Roger H. Goun

How Long Until A Hybrid Car Actually Saves Me Money?

Because common sense is more common than you might think, sales of hybrid cars are down now that gas prices have fallen as well. That makes sense. Yet there are some circumstances where it makes sense to buy a hybrid car, even when fuel costs are low. How do you know if that includes your situation? The government is here to help. [More]

Hobby Lobby Misses Prime Opportunity For More Christmas Mashups

Hobby Lobby Misses Prime Opportunity For More Christmas Mashups

Hobby Lobby, a chain of craft and home decor chains, is infamous on this site for two things: being the first retailer to put out Christmas merchandise every year, and for taking advantage of that fact by making glorious “Nightmare Before Christmas” trees, or Christmas trees covered with beautiful fall leaves and acorns. That’s why we’re disappointed in them: if they’re going to get Christmas decorations out in May, why not double-celebrate other holidays too? [More]

Sam’s Club Doing Worse Than Costco, Will Try More Organic Food Maybe

Sam’s Club Doing Worse Than Costco, Will Try More Organic Food Maybe

If you’d like to study the uneven economic recovery of the last few years, just compare warehouse chains Costco and Sam’s Club. While both warehouse chains serve people who like to buy their granola bars 48 at a time, Walmart-owned Sam’s serves customers who are less affluent than the more urban customer base of Costco. [More]

One Month After Closing Stores For Plumbing Repairs, Walmart Actually Files For Permits

One Month After Closing Stores For Plumbing Repairs, Walmart Actually Files For Permits

When Walmart closed five stores in four different states on the same day, claiming that they were shutting down due to unspecified “plumbing problems,” people became suspicious. Some citizen theories involve the military, and others involve the nationwide OUR Walmart walkouts that began at one of the California stores targeted for temporary closing. One piece of evidence was that Walmart hadn’t yet filed for permits for any of these urgent renovations. Well, now they have. [More]

(Gregory Brown)

IKEA Is Testing Small Pick-Up Point Stores In Canada

I live in a smaller metropolitan area where people often whine that we have to drive more than two hours each way to visit an IKEA store. What if we didn’t, though? What if cities too small to support a mammoth IKEA of their own had small stores with some retail offerings, where they could pick up their online orders of flat-pack furniture themselves? The chain of mega-stores announced this week that they’re trying that idea out in Canada. [More]

Mysterious Substance On Package Sickens Apple Store Employees, Sends 4 To Hospital

Mysterious Substance On Package Sickens Apple Store Employees, Sends 4 To Hospital

Retail stores receive lots of packages every day, but no one expects them to send employees to the hospital. That’s what happened at an Apple Store in Monterey, California, when a package covered with a mysterious chemical made store employees ill, sending four to the hospital and forcing authorities to evacuate that area of the mall. [More]

Every Regular Grocery Store Is Already A Downmarket Whole Foods

Every Regular Grocery Store Is Already A Downmarket Whole Foods

The idea of a lower-priced version of Whole Foods aimed at younger consumers is intriguing, but there’s already a hugely popular downmarket alternative to Whole Foods for people seeking natural and organic groceries. It’s called Walmart. [More]

Which Items Get Returned To Sephora Most Often?

Which Items Get Returned To Sephora Most Often?

Sephora is a magical playground filled with very expensive substances that grown-ups can slather on themselves. Yet what if that $29 mascara or $45 foundation just doesn’t look right on you? The cosmetics retailer has a famously generous return policy, even for items that have been opened and used, and there are certain items that end up returned more often than others. Which are they? [More]

Amazon’s Stupid Shipping Gang Knows Exactly Where Your RAM Is

Amazon’s Stupid Shipping Gang Knows Exactly Where Your RAM Is

The Stupid Shipping Gang is back to work at Amazon: indeed, it never left. The Stupid Shipping Gang are the people who package e-commerce items for shipping, using inappropriately large or excessive packaging. Matthew’s office ordered nine RAM modules for laptop computers…and received them in nine separate boxes. [More]

Grocery Store Marks Up Chicken, Not Sure How ‘Clearance’ Works

Grocery Store Marks Up Chicken, Not Sure How ‘Clearance’ Works

Here is how it works when something has been on the shelf for a while and you want to get rid of it. You lower the price slightly to entice someone to buy it, and…um, that should be about it. Unless you are grocer Ingles. Then putting something on clearance means raising the price per pound but decreasing the weight, decreasing the price slightly but not making anyone want to buy the chicken. [More]

Why Is This Store Charging A Bottle Deposit On Dryer Sheets?

Why Is This Store Charging A Bottle Deposit On Dryer Sheets?

Some consumer mysteries are very tiny, which is what makes them somehow even more frustrating. For example, why did a bodega charge a customer ten cents in bottle deposit fees when she bought laundry supplies? The store was somehow charging the deposit on dryer sheets, but not charging it on beverages which should be subject to it. Why? The store say that it was all a mistake. [More]

Kohl’s Rolls Out Buy Online, Pick Up In Store Nationwide

Kohl’s Rolls Out Buy Online, Pick Up In Store Nationwide

The ability to order something online and pick it up is very appealing to consumers, even though doing so apparently doesn’t save us any time. Now Kohl’s, another retailer that had been testing this delivery method in fewer than 10% of their stores, is rolling it out nationwide. [More]

(Marc van der Chijs)

A Few Apple Watch Users Are Complaining About Rashes

People get rashes. For every plant, animal, metal, or polymer that exists, there is most likely someone out there who has an itchy skin reaction after contact with it. Yet the popularity of wearable gadgets means that people are now paying hundreds of dollars for devices that they’re supposed to wear constantly. Yes, wearable technology will cause rashes, even the much-hyped Apple Watch. [More]

What Inappropriate Or Perfect Mother’s Day Merchandising Have You Seen This Year?

What Inappropriate Or Perfect Mother’s Day Merchandising Have You Seen This Year?

Stores usually mean well. They just want us to expand the definition of what we think of as an appropriate gift for Mother’s Day. Instead of the traditional flowers, jewelry, and gift cards, they want us to consider buying our mothers a tablet computer. Or clothing. Or laundry detergent. Wait, laundry detergent? Isn’t giving your mother cleaning supplies completely against the point of the holiday? [More]

(Boss Meg)

JetBlue Will Let Amazon Prime Customers Stream For Free Onboard

Though it’s already the only airline to offer free WiFi, JetBlue is taking it once step further and will now let passengers who are Amazon Prime customers stream Amazon’s music and video content for free. Because let’s face it, you’ve got some binge watching of Transparent to get done and those two shrill, chatty 20somethings across the aisle will not shut up about their trip to Cabo. [More]

Nordstrom Remodels Flagship Stores, Won’t Make You Go Inside

Nordstrom Remodels Flagship Stores, Won’t Make You Go Inside

There are two interesting developments that Nordstrom is trying right now: first, they’re remodeling and fancying up their stores in Seattle, Chicago, and San Francisco, seeking to draw international tourists with world-class retail experiences. They’re also experimenting with curbside order pickup, so local shoppers can pick up their online order of bras without getting out of their cars. [More]

Jet.com Is Either The Future Of Retail Or A Doomed Wacky Scheme

Jet.com Is Either The Future Of Retail Or A Doomed Wacky Scheme

This week, a new e-commerce site launched to about 10,000 beta users who signed up for a preview. The easy-to-remember name of this new site is Jet.com, and its goal is to remove some of the inefficiencies of shopping online. Will they succeed? [More]

Driving Around With A Recalled Takata Airbag Is Scary For Consumers

Driving Around With A Recalled Takata Airbag Is Scary For Consumers

Earlier this week, we shared the news that federal regulators are not thrilled with the speed at which cars with potentially dangerous Takata airbags are getting the repairs that they need. What’s that like from the other point of view: specifically, from behind the wheel of a recalled car that has an airbag that may harm you instead of protecting you? [More]