What We Liked About 2014: The Editors’ Favorite Stories Of The Year

bestofpicksThe clock hasn’t even struck midnight yet, and already we’re reminiscing about the year gone by. For us here at Consumerist, 2014 wasn’t only about how many times our stories were read, or who was clicking where, but about the process of bringing those stories to our readers and how we felt about working on them.

From eggs gadgets to the demise of for-profit schools, from Fitbit to Comcast, we’d like to present our editors’ favorite picks of 2014, along with a few honorable mentions.

KATE COX
Favorite post: Comcast Says Mobile Data Is Competitive, But It Costs $2k To Stream Breaking Bad Over LTE
Why it’s my favorite: We spent a lot of time in 2014 debunking big companies’ claims about broadband competition. This post was my favorite, because we got to look at and present plausible real-world data in a fun, accessible, and relevant way.

Honorable mentions:
Here’s What Lack Of Broadband Competition Looks Like In Map Form
Do You Ever Shop Anywhere? Congratulations: Your Data Will Be Hacked
How Corporations Got The Same Rights As People (But Don’t Ever Go To Jail)
Why Big Companies Spend So Much Money On Washington: It Works Even Better Than You Think

ASHLEE KIELER
Favorite post: Student: Corinthian Colleges’ Demise Is Like “Watching A House Fall On A Witch”
Why it’s my favorite: This story puts faces to the devastation students often encounter as a result of attending a for-profit college. These students, who are understandably worried about their future, highlight how failing Corinthian College made millions of dollars by promising a better future to thousands of students even though the company and its employees often knew future employment prospects were dismal.

Honorable mentions:
Corinthian Colleges Employee: “We Work For The Biggest Scam Company In The World”
If A Boycott Works, It’s Not Just Because People Stopped Buying Stuff
Believe It Or Not, Outlawing Payday Loans Will Not Lead To Looting & Pillaging
Am I Completely Screwed If My Student Loan Co-Signer Dies?

LAURA NORTHRUP
Favorite post: Fitbit Force Is An Amazing Device, Except For My Contact Dermatitis
Why it’s my favorite: This was the post that began the Fitbit Force saga, which began with a few readers telling us about their rashes and ended with the removal of the Fitbit Force from the market. For me, this story showed what Consumerist does best: disparate people all over the world thought that they had an unusual reaction to their fitness bands. We helped to get the message out and bring them together to share stories, information, and gross rash photos.

Honorable mentions:
The Grocery Shrink Ray: Quietly Stealing Our Food For Decades
Best Buy Doesn’t Want You To Know They Take Returns Without A Receipt
Timberland Boots Have A Lifetime Warranty, Unless You’re In Prison
Reminder: If A Store Won’t Sell You A Laptop For $10, It’s Not Bait And Switch

CHRIS MORRAN
Favorite post: Comcast Makes Money Off Everest University Ads, Even As Schools Are Being Sold Or Closed
Why it’s my favorite: This story exists at the confluence of two of the year’s through-line topics for Consumerist — Comcast and its unabashed greed, and the for-profit college industry. Here we have the nation’s largest cable company — and now one of its biggest broadcast, cable, and syndicated content providers — actively continuing to sell ads to a so-called college that is being sued by multiple state and federal agencies and is being sold off or shut down. Meanwhile, ads being shown during the same time slots on Comcast-owned cable channels are for big name car, cosmetics, and household cleaning brands.

Honorable mentions:
5 Reasons Why People Still Buy Stuff From Companies They Hate
Unhappy Customer: Comcast Told My Employer About Complaint, Got Me Fired
The Police Can’t Order You To Stop Filming Them In Public, Or Force You To Delete Pics From Phone
20 Years Ago, Only 1 Baseball Stadium Had A Corporate Sponsor; Now All But 9 Do

MARY BETH QUIRK
Favorite post of the year: We Tried It: The Weird Al Yankovic Namesake Sandwich He Never Knew He Asked For
Why it’s my favorite: Of the many facets of a consumer culture, perhaps none is dearer to my heart than the consumption of food. So when I had the opportunity to start a series called “We Tried It,” the logical category to turn to presented itself. And although yes, it was amusing to read the list of ingredients for a sandwich Weird Al dreamed up, it was even more fun to experience those foods in real life and relay the experience in a way that might encourage readers to experiment on their own. Plus, Weird Al! He’s just great.

Honorable mentions:
15 Product Trademarks That Have Become Victims Of Genericization
From Gadgets To Diners: How To Make (Or Order) The Perfect Egg Every Time
Don’t Put Your Bread In The Fridge & Other Important Food Storage Tips
A Brief History Of Car Colors — And Why Are We So Boring Now?