Meet Your New Freelance Assistant Editor, Laura Northrup!

We have a new tipline czarina, Laura Northrup. She’ll be digging through your emails to, thanking you for sending in tips, and pushing good stories to the editors. In due course, she’ll start contributing posts, too. We snagged Laura from the Albany Times Union, where she assisted consumer reporter Dan Higgins with his columns and posted on their consumer advocacy blog, The Advocate. A reformed professional librarian, she also owns several hamsters and has been known to engage in cheeky cross-stitching. Please join me in giving her a big Consumerist welcome!


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  1. John Harrison says:

    y helo thar.

  2. shaken_bake says:

    Awww, that is so darn cute! Welcome! Looking forward to benefitting from the fruits of your labor!

  3. Adrienne Willis says:

    well hello!!! I love you love of hamsters as I have 6 Guinea Pigs!

    • Dafrety says:

      @Adrienne Willis: How do you deal with all their crap? I only have two and that’s already too much.

      • Adrienne Willis says:


        Not easy, especially since I just had knee surgery and cant walk for 3 months! I clean the girls cage (i have 3) every week because they pee the most. The other cages (2, 2 boys and 1 alpha male all alone) i clean every two weeks.

        The hardest part is dealing with their non-stop WHEEKING!!! Holy moly do they have me trained.

      • Trai_Dep says:

        @Dafrety: Burrito Night.

        Welcome, Laura.
        Welcome, Laura’s hamsters. I look forward to many, many more inclusions of rodents on Consumerist.

        I also look forward to a multi-tiered bracket featuring various Consumerist columnists’ pets, although a Twinkles* vs Captain Duvel Moneycat cage-match face-off seems (gratuitously) inevitable. Tragic but so long as there’s copious video, well worth the sacrifice. I recommend training Twinkles to scatter Perfect Oatmeal across the Octagon floor as a feint before she draws her hamster-sized daggers (“Aww, lil’ bitty knives held by a lil’ bitty hamster, so cute – OWW! Oh gawd my fingertip’s gone, my fingertip is gone!“)

        Oh, as your status being a former librarian, I expect to see lots of rapped knuckles when commentators misuse “its” vs “it’s”. We need order, discipline and grammar, delivered in a tight sheath black mini-dress.

        * I’m assuming “Twinkles” is a valid hamster-type name.
        …So is “Poopy” but it’s too easily confused as an adjective.

  4. robocop is bleeding says:

    Point of Fact: We Librarians Never Reform. Once you get your MLS, you’re in for life, no matter how much you pay to get the tattoo removed.

  5. Taliskan says:

    My upstairs neighbor! :D Hi!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I miss having Laurie as a co-worker, but I’m glad you hired her. She’s smart and funny, and has top-notch research and blogging skills. Congratulations, guys. You made a good decision.

    Naomi Seldin

  7. thatblackgirl says:


    Also: your hamsters and glasses are both cute.

  8. Laura Northrup says:

    @Taliskan: The world is small.

  9. moore850 says:

    Welcome to the jungle! Just kidding, can you imagine if I was like that?

  10. HogwartsAlum says:

    Welcome Laura! :) That’s a very cute hamster!

  11. Meg Marco says:

    Yay! Welcome!

  12. ElizabethD says:

    Hammy love!

  13. ironchef says:


  14. ideagirl says:

    Please define “cheeky cross stitching…” oh, and welcome!!

  15. Radi0logy says:

    I have no idea what youre talking about, so heres a girl with a hamster on her head

  16. Nick1693 says:

    Hello Laura!

    I hope you have a good time reading through the emails of the Consumerist!

    (Oh, and the login button is back! Did you make it come back by letting it pet one of your hamsters?)

  17. Project Thanatos says:

    I see I’m not the only one who has accepted our hamster overlords.

  18. mac-phisto says:

    my friend’s guinea pig was just killed by his 2 hamsters & when he pulled the body out of the cage, the hamsters had gnawed a hole in his head & ate his brains!

    word to the wise: keep the hamster away from your noggin.


  19. Dafrety says:

    Hey Laura! I welcome you and your hamster. :)

  20. p012382 says:

    Welcome :) im looking forward to reading what you have to post!

  21. ZukeZuke says:

    Welcome, Laura!

  22. wallspray says:

    Does Albany Times Union know “The Advocate” is a gay issues magazine as well?

  23. says:

    Welcome Laura!

  24. ViperBorg says:

    Welcome, Laura.

  25. The Queen of Everything says:

    Hello there, friend of mine! <3

  26. floraposte says:

    If “reformed” is what you’re telling people, I’ll fully support the claim. Welcome to 658.812.

  27. Steve Walker says:

    Welcome to our little virtual-town Laura! May you and you hamsters find peace amidst the posts… = )

  28. KerriNiger says:

    Welcome Laura! As a librarian who used to live in Albany, I feel an instant kinship….

  29. CoarseLive says:

    You don’t look like anyone to be messed with. Congratulations landing a writing job – I understand doing so is tough these days.

  30. rickhamilton620 says:

    Hi! Hamsters FTW! :D

  31. oregongal (lynnie421 on Twitter) says:

    Hi and welcome :)

  32. Adrienne Willis says:

    Not easy, especially since I just had knee surgery and cant walk for 3 months! I clean the girls cage (i have 3) every week because they pee the most. The other cages (2, 2 boys and 1 alpha male all alone) i clean every two weeks.

    The hardest part is dealing with their non-stop WHEEKING!!! Holy moly do they have me trained.

  33. tbonekatz says:

    Welcome, Laura! I hope you enjoy your new job.

  34. jwissick says:

    Welcome to Laura and her human. :D

  35. RedwoodFlyer says:

    Wait, is that a hamster or a Guinea Pig?

  36. crashman2600 says:

    I for one welcome our new hamster overlords. Oh, and Welcome Laura!

  37. CumaeanSibyl says:

    Aw nuts, somebody qualified applied for the job. And here I was hoping they’d hire me based on my offbeat sense of humor.

    Seriously, congrats and good luck!

  38. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:


  39. Your friends can call you HoJu! says:

    Which one is Laura?

    Aaaaaaahhhh I kid! Welcome aboard. Hope you have a spamfilter.

  40. RandaPanda says:

    Welcome Laura!

    Yeah for hamsters!

  41. ExtraCelestial says:

    Ugh this reminds me of the time I took home the class hamster for the weekend and my neighbors dog ate it.

    Sigh, welcome anyways.

  42. RattedOutAnneFrank!_GitEmSteveDave says:

    Any chance we can get a tips twitter or AIM name? I only ask b/c it’s a pain to log out my one gmail account to go to the other to post a tip. Yeah, I’m lazy sometimes.

  43. MrAndy1369 says:

    Welcome! I’m sure you’ll do a good job!

  44. the_gank says:

    Well well well…Thumbs up! Finally someone from my city post here.. nice pic btw…hopefully that’s real and not photshop.. :D

  45. xredgambit says:

    Soo… You single?

  46. polyeaster says:

    oooh…is that a teddy bear hamster? saweettt! welcome…

  47. tankertodd says:

    When you play with your hamsters do you sometimes pretend they’re talking like Chris Rock?



  48. JeremyFelt says:

    Go Albany! Go Times Us-… Union! Welcome to Consumerist.

  49. bg3636 says:

    I went to my local bestbuy in Merced CA. today to return a camera battery charger I had bought few days back. I had my receipt with me. To my shock and surprise the person behind the counter entered my Drivers License into their computer. I had bought the item using my American Express card. Money was going to be put back to my AMEX card. And my AMEX also has my picture on it. No cash was changing hands. Money was going back to the same credit card. Where is the fraud?
    I was willing to show my ID to prove that I indeed was the person whose name was on the AMEX card. The Clerk entered my Drivers License Number into their system despite my protest. He said its necessary to track things. Now its in their server for ever. Who gets it, where it ends up, we dont know. Do I trust them with my information? No I do not. I asked to speak with the manager. She told me the same thing – that its a new policy. She was polite but could not explain why I must surrender my Driver License Number to Best Buy; and asked me to call 1-888-BestBuy corporate number.

    They think they can gather personal information without showing reason. They think that they got me because I was at their mercy because I had to return the item. That is pure arrogance. I will not shop at Best Buy again. I want other shoppers to know what happens if you have to return an item even with a receipt. If you value your privacy and vital information avoid shopping at BestBuy.

    PS- Just now 12:30am PST on April 4, 2011, I received an email from Best Buy’s CMO Barry Judge saying that due to security breach the customer e-mail information was accesed and stolen. Now these are the same people who took my Driver License Information as a condition for returning an item.
    I will never shop at BestBuy again.