Jaap Joris

Petsmart Thinks Soothing In-Store Music Will ‘Dazzle’ Your Pet, Mellow It Out

Do pets care about music? My dog was indifferent toward it even back when she could hear, but big-box pet store Petsmart is putting in a new music system meant to soothe pets (in the boarding area) and energize their owners (in the shopping area). Will it work? Maybe as long as people think it does, and people control the wallets, that’s good enough. [More]

Mike Mozart

Walmart CEO Explains Why Company Spent $3 Billion On Money-Losing Jet

When the CEOs of Walmart and of Jet met for the first time, they fell in corporate love. The two men couldn’t stop envisioning the future of their companies together, sketching out their dreams of combining Walmart’s inventory and supplier relationships and Jet’s e-commerce algorithm. The companies announced their engagement this week, and Walmart CEO Doug McMillon explained what it was he ever saw in the startup, which has barely been selling to the public for a year. [More]

Turmeric Sold At Target, Big Lots, Supermarkets Recalled For Possible Lead

Turmeric Sold At Target, Big Lots, Supermarkets Recalled For Possible Lead

Turmeric is a spice that’s essential in South Asian Cuisine, and sometimes also used to make foods look more yellow or orange. If you’ve bought a jar of turmeric recently, heads up: bulk turmeric from distributor Gel Spice, Inc. that was repackaged under multiple brand names, including bottles sold at national retailers like Big Lots and Target, has been recalled because it may be contaminated with lead. [More]

Marie

Fertility Patients Say NJ Insurance Law Discriminates Against Lesbian Couples

New Jersey is one of 15 states that requires health insurance plans to cover fertility treatment. However, the regulations say that a female patient is considered medically “infertile” only after one or two years of unprotected sexual intercourse, depending on her age. Otherwise, insurance won’t cover it. Same-sex couples say that this requirement is discriminatory, and two couples are suing their state’s commissioner of Banking and Insurance over the definition. [More]

Mike Mozart

Winner Of The Jet Signup Contest Spent $18K On Ads, Prize Now Worth Millions

Back at the beginning of 2015, before it launched to the public, e-commerce site Jet used a contest to encourage people to refer others to the site. The winner was a Pennsylvania man who spent $18,000 on online ads, recruiting new Jet users through sites like Facebook and Swagbucks. He received 100,000 shares in the company, which he couldn’t cash in until the company went public or were sold. Today, the company announced that Walmart acquired it for $3.3 billion. [More]

Consumer Reports

Samsung And AT&T Won’t Tell You If Your Galaxy S7 Active Isn’t Waterproof, Or Extend Warranty

You might be familiar with the Samsung S7 Active smartphone, which both the manufacturer and its exclusive retailer, AT&T, advertise as being waterproof. Our phone-dunking colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports tested that claim and found the S7 Active lacking, with two test phones failing after a simulated 5-foot dunk in a water tank. Yet it turns out AT&T employees aren’t aware of this issue, and owners of the phone won’t get a lifetime warranty for liquid damage. [More]

dmuth

Telecom Customer Service Can Afford To Be Terrible Because Switching Costs Are High

Why is customer service generally terrible from your cable and internet service provider? It’s not so much that the service is terrible, even though it often is. The problem is that it’s inconvenient to switch providers, if you even have a second option at all. When you feel like you don’t have a choice, you resent your current provider more. [More]

Swarm Of Bees Gets Loose In Parking Lot Of Walmart, Sends 3 Customers To Hospital

Swarm Of Bees Gets Loose In Parking Lot Of Walmart, Sends 3 Customers To Hospital

The Oklahoma Walmart Bee Invasion began with a routine transaction. No, Walmart isn’t selling bees now: two beekeepers met up in the store’s parking lot to complete the sale of three hives of around 10,000 bees each in a public place. Instead, the bees got loose, stinging people in the parking lot. Three people had severe enough problems that they were transported to the hospital. [More]

Beer And Acetaminophen Supermarket Display Is Hazardous To Your Liver

Beer And Acetaminophen Supermarket Display Is Hazardous To Your Liver

Reader C. was cruising by the beer cooler at his local Hannaford supermarket when he noticed an interesting cross-promotion. There was a mini-shelf attached to the outside of the refrigerator case door, where you might expect to see maybe bottles of chocolate sauce near the ice cream. This mini-shelf in the beer case had… acetaminophen? That’s a pain reliever that can cause liver damage in not-so-high doses, which you shouldn’t combine with alcohol. [More]

Traveler Hacks His Way Into Fancy Airport Lounges

Traveler Hacks His Way Into Fancy Airport Lounges

Is it possible to hack your way into a lounge? Of course it is, when access to an airline’s elite frequent-flyer lounges is controlled via barcode. One traveler couldn’t get into the lounge when he had gold status, and wondered whether he could encode a barcode with fake information that would gain him access that he didn’t deserve. [More]

Laptop-Using Car Theft Ring Busted In Houston

Laptop-Using Car Theft Ring Busted In Houston

Hey, remember those car thefts in Houston where the suspect was caught on security cameras fiddling with a laptop computer before driving off with the vehicles? The cops say that they’ve found the culprits, who allegedly were able to drive off with the vehicles by programming blank key fobs with codes that they obtained through illicit access to the Fiat Chrysler database. [More]

Joel Zimmer

Here We Go Again: Even More Pumpkin Spice Breakfast Foods

It’s August, and we all know what that means: it’s time for the hot new pumpkin spice products for this fall to hit the aisles and confuse everyone. This year’s hot newcomers are pumpkin spice offerings from cereal companies, with the apparent goal of pumpkin spicing up America’s breakfast tables. [More]

bluwmongoose

Here’s What You Should And Shouldn’t Bother To Buy For College

It’s back-to-school season, when stores stack their aisles high with folding chairs and mini-fridges meant for students heading to college or back to college. What do you actually need, though, and how should you shop for it? What should you spend a lot on, and what can you leave behind? Our colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports have some ideas about what new students should shop for, and how to shop for it. [More]

Leon Lee

Racketeering Charges In Luxury Brands’ Lawsuit Against Alibaba Dismissed

While a lawsuit filed against e-commerce platform Alibaba and 14 of its sellers by French luxury goods maker Kering continues, a federal judge has dismissed part of it. The judge has ruled that the parent company of Balenciaga, Gucci, Puma, and Saint Laurent failed to prove that Alibaba and its vendors worked together in an enterprise to sell knockoff designer goods at at super cheap prices. However, the allegations that the site allowed knockoff items to proliferate remain. [More]

Pas (sQualie)

Consumerist Friday Flickr Finds

Here are seven of the best photos that readers added to the Consumerist Flickr Pool in the last week, picked for usability in a Consumerist post or for just plain neatness. [More]

Kevin McCarthy (modified)

Michaels Buys Mailing Lists, Intellectual Property Of Hancock Fabrics

When the original intellectual property auction for the remaining assets of the former sewing and craft chain Hancock Fabrics concluded, the winning bidder was a company called ADMACO, Inc. Who? That turned out to be an alias for Michaels, the nationwide craft supplies chain, which will take over the Hancock Fabrics trademarks, and the 10 million names on its mailing list. [More]

Hampton Creek Sent Out Undercover Shoppers To Buy Up Its Mayo, Ask Stores About It

Hampton Creek Sent Out Undercover Shoppers To Buy Up Its Mayo, Ask Stores About It

Corporate drama and intrigue are not things that one normally associates with the condiment aisle at the grocery store, but that’s what has been happening since Hampton Creek’s eggless product Just Mayo hit the market back in 2014. Now there’s a new accusation against the company: that it dispatched undercover agents to retail stores to buy up mayonnaise and ask stores to carry it, increasing sales and buzz. [More]

Grassfields Cheese

Grassfields Farms Cheese Sold At Whole Foods Recalled For Possible E. Coli

Cheese is one of our favorite foods here at Consumerist, but its creamy deliciousness doesn’t make it immune to some very unappetizing foodborne pathogens. Grassfields Cheese, a small producer in Michigan, has announced a recall of all cheeses produced between December 2015 and August 2016 because they have been linked to E. coli infections. [More]