Strangers are more likely to return lost wallets containing photos of cute babies, according to British researchers. The scientists sprinkled 240 wallets across Edinburgh last year with pictures of either a smiling baby, a puppy, a “happy family,” or a “contended elderly couple.” It turns out nobody cares about your pooch, retired parents, or smugly superior family life. But that cute wittle baby? Apparently it triggers a “compassionate instinct towards vulnerable infants that people have evolved to ensure the survival of future generations.” Finally, an everyday use for evolution!
We all know that most extended warranties are wastes of money that generally go unused, so why do people buy them? According to a study in the Journal of Consumer Research, guilt-racked and nervous consumers are willing to shell out the extra cash to buy a little peace of mind…
A recent Harvard study tells us that health problems cause more than half of America’s bankruptcies, and that the vast majority of people seeking bankruptcy protection have health insurance. The study paints a hauntingly familiar picture: people get sick, insurance covers nothing, so they’re forced to mortgage their homes to stay alive.
Major health insurance companies own nearly $4.5 billion worth of stock in tobacco companies, according to a Harvard University study. It kinda makes sense: health insurers know tobacco sickens people, and so as long as people are smoking, why not profit from the killer? It’s what David Himmelstein, a co-author of the study, calls “the combined taxidermist and veterinarian approach: either way you get your dog back.”
Um, we’re a little sketched out by a survey question from the Mexican restaurant On The Border asking customers to agree or disagree with the statement: “I love On The Border.” Sure, sometimes we LOVE Mexican food, but we don’t really love any restaurant. It’s just too large a step to take with an eatery, you know? Reader Max is equally confused…
A study from Fair Isaac confirms that even the best borrowers are seeing their credit lines slashed as banks move to boost profitability during the recession. 16% of Americans have seen their credit lines reduced by an average of $2,200, and of them, 11% had no late payments or negative marks on their credit report.
Great news, kids! Australian researcher Michael McCullough says you should stop using alcoholic mouthwashes like Listerine and Scope because they could give you oral cancer.
The American Consumer Satisfaction Index released it’s Q2 results today and the news isn’t good for domestic car manufacturers. The folks at the ASCI say that customer satisfaction for the entire industry is at an all time high — but no American car companies are represented in the top four — and the bottom three in the industry are all American brands.
POLL: 73% Of Americans Think Starbucks Is Overpriced, 21% Are Unsure, And The Rest Were Probably Being Sarcastic
A new survey says that 73% of Americans think Starbucks is overpriced, 21% said they were unsure, and only 6% came to Starbucks’ defense. (We were kidding about that sarcastic thing. Teehee.) The survey also found that the vast majority of American’s don’t go Starbucks for their daily coffee fix:
Credit cards are so much worse than you thought, according to the 2008 Consumer Action credit card survey. Creditors have carte blanche to do pretty much whatever they want, including randomly changing terms, conditions, and rates, even to cardholders with perfect payment histories and pristine credit scores.
Losing a job is bad enough, but your unemployment benefits can vary wildly depending on where you live. The L.A. Times compared unemployment benefits to the cost of living and picked the twenty best and worst cities to be unemployed.
Absentminded travelers flummoxed by airport security leave 12,000 laptops in airports every single week. Only 30% are ever recovered.
I can’t help but feel a little ripped off when you finish a bag of popcorn only to find a bunch of unpopped kernels at the bottom. Am I really paying for defective popcorn? Which is I’m glad reader Wade, a popcorn junkie, conducted a home experiment to see which brand of popcorn pops the most kernels, and which one is the best to buy. They’re not the same. In his test of Newman’s Own, Pop Secret, Jolly Time, Best Choice, Act II, and Orville Redenbacker popcorn, Newmann’s popped the most kernels, but Wade dubbed said Act II the winner. Why? It’s the cheapest, came in 2nd for popped kernel percentage, it comes decently close to providing the claimed amount of servings, and his subjects said it tasted the best. Check out his site for the full results and methodology.
According to science, even the President is more popular than mandatory binding arbitration. A recent poll shows that Americans hate everything about the extrajudicial resolution system, from its inescapable omnipresence, to its unappealable decisions that rob consumers of their day in court. The poll provides a refreshing contrast to a different study commissioned by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which found that Americans love mandatory binding arbitration more than pie.
Feeling down? Money might help, according to Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers. The Wharton economists released a paper arguing that countries with higher gross domestic products have happier citizens. The study shatters the conventional wisdom known as the Easterlin Paradox, which holds that GDP and happiness are largely unrelated.
U.S. News & World Report hates our inability to redeem rebates. If we only tried harder, they say, we might be able to conquer our “tendency to procrastinate and inability to follow multistep directions.” Yes, that must be the problem.
Do you like kidney stones? Great! Coke and Pepsi are the drinks for you. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health found that drinking just two cans of cola per day doubles the risk of chronic kidney disease.
According to enterprising scientists, people buy last minute Valentine’s Day gifts to avoid a fight, rather than to express love—as any lazy lover can attest. The marketing researchers devised three experiments to prove that our susceptibility to negative advertising is directly impacted by how long we wait to whip out the wallet.