Top Posts Of The Week And Open Thread

AT&T Customer Service: “New York City Is Not Ready For The iPhone”
Giant Mold Universe Found Inside Chef Boyardee Can
HP Ink Costs More Than Human Blood
Customer Knows Her Stolen iPhone Is Being Sent To Apple, But Apple Says They Can’t Return It
Even Best Buy Staff Admit That Geek Squad Is Useless

Happy New Year, Consumerists!

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  1. Laura Northrup says:

    Inspired, oddly enough, by this post, my new year’s resolution is to donate blood as often as I can. I’ve made my first appointment for this week.

    • G.O.B.: Come on! says:

      I’ve only ever donated blood once in high school. They bribed us with writing off 10 detentions if you donated and this was a couple of months prior to prom. I had 18 detentions that had accumulated throughout my high school years so I said hell yeah. Don’t worry about forgetting to donate; they’ll call you for a couple of months after to ask you if you want to donate again.

      As for the other 8 detentions, I just got a cool teacher to write them off. :)

      • ElizabethD says:

        18 detentions? … … … Wow, congrats! You have just made me feel lucky to have a son with “only” three detentions!

    • Seanumich says:

      I will never donate blood as long as the Red Cross and FDA discriminate against gay men. If you have had sex with a man you are BANNED from donating blood. You could have had an orgy with 25 hookers hooked on heroin, but as long as it was not a man you can still give blood. Every death that occurs from no available blood is on the hands of the Red Cross and FDA.

      I also tell the Salvation Army bell ringers I can not give to their discriminating cult so quit ringing your damn bell at me.

      • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

        Actually, you’re wrong. If you’ve paid for sex, or taken intravenous drugs that were not prescribed by a doctor, you can’t donate. Or if you’ve recently received a blood transfusion yourself. Or if you’ve had leukemia. Or if you’ve traveled outside the US for an extended period of time.

        Even if you’re straight, if you’ve done anything to put yourself at risk for HIV, you’re permanently deferred. It has nothing to do with “discrimination,” and everything to do with preventing the spread of a disease. Hepatitis, tuberculosis, and Cruetzfeld-Jakob disease are similarly screened out, as anyone who’s done anything to put themselves at risk for those diseases are deferred as well. Should I also be self-righteously indignant that the Red Cross “discriminates” against people who have lived in Europe for extended amounts of time? Or is it somehow different?

        Go be outraged somewhere else.

        • Seanumich says:

          A straight person can have had 1000 sex partner sin 2009 and still donate. I have had ONE in 8 years. Who is the risk? HIV is not a risk since ALL blood is screened AFTER THE DONATION.
          If you take reading comprehension my assetrion stillstands. You CAN have sex with 25 hookers (as long as you do not pay them). The hookers can be taking heroin (it is not you). If you think this policy helps prevent the spread of disease you are a moron, and I have a bridge you can buy.
          They discriminate and I hope millions die from their policy. Many already have, and I hope it is one of your family members in need of blood, but you do not want it from a f*g.

          • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

            As soon as you wished ill on anyone, you instantly lost the chance for me to side with you. You also showed that you are closed minded, and that nothing, not even logical facts, will douse your illogical fanatic ramblings.

            • Seanumich says:

              I never asked for you to be on my side.If you are a bigot as well, go ahead and give blood, The Red Cross doesnt want gay blood, so they will NEVER get it. Those that die because of it should sue the red cross for their discriminatory practices. They do not deserve 501 C3 status to steal peoples tax money just like the salvation army.

          • kaceetheconsumer says:

            I agree that I won’t (and can’t) donate blood because of the restrictions, but I don’t hope that anyone dies from it.

            I just hope the American Red Cross smartens up as the Red Cross has in other less homophobic places.

            • DragonflyLotus says:

              The Red Cross has actually asked that this ban be lifted (or at least to change to a 1-year deferrment as in other “high risk” situations). It is the FDA that has refused to lift the restrictions.

      • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

        Actually, you’re wrong. If you’ve paid for sex, or taken intravenous drugs that were not prescribed by a doctor, you can’t donate. Or if you’ve recently received a blood transfusion yourself. Or if you’ve had leukemia. Or if you’ve traveled outside the US for an extended period of time.

        Even if you’re straight, if you’ve done anything to put yourself at risk for HIV, you’re permanently deferred. It has nothing to do with “discrimination,” and everything to do with preventing the spread of a disease. Hepatitis, tuberculosis, and Cruetzfeld-Jakob disease are similarly screened out, as anyone who’s done anything to put themselves at risk for those diseases are deferred as well. Should I also be self-righteously indignant that the Red Cross “discriminates” against people who have lived in Europe for extended amounts of time? Or is it somehow different?

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      Are there any restrictions on donating blood if you take meds? While I’m sure my Adderrall laced blood would be a great sensation to the person getting my essence of life, it might be medically counter-indicated.

  2. stuckinms says:

    I know this has been talked about before, TO DEATH, but I was hoping someone could clearly explain to me the rules/laws about receipt-checking.

    I told my husband that my understanding was that we could refuse to show our receipts at Wal-Mart. So, today the woman yelled, “Receipt,” as we were almost outside, and my husband just yelled back, “I don’t have time for this sh**.” (He lacks the ability to do things tactfully fairly often. And I’m often overly polite to make up for it!) I was a bit worried, as we were loading our bags into our car, that we would be stopped or tackled or something, in the parking lot. We had our 8 month old son with us, so that made me a bit more worried.

    From what I understand, they can ask, but you can refuse. And, they can only detain you if they have probable cause or a reasonable suspicion of shoplifting. Here is what I’d like to know:

    1. Is there probable cause to suspect shoplifting if we refuse to show them our receipt?
    2. Do they have any kind of probable cause to suspect shoplifting if we’re using the reuseable bags (not their semi-transparent plastic bags)?
    3. Do they have probable cause to suspect shoplifting if we have not only bags in our cart, but large items like cat litter, diapers, toilet paper, etc.?
    4. Do they have probably cause to suspect shoplifting if we decline bags at the register and carry our items out without using any bags? My husband often declines plastic bags when we forget to bring our reusable ones (only if we have a low number of items).

    My intention is not to “make a point” about receipt-checking. I dislike it, but I will usually comply just to make things easy when I have the baby out. My goal, in asking all these questions, is to find out what the laws are when my husband refuses to show them. I usually can’t get him to stop to show him our receipt, and I want to make sure I know the possible repercussions of that. Or, I’d at least like to let him know what the laws are.

    And, I know people always say not to shop at places that do this, but we don’t have many options of where to shop since we moved to a small town in Mississippi for my husband’s job.

    • G.O.B.: Come on! says:

      I find your husband’s lack of tact in this context to be more than appropriate. I’m not sure about receipt checking rules either, despite reading so many stories about it here.

    • Paladin_11 says:

      “Probable cause” has a very specific meaning. Barring some unusual ordinance in your municipality they would *not* have probable cause just because you refuse to show a receipt or fail/decline to bag an item. They have to be able to articulate a specific action that you performed (say, observing you concealing an item on your person and then attempting the leave the store without paying) at which time they would then have “reasonable suspicion” that you had shoplifted. If you consent to a search–which you should always insist an actual police officer perform–and they find the item they say they observed you conceal, then they would have “probable cause” to accuse you of shoplifting. The rest would then become a matter for the courts.

      I applaud you for exploring what your rights are in these matters but I encourage you not to just take the advice of a semi-anonymous person on a website. Consult your state attorney general. My state accepts questions like this on their website. Maybe MS does too.

      • stuckinms says:

        Thanks for your answer. I will look into asking the AG here in MS. I doubt I will get very far, though, because we’ve found MS seems very backwards compared to where we’ve lived in the past.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      In NJ, shoplifting is about “intent”(also appears to be about intent in your state as well: http://www.mscode.com/free/statutes/97/023/0093.htm ). So you do not have to physically leave the store to be guilty of shoplifting. If you go into a bathroom with merchandise and a backpack/heavy clothes on, and while in the bathroom shove all of it in the backpack/hide it in your clothes, and then leave the bathroom, if you are caught, it’s tough to prove that you intended to pay for the items, instead of intending to shoplift them.

      That being said, in order to detained for shoplifting, most LPO’s and companies require that the “suspect” be seen picking up the merchandise, either concealing it on their person or putting it in something if it is a large item(TV,Computer, etc), and that the suspect never leave/become out of sight(in case they get nervous and ditch the items before confronted. Harder to prove intent if they don’t have possession of the items).

      So to address your questions, unless you had actually stolen something, if they did confront you, I would clearly ask, “What did YOU observe me shoplifting?”. If they say “Nothing” or “I didn’t”, then they are not following most corporate policies, and would be in the wrong/chance getting fired. If they continue to press, then say, “Unless you can produce someone who says they saw me shoplift something, I would back off before I file a complaint with your superiors for false allegations”.

  3. MsAnthropy says:

    Is anyone else having trouble posting comments? Yesterday I could post from Firefox but not Safari, now I can’t post from Firefox either. This comment brought to you by the magic of Camino.

    • MsAnthropy says:

      Oh… I should add that I can type comments or replies to comments, but when I hit the “submit” button, nothing happens. At all. Is it just me?!

    • ElizabethD says:

      I only use Firefox. Ever since the new layout debuted, it has been taking for-EVERRRR for my comments to actually post. Meaning, after I hit submit, the screen hangs up and nothing happens as the seconds tick by. Ultimately my comments do post, but I hate that it wastes so much time now. Maybe I should try in Safari. But I prefer to stick w/ my default browser.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Happened to me on Friday; I am also posting on a different computer because apparently my wireless is now “hidden.” I’d call support but my friend is still visiting and I don’t want to sit on hold.

    • kaceetheconsumer says:

      Comments have been achingly slow to show up since the redesign, and otherwise buggy to boot.

  4. dragonfire81 says:

    Is there any rule that requires you to surrender your credit card to the merchant if requested? Where I work we have self swipe machines but in order to do a credit card transaction we must verify the last 4 numbers on the card. I’ve had several people get stingy with me and not want to release their card so I can see it and verify the numbers. In these instances, I must cancel the transaction, unless of course, the customer provides the numbers to me verbally.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      as far as i understand the credit card rules as provided by the credit card companies in training when i worked in cash handling jobs:

      the credit card is the property of the issuer and if the card issuer says something has to be done then and the cardholder doesn’t comply then the card holder can be required by the card issuer to give up the card to the merchant for destruction and return to the card issuer.

      if the policy is a store policy then it’s up to the card issuer if they require the card holder to comply.
      however, i’ve never known a card issuer that didn’t have an official requirement for the merchant to physically inspect the card to match signatures and check to see if the last 4 digits on the front of the card match the 4 digits printed in the signature box on the back of the card.
      american express requires the name printed on the card to match the name signed on the back. visa and mastercard do not – as in a card can be issued to john smith and if jane smith has privileges she gets a card that says john smith on the front and she signs jane smith on the back.

      last time a card holder refused to allow me to inspect the card and requested that i call the card issuer to verify they didn’t have to, american express requested that i confiscate the card and cut it up. i put it on speakerphone and asked the CSR to repeat it so the customer could hear because she didn’t believe me. she refused and the amex CSR advised her that the card was already cancelled based on this transaction coming under suspicious behavior.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      I believe that policy is due to skimmers. Since the actual card isn’t kept, they clone it onto a card w/a mag stripe. Asking for the last four digits is akin to asking for the three digit code on the back to verify that the actual card is present on an online transaction. As long as you can verbally give the last four digits, I see no problem with this.

  5. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    congratulations on the at&t scoop laura!

  6. G.O.B.: Come on! says:

    I woke up at noon today and to my disgust caught a glimpse of the Rose Parade while channel surfing with a nasty hangover. Does anyone enjoy watching this or any other kind of parade? On television? The thought that someone can enjoy watching pieces of wood covered in flowers moving at 4 MPH boggles my mind. Hearing the announcers describe the floats only adds fuel to the fire. Someone out there likes this? They start coverage of this testament to insanity at 7 in the morning and they keep airing it until 5:30 pm. SERIOUSLY?!?!?!?!

    /RANT

    Luckily the day is also filled with BCS bowl games. I hope everyone had a good new year’s holiday.

  7. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    oh! i forgot!
    the party i went to last night, the snuggle suit was a topic of conversation based on yesterday’s post. so many “silent” consumerists who never comment were in attendance.
    was kind of neat to hear.
    was also funny because only the host and two other people there know my username and the host reads this stuff but doesn’t comment as far as i know.
    was very cool to hear comments about the consumerist like:

    “yeah, when they figured out who the pizza defilers were, that was so cool! that’s totally what the internet is for [besides porn and humiliating your friends with youtube videos]“

  8. JulesNoctambule says:

    Three cheers for a lazy New Year weekend! The most effort I plan to put forth involves deciding if I’m going to bother with tomorrow night’s US airing of the Doctor Who season finale. Russell T Davies’ writing fails to intrigue me, as does the arrival of Matt Smith. Talk about sound and fury, signifying nothing — that man wouldn’t know subtle if his life depended on it.

    • Laura Northrup says:

      He wouldn’t know subtle if if smacked him over the top of the head with a sledgehammer, then somehow reversed time, hit a giant reset switch, and made everyone forget that it happened.

      • JulesNoctambule says:

        Ah, I see you’re familiar with his work!

        It’s been decided that we’ll make pizza and watch either season 2 of Life on Mars or 3 of Blue Murder. Thanks, UK friends and your handy spoilers! They made for an easy choice.

  9. Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

    What was everyone’s favorite holiday gift?

    • ElizabethD says:

      My favorite gift was one I bought for our just-turned-4 year old granddaughter. It’s this darling baby doll (soft, simple) made by the North American Bear Co., called “Rosy Cheeks Baby” (brunette, to match granddaughter’s coloring).
      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000G32Z18/ref=ox_ya_oh_product
      Our granddaughter didn’t even like dolls, but she promptly named this one Olivia and put its little blanket sleeper on. (sold separately) She was all excited about going home to tuck Olivia in with one of her own outgrown baby blankets that night.

      As for me? I loved those two Reese’s peanut butter Christmas trees in my stocking!

    • katia802 says:

      My sister read my mind again and bought me an MP3 player. I was checking them on amazon to buy for myself for my birthday on the 31st. Favorite gift given was the big grin on my mom’s face when I gave her season 1 of her favorite tv show on dvd.

    • kaceetheconsumer says:

      A sugar pump, as in, a little air pump thingy that you can make blown-sugar sculptures with. :D

      Yours?

    • Daemon Xar says:

      I borrowed a friend’s dog for Christmas. He was the best gift ever. Giant (100 lbs or so), with long black fuzzy fur. Probably a mix of black lab, newfoundland, and chow. 10+ years old, incredibly mellow. There when you want to pet him, but perfectly happy curled up on the floor nearby with his stuffed frog when you’re doing something else. Plus he made me take him for four or five walks a day, which was good for my health too.

      I also got a talking Dug (from Up) doll, which was pretty sweet.

      • Daemon Xar says:

        Oh, and I randomly (and surprisingly) gave my brother an Xbox 360 + Dragon Age: Origins. His computer won’t run modern games, and he’s just starting Grad School so I thought he ought to have something to blow off some steam. This is also the first year I actually had $$$ to buy Christmas presents, and he’s been out of the country for three years and I hadn’t gotten him many presents during that period. Plus now I can play online with him, which should be fun.

  10. Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

    Wow.. my first “Open thread” post since Christmas. WOOO!
     
    I’m off work until Monday.. which is a bit weird.. because we have no plans at all except to take our DVR/Cable box to Comcast to exchange it for an HD one.. (WOO!) I tried to take it yesterday because their website said that the office closes at 6pm, we made it there with about 20 minutes to spare.. only to see that it was closed early.. at 5pm for Newyears Eve. Wtf? What good does it do to close one hour early? And I guess listing that on the website would be too much work.
     
    Anyway.. Our big gift for Christmas was from my dad.. he got us a 37″ LCD HDTV.. And I’m still excited. I think it’s plenty big for our living room (Small apartment) but of course the manly Mr. Aroo disagrees. He thought we could exchange it for a bigger one but when I showed him the price difference (About 300 dollars) he changed his mind.
     
    Otherwise, not much is going on.. I’m a bit sickly with a stuffed up nose and head.. taking sudafed makes it bareable but I’m glad I’m not at work.

  11. gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

    I’ve always wondered, what allows merchants to keep what they think is a fake ID?
    not asking from experience, i just know a few people that have had their fake IDs taken, either by a bouncer or (non-government run) liquor store clerk
    (not that i really have much to wory about, seeing as i have a perfectly legal 21+ ID card…)

  12. Dustbunny says:

    So I’m shopping for a new coffee maker & need some advice…I don’t want a single-serve one, so that eliminates Keurigs. Don’t really want a programmable one either. But it does have to make good coffee (I’m in Portland after all, where coffee is the elixir of life). Overstock has some Kalorik coffee makers which got good reviews — except for the people who complained all they have is an “on” and “off” button, LOL. They’re normally around $40-50, which seems cheap for a good quality machine. I dunno…anybody have any experience with Kalorik machines?
    http://www.overstock.com/Home-Garden/Kalorik-Sunny-Morning-10-cup-Coffee-Maker/3476781/product.html

  13. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Sigh, I really need to get back “on track”. I have become very complacent lately, and it bothers me. It’s been almost a year since I exercised anything close to regularly, and it bugs me a lot. Heck, New Balance is ready to send me a new pair of shoes to replace the ones that blew out early, and i haven’t managed to get to a store to see what size I am in the new style they are going to send me.

    Any suggestions?

  14. jesusofcool says:

    Anyone else having trouble with the RSS feed? It’s become totally useless since the website switch since it just keeps feeding me old stories, but maybe I’m doing something wrong.

  15. Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

    I mentioned the laser monks a month or two ago on Consumerist and now I see they’re in my Consumer Reports that just arrived today. it’d tickle me purple if I alerted CR to their existence!

  16. kaceetheconsumer says:

    Is there any chance of getting a feature where we can be alerted to replies to comments, as with Bunedoggle on the previous site?

    I really appreciated being emailled when there was a reply to something I’ve said, because it resulted in some very cool and educational discussions. I miss that.