The People’s Square: Tell Us What To Write

Hey, anyone can comment and, despite what Ben claims, the bar to entry is extremely low, being outsourced entirely to an intern chained to her desk at New York as it is.

What does this mean? It means a forum dedicated to telling us what industries you want us to go after and what type of stories you’d like to see next week is just the ticket! Or, heck, if you just want to compliment or kvetch, this is a swell place to do it too. Consider this your peopke’s square.

So fill up the comments here with any trends you’re noticing in businesses that you think we should cover or companies that seem to really enjoy rooting around in their own ass. Got a personal story you’d like to see published on this site? Mailing us is still the best way to do that.


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  1. ABOMIBOT says:

    I love reading the horror stories and how they’re resolved (or not). But the most frustrating thing for me is how I’ve suddenly awakened to discover how the quality of services I pay so much for has become so poor — and how I now accept this as normal most of the time. Take, for instance, Time Warner Cable in Manhattan.

    My partner and I just laugh everytime we hear a TWC ad citing “digital quality.” Because many times our DVR skips or the bandwidth is so eroded that less traveled channels like TCM or Fox Movie Channel are completely hosed and unwatchable.

    I recently threw out years of very old financial records (shredded, of course) and was shocked to see my cable bill just ten years ago was under thirty dollars a month. I now pay about a hundred dollars more than that. Sure I have more pay channels and HD and a DVR (two, actually). But for an industry “leader” to provide only about eight HD channels in 2006 is an embarrassment. What’s to blame? Is it purely inflation? Deregulation? Inattentiveness on our part?

    We often wonder if we took the time to carefully log each skip or stutter, each micro-outage of a channel or the guide, and by virtue of having no life being able to add it all up over the course of a month, THEN be dogged enough to pursue credit from TWC for the outages (not an easy task even for an extended, contiguous outage) how much of my hundred-plus dollar bill would I be entitled to? Add all this up over the course of a year and I’m willing to bet I could more than pay for a year of my 1996-era cable bill.

    My two cents…

  2. Josh Smith says:

    Id’ love to see something about the shady student loan industry. Maybe even cover Sallie Mae and how they won’t release loans for consolidation. Its only been 7-8 months since they received the first request from my consolidation company.

  3. flyover says:

    I have a current theory regarding Victoria’s Secret, I bet one of you would love to look into.
    I propose that recently they have pulled some sort of resizing bait and switch and have adjusted theirs sizes up. So far, I know of four women, including myself, who, within the past month or two have gone up a cup size in their bras with little or no overall weight change. This spans various cup sizes as well – one A to B, two Cs to Ds, and one D to doub D.
    I would acknowledge this may be due to three of us being around the same age of 26 and perhaps our bodies’ fat distributions are altering with age, but one was a complete stranger in the dressing room who was a good ten years older than me.
    I think they made some sort of alterations perhaps to make their consumers (and THEIR significant others) more pleased with their size and/or to force them to purchase more bras. I don’t know?? Any other women have this issue?

  4. I don’t know if it qualifies as a “consumer” issue, as it is a requirement of current law, but a law that is extremely obtuse and suspect.

    Illinois Toll booths are going to be privatized, and so can be a consumer issue I suppose.

    If you live in or near Chicago, you realize what a nuisance Tollbooths are and both our past governors (including our current one), scandal ridden as they are ran, on platforms to rid Illinois of these toll booths…but, alas it never happened.

    Read here for some notes on the issue…

  5. I second Josh and Abomibot’s suggestions. For the cable industry, I’d love to see an overview of what happens to service when all the installation work is done by independent contractors. Comcast, for example, has business all over the country, but I’m not sure they have a single Comcast-only, full-time installer. It means there’s no way to redress shoddy work or abuse–and no way to, say, call your “local” Comcast to quickly fix problems. If you live in Boston and have a problem with your cable, you have to call the same 800 number as someone in Atlanta.

    For Sallie Mae, 60 Minutes has done a wonderful job following the almost-literal mint Sallie Mae has created for itself following deregulation of its industry in the 90’s. I mean get this: Sallie Mae not only makes the loans but also owns the collection agencies tasked with shaking down those who don’t repay. Talk about creating a business incentive in seeing your customers default. A family member was a VP at Sallie Mae until just after deregulation–he got out because of the ethics of marketing a predatory loan scheme to schools that didn’t know they were abusing their own students. If you need dirt, just ask.

  6. AcilletaM says:

    Crayon, I live in the far northern suburbs and I avoid the tollways like the plague. Thank you for those links.

  7. formergr says:

    I’d like to see addressed the marked decline in quality of United Airline’s complaint resolution ever since they outsourced their Customer Relations department to India last year. Unless you have 1K (>100,000 flight miles a year) status, you have absolutely no hope of getting any complaints addressed anymore.

    As to flyover’s comment above regarding Victoria’s Secret bras, you are dead on. I’ve experienced a similar change in their sizing, and have plenty of old bras lying around that still fit me well to know that it has nothing to do with any weight changes on my part.

  8. @crayon:

    Awesome links, you can chalk Virginia up to the list of states with Shady toll practices. In the central virginia area there are a number of tolls that were implemented specifically to “recoup costs” but have long recouped them 10 fold.

    Even more recently there was talk about adding tolls to the Interstates between Virginia and North Carolina– a high traffic area. I guess they just figured, “Well heck, if New Jersey can do it why can’t we”

  9. Trai_Dep says:

    Like how Consumerist glosses over the ugly squalor that forms the underside of the Commentaratti.

    That intern, chained to her desk, subsisting solely on Costco food samples, half-eaten vending machine Doritos and unfiltered cigarettes cast off by the grizzled, hard-bitten Consumerist editorial staff? The one whose cunningly applied (it’s New York City, people – standards WILL be met) makeup is cadged from the MAC samples counter at Macy’s?

    Shanghai’ed from the ranks of the Commentor community. By Men in Black in ultra-slick, silent helicopters. Machine metal gray, with a “C” logo on its side.

    Don’t get me wrong. It’s a privilege to belong and there’s a certain spring in your step the non-commenting hoi polloi lacks. But nothing’s free, chimpmunks. One moment a lil’ sparrow was free, happily chirping her two cent’s worth far from Consumerist Global HQ. Then next, she was drafted, shunted next to a keyboard, leg ironed in place. To fight the good fight, of course. For the greater good – YOU.

    So it’s a noble thing. Alls I sayin’ is, think *carefully* before you click that Submit Comment button the first time. The next “intern”? Could be you!

  10. Ishmael says:

    Trai baby, do I need to send you some food? Perhaps some Neosporin for the place that leg iron has rubbed?

  11. @flyover: I bet you’re right as to why they’ve changed their sizes. I’ve noticed that the more expensive the store, the smaller my clothing size is. I guess they figure it’ll coax you into coming back to their store.

  12. Cleophus says:

    Ticketmaster. I can’t believe their scam/monopoly practices haven’t been abated by any governmental body.

  13. Xkeeper says:

    I’m suprised clothing sizes and the like aren’t standardized.

    Then again, lately it’s almost like nothing is and GeneriCo. can pull “standards” and “figures” etc. out of thin air without any worry of getting bit back.

    Oh well… kind of silly, but not really anything we can do. D’oh.

  14. segfault, registered cat offender says:

    WTF is a “peopke’s square?”