It’s happened over and over again, and retailers never learn their lesson. A big-box store e-mails a coupon to their customers, then freaks out and backpedals when customers actually show up at the cash register and try to use it, withdrawing the coupon and accusing customers of trying to scam the store. This time, the retailer was Best Buy, which offered a coupon for $50 off a purchase of $100 or more as long as the customer used a Mastercard. The coupon excluded most of the items you’d expect it to exclude: prepaid cell phones, iPods, certain brands of TVs and cameras. One very key thing that it didn’t exclude: gift cards. [More]
It’s not enough just to have money. You need to know how your money stacks up against others’. Are you making a lot or a little compared to most people? How many people are ahead of you, and how many behind? A free fun little online tool called the Global Rich List is here to help. Just type in your salary and it will tell you your rank in the entire world. For instance, a salary of $75,000 and you are the 49,322,169th richest person in the world. Not bad, eh? Sure, but the guy who is the 49,322,168th has it so much better.
Customers of Time Warner Cable may consider themselves the victors in the battle between their cable operator and the Fox network. After all, the two sides came to a last-minute agreement on New Year’s Day guaranteeing that TWC customers will still be able to catch up with Homer Simpson, Walter Bishop and Jack Bauer. But guess who’s gonna pay for that? Here’s a hint: It’s not Rupert.
Remember all of those banks that were “too big to fail” and had to be bailed out? Newsweek’s Niall Ferguson is out with a report today pointing out that a year after the collapse of Lehman Brothers signaled the start of the bailout boom, they’re still big, and thanks to the safety net you tossed them, they’re “back to making serious money and paying million-dollar bonuses. Meanwhile, every month, hundreds of thousands of ordinary Americans face foreclosure or unemployment because of a crisis caused by … a few Wall Street giants.”
If you’ve ever wanted to live like the King of Ponzi Schemes, now’s your chance. Bernard Madoff’s penthouse at 133 East 64th Street in New York is on the market, and can be yours for a mere $7.5 million. The U.S. Marshal Service, which is liquidating Madoff’s assets, gave a guided tour, and The New York Post captured it on video. Inside, a shoe closet to make Imelda Marcos jealous, Ruth and Bernie’s separate bedrooms, the shelves that once held monogrammed “BLM” shirts, and Deputy Marshal Roland Ubaldo doing his best Chad Rogers impression.
Eurogamer reports that Microsoft is charging $7 for the downloadable Crash Course add-on, due this month, to the zombie-splattering Xbox 360 game Left 4 Dead. Crash Course will be free on the PC version of the game via Steam, but the Destructoid story cites a Eurogamer interview with Chet Faliszek of Valve, the game’s developer. He tells Eurogamer:
We all should have known that at the intersection of a long-lost car, a multi-national pizza chain, and a huge cash reward, there would be litigation. Papa John’s owner John Schnatter offered a $250,000 reward for his 1971 Camaro. A couple who formerly owned the car helped Schnatter track it down, but didn’t receive the reward because they didn’t hold the car’s title. They did receive a $25,000 “finder’s fee,” but claim that the reward should rightfully be theirs. Now the company and the couple are suing each other. [WKLY] (Thanks, Becky!)
Here’s more proof that the people who probably should have known how they were making all that housing bubble money never did—even those who personally made tens of millions off of it. The Business blog at The Atlantic notes a quote Hank Paulson, former Goldman Sachs CEO and Treasury Secretary, gave Newsweek: “I didn’t understand the retail market; I just wasn’t close to it.”
In January 2006, William Cunningham laced soup with lighter fluid, peppers, and eventually Prozac and Amitriptyline, then fed it to his 18-month-old daughter and 3-year-old son. He then claimed the soup had been tampered with and threatened to sue Campbell Soup if they didn’t pay up. Yesterday he was sentenced to 100 years in prison.
Don’t bother with the new SlingPlayer app for the iPhone unless you own one of the newest Slingbox devices. For some reason—Engadget speculates it’s financial, not technical—the app won’t work with older Slingboxes. [Engadget] (Thanks to Alejandro!)
Gothamist has some photos of 175 Water Street in NYC — which until recently proudly displayed the name and logo of the American International Group. What happened?
ABCNews says that the big three auto CEOs “flew to the nation’s capital yesterday in private luxurious jets to make their case to Washington that the auto industry is running out of cash and needs $25 billion in taxpayer money to avoid bankruptcy.”
Now that AIG has been nationalized, some folks are wondering just how their tax dollars are being spent. If you’re among them, we have some bad news for you from ABC. They are reporting that papers uncovered by congressional investigators show that “less than a week after the federal government committed $85 billion to bail out AIG, executives of the giant AIG insurance company headed for a week-long retreat at a luxury resort and spa, the St. Regis Resort in Monarch Beach, California.” Ouch.
University Of California Hospital Publicizes 6,000 Patient Records While Mining For Prospective Donors
The University of California’s non-profit medical center accidentally exposed 6,000 patient records as part of their continuing effort to hunt for prospective donors. The “large and very significant data breach” was caused by UCSF’s data miner, Target America, which received details on almost 40,000 patients.
The age of free cellphone games is dead, killed by the greedy profit gluttons in charge of major cellphone companies. One ambitious Slate writer set out to find a phone with “a good selection of games.” He failed, even after visiting five carriers.
In the early part of this decade, cell phones started to become less about the phone call and more about the ring tone. Mobile-gaming types began to realize two things.
United Airlines CEO Glenn Tilton is determined to wring added lucre from his now-profitable airline. Tilton is considering 250 unpopular ideas, such as charging economy-class passengers a fee to avoid receiving their luggage last, and spinning off United’s already wounded frequent flier program, Mileage Plus.
United appears to be following a strategy set by Air Canada, which gained billions of dollars after it emerged from bankruptcy in 2004 by spinning off its maintenance division and frequent-flier program into separate businesses, analysts say.
Disney Will Stop Making Painfully Embarrassing, Awful Direct To DVD Sequels, And You Can Stop Buying Them
Disney will discontinue their line of painfully embarrassing and awful direct to DVD sequels on the recommendation of Steve Jobs, according to MacWorld. We consider this a coup for parents, because no one older than 8 likes these steaming hunks of crap, yet they are extremely commercially successful.
Here’s something of a “eff you” to consumers, according to Pitchfork Media.