Apple Condemns BBC Reports About Factory And Tin Supplier Conditions

Apple Condemns BBC Reports About Factory And Tin Supplier Conditions

Earlier this week, the BBC aired an hourlong documentary program on conditions for workers in factories assembling Apple products in China, and conditions in tin mines in Indonesia that supply Apple. Factory footage showed iPhone assemblers begging for time off and dozing off on the assembly line, and an illegal tin mine in Indonesia that is purportedly part of Apple’s supply chain. [More]

(Ben Schumin)

Online Shipping War: Amazon’s Shelf Robots Against Walmart’s Puny Humans

Amazon and other e-commerce companies have vast order fulfillment warehouses filled with shelves full of goods. Traditional big-box retailers don’t have the same kind of operations, but are trying to compete with e-commerce companies in shipping items directly to customers’ homes and to stores for pickup. How can they compete without building fulfillment warehouses of their own? By turning their existing stores and employees into a vast online order fulfillment operation. [More]

Amazon Offers Special Deal On The Perfect Gift: Sticks

Amazon Offers Special Deal On The Perfect Gift: Sticks

Wooden sticks are a wonderfully versatile item. You can use them to hit people you don’t like, or to knit homemade mittens for people you do like. You could use one to stir paint, or use a pile of them to build a house for dolls. Only your imagination limits the possibilities. [More]

(holymakeral)

Goodwill Puts All Of The Good Stuff In Special Hipster-Focused Boutique

Attention young, hip shoppers: do you want to dress yourself in thrifted clothing, yet you don’t want to spend hours combing through the racks of actual thrift stores? Great news for thrifty shoppers who are too snobby or pressed for time to shop in thrift stores: Goodwill Industries is trying out new store formats for people who only want designer-label goods, and for hipsters. [More]

Amazon’s ‘Make An Offer’ Button Could Do More Than Sell A Few Collectibles

Amazon’s ‘Make An Offer’ Button Could Do More Than Sell A Few Collectibles

Earlier this year, Amazon began offering one of the very few categories of items not already available from the mega-retailer: collectibles, including the famous Saddle Ridge Hoard of rare gold coins. This may or may not catch on with Amazon shoppers, but raises an interesting question: what if you could easily make an offer on any item on Amazon, or even any item for sale online? [More]

(ThatBeeGirl)

Toys ‘R’ Us Will Stay Open For 39 Hours Straight Leading Up To Christmas Eve

It’s no 100-hour marathon like Kohl’s is holding this year leading up to Christmas, and it’s not the four straight days of staying open its stores have pulled in the past, but Toys “R” Us is extending its holiday hours for last-minute shoppers again this year. [More]

Santa Exists, Dropped $20K To Pay Off Toys ‘R’ Us Layaway Accounts

(Nicholas DiMaio)

News stories about “layaway angels,” people who stop by a retailer’s layaway counter and pay off the balances of strangers, became very popular during the holiday season of 2011. They’ve since become a recurring tradition, and this year we have mostly heard about people spending five-figure amounts to pay off everyone’s balance in a show of generosity. [More]

The LEGO Female Scientists Are Back, Maybe Indefinitely

The LEGO Female Scientists Are Back, Maybe Indefinitely

Earlier this year, LEGO introduced a limited-edition set of minifig female scientists along with essential work equipment like a telescope and a dinosaur skeleton. They sold out quickly, and many female fans of LEGO and/or science were disappointed that the set wouldn’t become permanent. Just in time for Christmas, LEGO quietly put the set back up for sale, and they may be available permanently in the company’s retail stores. [More]

Customers Complain Of Rashes From The Fitbit Charge

Customers Complain Of Rashes From The Fitbit Charge

Fitbit claims that only about 2% of the people who purchased its best-selling Force wearable fitness tracker experienced skin reactions, some of them extremely painful, itchy, or unpleasant. We don’t know yet what proportion of buyers of the company’s new Charge wristbands have complained of skin irritation, but we now know that it’s more than zero: including a reviewer for Yahoo Tech who otherwise liked the device. [More]

Best Buy Promotes Itself With Hilarious Reference To Real-Life Murder

Best Buy Promotes Itself With Hilarious Reference To Real-Life Murder

If you’re not a listener of the podcast “Serial,” you might have glanced at something that Best Buy tweeted earlier today and thought that it was either a complete non sequitur or a very roundabout promotion for mobile phones. “We have everything you need. Unless you need a payphone,” said the official Twitter account of America’s biggest electronics retailer. Ha ha! Murder is hilarious! [More]

(Great Beyond)

Here’s Why You Should Always Read The Details Of Free Trials

When you sign up for a free trial of a service, but don’t have to hand over your payment information on the spot, do you assume that the free trial will simply go away? That’s what many people who signed up for a trial of Amazon Prime seemed to do, and the Iowa Attorney General has arrived at a settlement with Amazon over auto-enrollment in Prime. [More]

Equality in the toy aisle.

Why Are Big-Box Stores Pricing Barbies Differently By Race?

Are pricing algorithms racist? That’s not really possible, and several big retailers are blaming “pricing errors” for discrepancies in the prices of Barbie dolls of different ethnicities. Shoppers interested in a doll in a figure-skating costume, for example, have to pay $1.99 extra at Walmart for a doll with darker skin and black hair. How does that happen? [More]

Toddlers Try And Fail To Destroy A New iPad

Toddlers Try And Fail To Destroy A New iPad

When a new version of Apple’s iPad comes out, delighted media outlets answer all kinds of questions about its size and features. What most reviews will not cover is the important question that many families need answered as they decide which tablet to buy: can it withstand one of the greatest destructive forces known to humankind? [More]

Want L.L. Bean Duck Boots Right Now? Head To eBay, Pay Double

Want L.L. Bean Duck Boots Right Now? Head To eBay, Pay Double

When there’s a shortage of something that people want to buy, capitalism fills in the gaps and unites buyers, sellers, and large amounts of cash. That’s the case with L.L. Bean duck boots, Which are in short supply right now and backordered until almost spring time. For people who want their feet warm and dry right now, there are eBay auctions where they can buy the boots at a premium. [More]

Supreme Court: Amazon Warehouse Workers Shouldn’t Be Paid For Security Screening Time

Supreme Court: Amazon Warehouse Workers Shouldn’t Be Paid For Security Screening Time

Two months ago, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of Integrity Staffing Solutions v. Busk et al., concerning the question of whether employees at a warehouse–an Amazon distribution center, in this case–should be paid for the time that they spend waiting for security checks when they leave work. The Supremes issued a unanimous decision earlier than expected, and they say that security checks should not be considered part of the job at a distribution center. [More]

Mechanical Giraffe Escapes From Hell, Sold At Discount Toy Store

Mechanical Giraffe Escapes From Hell, Sold At Discount Toy Store

The box for this toy giraffe says that it “Walks Along, Moves Head, And Shriek.” Verb tenses aside, that description is alarmingly accurate. The toy does all of those things, including shrieking like a demonically possessed creature as it walks along. While that makes the box accurate, it’s not clear to us who the intended audience for this toy would be. [More]

Why Are 100,000 People On A Waiting List To Buy Duck Boots From L.L. Bean?

Why Are 100,000 People On A Waiting List To Buy Duck Boots From L.L. Bean?

Do you need a warm and waterproof pair of boots so you can tromp through serious snow, slush, and ice this winter? If so, you really should have planned ahead. L.L. Bean reports that their duck boots (which are not made out of actual ducks) for men and women alike are pre-ordered so far in advance that for some sizes, you’ll be waiting around until mid-March to get your boots. [More]

(Jeff Wilcox)

People Really Do Give Cars With Giant Red Bows On Top As Gifts

I spent the Thanksgiving holiday visiting family and watching network television in real time like it was 1983 or something, and that’s when it hit me. The barrage of holiday-themed car commercials where people give each other sedans, SUVs, and the occasional truck with a giant (inevitably red) bow on top. Does this ever happen in real life? It does. [More]