(Joshua Derr)

How To Protect Your Shoes Through Salt And Snow

We’re dealing with ankle-deep slush in the parking lots here at Consumerist’s northernmost bureau. Harsh winter weather is harsh for shoes, especially shoes that haven’t been designed to be tough and waterproof. If you’re still waiting for your backordered duck boots, here’s what you should do to keep your shoes looking nice after the snow melts. [More]

University Of Phoenix’s Risk-Free Trial Might Not Cost You, But Is It An Accurate Taste Of College?

University Of Phoenix’s Risk-Free Trial Might Not Cost You, But Is It An Accurate Taste Of College?

From diet pills to dating websites, it’s not hard to find someone offering a “risk-free” trial membership, and thanks to the University of Phoenix, that “try before you buy” model now applies to college courses. But while one might admire the idea of giving potential students a taste of the school before committing to an expensive education at the for-profit online university, consumer advocates are concerned about the program’s benefits. [More]

White Chocolate Raspberry Fights Red Velvet To Become Official Valentine’s Day Flavor

As February approaches, it’s time for a Flavor Battle. The fast-food, candy, and coffee-shop industries must decide what the official natural and artificial flavor of Valentine’s Day is. Is it red velvet or white chocolate raspberry? These two flavors must battle it out to become the pumpkin spice of early February. Dunkin’ Donuts has cast its vote, introducing white chocolate raspberry flavored coffee and lattes. The chain apparently believes that red velvet is a Christmas flavor, having put it on their 2013 holiday novelty drink menu. [The Impulsive Buy]

FTC: Totally Fine By Us If Phone Companies Block Robocalling Numbers

FTC: Totally Fine By Us If Phone Companies Block Robocalling Numbers

Robocalls suck. Everyone hates them. And yet despite decades of trying to deal with autodialers and phone spam, they’re still a big problem. The FCC wants to know if phone companies can block them getting to you. Phone companies say too bad, so sad, the rules mean we can’t block them… but the FTC now disagrees. [More]

(Adam Fagen)

Can You Make Good Beer With Sewer Water? Oregon Company Says Yes You Can

A water treatment company in Oregon says that it does such a good job of cleaning sewage that the resulting clean water could be used for human consumption rather than just irrigation and similar other purposes permitted by state law. And to prove their point, they are asking the state to let them provide brewers with recycled water for the brewing of beer. [More]

Please Stop Making Bomb Threats Against Southwest (Or Any Airline)

Please Stop Making Bomb Threats Against Southwest (Or Any Airline)

For the second time this week, a Southwest Airlines flight had to be investigated because someone thought it would be hilarious to waste everyone’s time by making bomb threats for flights between San Diego and Dallas. [More]

Pepsi’s Stevia-Sweetened Soda Will Hit Real-Life Stores In 3 Cities

Pepsi’s Stevia-Sweetened Soda Will Hit Real-Life Stores In 3 Cities

Back in October, we told you about Pepsi’s plans to follow Coke into the mid-calorie, partly-stevia-sweetened soft drink market. Pepsi Life first went on sale in 7.5-ounce mini-cans in October, available only through Amazon. That was meant as a test before Pepsi tried putting the beverage in grocery stores. The test was apparently a success, since the green-labeled soda will be available in real-life stores. [More]

(frankieleon)

Poll: Ride-Sharing Services Are Cutting Down On Drunk-Driving Incidents

Times used to be, if your friend was drunk and threatening to drive, you’d have to deal with the inconvenience of actually calling up a cab while hiding their keys. But now due to ride-sharing services that can summon vehicles with a swipe on an app, drunk-driving incidents are down. This, according to a poll by one of those services, Uber, along with Mothers Against Drunk Driving. [More]

(Chris WIlson)

Of Course You Can Summon A Snow Plow With A Smartphone App

People and journalists often compare new products and services to an existing company that does something similar. “It’s a StitchFix for umbrellas,” you might say about a new venture. “It’s like GrubHub, but for freshly-prepared cat meals. It’s Netflix for woodworking tutorials.” A few startups have launched a new business model that could actually work: they’re like Uber, but for snow plows and lawn care. [More]

(Robert Walker)

Apple Pay Gets More Useful, Coming To 200,000 Vending Machines & Other Self-Serve Devices

Apple Pay is not (yet) available at some of the nation’s largest retailers as they prepare to introduce their own mobile payment system, meaning you can’t use it to buy a week’s worth of groceries at Walmart or a TV at Best Buy, or even pay for your prescriptions at CVS and Rite-Aid. But what about those transactions on the opposite end of the spectrum, the ones with dollar values so small that you may feel odd not paying in cash? One company says it will be bringing Apple Pay to hundreds of thousands of vending machines and other self-serve devices. [More]

Your Pork Prayers Have Been Answered: Bacon Prices Are Falling

(ChrisGoldNY)

The choice between money in your wallet and savory, melt-in-your-mouth bacon has just gotten a lot easier, my bacon-loving friends: The pork industry is coming through a recent porcine diarrhea epidemic that slowed down business for awhile, meaning your next bacon fix won’t be quite as costly. [More]

Words Of Neil Gaiman, Jeffrey Eugenides To Appear On Chipotle Cups You Will Discard Without Reading

Words Of Neil Gaiman, Jeffrey Eugenides To Appear On Chipotle Cups You Will Discard Without Reading

Neil Gaiman is a bestselling author whose work spans multiple genres and formats, from children’s books to literary fiction to graphic novels to screenplays. Now he can add fast food packaging to that list, as he joins other notable writers like Jeffrey Eugenides, Amy Tan, Barbara Kingsolver, Paulo Coelho, and comedian Aziz Ansari in slapping their work on Chipotle cups and bags. [More]

(dirtyblueshirt)

FTC Requires Safeway, Albertsons To Sell 168 Stores Before Completing $9.2B Merger

Last March Albertsons supermarket owners Cerberus Capital Management and AB Acquisition LLC announced that they would acquire the Safeway chain of stores in a merger valued at more than $9 billion, but as with most deals of such magnitude, the new coupling between the second- and fifth-largest grocers in the United States had to pass regulatory muster before they could proceed down the aisle. Today, the chains announced they would sell 168 stores in eight states in order to make their matrimonial dreams a reality. [More]

(Seuss.)

N.J. Wegmans, Whole Foods Customers Sue Over Claims Of “Store-Baked” Goods

How fresh is fresh? That’s the question at hand in a lawsuit brought by a group of Wegmans customers in New Jersey who say that just because the store’s rolls are technically put in an oven on the premises, that doesn’t mean they’re “store-baked.” The same group is going after Whole Foods in the lawsuit for similar reasons. [More]

Study Shows The Obvious: Amazon Prime Members Spend More On Amazon

Study Shows The Obvious: Amazon Prime Members Spend More On Amazon

It should be obvious to anyone with a basic understanding of how shopping works that Amazon.com customers who have a subscription to the company’s Prime service probably spend a lot more with Amazon than people who don’t. The temptation to order just about everything one needs without needing to accumulate a $35 order beckons to our inner very lazy or very efficient people. [More]

Confirmed: Google Fiber Coming To Atlanta, Nashville, Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham

Confirmed: Google Fiber Coming To Atlanta, Nashville, Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham

UPDATE: As Google preps to make its official announcements about Google Fiber, the service’s website has been updated to include Atlanta, Nashville, and the North Carolina markets of Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham as “Upcoming” Fiber cities, with San Antonio, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Portland (OR), and San Jose now designated as “Potential” sites for Google Fiber in the future. [More]

(Eric Arnold)

Volkswagen, Audi Recall 80,000 Vehicles Because Leaking Fuel Can Lead To Fire

Even though fuel prices have precipitously dropped in recent months, no one wants to waste their gas because of a fuel leak. For that reason, and because a fuel leak could lead to a vehicle fire, Volkswagen is recalling nearly 26,000 sedans and SUVS in the U.S. and 80,000 worldwide. [More]

(Brian Rome)

Verizon Fined $2 Million For Failing To Investigate Rural Calling Problems

Verizon and other operators of copper wire landline service have been accused in recent years of letting these old networks fall into disrepair in order to shift consumers over to wireless and fiberoptic services. It certainly doesn’t help Verizon’s case when the company spends months failing to investigate problems with rural phone service that its own data showed existed. [More]