22 Greatest Consumerist Posts Of 2009

What a year! Consumerist got sold, sued, and dished scoop after scoop, we relaunched on a new platform with a new look and mascot, and held our first reader meetup, we became a non-profit, and started taking donations, got invited by the White House to interview top administration officials (several times), and were entered in as part of the Congressional record, hired new folks and bid adieu to dear friends, got some snazzy plaques, and for this first time had a story that we broke receive massive global pickup. We couldn’t be here without your support and story tips, or the generous patronage of Consumers Union. Here’s to even more pro-consumer ass-kicking in 2010, and a look back at the 22 greatest Consumerist posts of 2009!

jccheese.jpg How To Tell If You Have Religious Food
An inspirational guide to staring at things really long and seeing things that aren’t there.

boogerpizza2.jpg Domino’s Employees Put Boogers On Pizza, Put It On YouTube, Consumerist Readers Track Down Store Where They Work
Domino’s employees Michael and Kristy achieved national infamy after a video of them goofing around in the Domino’s kitchen putting boogers in pizza. Using clues from the video and internet sleuthing, our reader’s figured out which store they worked at and called up the manager. This got lots of pickup online and in the news. The employees were fired, the Domino’s location closed, and the CEO released a stilted apology video showing him visibly reading off cue cards.

whybankofamerica.jpg I Stopped Denying People’: Ex-Bank Of America CSR Tells All
A former Bank of America CSR talks about how she got fired for putting too many people on repayment plans instead of just shoving them into a 29.99% APR.

kindledrm.jpg How To Load Up Your Kindle With Non-Amazon Ebooks
This primer shows you how to put non-Amazon, public domain ebooks on your Kindle e-reader using Feedbooks, the free, open-source version of the Amazon Kindle store.

sky.jpg Customer Bills Phone Company For Time Wasted, Gets Paid
Howard Schaffer billed his phone company $5,481.16 for wasting his time while fixing a particularly nasty technical debacle. And they paid it.

mafiawars.jpg Mafia Wars CEO Brags About Scamming Users From Day One
From the beginning, the profitability and viability of popular Facebook social networking games Mafia Wars and Farmville were predicated on the backs of scams, boasts Zynga CEO Mark Pincus in this video. “I did every horrible thing in the book just to get revenues,” he crows in the clip to a gathered bunch of fellow scumbag app developers. The online community he was boasting about ripping off didn’t take too kindly to this clip.

facebookpic.jpg Facebook’s New Terms Of Service: “We Can Do Anything We Want With Your Content. Forever.”
This was a really massive story. When Facebook changed it terms of service this year, it removed a provision that protected users’ rights to their own content they uploaded. Global outcry and media pickup ensued, and the social networking site was forced to make the unprecedented move of revising its TOS based on user input and voting.

theconsumerist.jpg Missing iPhone Mystery Solved By Consumerist Readers In 55 Minutes
A reader’s father’s iPhone went missing and, in less than an hour, our readers tracked down who had it by parsing clues from the pictures and emails the non-rightful owner was sending out on it.

cash4gold.jpg The Article Cash4Gold Doesn’t Want You To Read and 10 Confessions Of A Cash4Gold Employee
Prompted by an ex-employees confession, an investigation into direct to consumer mail-in-gold buyer Cash4Gold.

skimmers.jpg 3 ATM Skimmers Found In One Week At Chase/WaMus – What?! and Here’s What A Card Skimmer Looks Like On An ATM
Some of the best examples of ATM skimmers found in the wild and what to look out for.

doctoredbaseball.jpg MLB Won’t Give Me Permission To Describe Game To Friend
At the end of every baseball game, a disclaimer says you can’t “rebroadcast, retransmission, or account of this game, without the express written consent of Major League Baseball.” So we asked MLB if it’s okay to watch a game and then to say what happened in it to a friend. They would not give it to us.

applephone.jpg AT&T Customer Service: “New York City Is Not Ready For The iPhone”
In another big scoop for us, it was briefly impossible to order an iPhone online if you lived in New York. When we asked why this was, AT&T said, “New York City Is Not Ready For The iPhone.” The internet thought this was hilarious.

applesmoke.jpg Smoking Near Apple Computers Creates Biohazard, Voids Warranty
Two readers in different parts of the country claim that their Applecare warranties were voided due to secondhand smoke. Both readers appealed their cases up to Steve Jobs himself. Both lost.

benmegwhitehouse.jpg Ben & Meg Interview Obama Administration On Credit Card Reform
We took your questions about credit card reform to Washington and interviewed senior economic adivser to President Obama Austan Goolsbee. When we were taping our reaction shots he tried to make us crack up.

drop3sizes.jpg Diet Ads No Longer Able To Use “Results Not Typical” To Get Away With BS-ing You
New FTC rules mean that diet ads can’t exclusively show spectacular results if they added the phrase “results not typical.”

chip.jpg Southwest Suddenly Decides Frequent Flyer Is Too Big To Fly
After flying over 50 times on Southwest Airlines, the airline suddenly decided that self-described “big guy” reader Chip is “too big to fly.”

freecoins.jpg Toyota Employees Taped Stealing From, Watching Porn In Customer’s Truck
One of our readers was convinced that his mechanic was stealing stuff from his truck, so he installed a hidden video camera. He caught them stealing money from his door, and then sitting inside and watching porn on a laptop.

applestone.jpg $2164.89 Paving Stone in a MacBook Pro Box Looks Nice, But Won’t Run
A reader opened up the box of his $2164.89 MacBook Pro he bought at Best Buy and instead of a laptop, there was a giant paving stone inside. To be fair, it was a nice paving stone.

doubledown.jpg KFC Has A Bacon Sandwich That Uses Fried Chicken As “Bread”
The (delicious) headline says it all.

monsters.jpg Videodrome #3: Paper Puppet Reenactments Of Removed YouTubes
A top stories video roundup wherein I invent a new artform: printing out a youtube, cutting it into puppets, and re-enacting it.

lesbianxbox.jpg Identifying Yourself As A Lesbian Gets You Banned On XBOX Live
On Xbox Live, where you can remotely play xbox against other players and talk to them on a headset, it’s okay for teens to curse at each other and call each other fags, but it’s a bannable offense to say in your profile that you’re a lesbian. The buried lede is that yes, girls do play video games, and sometimes they like girls.

thesquadthatisgeek.jpg Geek Squad Wouldn’t Honor My Netbook’s Protection Plan
Geek Squad says that installing Ubuntu voids your warranty and they won’t fix your laptop, even if you’ve got an extended warranty on it.

What was your favorite post or story? Wax nostalgic in the comments.

(Photos: EricaJoy, nfarley, Jacob Bøtter, Dan, Sean Seibel, Nick McGlynn, Triborough, 1Happysnapper, Stefanus Ming, Brian Goldstein, cecildadj, epicharmus)


Edit Your Comment

  1. ubermex says:

    Well done. Great year, guys.

  2. Mr. Kelly R. Flewin says:

    Fantastic work this year and decade! Here’s to another shining year and decade to come!

  3. veronykah says:

    Without this post I would have never seen the Cheetos are religious icons post.
    I will inspect my Cheetos with a closer eye from now on.

  4. CompyPaq says:

    So, a year in to the CU reign. Was it worth the $600,000?

  5. runswithscissors says:



    Happy New Year to the whole crew!

  6. twophrasebark says:

    I’d love to see a Consumerist story called “Where Are They Now?” or such. What is Michael Anthony Setzer of Domino’s booger fame doing? Does KFC still sell sandwiches with fried chicken as bread? What happened to the Cash4Gold whistle blowers?

    Not to give you any extra work or anything…

  7. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    The grossest story was probably the Domino’s booger one but it wasn’t nearly as much of a grey area as the story of the BofA worker who started bending the rules for people to get on the payment plans. In some ways, she was a sympathetic story and in some ways, she was a rule breaker who suffered the consequences of what she did. But the conversation was very good.

  8. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Congrats on a great year, Consumerist. May next year be fraught with Above and Beyond posts!

    Happy New Year and thanks for all your hard work! :)

    *pats Moneycat*

  9. dragonfire81 says:

    I hope there will be more openings available in the future, I’d love to join the team if the opportunity arose. I love this site, thanks to the writers and commenters for making it so much fun.

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      You will have to fight me for the job. And no “chic fighting” strategies. I WILL DESTROY YOU!! lol

  10. myrna_minkoff says:

    I will always fondly remember the post about deep fried butter — even though it was the least useful post in the history of the site.

    But my God, deep fried butter. That’s the kind of info that keeps me coming back every day.

  11. Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

    I love you, Consumerist.

    …. Will you kiss me when the ball drops?

  12. RPHP says:

    I don’t know how the MLB one made it onto this list. It was brought down in the comments that the person misquoted the copyright notice at the end of the games. The notice really has nothing to do with not being able to use your own words to describe a game. Rather, it has to do with not copying the exact same words of the play by play people to commercially rebroadcast a description.

  13. Keep talking...I'm listening says:

    Yay! 2009 was a great year for Consumerist and 2010 will be even better.

    This post needs more kitteh, btw

  14. ElizabethD says:

    I think there should be a “Top 50 Comments” post, also. :-D We have some truly clever, witty readers here. I get my daily lolz from youse guys.

    Love, hugs, kisses, etc. from da old lady.

  15. Telekinesis123 says:

    Yay I get to brag I’m the one who submitted “Facebook’s New Terms Of Service: “We Can Do Anything We Want With Your Content. Forever.” with 6465 diggs! …and be forever known as a guy who misspelled a word in his submissions title, doh!

  16. Winteridge2 says:

    You guys have a really interesting blog, and that Laura was a real find. Keep up the good work. I will tell Consumer Union how much I enjoy it, and hope all your readers will do the same.

    • Laura Northrup says:

      This is where I point out that Winteridge2 is my dad. AKA my first teacher in both consumer advocacy and humor writing.

  17. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    After reading that, the first thought that came to mind was the Team America theme.

    “Team Consumerist, F**K YEAH!”

  18. Trai_Dep says:

    What a wonderful, chaotic but ultimately fruitful year.
    For a couple months, I was sure that Consumerist would be extinguished until CU came in at the eleventh hour.
    I’m so glad they did. I’m so glad Ben, Meg, Chris, Laura, Phil, Carey and Roz were here to make for one of the best blogs in the planet what it is. I’m so glad that the commentaratti have, on balance, tried to add wit, substance and informed debate over the topics and issues raised here. I’m floored at the amount of work Consumerist has put into the back-end (underappreciated but vital).
    And I’m most especially proud of the fiercely Pro-Feline (and hamster!) stance so unapologetically taken. (Although I’m irked that Perfect Oatmeal didn’t make the year-end cut).

    May everyone have a wonderful year, and may the Consumerist staff (and Consumer’s Union) have the best of new years. Hopefully a bit less brinksmanlike than last year’s.
    (I still shudder at how close it was that Consumerist was no more, or a sliver of its former self)

    And: new Captain & Earl pictures, please? Puh-leeease?!

  19. AgamemnonV1 says:

    This is surprising. And here I thought the porn articles were going to make it this year. They certainly did on Kotaku. Kudos on that, Consumerist.