Unsurprising: $145 Prison Mattress Gets Mediocre Consumer Reports Rating

Unsurprising: $145 Prison Mattress Gets Mediocre Consumer Reports Rating

Are the low-end mattresses sold in retail stores really “prison mattresses?” That’s what one dealer called them when speaking to one of our bed-testing colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports. That made them wonder: how would an actual mattress made for the prison market do compared to the mattresses that we use here on the outside? [More]

(smohundro)

U.S. Retail Spending Growth Slows Down: Americans Possibly Have Enough Stuff

While our economy is supposedly expanding and consumers have more money in our pockets thanks to lower gas prices, new data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that that we’re not spending that money in retail stores, online or in real life. If we’re not out hitting the malls, where’s all that money going? [More]

Consumerist Friday Flickr Finds

(Chris WIlson)

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

Amazon To Open Fifth On-Campus, Offline Location At University Of Pennsylvania

Amazon To Open Fifth On-Campus, Offline Location At University Of Pennsylvania

Amazon has spent the last year expanding its challenge to the existence of college bookstores, opening pickup locations on campuses scattered across the country. There, students can pick up things that they ordered on Amazon, and… that’s about it. A new pickup point at the University of Pennsylvania will also offer study and collaboration space for student use, and will provide same-day or next-day pickup for members of Amazon Student or Amazon Prime. [More]

Crocs Brand Honors David Bowie In Least Fashionable Way Possible

Crocs Brand Honors David Bowie In Least Fashionable Way Possible

This afternoon, someone who does social media for the shoe brand Crocs had an amazing idea. What if they joined the rest of the Internet in remembering musician and all-around starman David Bowie publicly on Twitter? What if they took one of his famous makeup looks and applied it to a white Crocs shoe? Yes, this is a thing that actually happened. [More]

Consumerist Friday Flickr Finds

(seth albaum)

Due to Christmas and New Year’s Day falling on Fridays, it’s been three weeks since our last installment of Flickr Finds. Let’s see what treasures have been submitted to the Consumerist Flickr pool in that period. Selection here were picked for usability in a Consumerist post or for just plain neatness. [More]

(David Berkowitz)

Radioshack Franchisee On Martha’s Vineyard To Close, Store Dog Will Also Retire

Radioshack’s bankruptcy last year led to the closure of more than half of its stores, and the sale of others to one of the company’s major secured creditors. Yet the bankruptcy also affected the 700 or so remaining RadioShack dealers and franchisees, including Vineyard Electronics, a franchisee that has kept the island supplied with gadgets since 1981, and is now closing. [More]

Adam Fagen

Got A Fitbit Or Other Gadget For Christmas? It’s Time To Opt Out Of Mandatory Arbitration!

Customers have filed a class action suit against Fitbit, claiming that the company’s Charge HR and Surge fitness bands don’t accurately measure users’ heart rate during vigorous exercise. We’ll keep an eye on the lawsuit and let you know if it goes anywhere, but it probably won’t, and that’s what got our attention. The users filed a class action against Fitbit despite signing (well, clicking) away their right to do so when they registered their devices. [More]

Will This Biofeedback Sleep Hat Improve Your Slumber?

Will This Biofeedback Sleep Hat Improve Your Slumber?

Nightcaps — as in hats that you wear while sleeping, not sipping booze before bedtime — have gone out of style with the spread of central heating, but maybe it didn’t have to be that way. For $150, an actual product that’s on the market promises to use biofeedback to monitor your brain waves and lull you to sleep, which is apparently a thing that people really want in a device. [More]

(Paul Malon)

Pay Tolls Directly When Renting A Car, Or Face Modest Yet Annoying Fees

Last year, I rented a car while mine was off having damage fixed. The danger in renting a car and then going about your normal routine is that you may forget that the rental car doesn’t have a toll transponder, and breeze through the EZPass lane as you normally would. I knew what was coming: a $25 bill for my 60¢ toll. Reader Allen didn’t know, and had to pay $35 for a $1 toll. Let these experiences serve as cautionary tales. [More]

Man Accused Of Shoving Steak Down Pants, Cans Of Beer Up Shirt

Man Accused Of Shoving Steak Down Pants, Cans Of Beer Up Shirt

The Internet puts stories from news outlets all over the world at our fingertips, which leads to one inevitable question: why do people steal meat by stuffing it down their pants so often? It’s a crime that has suddenly increased in some areas, and people commit crimes against meat out of either hunger or desperation for cash. The latest alleged meat thief was making a nice meal out of a package of steaks, two 24-ounce beers, and a package of cream cheese. [More]

Fitbit Announces New ‘Smart Fitness Watch,’ Still Not A Smart Watch

Fitbit Announces New ‘Smart Fitness Watch,’ Still Not A Smart Watch

Fitbit isn’t a watch company: they’re a fitness tracker company. They’re sticking to this concept, even as smartwatches that can track your steps, flights of stairs climbed, and heart rate as well as let you read your e-mail have hit the market, and some people are actually buying them. Today, Fitbit announced its newest product: an even more watch-like fitness tracker called the Blaze. [More]

Lisa

Our Picks From 2015: Editors’ Favorite Stories Of The Year

We write thousands of posts every year at Consumerist, and before we hit “publish,” we tell each of them that they’re our favorite. That’s a lie, though: everyone has their favorite projects or tasks at work, and so do we. Whether it’s because of their real-world impact, delicious research, important topics, or strange paths they led us down, we each have our favorites out of our work for the year. Each of our writers chose theirs along with some honorable mentions, and explained precisely why they enjoyed it so much. [More]

Bill Lewis

24 Stories We Covered In 2015 That We Never Saw Coming

The following is a true story: One day, two Consumerist staffers were chatting about the work day. One said, “I can’t believe I’m writing about the legal ramifications of butt-dialing.” The other replied, “We should probably remember this conversation for a year-end story about things we didn’t expect to ever write in 2015.” A calendar alert was made, and our future selves were duly reminded. [More]

Kickstarter-Funded LinkWallet Misses Promised Deadline For Refunds

Kickstarter-Funded LinkWallet Misses Promised Deadline For Refunds

Last year, we shared the frustrations of people who backed a product called PingWallet, (later LinkWallet) on Kickstarter. The wallets were supposed to ship at the end of 2013, then were delayed to the end of 2014. When that deadline passed, the founders declared that they would issue refunds to backers by December 22, 2015. That would be a satisfactory result if those refunds had ever been sent. [More]

Man Arrested For Selling Stolen Gift Cards Re-Arrested For Allegedly Using More Stolen Gift Cards To Pay Lawyer

Man Arrested For Selling Stolen Gift Cards Re-Arrested For Allegedly Using More Stolen Gift Cards To Pay Lawyer

When you’ve been arrested for allegedly selling stolen gift cards and it comes time to pay for an attorney, there might be one predictable route to go — but it’s not likely to work out so well. [More]

Raiders Of The Lost Walmart Still Playing Game That Shut Down In July 2014

Raiders Of The Lost Walmart Still Playing Game That Shut Down In July 2014

Eventually, all things end, and that includes multiplayer online games. The game Vanguard: Saga of Heroes shut down in July of 2014, but Walmart is trying to keep its legacy alive by continuing to sell useless game discs in the discount bin for fifteen bucks. [More]

Musician Files $150M Lawsuit Against Spotify For Royalties

Musician Files $150M Lawsuit Against Spotify For Royalties

To make a song available on a streaming service like Spotify or Apple Music, the services negotiate with record labels and representatives of songwriters. David Lowery is a musician (best known for the bands Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven), a professor, and an activist for artists’ rights in the new music economy, and his latest effort is a class action lawsuit against Spotify for mechanical royalties. [More]