Earlier today, we shared the story of a grave consumer injustice: an AT&T customer who brought his own unlocked iPhone from three generations ago, but wasn’t interested in using mobile data. AT&T still mandates that such a smart phone have a data plan, though, and they caught him after nine months of wifi-only frugal bliss. Our readers, however, are always looking out for each other. Jon wrote in with one method that some rogue smartphone lovers have used to avoid having a data plan when they don’t want one. [More]
If Home Alone taught us anything, it’s that even the most determined burglars get a little freaked out when it appears there’s activity going on at a targeted house. Not all of us have the wits of a young Macaulay Culkin and access to life-sized, mechanized Michael Jordan cutouts, though. [More]
Here’s a weird possible scam going around. Our reader Chris writes, “Every day for the past week, I’ve been getting an automated call that asks me, ‘This is Survey 2010. Do you have a small dog?’” [More]
A blogger who complains about food at Bon ApÃ©tit magazine is tired of restaurants attempting to trick him into buying bottled water when all he wants is some lovely, refreshing tap water with ice in it. The free stuff that comes out of the tap. Instead, the staff offer water without offering tap as an option at all. Most diners either didn’t notice the ruse, or didn’t care. [More]
A former manager of a car dealership knows exactly how sneaky those sons of guns can be. One of their favorite tricks involved knowingly pricing out the monthly payments at $100 above what the bank computers would let buyer afford, and then acting like they’re your best friend for getting it lowered $100. [More]
Michelle Crouch at Reader’s Digest has compiled another list of secrets that your waiter won’t tell you. Some are just going to make you annoyed, like the waitress who lies for sympathy tips. But there are plenty of useful secrets on the list that might improve your experience the next time you go out to eat. [More]
Pay no attention to those ridiculously cheap TV sets and game systems—also called doorbusters—that retailers use to lure in hordes of holiday shoppers, notes CNN. They’re the equivalent of that little dangly thing anglerfish use to catch food.
Back in June we noted that the FDA was about to get a lot more say over the tobacco industry if the Senate approved a new bill. Well they did, and so yesterday the FDA flexed its new muscles by banning fruit, herb, spice, and candy flavorings from cigarettes. That’s right: clove cigarettes were just banned by the FDA, which is bad news for gothy teens and great news for everyone else.
Heather at The Greenest Dollar read How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer earlier this summer, and it made her see Costco in an entirely new way. The point behind all that crazy luxury stuff for sale at Costco isn’t just to sell it, she says; it’s to prime your brain with feel-good dopamine so that you’re far more likely to splurge on the more affordable items deeper in the store.
If someday you have the bad luck to have one of your debit transactions entered incorrectly by a merchant, here’s how to get things back to normal quickly. The important part is not to let the merchant “get back to you” at some later day. Instead, try to get your bank and the merchant on the line at the same time in order to get it rectified immediately.
There’s a great post over on WiseBread by someone called the Frugal Duchess, about how her 10-year-old kid was schmoozed a little too successfully by a sales clerk at a tween clothing store in the mall.
Freddie writes that his friend was tricked by a phishing email. All the warning signs were there to tip off his friend—an email saying he needed to click a link, a suspicious url, a page asking for his login info—but he clicked and entered the info anyway. Please do not be like Freddie’s friend, who is now probably on the phone with the real Wells Fargo trying to get his account number changed.
The more credulous you are, either because you’re new to the whole line-of-credit experience or because you’re uneducated, the more likely you are to mistake a high line of credit for an indication of your future earnings potential. You can see how this can lead to bad things, as noted by the researchers who studied this unfortunate problem earlier this decade. Luckily, the savvier you get about credit cards, the less influence your credit limit has on you, which is yet another great reason to make financial literacy education mandatory.
The Super Stack can of Pringles on the right looks super big and super packed full of chips. It only has 12% more snack inside, though, while it costs 25% more of your money. Luckily, if you’re not handy with division or don’t have a calculator or phone with you, just look at the price per pound on the tags below. And never trust packaging!
Self-identified rational people take pride in the fact that they can’t be easily manipulated, but of course that’s the pride part of their dumb monkey brains talking. Here’s an interesting study that measured whether hard-to-pronounce words were perceived as riskier than words that were easier to pronounce—in this case, by comparing fake additives in food and asking which ones were more likely to be harmful.