If you have six thousand dollars to spend, there are a lot of things that you can do with it. You could buy a used car. You could furnish your living room. You could even buy six thousand Taco Bell bean burritos. Or you could go for the ultimate in luxury for your rear end and buy the $6,390 Numi from Kohler, which features handsfree operation, a built-in bidet, and speakers for your MP3 player.
Time Warner Cable wants to charge $12,000 to install cable and internet for a customer in the remote town of Lee, MA. The town’s Board of Selectmen, however, are having none of it. They say that Time Warner Cable in in breach of their contract, which requires them to install cable in any house that already has electricity and telephone service.
At $499, the iPad may sound like an almost, maybe, sorta okay deal. But add extra memory, 3G, a few choice accessories like a keyboard ($69), USB power cord ($29) and a case ($39), and you’re up in MacBook territory. Jeff Fox of Consumer Reports tallies up his expenditures and comes up with a way to justify the purchase to his wife: it’s his birthday — almost.
Los Angeles has had a problem with illegal billboards for a while, but apparently it’s taking a ban on one type of display advertising seriously. “Supergraphics” are giant outdoor ads that stretch across the sides of buildings and are so big they can be seen from the International Space Station. Last month, the city filed a lawsuit involving several supergraphics already on display. A few days later a businessman hung an eight-story tall one on a building on Hollywood Boulevard, in the line of sight of cameras shooting red carpet coverage for the Oscars. He was arrested and held on a $1,000,000 bail.
Reader Jim just got a water bill that says his usage has jumped up to
19,000 23,000 gallons per month from his usual 4,000. This is a guy who lives in a one-bath, one-toilet, one-sink house. “Must be that swimming pool I filled in the middle of winter in Western PA,” he says. So far, the utility has dismissed all his requests for explanation, or logic, and demanded he pay up immediately.
Starting in May, American Airlines will sell blanket-and-inflatable-pillow packs for $8 each on domestic flights longer than 2 hours. If your flight is under 2 hours and you tend to get cold on a plane, relax: you can’t shiver to death in under 2 hours, and by then you’ll be at your destination. Or, okay, still on the runway at your departure spot, raiding your carry-on for snacks. You might want to bring a light jacket.
Adam got a bad iPhone that stopped providing some key functions–he can’t make calls on it, for example–18 months into ownership. He didn’t buy Applecare when he purchased it, which would have covered him during the second year of his contract. But that shouldn’t matter, he argues: “[Why isn’t it] incumbent upon a device maker to guarantee a product’s proper function for–at the very least–the length of the contract required at purchase?”
Researchers at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver looked at sales figures and prices for the blood thinner Plavix after direct-to-consumer advertising started in 2001. What they found was that the campaign was largely ineffective at increasing prescribing rates, but that the price of the drug shot up 12% almost immediately to cover the cost of the marketing campaign.
If you want to spread some fiscally sound good cheer this year, consider asking your friends, relatives, and coworkers not to give gift cards backed by the major credit card companies. Why am I making such a sour suggestion? Because a new study from two consumer advocacy groups indicates that most of the population still doesn’t recognize what a money trap those little plastic cards can be.
The Wall Street Journal has some ridiculous looking photos of beds designed for the male shopper. Apparently guys want built-in coolers, safes, TVs, and iPod docks in their beds. Sorry, we mean “man caves.”
Fox 11 News in LA went undercover with an intentionally damaged hard drive to find out whether online complaints about Data Recovery Corp, Inc. were true. Can you guess what the result was?
Update: We asked the Skywalk to confirm that they have a “no-refunds” policy. Their answer is at the bottom of this post.
A new survey from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) compared annual costs around the world for consumers who have cellphones, and the U.S. is in the top three for most expensive. How expensive? DSLReports notes that “on average, the OECD found that Americans pay $635.85 on cell phone service, compared to $131.44 per year in the Netherlands or $137.94 per year in Sweden.”