These Toys Don’t Just Listen To Your Kid; They Send What They Hear To A Defense Contractor

These Toys Don’t Just Listen To Your Kid; They Send What They Hear To A Defense Contractor

Kids say a lot of random, unsolicited, or just plain personal things to their toys while playing. When that toy is stuffed with just fluff and beans, it doesn’t matter what the kid says: their toy is a safe sounding board. When their playtime companion is an internet-connected recording device that ships off audio files to a remote server without even notifying parents — that’s a whole other kind of problem. [More]

Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine

Airbnb Won’t Be Held Liable For Law-Breaking Listings In NYC

Back in October, the state of New York passed a new law specifically aimed at micro-hoteliers who rent out one or more New York City apartments to tourists. Airbnb immediately sued the state and the city over how the law will be enforced, and now the case has been settled. [More]

Mike Mozart

Customers Complain When Walmart Won’t Honor Pricing Error That Listed 70″ TV For $99

If you see a TV that normally sells for $2,000 suddenly listed for sale at $99, you probably know it’s either stolen, worthless, or — most likely — a pricing error. You’re free to try to take advantage of that goof, but you don’t really have much of a legal leg to stand on if they realize the error and cancel your order.
[More]

A Silly Person

Ho Ho Whoa: Christmas Tree Prices Hit Up To $77 — Per Foot — In NYC

Yes, Virginia, there is a city where $1,000 Christmas trees are real. Where, you ask? In — where else? — New York City. [More]

Google’s New ‘Trusted Contacts’ App Lets Users Keep Tabs On Friends, Family

Google’s New ‘Trusted Contacts’ App Lets Users Keep Tabs On Friends, Family

Two years after Facebook added a safety check feature to let users notify family and friends they were safe after a disaster or public tragedy, Google is following suit, launching its own standalone personal safety app.  [More]

‘Target Math’ Continues To Spread, Infecting Lowe’s & Walmart

‘Target Math’ Continues To Spread, Infecting Lowe’s & Walmart

The discount chain Target is very good at many things, which include designer partnerships and building tiny stores. It’s very bad at some other things, which include selling groceries and putting prices on products that make any sense. “Target Math” is the name we give to these bizarre bulk markups, “sale” items that aren’t actually discounted, and pricing discrepancies within the same store — but this dubious art isn’t just practiced in the halls of Target. [More]

United Gets Off Easy, Pays $2.4M Penalty For Using Planes To Chauffeur Airport Exec To Vacation Home

(Jason Daniel Brown)

Last year, United Airlines CEO Jeff Smisek abruptly resigned amid a federal investigation into allegations that the airline had provided illegal special favors to an official in charge of Newark Liberty International Airport — including relaunching a route to South Carolina that just happened to be near a home owned by that official. United has now agreed to pay $2.4 million to settle a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into these allegations — just a tiny portion of the financial benefit the airline received as a result of this back-room dealing. [More]

’Tis The Season: We Want Photos Of Your Kid’s Mall Santa Claus Nightmare

’Tis The Season: We Want Photos Of Your Kid’s Mall Santa Claus Nightmare

It’s that time of year again, when parents inform their offspring that they’re being taken to meet a mystical bearded stranger who, if they’ve been good, has the potential to make all their dreams come true. Instead, these children find themselves face-to-face with a red-suited nightmare from which they want desperately to escape. [More]

Freaktography

Why You Might Not Find A Bible In Your Hotel Room Nightstand

There are several things a traveler expects when staying in a hotel: that room service is available, the beds won’t be as comfy as your own, and there will be a Bible in the nightstand. Guests of Marriott’s latest hotel chains — Moxy and Edison — can remove the latter expectation from their list: the chain won’t include the holy book in rooms. [More]

Themarcogoon49

Senator Calls On Airlines To Not Charge Extra For Access To Overhead Bins

Should fliers have to pay to access the overhead bin on their flights? One lawmaker doesn’t think so, and wants United Airlines to ditch a new lower-cost fare option that limits travelers to exactly one small carry-on item that fits under their seat. [More]

t f

Campbell’s, Tyson & Other Packaged Food Biggies Eager To Jump Into Meal Kit Melee

Not that long ago, folks with disposable income who wanted something resembling a decent meal but didn’t have time to do all the shopping would buy packaged foods and just heat them up. Now these consumers have the ever-growing rainbow of meal kit subscription services that deliver fresher, better ingredients to their door. But the makers of microwave dinners, pre-made meals, and canned goods aren’t giving up that easy — they want in on this whole meal kit thing. [More]

Michael Kappel

McDonald’s Tries Again To Make McCafe Competitive With Starbucks, Dunkin’

Just like better burger joints have nibbled away at McDonald’s sandwich business, competitors with a wider variety of coffee options are attracting the caffeine-seeking consumers away from the Golden Arches. Now the fast food giant wants to re-establish its coffee bona fides, investing in equipment to help stores compete with the likes of Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts. [More]

Domino’s Japan

Sorry, Rudolph Fans: Domino’s Giving Up Reindeer Pizza Delivery Dream

We know you might have been excited to hear that Domino’s was attempting to deliver pizzas in Japan with reindeer. Alas, the chain has shattered that vision, announcing that it’s giving up on that dream in favor of more traditional delivery vehicles. [More]

WCTI

Pranksters Reportedly “Hack” McDonald’s Drive-Thru To Be Vulgar To Customers

There are any number of issues one might encounter when ordering at the drive-thru of their local fast food restaurant — the intercom is broken, you can’t hear the employee, or you receive the wrong order. Customers of one North Carolina McDonald’s recevied a different surprise when placing an order: The “employee” on the other end of the intercom was shouting rude and vulgar language back at them. [More]

Al Ibrahim

Is TV Sports Getting So Expensive That Customers Are Finally Cutting The Cord?

At this point, it’s a hoary old saw that sports networks and broadcasts of live sporting events are one of the main reasons your pay-TV bills continue to rise. We all kind of “know” that sports are expensive, and that the costs come through to everyone else… but as millions of dollars in charges and fees become billions, are consumers and viewers going to stick around? [More]

Amazon Opening ‘Amazon Go,’ A Convenience Store With No Checkout Lines

Amazon Opening ‘Amazon Go,’ A Convenience Store With No Checkout Lines

You know that feeling you get at the store when you realize you’ve once again chosen the wrong checkout line, the one that’s moving the most slowly? And self-checkout machines eliminate the cashier but not the lines (if the machines are even working). Amazon hopes to eliminate checkout-line frustration altogether with Amazon Go, its new bricks-and-mortar convenience store. [More]

Ben Schumin

Walmart Employee Arrested For Attempts At Killing Coworkers, Setting Store On Fire

Authorities don’t know exactly what led a 24-year-old Walmart employee of an Arizona Walmart store to turn on her coworkers, but say that she had a series of potentially deadly plans for them that fell through. What began as a dispute inside the store could have turned tragic when she returned with a rifle, ammunition, a knife, and a torch. [More]

gjacobs228

Instacart Workers Say They Were Illegally Misclassified As Independent Contractors

To say that things have been contentious between Instacart and its hired shoppers and drivers would be a bit of an understatement, following backlash the company received when overhauling — and then again revamping — the way it handles tips. Last week, workers took things to another level, suing the grocery delivery startup claiming it broke state and federal labor laws.  [More]