel came down on the FDA’s side.

“Congress has not required the FDA to hold hearings whenever FDA officials have scientific concerns about the safety of animal drug usage,” reads the opinion of the majority [PDF], which also found that the FDA “retains the discretion to institute or terminate proceedings to withdraw approval of animal drugs by issuing or withdrawing [notices of opportunities for hearings], and that the statutory mandate… applies to limit the FDA’s remedial discretion by requiring withdrawal of approval of animal drugs or particular uses of such drugs only when the FDA has made a final determination, after notice and hearing, that the drug could pose a threat to human health and safety.”

The judges explain that if Congress had intended to “mandate the commencement of the notice and hearing process whenever the agency staff formed a scientific opinion adverse to the drug, it would have stated those intentions explicitly.”

In his dissenting opinion [PDF], Judge Robert Katzmann chides the majority for accepting the view that “Congress gave the FDA discretion to do virtually nothing about that problem for over 30 years — and then, when it finally decided to act, to adopt a different regulatory strategy than Congress expressly provided.”

“Today’s decision allows the FDA to openly declare that a particular animal drug is unsafe, but then refuse to withdraw approval of that drug,” writes Katzmann. “It also gives the agency discretion to effectively ignore a public petition asking it to withdraw approval from an unsafe drug. I do not believe the statutory scheme can be read to permit those results.”

While the appeal was pending, the FDA issued a widely derided (except by those in the drug and meat industries) guidance for industry in late 2013, asking drug companies to voluntarily withdraw the approved non-medical uses of their animal antibiotics and to stop selling these drugs solely for growth promotion.

Problem is, many of the drugs sold primarily for growth promotion are still approved for medical use, meaning farmers only need to now claim they are buying these drugs — which represent 80% of all antibiotics sold in the U.S. — for “preventative” medical purposes.

Meanwhile, millions of Americans fall ill, and more than 23,000 die, every year from drug-resistant bacterial infections.

The hope behind these lawsuits was that they would compel drug makers to back up their unsupported claims that providing medically unnecessary antibiotics to animals is safe. Since decades of research has proven otherwise, it’s likely that the FDA would have had no choice but to remove approvals for these drugs and to restrict their use.

“As previous court rulings made clear, FDA has failed to follow its own scientific evidence and stop this practice. Unfortunately, today’s Appeals Court decision effectively gives FDA a free pass to ignore the science when it is politically inconvenient,” said Jen Sorenson, NRDC attorney. “We will evaluate all our legal options, and we will continue to push to end the dangerous and unnecessary use of antibiotics on animals that are not sick through every avenue available to us.”

Robert S. Lawrence, MD, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future and a professor with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, calls the appeals court decision “deeply disappointing” because it “allows voluntary guidelines to take the place of decisive action in confronting one of the most important public health problems of our time.”

Whole Foods Recalls Dozens Of Products Containing Potentially Listeria-Ridden Fruit

Thu, 2014-07-24 18:32

tjpeachWhole Foods has joined Wegmans in recalling items that they sell in their stores that were made from fruit that’s part of a massive recall due to potential contamination with Listeria monocytogenes. Items like fruit tarts and mango-peach salsa using the affected fruit were sold in Whole Foods stores between June 1 and July 21, 2014.

The grocery chain says that customers who have items that are part of the recall should throw them out, then bring their receipts back to the store for a refund. There’s a wide range of items recalled: if you’ve bought anything from Whole Foods in recent months with any fruit in it, you should probably check the list.

Even if you no longer have the receipt, it’s still unwise to keep or eat the products. Listeriosis is at best an unpleasant disease, and at worst can kill you, or cause miscarriage or stillbirth for pregnant women.

We heard from a reader who believes that she and other family members became ill from eating contaminated fruit. She knows that she purchased some, because the store where she purchased fruit, Raley’s, sent an e-mail out to customers with a warning and pictures of the affected products’ stickers. Unfortunately, her family had already eaten the fruit by then.

“People are getting sick – just not sick enough to seek medical help,” she wrote to Consumerist. “I ate two of the affected peaches and about 48 hours later became ill with strong head pain, stomach pain and diarrhea. Fortunately it lasted just under 24 hours.”

The last thing that you want to do when you have a headache and gastrointestinal distress is get in the car and drive to the doctor, and that’s the problem. In order to confirm that you have a case of foodborne illness, local and federal governments need some of your poop. No, really, they need samples from your body to prove which strain of which pathogen has made you sick, which then is traced back to something that you ate. Most people don’t run to the hospital or see their doctor for a one-day stomach bug, which is why we keep hearing so far that there are no illnesses from this outbreak.

This only proves that no good can come from being all healthy and eating fresh fruit.

Whole Foods Market Recalls Made-in-Store Items Containing Recalled Fruit [Food Safety News]
Company Statement [Wawona Packing Company]

Hackers Seeking Ransom Steal User Data From European Central Bank’s Website

Thu, 2014-07-24 17:54

(FlyinAce2000)

(FlyinAce2000)

The European Central Bank announced today that hackers have stolen about 20,000 email addresses and an unknown but lower amount of other information like physical addresses and phone numbers from a database serving its website. The information was reportedly lifted from the ECB’s listings of people who register for its events, and isn’t tied to internal ECB systems.

The ECB, which oversees the financial systems for 18 member countries, said on its official site that it found out about the theft when hackers sent an anonymous email “seeking financial compensation” for the data. AKA, ransom money.

A spokeswoman tells PC World that the ECB has not and will not pay any money to hackers.

No part of the ECB’s internal system nor any market sensitive data was compromised, the announcement says. Most of what was taken was encrypted data, but some of it wasn’t, including contact info.

Those people who did have information exposed in the breach will be contacted by the ECB, and all passwords have been changed on the system “as a precaution.”

Hackers steal user data from the European Central Bank website, ask for money [PC World]

Richard Branson Wants To Introduce “Kids’ Class” Cabins To Virgin Flights

Thu, 2014-07-24 17:42

(Paul Thompson)

(Paul Thompson)

Being trapped on a long flight near a particularly loud or fussy child has caused most frequent travelers to pine for adults-only planes. And at least one airline has created “quiet zones” that are free of young passengers. But billionaire guy who owns lots of cool stuff Richard Branson says his goal is to just lump all the kids together into a separate section of the plane.

“I would love to introduce kid’s class,” the Virgin Atlantic President tells Conde Nast Traveler. “It would be a separate cabin for kids with nannies to look after them.”

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad airlines recently began using “flying nannies” to tend to youngsters during flights, but the kids still sit with their families. Branson seems to want to create an in-flight version of the kiddie pool, where parents can leave their offspring in the care of someone else for a bit while they hang with the adults.

Alas, those pesky regulators are throwing a wrench into his plans.

“We’ve had an issue with the Civil Aviation Authority,” laments Branson. “They worry in an emergency kids would be running in one direction and their parents would be running in the other. So we haven’t got it through yet.”

As nice as his idea sounds on its face, the reality would likely be a nightmare — and not just in emergencies.

Getting on the plane with your family is already a slog, even if your group is seated in the same row. Now, instead of having to get up and down a few times to make sure your kids are buckled in and have everything they need for the trip, you’d have to run back and forth between cabins.

Then when your kid gets antsy in the middle of the flight and starts making requests that only a parent could understand, are you expected to get up and go to the kids’ section, or are the nannies supposed to decipher every possible form of kid-speak. Let’s also not forget that Virgin has a lot of international travelers whose children might not understand English.

And what happens when there’s turbulence and the sounds of crying and wailing children makes its way back to the other passengers? Good luck trying to quell that storm, Branson.

As nice as the idea of flying sans children sounds, it’s probably best to just invest in a good pair of headphones.

Comparison Shopping At Target Would Be Easier If They Could Do Math

Thu, 2014-07-24 16:44

A common strategy when comparison shopping is to use the unit prices that are often available on the shelf to help consumers. This is a pretty solid strategy…except, apparently, at reader MZ’s local Target, where the retailer doesn’t feel the need to make sure that their unit pricing reflects reality at all.

He captured this image of the whole shelf of contact lens solutions at the store, then explained why it’s actually a better deal to buy the single 10-ounce bottle of Opti-Free solution than to buy in bulk and get two 10-ounce bottles.

contact_shelf

“The single 10 oz. bottle of Alcon Opti-Free contact solution costs $8.99, while the twin pack, with 20 oz. total, costs $18.99–$1 more than two single bottles,” he points out. If you break down the math, things get more confusing. The shelf tag measures the price per pint for some reason, and a pint is sixteen ounces.

Yet if you divide $15.99 by 20 for the per-ounce price and then multiply it by 16 again, you get $15.19 per pint, or 80 cents per ounce.

optifree

MZ notes that he submitted this issue to his local government, but hasn’t heard back. Just remember: while it’s helpful to use unit prices when you shop, they’re only useful when the retailer bothers to print up accurate signs.

Drunk Guy On His First Flight Makes Rookie Mistake, Confuses Cabin Door With Bathroom

Thu, 2014-07-24 16:41

(Jon Gos)

(Jon Gos)

Because we all don’t possess nerves of steel when confronted with the reality of flying through the air in a big metal box, essentially, it’s understandable that a guy going on his first flight effort would have a few drinks to relax. But maybe someone should’ve warned him about the propensity for doors to become confusing when you’re under in the influence.

Officials in Dublin say a man who drank vodka and beer to settle his nerves before his initial ascent into the sky tried to open the plane’s cabin door because he thought it was the toilet, reports The Mirror.

The 26-year-old reportedly admitted being drunk on the Ryanair flight from Krakow to Dublin — drinking vodka and beer beforehand and sipping out of his own beer on the plane — when he got up and managed to get the door’s handle up in his attempt.

It didn’t open, much to the relief of his fellow passengers who were looking on in shock, due to the air pressure keeping it shut from the outside.

Crew escorted the man back to his seat, and he was arrested upon landing in Dublin. He later told a court that he was boozing before the flight because was his first time flying and he was nervous. He admitted that he realized now how serious his actions were, and received a €200 fine.

Drunken passenger tried to open door on Ryanair flight because he thought it was toilet [The Mirror]

NJ Turnpike Authority Sues Florida Pizza Chain Over Lookalike Logo

Thu, 2014-07-24 16:37

Which one sells pizza and which one is gnarled with traffic?

Which one sells pizza and which one is gnarled with traffic?

We don’t know why any restaurant owners would want to associate their food with a stretch of ugly highway that cuts a massive concrete and asphalt path from one end of New Jersey to the other, but that’s what the operators of a small pizza chain in Florida did when crafting a logo that looks a lot like the one for the Garden State Parkway. Fearing that people might somehow think it’s gotten into the pizza business, the NJ Turnpike Authority has sued the pizza chain in federal court.

According to the Authority, the similarity of the two logos — compare them above — is somehow likely to give consumers the impression that the Jersey Boardwalk Pizza is somehow related to a governmental highway-maintenance agency located in a state 1,000 miles away.

New Jersey Law Journal reports that the pizza chain was served with a cease-and-desist notice from the Turnpike Authority on April 16. Two weeks later, Jersey Boardwalk filed a service mark application for its logo, which the pizzeria also puts on merchandise that it sells.

The suit seeks an injunction to stop the allegedly infringing activities, along with compensatory and treble damages. The Authority also wants the pizza chain to hand over all merch branded with the logo in question.

The plaintiffs are also seeking to have the defendants surrender the service mark registration it obtained, since they applied for the mark after the plaintiffs accused them of infringement.

Because the application for the service mark was filed after Jersey Boardwalk had been served with the cease-and-desist, the Authority wants the pizza chain to surrender its registration for the logo.

The chain’s lawyer tells the Journal that it’s “unfortunate that the Turnpike Authority decided to pick on this business. Obviously we would like to see them spending more time being more productive, helping citizens have a good ride.”

He points to a recently dismissed lawsuit in which Union County, NJ, had tried to sue a local activist for trademark infringement because she was using the county logo on a public access TV show.

In that case, the court said that the county didn’t have a trademark on the logo, so there could be no infringement.

But the lawyers for the Authority tell the Journal that this case is different, as the Garden State Parkway logo — which has been around for more than 50 years — is used to promote the highway and, according to the cease-and-desist letter, that the Authority “has invested a substantial amount of time, money and other resources advertising, promoting, marketing and publicizing its services provided under the Garden State Parkway logo mark.”

The defendant maintains that the Parkway logo is “unpoliced” and that its use by businesses is “rampant.” The Authority says it does actually police this logo, but that it doesn’t always make headlines.

As for the pizza chain’s stance that a reasonable consumer would not confuse a restaurant with a highway operator, lawyers for the Authority say it’s not beyond the realm of possibility, as there are numerous rest stops with eateries along the stretch of highway.

“[C]onsumers who encounter your client’s mark as used in connection with its restaurant services will mistakenly assume that your client’s use of the mark is authorized by NJTA and/or that the food items served at your client’s restaurant are associated with the food served at the restaurants located in the services areas on the Garden State Parkway,” reads a letter from the Authority’s legal eagles to attorneys for the pizza chain.

“It’s hysterical,” a co-owner of Jersey Boardwalk, which has used the logo for 10 years, tells the Newark Star-Ledger. “We’re all the way in the Florida Keys. It’s not like people are going to confuse us.”

Dealership Gives Disgruntled Customer $100 Refund… In Loose Change

Thu, 2014-07-24 16:07

(Great Beyond)

(Great Beyond)

Usually when a consumer receives a refund from a company they get a check in the mail, or store credit, or a gift card. But for one Florida college student who got into a dispute with a car dealership, that refund came in the form of two bags full of scrounged-together change.

The ordeal began earlier this year when the student purchased a used 2003 Saab from a dealer in Jacksonville and immediately began having issues with the transmission, First Coast News reports.

The dealership repaired the vehicle and sold the international student a warranty.

A short time later, the transmission went out again. No big deal since she bought the warranty, right? Apparently, not so much.

“First time I paid $300,” she tells First Coast News. “Second time, they asked me for $400 saying how the warranty doesn’t cover labor. I thought it unfair because nobody said that to me.”

So, the woman filed a complaint with the Department of Motor Vehicles and an investigation concluded that the dealer needed to issue her a refund.

“The warranty did not cover labor and I failed to write that in and that was her loophole,” the dealership owner says.

When the student arrived at the dealership this week she found the refund in an unexpected form: loose change, with a few dollar bills.

Instead of hauling off the two bags, the woman left the refund at the dealership, saying she wasn’t sure if it was the correct amount and didn’t have time to count every penny.

The dealership owner tells First Coast News that the unusual refund manner wasn’t in retaliation, but that business has been slow and most of the coins came from various containers where he keeps spare change.

“I am doing what DMV asked me to do,” he says. “It is legal tender.”

The refund remains at the dealership awaiting pickup.

Jacksonville car dealer gives woman refund in pennies [First Coast News]

Everybody Wants The Night Shift After Naked Hamburglars Steal A Bunch Of Beef From Eatery

Thu, 2014-07-24 15:56

Safe for work -- he's got skivvies on. (Southwest Florida Crimestoppers)

Safe for work — he’s got skivvies on. (Southwest Florida Crimestoppers)

There’s nothing like a bit of a “bad boy” image to turn even upstanding, law-abiding citizens into admirers — and by that I mean, there’s nothing like the sight of three (mostly) naked men stealing from a restaurant in the middle of the night to make staff laugh.

Two naked men and a third friend clad only in his underwear reportedly broke into a South Florida eatery and stole 60 hamburgers, three pounds of bacon, three red peppers and a paddleboard, reports the Fort Myers News-Press (warning: link has video that autoplays) this week, and were caught on camera in the midst of their caper. Police say they also left a trail of red peppers outside by a bathhouse.

“Dumb, dumber and dumbest,” one waitress joked.

“They left a trail like Hansel and Gretel,” another waitress said. “One of them probably said after, ‘Uh, guys, where did we leave our clothes?’”

Authorities have released photos in an attempt to identify the men, who police say are likely college age guys out for a bit of fun. One of the guys even realizes he’s in his birthday suit at one point, and appears to turn away from one camera, not realizing there’s another one nearby.

And because the threesome are fit, strapping fellas, well, the restaurant’s manager jokes that his staff wouldn’t mind if they came back.

“These two want to meet the bandits,” he said about the jokey waitresses. “Everybody wants to work the night shift now.”

He adds it’s the first time robbers have busted through a back door totally naked looking only for beef, and not money.

“When I saw the security footage, I said how is this guy not wearing any clothes?” he says. “Then I said, ‘Wait, it’s not just one. There’s three naked. That’s what makes this funny.”

It is scientific fact that the more naked people there are involved in a late-night burger heist, the funnier it becomes, that is true.

Bonita Beach naked hamburglars on the loose [News-Press.com]

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