A Walmart insider tells us that the price of cellphone chargers nearly doubled on orders from Walmart HQ in the wake of Hurricane Ike. Before the hurricane, chargers cost from $10-$15, but afterwards, they rose to a uniform $19.
Forbes magazine has put together a list of America’s most stressful cities and as a product of Chicago, the winner of the dubious distinction of being America’s most stressful city, I have this to say: “Yeah, so? Shut up and let me eat my hot dog in peace for once, goddamn it. No, I’m not yelling. Why are you always saying that I’m yelling? It’s not like you never yell! Pass the sport peppers before this gets ugly.”
Call it the welcome side of Christmas Creep; manufacturers are discounting LCD and plasma TVs ahead of the traditional year-end holiday sale cluster mess, but you won’t find the best deals in retail stores.
Update: Guitar Center has fixed the pricing error and offered refunds.
Quick, get out your throw-away cash and head to Guitar Center! Their website sells the iPod Classic and both sizes of the iPod Touch for $100 more than what you’ll find pretty much everywhere else. (We guess there’s extra rock-n-roll in them.) You know what makes us crazy? We bet people still buy them.
99 Cents Only, the L.A.-based chain of not-quite-a-dollar stores, has come up with a novel approach to the growing losses it faces as the economy worsens: they’re raising their top-priced items to 99.99 cents.
Foodmakers are planning to bombard you with advertising to keep you from ditching their carefully groomed brands for some blechy cheapo generics. Pay no attention as they try to re-brand their products as cheap and affordable. Here’s a small preview of what to expect…
As the economy sours, premium stores like Whole Foods are struggling to keep customers, reports the New York Times. To remain competitive, the pricey natural grocery store is offering guided tours to customers who want to cut costs but can’t stand to set foot in Winn Dixie.
Space. The final frontier. These are the voyages of Sirius-XM. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new anti-consumer practices. To seek out new revenue streams and crowd out new competitors. To boldly safeguard the dangerous monopoly granted last night by the FCC.
You cringe over the price of a gallon of gas, but what about a gallon of Visine? An article in the September issue of ShopSmart shows that if you bought the eye drops by the gallon, the price would be $1,021. Steak sauce? $48. Secret Platinum, $189. Obviously, no one buys Visine by the gallon, except for maybe Cyclops (hey, that stick still burns). Similiarly, except for hobbyists, no one buys a dropper of gasoline. And there are cost-savings by selling and buying items in bulk. Still, makes you think…
Consumerist commenter doireallyneedausername forwarded us an email he got from MyGallons.com, claiming that his membership fee will be refunded because MyGallons.com cannot find a credit card processor. The email, signed by CEO Steve Verona, says that current members will get a free year of MyGallons.com when (if?) they are ever able to process transactions. Read the email inside.
Andrew writes in to let us know that he’s started to look more carefully at prices when shopping at Target… and so far it’s saved him $0.61 on ketchup…
The WSJ Buzzwatch blog has a list of 50 things that are being blamed on the high cost of oil. Not all of them are bad, apparently my hometown of Elgin, IL is getting a new wind-turbine parts plant. [WSJ Buzzwatch via Kottke]
Saving money at the supermarket has never been more important or difficult thanks to the tag team threat of inflation and the Grocery Shrink Ray. Get Rich Slowly published 15 money-saving tips to help you hold onto your hard-earned cash.
Sorry New Yorkers, but according to the City Council, you’re overpaying for both rent and milk. Anyone charging more than $3.93 for a gallon—86% of the city’s milk sellers, from bodegas to Whole Foods—is violating the state’s milk price-gouging law.
AAA is claiming that Americans drove 4.3% fewer miles on public roads in March — the first year-over-year decline since 1979, and that for the first time since 2002, Americans said they planned to drive less this Memorial Day weekend. So, with the national average at $3.936 per gallon, did you actually drive less?
The price of everything in the telecom world has fallen over the past decade, except for cable. Cable is now 77% more expensive than it was ten years ago, an increase that dwarfs the rate of inflation and makes telecom executives salivate. The Times looks with pity on all of us who splay our wallets wide for the industry, and asks if there’s any salvation other than à la carte pricing.
It sucks to be a “Mom & Pop” gas station owner these days. Gas station owning isn’t as profitable as you might think (the oil company gets most of the money) and now it seems that thousands of older pumps just don’t have the ability to charge more than $3.99 per gallon — and also can’t charge more than $99 for the total sale, preventing truck and SUV owners from filling their tanks up all the way.
The New York Times editorial board called on Congress to make college textbooks more affordable. The measure they endorsed wouldn’t do anything Soviet like directly cap prices, but it would require textbook makers to tell professors exactly how much books would cost impoverished students.