As you may know, our parent publication Consumer Reports sends a nationwide army of secret shoppers out into ordinary stores to purchase the items they review, in order to make sure that they don’t receive items that were handpicked for media outlets and triple-checked for flaw. One person dispatched to purchase an iPhone 5 from Sprint reports that anyone who wanted to buy the new Apple gadget was also required to buy an accessory package. [More]
Has RadioShack gone too far with its sales quotas? Allison wrote us to say that when she tried to upgrade her phone recently, the employee had to add accessories to the transaction before the system would approve it. She said he canceled some, and she ended up paying $2 for “two plastic covers for phones I don’t own.” But she says her mom had an even more bizarre experience at a RadioShack, where the assistant actually paid for the accessories herself. [More]
If you think 99 cents is a fair price to pay for the latest fart-simulator or “Are You a Moron?” quiz in Apple’s App Store, Case-Mate has a deal for you. The company’s Recession iPhone case is made from 100% cardboard, and sells for 99 cents — with free shipping included. Case-Mate doesn’t claim that the case is actually useful in any traditional sense of that word; the FAQ for the product makes it clear that there’s no warranty, it doesn’t include any kind of screen protector, and that it’s flammable “if you light it on fire.”
Some PR person just sent us a notice about a new wallet-sized iPhone stand, which reminded us that there’s an easy and free alternative, and it most probably works for a lot of other (fairly thin) media devices as well.
If you’re concerned about your RFID-chipped credit cards being skimmed, you might want to consider shielding them. DIFRwear makes a wallet with the shielding already included, and now roguewallet in Maine has introduced its own RFID-shielded version, with a fin-shaped design so it fits better in your front pocket to thwart pickpockets. Unfortunately, it’s also $50, compared to $20 for the more conventional looking DIFRwear hip-pocket design. (Both are FIPS 201 compliant, if that means anything to you.)
An alleged Best Buy employee tells us that the company has stopped including inlet water hoses in some Inglis, Whirlpool and Maytag top-loading washers it sells. According to the blurry photos he sent us, employees are now supposed to push this $27 accessory hose product on customers who buy the washers. Update: we don’t know if the decision originated with the manufacturers or Best Buy.
Ladies love them shoes, says fashion watchdog Forbes.com.
Cohen estimates that shoes costing $1,000 and up account for less than 1% of total women’s fashion footwear sales (fashion footwear is defined as anything other than athletic), but he acknowledges a growing group of women willing to pay more for their shoes now than they ever have been before. “It changed as early as a year-and-a-half ago but picked up steam in the past six months. Women consider footwear their signature item now.”
Oddly enough, we consider women’s feet our signature item, although we’ve been advised to stop wearing them to Sunday School.
It’s bad when purchased electronics don’t work—it’s even worse when they kill one’s precious iPod. Eric Mortensen had a suspiciously bad run of luck with NewerTech’s RoadTrip! FM transmitter for the iPod not once, but three times. The first one took a dive and killed his iPod, as well, probably because it plugs into the dock port of the MP3 player into his car’s power outlet.