funny strange or funny ha ha

How To Prepare Your Snow Blower For Its Off-Season Hibernation

When spring comes, that means it’s time to put away your snowblower so it can take a well-deserved rest through the warm-weather months. To keep it running for as long as possible, make sure that you prepare your snowblower before you put it away for the off-season. [More]


Keep Your Dark-Colored Clothes Looking Fresh And New For Longer

Black clothes are a core part of most of our wardrobes, but they’re hard to keep looking fresh and new. What should we do: use detergents specifically marketed for dark clothing? Adjust our washing machine settings? There are steps that you can take to reduce the damage that washing does to your dark-colored clothes, which includes deep colors fading, running, or other disasters. How can you keep clothes looking new the longest? [More]

4 Things We’ve Learned About Getting The Best Valentine’s Day Flowers For Your Money


Every year, after the major flower-giving holidays, readers send us photos of what they ordered and what they actually received. It’s a dismaying scene, and what we really want is to never publish another of these features again. That’s why we’re sharing what we’ve learned about the flower business from readers and from florists in the 10 years that Consumerist has been around.


(Jason Cook)

How To Find The Best Tools To Dig Out From Snowstorms And De-Ice Your Property

Depending on where in the country you are, you’re most likely dealing with the aftermath of a winter storm, preparing for a winter storm, or sneering at your friends in other regions saying, “What’s snow?” While local governments handle ice melt and snow removal for the roads, you’re in charge of clearing and treating your own driveway and walkways. What’s the best equipment to use? [More]

Here’s What You Should Be Shopping For In January

Here’s What You Should Be Shopping For In January

The holiday season is over, the sales are on, and smart Consumerists know that now is the time to do some serious shopping. What should you look for on store shelves in the coming months? Let our price-tracking colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports lead the way, straight to the gym sign-up desk and the winter coat aisle of your favorite department store. [More]

5 Ways To Improve Your Finances With Minimal Effort

5 Ways To Improve Your Finances With Minimal Effort

Improving your finances doesn’t always require a big investment. Sometimes a single phone call or a small tweak are all you need to improve your financial future or present. Looking for some ideas as you change to your new “366 Kitten Photos” desk calendar? Here are some ideas from our financial friends down the hall at Consumer Reports to get you started. [More]

(Elaine with Grey Cats)

Can You Safely Wash Fine China In The Dishwasher? Maybe.

When you have guests over for a fancy gathering, or you’re celebrating an important holiday, some families like to haul out china. Maybe it’s a family heirloom, or maybe it was a pricey wedding gift that you regret not exchanging for a KitchenAid mixer. Either way, the more guests you have, the more important this question becomes: can fine china go in the dishwasher? [More]

(Scott Lynch)

Remember, the best time to shop for a snow shovel is before you actually need a shovel. Just grabbing the cheapest one at the closest store can create a lot of extra work for yourself in the long run if it isn’t the right shovel for you, your abilities, and the type of snow that you typically get. Know your abilities and know your shovel types. Maybe even buy more than one for different surfaces. [Consumer Reports]

Anne Makaske

Consumer Reports Battles The Prerinsing Menace

Our colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports are fighting for a cause that might not seem all that important…especially not in comparison with pressing policy issues like antibiotics-laden meat or the looming merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable. Yet this issue does lead to the waste of large amounts of water, energy, and time. It doesn’t have to be this way. [More]

(Matt Reeve Photography)

Most people associate the idea of cooking from scratch in the microwave with nightmarish visions of the early ’80s, or with the ambitious sadness of the book Microwave Cooking for One. It is possible to cook real, non-ramen food in the microwave, though, including steaming vegetables (like corn still in the husk) and even fish filets. You can even partially cook chicken in the science oven to save time when grilling. [Consumer Reports]

Cut Your Regular Expenses With A Bill Haggle Day

Cut Your Regular Expenses With A Bill Haggle Day

Here’s an interesting money-saving idea that might not take you too long. Set aside a day and declare it Bill Haggle Day. What’s that? it’s the day when you look over your recurring expenses that you aren’t interested in canceling, and try to negotiate better deals for the same service. [More]


This Wizard Will Help You Write A Complaint Letter–No, Not That Kind Of Wizard

Do you need to write a complaint letter, but don’t know where to begin? As long as you can type a few facts in a box, you can produce a simple, classy, and easy-to-read complaint letter that should get the job done. [More]

Here’s A Sample Complaint Letter For When You Don’t Know What To Say

(Donovan Beeson)

It’s hard to know where to start when writing a complaint letter. If our inbox is any indication, this difficulty manifests itself in free-form rants and confusion about what to say. It doesn’t have to be that way: simply stating the facts and explaining why the company should help you is enough. If you aren’t much of a wordsmith, Consumerist is here to help.



Answer Cycle: Solutions To 4 Common Laundry Problems

Everyone wears clothes and everyone has to clean them somehow, but changes in laundry technology mean that you might encounter problems that your parents never taught you to solve. Don’t worry: the heroic appliance testers and textile experts down the hall from us at Consumer Reports have you covered. [More]

Advance Fee Fraudsters Offended When I Use Junk Mail Nuclear Option

Advance Fee Fraudsters Offended When I Use Junk Mail Nuclear Option

For some years now, we’ve suggested a nuclear option when a company simply will not sending you unwanted mail. It’s called a prohibitory order, and officially intended for when someone sends you smutty material that you didn’t ask for. Junk mail is pretty offensive, though, right? Yet one company was offended when a reader used this option to end a torrent of junk mail. [More]

(You As A Machine)

How To Slice A Dozen Cherry Tomatoes Or Grapes At Once

Arguably, single grapes and cherry or grape tomatoes are already perfect, bite-sized foods. There are reasons why you might want to slice them in half, though: so you can include them in a chicken salad, to make them easier to catch with a fork in a fruit salad, or because you’re serving them to small, choking-prone children. Here’s a method to chop a dozen or more at the same time. [More]

73 degrees? good luck with that.

Portable Air Conditioners: Not So Portable, Don’t Cool The Air

The concept of a portable air conditioner implies that the device is portable, and that you can cool a room with it. They would be a wonderful tool if this were were true, but tests by our breezy and cool colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports show that they compare unfavorably to window-mounted air conditioners in pretty much every way, and you might be better off with no air conditioner at all. [More]


More Mystical Secrets Of Retail Price Codes

Last fall, we posted a handy cheat sheet to price tag codes that can tell you whether an item is on its first or last markdown, or even whether it’s on clearance or just plain on sale. Want to learn some more codes? Of course you do!