When you were a child, did you own a hamster? Did you say to yourself, “this pet is okay, but I wish it didn’t poop, bite, or sleep, and that it could skateboard and surf?” Well, envy the children of today.
Car rental firms have cut their fleets by almost 15% in the last year, creating an artificial shortage that has helped to raise prices. Inside, a few tips that can help lower the cost of your next car rental…
East Tennessee and Middle Tennessee both primarily receive fuel supplies through spurs of the Colonial pipeline, which carries refined gasoline from the Texas Gulf Coast to the Northeast. [Hurricane] Ike damaged and knocked out power to many of those refineries, cutting the amount of gasoline fed into the pipeline.
Only the first lucky clutch of people in line today at AT&T stores will walk out with a new iPhone 3G in-hand. There were only 30 phones available in total at the the biggest AT&T store in Waterbury CT, at the Brass Mill Center, according to a store employee. Reporting from the line, reader Kevin says that everyone else was given an option to buy a slip of paper for $226.79 (see a scan of it posted inside), have the phone shipped from the warehouse to you, then you come back to the store to activate the phone. Customers will have to pay for the shipping charges for this favor.
AT&T’s one-iPhone-per-customer rule lasted only one day before the company went back to its three-per-customer policy. Apparently they found some more iPhones in the back. [Information Week]
Fertilizer prices have shot upwards in the past five years as manufacturers have been unable to keep up with demand. The demand is driven by an increase in biofuel production, and a growing appetite for red meat in developing countries. The end result is that it now costs an extra $1.00 now to get a slice from my the pizza place around the corner from me. [NYT]
Following Costco’s lead, Walmart announced it is now rationing rice. Shoppers at Sam’s Club discount wholesale clubs will be limited to four bags of rice per customer. Wal-Mart “working with our suppliers to address this matter to ensure we are in stock, and we are asking for our members’ cooperation and patience.” It’s not as bad as it sounds, the bags are still 500 lbs each.
The bustling store in the heart of Silicon Valley usually sells four or five varieties of rice to a clientele largely of Asian immigrants, but only about half a pallet of Indian-grown Basmati rice was left in stock. A 20-pound bag was selling for $15.99.
There’s a tragic shortage of special kosher-for-Passover margarine going on… which reminds us that we need to buy some delicious kosher-for-Passover Coca-Cola. No corn syrup, only delicious cane sugar. Mmmm. [WSJ]
Georgia state inspectors closed two large Cisco gas stations just across the state line from Florida last week in what the Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture described as “one of the worst cases of shorting gas customers he’s seen since he took office back in 1969.” (Why Ag? Why not?) An inspector found that a five gallon test pump turned up over a quart short at the Cisco Travel Plaza off Interstate 95’s Exit 6, and a similar test revealed a suspiciously similar shortage at another Cisco Travel Plaza off Exit 1.
Bundling may be a popular tactic retailers employ to force customers to spend more money, but Nintendo of America’s celeb-President Reggie Fils-Aime has come out against it, finally: “Retailers have already been given feedback that we are not big fans of that,” he told Reuters this week. Is the pre-purchase deal with GameStop one way Nintendo is preventing that from happening this December? If anyone actually buys one of those empty DVD cases, let us know if they try to upsell you to a bundle.
Not even Nintendo anticipated how the market would react to the Wii, which is why they’re still hard to find a year after launch, even after Nintendo almost doubled production of the console from 1 million to 1.8 million units a month, writes Wired. “Last week was Nintendo’s best since the Wii’s launch, with 350,000 sold in the United States alone. In comparison, Microsoft sold about that many Xbox 360s last month.”
“Demand still appears to exceed supply, and we believe that shortages could persist through the remainder of the year, including the key holiday period,” said Colin Sebastian of Lazard Capital Markets, in a report by Next-Gen.biz.
Didn’t feel like standing in line for a Wii? No worries. Nintendo says they’re ramping up production. Could the Wii drought be over?
According to the Globe and Mail, Canadian Best Buys are holding back part of their shipment of Nintendo Wiis. Why are they doing this?