Once again a reader contacts us to complain about Best Buy misleading their customers with an in-store only website that looks identical to the “real” website—except for the prices.
In hearings today, the meat producers Hormel Foods Corp and Cargill Inc testified that the practice of treating meat with carbon monoxide to preserve its red color is safe and should be allowed. As a compromise, they suggested a label on all CO-treated meat and fish that reminded consumers to refer to the date on the package to determine its freshness. According to Reuters, “officials at the Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Agriculture Department said they stand by the safety of the carbon monoxide practice and would revisit the process if new data becomes available.”
Over a year and a half ago, we alerted readers to the sneaky practice of using carbon monoxide to indefinitely preserve raw meat’s red color—several stores admitted to the practice, and while the small amount of gas used does not pose a health risk, the perma-red meat can make it harder to detect spoilage. Now, in the wake of so many food and product safety scandals, the government has proposed a new mandatory warning label as part of the Food and Drug Import Safety Act of 2007. It would read:
Carbon monoxide has been used to preserve the color of this product. Do not rely on color or the ‘use or freeze by’ date alone to judge the freshness or safety of the product. Discard any product with an unpleasant odor, slime, or a bulging package.
Unlike other media covering the shows, these commentators are in the awkward position of reviewing their own suppliers — and their aim is more to boost sales rather than offer impartial critique.
Does it work? Absolutely. When Downing links his comments to specific merchandise the store sees a “sales bump” that exceeds expectations, according to a Neiman Marcus spokesperson. As shady as Ken is, least he’s honest about his identity and job function as he lavishes his purple prose on nearly everything he sees.
The state attorney general’s office has started an investigation into whether Best Buy maintains a secret intranet site that may have been used by some salesmen to deny customers discounts that appear on the company’s public Internet site.
We applaud the CT State’s Attorney for moving so quickly on this, but wonder if the investigation will have any teeth. As commenter something_amazing pointed out, Best Buy’s price matching guidelines explicitly state that the website does not match store pricing, and the store only matches “a lower advertised price offered by a local retail competitor on the same available brand and model.”