(Patrick Carlson)

Why You Should Rethink Buying Gift Cards This Year

Giving people gift cards has many advantages: you can take a loved one out to dinner from hundreds or thousands of miles away, or you can buy someone new clothes or shoes without guessing at their size. However, gift cards and prepaid debit cards aren’t always the one-size-fits-all gift option that they seem to be, since they can have some serious drawbacks. [More]

Amazon Signs 17-Year Lease On Manhattan Building That Is Totally Not A Store

Amazon Signs 17-Year Lease On Manhattan Building That Is Totally Not A Store

More than a month ago, there were reports that Amazon planned to rent space in Manhattan across the street from the Empire State Building to expand its own empire into brick-and-mortar retail. While Amazon has signed a lease on space in that building that includes ground-floor retail, the company says that it is not going to use that space. Nope. [More]

(OrderWithMe)

Zappos Is Opening An Enormous Real-Life Holiday Pop-Up Store

Zappos is famous for its attentive customer service, but how would that translate to real life? Customers will have the opportunity to find out from this weekend until December 31, as Zappos opens a 20,000 square foot holiday pop-up store in downtown Las Vegas. Since it’s Vegas, the store will be open 24/7 the whole time (except for Thanksgiving and Christmas) and offer an integrated retail and online shopping experience, especially to customers who download the app before they shop. [More]

Get Ready For Parents To Fight Over Pink Plastic Pregnant Puppies

Get Ready For Parents To Fight Over Pink Plastic Pregnant Puppies

Many readers will recognize the product at the top of this page: It’s Puppy Surprise, a toy originally introduced in 1991. The gimmick: inside you will find three, four, or five puppies with different markings and personalities. Puppy Surprise came back on the market this fall, and has been so popular that the company had to pull its ads off TV. [More]

This is only what giant Amazon robots look like in my imagination. (chinguri

Amazon Deploys Robot Army To Assemble Your Orders

While government regulations are keeping Amazon’s delivery drones out of American skies for now, the company is still looking for ways to remove slow, error-prone humans from the fulfillment process in order to save time and money. One cool piece of machinery that will help the company with the holiday rush are robots that don’t pick items off the shelves: they bring the shelves to the human order-pickers. [More]

Lewis Black Rants About The Expansion Of Black Friday

Lewis Black Rants About The Expansion Of Black Friday

Most Americans don’t go shopping on Black Friday or on Thanksgiving Day, but it remains a popular topic for us in the media to yap about. This year, the increasing number of stores opening on Thanksgiving Day and growing controversy over the practice has prompted Lewis Black, professional ranter, to weigh in. [More]

(Ron Dauphin)

Best Buy Is Actually Managing This Whole ‘Turnaround’ Thing

We haven’t featured very many reader complaints about Best Buy on this site in the last year or so. Is that because people aren’t shopping at Best Buy at all anymore? Surprisingly, no. Best Buy is doing great, thank you very much, having convinced enough customers to quit showrooming and actually buy things there. [More]

(littleyiye)

Asian-American Sephora Customers With Closed Accounts File Discrimination Lawsuit

A few weeks ago, we shared with you the claims of some loyal Sephora customers who found that their accounts for placing online orders (and more importantly, for collecting rewards points) had been shut down. While Sephora claimed that account shutdowns were aimed at people buying large amounts of makeup to re-sell, customers complained that the only thing the company looked at was whether a given customer had a Chinese surname. Now customers living in the United States whose accounts were closed are filing a class action suit against the company. [More]

(Nicholas Eckhart)

Christopher & Banks, C.J. Banks To Defy Mall Fines, Close On Thanksgiving Day

You may not have heard of the clothing store chain Christopher & Banks/C.J. Banks, but that’s probably because you’re not a woman of a certain age or a certain dress size. They’re a chain that sells clothing aimed at mature women. The important thing to know, other than that they sell some nice corduroys, is that the chain is defying the malls where it rents and staying closed on Thanksgiving Day this year. [More]

Pro-Holiday Activists Protest At Mall That Will Open On Thanksgiving Day

Pro-Holiday Activists Protest At Mall That Will Open On Thanksgiving Day

There’s less than two weeks left until Thanksgiving Day, and consumers are beginning to learn which retailers will be open on the holiday so they can either plan their shopping trips or get very, very upset. Some people in Michigan have taken the “get upset” option, holding a protest outside of a mall that is scheduled to open at 6 P.M. [More]

(Trent Rose) Not the Sears in question. No SUVs visible here.

SUV Drives Into Closing Sears Store, Injures No One

When a driver lost control of her Lexus SUV in the parking lot of a mall in Solon, Ohio yesterday afternoon, the story could have had a tragic ending. Instead, only the driver sustained minor injuries. While there was property damage to the shopping center, the car ended up inside a Sears Grand department store…one that is scheduled to close before the end of the year. [More]

(iDiapo)

AT&T Quietly Offering Customers $50 To Upgrade At Apple Stores

If you’ve decided that it’s time to upgrade your mobile device, and you’re an AT&T customer, AT&T really, really wants you to consider using their installment plan. Not only is there no upgrade fee for current customers who use the company’s Next installment plans, but AT&T is offering customers an extra fifty bucks if they finance a new iPhone, but don’t order it through AT&T. [More]

(Ben Schumin)

Could Aerosol Deodorants Catch On Again In The United States?

Do you have difficulty applying your deodorant and/or antiperspirant without getting it on your clothes? Unilever thinks that you do. After spray-on personal care products applied to the armpits faded from the United States market in the ’80s when aerosol propellants were shown to be harmful to the planet. They’re still on the market, but Americans prefer our gels and sticks. For now. [More]

(Scott Lynch)

Hot Seller During Singles Day In China: Fake Girlfriends And Boyfriends

Yesterday, we told you about Singles Day, the day when uncoupled people turn to sweet, sweet material consumption to fill the voids in their souls. It’s the biggest shopping day in the world, but really only an excuse for retailers in China to put everything on deep discount. Yet one hot seller this year was appropriate: many Chinese singles took advantage of the holiday to hire a cut-rate fake significant other. [More]

Mall To Stores: Open At 6 PM On Thanksgiving Day Or We’ll Fine You

Mall To Stores: Open At 6 PM On Thanksgiving Day Or We’ll Fine You

Last year, the Walden Galleria near Buffalo, New York welcomed shoppers at midnight on Black Friday. This year, they’re moving that start time back by six hours, and other malls owned by the same company, Pyramid Management, will be opening at dinnertime on the holiday as well. [More]

Apple Removes Fitbit Products From Online Store For Real

Apple Removes Fitbit Products From Online Store For Real

A few weeks ago, we shared an interesting piece of news with you: there were reports that Apple would stop selling Fitbit wearable devices in its stores in the coming months. This prediction has come true, but only partway: while Fitbit trackers disappeared from the company’s website last Friday, they remain on the shelves of real-life Apple Stores. For now. [More]

(bikeoid)

Apple Introduces Tool To Help Ex-iPhone Owners Get Missing Texts

Where did all of the missing texts go? Apple insisted back in May that they solved the problem of text messages that go missing after users switch to phones using other operating systems, but users claim that messages from iPhone-using friends still went missing. Some even filed a lawsuit claiming that Apple’s iMessage servers still “intercept” their messages. Now Apple has introduced a Web app for that. [More]

Customers Accuse Sephora Of Banning Shoppers With Asian Surnames

Customers Accuse Sephora Of Banning Shoppers With Asian Surnames

Would Sephora really ban customers who spend thousands of dollars every year with them? Last year, frequent customers say they had their ability to place online orders taken away for buying too much stuff. This year, frequent customers report having their accounts shut down or their ability to place orders restricted. Funny, thing though: all of these customers have e-mail addresses based in China, or Chinese surnames. [More]