In America we associate McDonald’s with three things, burgers, fries, and self-aggrandizing homogeneity. But the iconic chain is actually quite adaptable to local tastes, flavors and customs as it coats the globe with franchises.
Residents of one block in Brighton in the UK are tracking their electricity usage via a giant infographic graffitied onto the street. In the three weeks the project has been running, electricity use has dropped 15%. Amazing the great good a little bit of feedback can do! In America people would probably just compete to see how big they could make the electricity drain go.
When we noted the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire on March 25, you might have looked at that and thought, phew, good thing stuff like that isn’t happening anymore. But in developing countries around the world with little to no worker rights and sweatshops paying pennies a day, it is. Like in Bangladesh in December 2010 when 29 workers died after a fire swept through the Hameem garment factory. The workers were trapped inside because guards had been ordered to lock the gates in the event of a fire in order to prevent clothes from being stolen during the confusion. The factory made clothes for GAP.
Most proclamations by RyanAir, the Irish “jet strapped to a metal pole” low-cost airline, sound like April Fool’s jokes anyway but at least their attempt today is right on message. RyanAir announced they are introducing “child free flights” starting late this year. “When it comes to children we all love our own but would clearly prefer to avoid other people’s little monsters when travelling,” said RyanAir’s head of communications Stephen McNamara in a press release. Staying classy is not what this airline is selling.
Our post last week about “How To Game The Salad Bar” reminded commenter power lurker of the Chinese way of playing the game at Pizza Hut. See, in America when you tell people their salad bar is limited to one plate, they shrug because no American eats salad. But in China in the mid to late 2000’s, they turned into a competition to see who can create the tallest and most elaborate salad tower.
Fans know that The Consumerist is the place to go for consumer advocacy, money-saving tips, and news about the oddities of global capitalism. But we also work hard to prepare our readers for the coming rise to power of our feline overlords. This UK milk commercial combines slightly off CGI with a warning about what we’re in for when cats finally evolve opposable thumbs.
Overzealous airport security prevented a man and his wife from bringing onboard a 3-inch long plastic toy soldier’s gun. They said it was a “firearm” and forced the couple to mail it home before passing through security.
Be careful, travelers, skimmers aren’t just for ATMs. Here’s one a Dutch guy found on a local train ticket machine. This is even a little bit more insidious than an ATM skimmer because busy passengers are even less likely to hide their PIN or notice a skimming device before rushing to their next train. The site is in Dutch but just scroll through the labeled pictures. With phrases like “betterijen uit mobiele telefoon” it’s pretty easy to figure out what he’s talking about.
The American traveler who wouldn’t answer the questions of the passport control officer upon re-entry to these shores beyond the legally required minimum has posted a 10-point response to the over seven-hundred comments his story received. Long-story short: “The only absolute and unqualified right of citizenship is to residence within the territorial boundaries of the United States; a citizen cannot be either deported or denied reentry.” U.S. v. Valentine.
If you love our recurring posts about people who won’t comply with stores demanding to see their receipts, you’ll go Lady GaGa over the American citizen who refuses to answer customs cops’ questions beyond the legally required bare minimum.
One airline is trying a refreshing marketing strategy, competitively differentiating itself based on customer service. Luxury airliner OpenSkies says they guarantee you will enjoy your flight, and offers a full refund, minus taxes and fees, if you’re not completely satisfied.
While waiting for their delayed KLM flight to be released, the Amsterdam Sinfonietta took their instruments down from the overhead compartments and started playing a spontaneous concert for their fellow passengers.
To distract travelers from delayed and canceled flights, Singapore’s Changi Airport installed a 40-foot-tall super twister slide that they can zip down at 19 feet per second.
A 62-mile traffic jam going into Beijing, China has entered its 10th day. Roadside vendors have quadrupled prices on noodles. Interviewed drivers say they’re not leaving because alternate routes would use up more gas.
Sorry Puerto Ricans, even though you bought your iPhone 4s with U.S. dollars, endure AT&T’s shoddy “national” coverage, and are United States citizens, Apple doesn’t think you’re entitled to a free case like real Americans. Apple originally told Puerto Ricans that they would qualify for free apology cases, but decided to cancel all orders being shipped to Puerto Rico after claiming that they were “unable to ship to an international address.”
Stacey says while she was on vacation with her family in Cancun for a week recently, she checked her Facebook page from her Evo phone “maybe 5 minutes a day,” but never uploaded or sent any photos, “only a handful of texts.” Sprint says she managed to burn through either 600 MB or 4.7 GB of data during that period, and now owes them $11,667.73. (Note: Stacey doesn’ t specify whether the 4,918,228 kb of data is in kilobits or kilobytes, so I don’t know which number is accurate.)
World leaders are people just like the rest of us. They have dreams and flaws, put their pants on one leg at a time, and they’re not even immune to having their luggage lost or stolen while traveling by air. Not even when that luggage is the four Glock 9mms belonging to their personal bodyguard. UPDATE: The luggage has been found, but the guns are gone.