(Taro the Shiba Inu)

What Information Is Available When Someone Scans My Driver’s License?

There’s a lot of information about you on the back of your state-issued driver’s license or non-driver ID card, but does scanning your license or making a copy of it give potential identity thieves key information about you? It’s not easy to find out what data is encoded in the barcodes on the back of your ID cards, and your state’s motor vehicles department may not want you to know. [More]

We All Somehow Survived The 5-Hour Starbucks Register Outage

We All Somehow Survived The 5-Hour Starbucks Register Outage

On Friday, people across the United States and Canada banded together to get through a crisis. Payment systems at corporate-owned Starbucks stores across the U.S. and Canada went down, leaving about 8,000 stores unable to collect money in exchange for food and beverages. While the crisis only lasted for one afternoon and evening, Starbucks managed to thrill customers by giving food and drinks away instead…and raised a lot of questions about the flaws in modern payment systems. [More]

(C x 2)

Here at Consumerist, we’re fascinated with the various things that shoplifters have removed from stores by shoving them down their pants. We’ve seen people accused of using this method to steal meat, seafood, puppies, more meat, more seafood, and a chainsaw. Police in New Jersey seek a man who shoved three pair of women’s sneakers down his pants at a Kohl’s store. [NJ.com]

(Loren Sztajer) Don't despair, puppy. There are other chew toys out there.

Nylabone Recalls Puppy Starter Kits For Possible Salmonella Contamination

Puppies chew everything: fingers, toes, shoes, furniture…well, anything else within their reach. Nylabone offers a kit with a few different types of durable bone for your puppy to try in order to redirect their chewing urge toward something more that’s cheaper than shoes and healthier for their teeth. That seems like a good idea…unless the bones they’re chewing are contaminated with salmonella bacteria. [More]

(Taco Bell via Brand Eating)

Taco Bell Fritos-Shell Tacos Spotted In The Wild

Back in December, fans of snack chip-flavored taco shells got an enticing hint in a presentation to shareholders in Taco Bell parent company Yum! Brands. As part of a slide showing planned innovations, a taco in a small Fritos bag was shown under the words “Revolutionizing the taco.” A Fritos-shell taco? What madness was this? The crunchy corn shells have become reality, and Taco Bell is beginning to test them. [More]

RadioShack Bankruptcy Trustee Wants Customer Mailing Lists Removed From Auction

RadioShack Bankruptcy Trustee Wants Customer Mailing Lists Removed From Auction

Bankrupt RadioShack doesn’t have a lot of assets left that anyone might want, but one very marketable asset is its mailing lists. Specifically, 65 million names and addresses and 13 million e-mail addresses. In March, RadioShack said that it wouldn’t be selling that information…yet. Now that it’s time to sell off the former company’s intellectual property, all of that contact inforamtion is potentially for sale again. [More]

Police Seek Woman Who Stuffed $1,140 In Electronics Inside Her Skirt

Police Seek Woman Who Stuffed $1,140 In Electronics Inside Her Skirt

A dress with a flowing full skirt is a great fashion choice for a hot day, so the woman who walked into a RadioShack in Florida dressed that way back in February didn’t really stand out. No one really noticed the full skirt of her floral dress…not even when she and her shopping companion began cramming electronics under the skirt, into some kind of criminal crinoline with pockets. [More]

Not even once. (Misfit Photographer)

How A 90-Minute Presentation Turned Into A 2-Year Timeshare Nightmare

Most Consumerist readers consider themselves savvy and resistant to marketing messages and sales pitches. Even then, be cautious when accepting free stuff or cash in exchange for sitting through a time-share presentation. One couple received such an offer while shopping in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. They say that they were offered $450 to attend a 90-minute presentation, and after 8 hours of sales pitches signed up for a timeshare that they didn’t want. [More]

Diet Pepsi Switches From Aspartame To Sucralose

Diet Pepsi Switches From Aspartame To Sucralose

As consumers slowly lose interest in diet beverages and in sodas overall, PepsiCo is out to follow changes in consumers’ sweetener tastes. One change is that people just aren’t into aspartame as much as they used to be, due to a combination of flavor and health concerns. As the quest for a palatable non-calorie sweetener continues, Pepsi is replacing aspartame wtih sucralose in their diet beverages. [More]

Consumerist Friday Flickr Finds


Here are ten of the best photos that readers added to the Consumerist Flickr Pool in the last two weeks, picked for usability in a Consumerist post or for just plain neatness. [More]

They stopped smiling when they learned about this recall. (Barbara Wells)

Groupon Australia Sold Boxes Of Counterfeit Durex Condoms

Overall, Groupon’s transition from a company that sells discount vouchers to a company that sells discount merchandise has gone pretty well. Yet some news from Australia caught our attention when we learned that Groupon in that country sold counterfeit condoms on their website. Now the Australian government is alerting consumers who purchased those condoms that they should probably not use them. [More]

LabCorp Wants To Skip Doctors, Sell Blood Tests Direct To Consumers

LabCorp Wants To Skip Doctors, Sell Blood Tests Direct To Consumers

When your doctor wants to find out more about what’s going on inside your body, she orders lab tests, sending you down the street or down the hall to have someone extract your bodily fluids and perform tests on them. Laboratory Corp. of America, known on your medical bills as LabCorp, thinks that Americans want to order these tests themselves and pay for them with cash. Do they? [More]

(Angie Six)

Which Beauty Subscription Boxes Are Actually Worth The Monthly Fee?

Monthly subscription boxes are currently a hot category in retail: vendors exist that can send you curated selections of everything from pet treats to razors to healthy snacks to butt wipes. One popular subcategory of these boxes are beauty sample boxes, which send you trial-size versions of beauty products to enjoy, and perhaps buy full-sized versions later on. Beauty brands and consumers both love these boxes…but which ones offer the best value for your subscription fee? [More]


Gift Card That Isn’t A Gift Card Can Ignore Consumer Laws

There are some disadvantages to using gift cards, but there are some laws that protect consumers who buy and use them. California has the strongest laws of this type: gift card holders can ask a retailer to cash in a gift card at any time, for example. Yet what happens when something that seems like a gift card isn’t, and it isn’t regulated the way that you expect–even in California? [More]

(Taco Bell)

Taco Bell Will Launch Limited-Time Extra-Hot Sauce Packets

Do you like to slather your Taco Bell meals with hot sauce, but find the chain’s standard packets insufficiently hot? Great news: super-hot sauce, which they’re calling “Diablo,” will be available from Taco Bell beginning on May 5. The not-so-great news for hot sauce fans is that the new sauce is only temporary. [More]

How To Survive A Trip To IKEA Without Dumping Your Partner

How To Survive A Trip To IKEA Without Dumping Your Partner

Hardware stores aren’t the only retail establishments that pose an existential threat to domestic partnerships. Mega-home-store IKEA can also be a treacherous place, where the issues in a relationship surface as you search for items to fill your home together, then get them home and assemble them. That’s why one therapist actually uses the store’s flat-pack furniture as an exercise for patients: they have to assemble a piece of flat-pack furniture together and report back on how they communicated during the process. [More]


Sears Announces Final Two Stores They’ll Be Sharing With Primark

Last year, as part of their “taking on roommates” strategy of keeping their doors open, Sears announced that they were leasing parts of seven stores to Primark, a clothing retailer out of Ireland. Sears has finally named all seven of the stores where Primark will be moving in. All seven are in the Northeast. [More]

Consumer Reports Rates Brinkmann Patio Grill ‘Don’t Buy’ For Now

Consumer Reports Rates Brinkmann Patio Grill ‘Don’t Buy’ For Now

Here in the Northeast, there are now mere weeks until grilling season begins. Safety is very important when you’re lighting an actual fire a short distance from your house, and our fire-roasted colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports test the gas grills that they review for their cooking power and their safety. One grill this season failed one of the safety tests, and for now they’ve given the Brinkmann Patio 810-6230-S a “Don’t Buy” rating. [More]