(m01229)

Who Invented Roadside Arm-Waving Air Dancers?

Where did the inflatable dancing man come from? You know what we mean: the tall fabric puppets that you attach to a fan and let loose to dance in the air, capturing the attention of people passing by. Where did the air dancer come from? They’ve been around for less than 18 years, and have an origin story involving three countries and the Olympic Games. [More]

Unexpected Ways To Save Money On Eyeglasses

Unexpected Ways To Save Money On Eyeglasses

Getting new glasses can be a stressful and expensive endeavor, but doesn’t have to be. You might be familiar with the optical shops at your local Walmart or Costco, but there are even more affordable options that you may not be aware of. If (like me) you’re fearful of having your lenses made and fitted through an online order, there are even options for you. [More]

(J)

Should Kid-Oriented Mobile Phone Games Serve Up Birth Control Ads?

Yes, many people love kittens, but the target customer for a kitten-themed cartoon mobile phone game is somewhat younger than the target customer for hormonal birth control devices. There are exceptions, and some overlap between the two categories, but those are generally different audiences. Why, then, did an ad pop up that led an 8-year-old girl to ask her mom some very understandable questions about NuvaRing? [More]

(Van Swearingen)

4 Holiday Gifts That Everyone Is Tired Of

Yes, it’s that time of year again, when people whine about how many people in our lives are important enough to us that we are obligated to give them gifts. Plenty of gift items seem like neutral gifts that just about anybody would like. They are not. Before you choose any of these default gifts, stop and think about what you’re doing, and whether the person will really like it. [More]

(me and the sysop)

Self-Storage Facilities Grow, Keep Our Useless Junk Out Of Sight

Americans own a lot of stuff, and we don’t like to get rid of it. While it’s admirable to keep your old things in place of replacing them with new things, that is not exactly what we’re doing. The growth of the self-storage industry tells us that what we’re actually doing is packing away the items we can’t bear to part with but don’t want to trip over on a daily basis. [More]

Homeowner Posts Surveillance Video To Facebook, Finds Alleged Package Thief

Homeowner Posts Surveillance Video To Facebook, Finds Alleged Package Thief

Stealing packages from someone’s doorstep is one of the easiest crimes there is, but that doesn’t make it any less wrong, or any more legal. One homeowner in Texas happened to check on his home security cameras around the time that a FedEx package was delivered, then noticed that the package had suddenly vanished. He posted images from the camera on a local “neighborhood watch” Facebook group, and his neighbor identified the culprit. [More]

Black Friday Mania Spreads To Animal Shelters, Adoption Events For Black Cats And Dogs

Black Friday Mania Spreads To Animal Shelters, Adoption Events For Black Cats And Dogs

Since we first learned about this idea two years ago, a really great Black Friday promotion has become even more popular nationwide. It’s a doorbuster that aims to bust thousands of doors: the doors of cages and kennels at animal shelters, that is. Shelters and rescue groups have pounced on the idea of the holiday, and offer discounts or free adoptions of animals with black fur, and often animals of other colors as well. [More]

Warm Up For Black Friday: Here’s A Pop Quiz On The Best Deals

You can’t depend on retailers to tell you whether you’re really getting a good deal or not. Is $89 the cheapest that you can find an Apple TV for? Is a $199 Dyson vacuum cleaner too good to pass up? You can make sure that your deal-finding senses are finely tuned and ready for Black Friday with an interactive deal quiz over at CNN. Some deals are exceptional, and others compare unfavorably to other recent sales, sometimes at the same retailer. [CNN]

’70s LEGO Flyer Reminds Everyone Toy Used To Be Gender-Neutral

’70s LEGO Flyer Reminds Everyone Toy Used To Be Gender-Neutral

LEGO is one toy that is, in theory, gender-neutral. They’re just blocks, decals, and figurines. Yet toys today tend to be highly gender-segregated, even when they’re items that don’t necessarily have to be. Usually, we don’t think of the past as more enlightened, but in the case of LEGO, it’s striking how different their marketing in the ’70s was compared to today. [More]

(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]

(Ron Kroetz)

Consumerist Friday Flickr Finds

Here are ten 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]

Poll Results: Most Americans Don’t Shop On Thanksgiving Or Black Friday

Poll Results: Most Americans Don’t Shop On Thanksgiving Or Black Friday

Whether stores plan to open to shoppers on Thanksgiving Day or not, there would be no American Shopping Frenzy Long Weekend at all if people weren’t going to head out there and shop. Yet who are the people who have clamored to go out and shop on Thanksgiving Day? How many Americans are really going to hit the stores at the end of next week? The results of two polls can give us some insight. [More]

Report: FTC Thinks Stores With ‘Dollar’ In Names Mostly Compete With Each Other

Report: FTC Thinks Stores With ‘Dollar’ In Names Mostly Compete With Each Other

Most people think of a dollar store as a store where every item costs $1. This is not the case for Family Dollar, a discount chain, or and Dollar General, one of the suitors seeking to acquire it. Dollar Tree, the company’s other suitor, is a traditional dollar store. As the chains compete to merge, there’s one important question: who do these stores compete with? [More]

Starburst Introduces Christmas-Themed Jellybeans For Some Reason

Starburst Introduces Christmas-Themed Jellybeans For Some Reason

Here at Consumerist, we’re fascinated with holiday mashups: items that we associate with one holiday re-purposed for another, usually for marketing reasons. Items like pumpkin spice egg nog and Independence Day candy corn exist because the makers of candy corn and egg nog want to expand these festive treats out to other holidays. Now let’s welcome Christmas jelly beans to the holiday mashup fold. [More]

You Can Now Delegate Mailing Boxes Of Poop To Your Enemies

You Can Now Delegate Mailing Boxes Of Poop To Your Enemies

While placing feces on the doorstep of someone who has offended you is a time-honored insult, it’s now possible, for about the cost of a pizza and wings, to have a steaming pile delievered to the address of your choice. Well, maybe not so much a “steaming pile,” and more of a “room-temperature sealed plastic container.” Is this service all it’s advertised to be? There’s nothing quite like a first-hand review when a new product or service hits the market. [More]

Seems legit.

Terrible People Create Fake Amazon Pages, Convince Walmart To Price-Match Them

It seemed like a great victory for consumers when Walmart announced that it would price-match select online retailers, including Amazon.com. However, because we’re not evil, we didn’t foresee how some people would misuse the price-matching privilege to scam Wally World into selling them video game consoles at cut-rate prices. [More]

Cattle Rustling Is Making A Comeback In Oklahoma

Cattle Rustling Is Making A Comeback In Oklahoma

Cattle rustling is an old-timey regional term for one of the oldest crimes in human civilization: walking off with someone else’s livestock. It turns out that when animals have been bred to be docile and to trust humans, it’s not hard to drive off with them. Auction houses don’t ask for proof that the cattle you’re selling are actually yours, there are no standardized ear tags, and the unwitting public ends up eating the evidence. [More]

Consumerist Friday Flickr Finds

(amira_a)

Here are eight 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]