vendredi 30 août 2013

Should You Take Glucosamine And Chondroitin? Meh

Americans are buying a lot of glucosamine and chondroitin supplements, which are intended to help ease the pain of or prevent symptoms from arthritis. The problem is that there’s no proof that the pills do any good…and tests from our lab-coated cousins down the hall at Consumer Reports showed that many brands don’t even contain the whole dose claimed on the label.

We spent $753 million on various glucosamine and chondroitin supplements last year. Most of those were for people, but some vets also recommend them once pets hit middle age. The theory is good: the substances in the supplements are also in the joint tissues affected in osteoarthritis. What studies haven’t conclusively proven yet is that taking the substances orally results in any kind of relief from joint pain, or that it helps ease arthritis symptoms or rebuild cartilage.

So maybe it doesn’t matter all that much that out of the 16 brands Consumer Reports tested, seven of them didn’t contain as much chondroitin as they claimed on the bottle. Two of those didn’t dissolve sufficiently, so it’s unlikely that you’d get the full dose by digesting it.

The good news is that this is a supplement that is unlikely to harm you, even if its benefits remain unproven. People who take blood-thinning drugs should check with their doctor before starting any supplements, since there’s a danger that glucosamine and chondroitin could interact with them in nasty ways.

The facts about joint supplements [Consumer Reports]

via Consumerist

Would A Shopping Cart Mirror Showing Your Fat Face Make You Buy More Vegetables?

Could you look yourself in the eye, then load your grocery cart up with root beer and ice cream bars? No, literally. Stakeholders ranging from from physicians to grocers want Americans to buy (and eat) more fresh produce and less junk food, but how can they do that without a complete overhaul of the food system? With gentle nudges.

Maybe the nudge mentioned in the title of this post isn’t so gentle. Cornell University researchers came up with the idea, but haven’t fully implemented it yet. The theory behind it is that people might glimpse themselves in the mirror, suddenly remember that they’re fatter than they would like to be, and make healthier food choices. This theory remains unproven, but one weight control researcher who is not part of the project spoke to the New York Times in praise of it. “For those who are overweight, it might elicit the sense of, ‘Oh, I need to lose weight’,” he speculates. “Or, ‘I don’t like to see myself because I’m so big,’ which might lead to choosing healthier food.” Or covering up that mirror with a great big frozen pizza box. One of those.

Other nudges try to get more fresh foods in carts without making anyone feel bad about themselves. It’s tricky. One method that has worked is a simple social norms campaign. When researchers put a sign in every cart spelling out how many pieces of produce other customers usually buy on each shopping trip and what types are the most popular, produce sales surged. A series of green arrows on the floor pointing to the produce section? That encouraged shoppers to go there, browse, and buy more produce. Another method marked off the front half of shopping carts as designated for fresh fruits and vegetables.

The problem is that nudging people means not metaphorically hitting them over the head. When researchers combined two strategies–say, putting a social-norms placard in each cart as well as marking the path to the produce section on the floor–

You might not realize it given the massive amounts of shelf space and special displays devoted to salt-laden snacks and fizzy sugar water in your neighborhood grocery store, but the profit margin for supermarkets is higher for fresh food than for most other things in the store. While participants in these various “nudge” studies bought more fresh produce, they still spent the same amount of money. That could mean shoppers are buying less crap and more fruit. That’s good news for grocery stores, businesses with a tiny profit margin, as well as…well, pretty much everyone else.

Incidentally, when I sat down to write this post, I felt compelled to get a peach out of the refrigerator.

Nudged to the Produce Aisle by a Look in the Mirror [New York Times]

via Consumerist

Have A Very Hyundai Christmas, In Late August

Maybe they sent out the wrong mailing at the wrong time. Maybe they’re planning way ahead. Or maybe Gabriel’s local Hyundai dealership is putting whatever random crap gets people to open messages from them in the subject lines of their e-mails. In Gabriel’s case, it worked. He opened it.


“You think Costco is bad with Christmas creep?” he wrote when he forwarded us this e-mail. “My Hyundai dealer has apparently already given my Christmas present!”

It’s not a very good present, either. The opportunity to book a service appointment? Nobody asks Santa for that.

via Consumerist

What To Binge-Watch If You’re Staying In This Holiday Weekend

Sad that the summer holiday season is ending? Or maybe you’re burned out and cash-poor from going out too frequently? If you’re stuck inside this weekend, you might as well close the curtains, crack open some snacks and binge-watch entire seasons of shows like Orange Is the New Black, The Fall, and Vikings. The folks at have curated a list of 26 shows you could cram into a weekend (not at once, unless you are able to watch several TVs simultaneously without losing your grip on reality), along with info on where to stream each show. []

via Consumerist

Woman Shocked To Find Funeral Home Put Her Son’s Ashes In Walmart Bag Inside Urn

While we might not be aware of where our mortal remains reside after we’re gone, one young man’s mother is upset that a funeral home confined his ashes to a plastic Walmart shopping bag. She discovered the bag job a year after he passed away, and calls it a “disrespectful” move on the part of funeral home. spoke to the mom, who said that from the age of 15, her son had said he wanted to be cremated. So when he passed away at the age of 17 last September from cardiomyopathy, the family knew exactly how to handle his remains. Unfortunately, what his mother envisioned and what she found were two different things.

“I just wanted to hold my baby one last time. So I opened the urn, and found a Walmart bag in the urn. The funeral home had put my son’s ashes in a Walmart bag,” she told the station.

But the county coroner/funeral director at the Kentucky funeral home in question says the family had asked for the remains to be divided into four, something he usually doesn’t do. No bags were provided for the inside of the containers, which didn’t seal. So, he says, he “used the bags that I had” to keep the ashes from spilling. He adds that he trimmed off any logos or print, but the young man’s mom says she could still tell it was Walmart.

The woman’s ex-husband isn’t bothered by the funeral home’s decision, and still keeps his son’s ashes in the Walmart bag.

“It could have been [bad judgment to use the Walmart bags],” he admits. “Was anything done maliciously? No…It may have been a split second lack of judgment, but they were also looking out for our best interest because the containers we provided did not seal.”

The boy’s mother isn’t satisfied with that explanation, and took the ashes to another funeral home to have them transferred to a clear plastic bag. She’s contacted the Kentucky Attorney General’s office and the Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors to file complaints.

“I don’t care who you are, it’s not right to put a human person’s ashes in a Walmart bag…It is still disrespectful. You don’t do that to a parent who has lost their child. You don’t do that to anyone. I just want to make sure that this never happens again to another person,” she said.

Amelia woman shocked after finding son’s ashes in Walmart bag []

via Consumerist

Even The Tooth Fairy Isn’t Immune To Inflation

Attention, all you Tooth Fairies out there: The kids you’re visiting are talking on the playground about what kind of haul you’re putting under pillows, and that’s not good for you. Inflation is hitting bedsides across the land, as kids are getting an average of $3.70 per tooth, a 23% spike over last year. All because parents don’t want their child to be the one with the smallest dental payout. [via the Associated Press]

via Consumerist

Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut Loses One Ounce, Box Gets Taller

I wish I could lose 7% of my body mass and get taller at the same time, but I’m out of luck…because I’m not a box of cereal. Reader Panda discovered that this amazing change has come to Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut cereal. It was hit by the Grocery Shrink Ray, but at the same time sustained a hit from the Box Growth Ray. Which might be a thing.

In all of these photos, the older, larger box is on the right.


The box does become just a bit more slender to make up for the increase in height.


Oh, well. You won’t miss one fewer bowl of cereal in the box, will you?


via Consumerist

Are McDonald’s Mighty Wings To Blame For Higher Chicken Prices?

Even though you can get chicken wings at any number of restaurants and bars across this great nation — and they are incredibly easy to cook at home — some people are still excited by the notion that they’ll be able to get “Mighty” wings from McDonald’s starting next week. But are these wings going to cause the price of chicken to soar?

Businessweek recently made the case that McDonald’s plan to sell some 250 million wings during the upcoming offering is going to have an impact on the rest of the chicken market.

McDonald’s began testing the wings last year, and one analyst figures that the fast food chain began stockpiling wings around 18 months ago, which is around the same time as the wholesale price of chicken wings shot up around 200% in just a few months, peaking in early 2013 (right about the same time as two men in Georgia tried to cash in on the crazy wing prices by stealing $65,000 worth of frozen wings).

Since then, the wholesale price has dipped, but is still significantly higher than it was two years ago.

Usually, when there is a high demand for wings, the price of breast meat usually takes a tumble, but in the last year-plus, while wing prices were high, breast prices were inching upward and recently spiked in the spring.

Businessweek has an answer for that, pinning it on the rollout of chicken-filled McWraps in the spring of 2013.

In response to these claims, McDonald’s would only say, “We manage our grocery bill like a portfolio and use a customized approach for every commodity. Commodities vary year to year and it is business as usual for us in that space.”

McDonald’s plans to end the Might Wings promotion in November, at which point football season will be in full swing, so expect the price of wings to stay high until at least after the Super Bowl. Then maybe get yourself a chest freezer for the basement and stock up when prices hopefully bottom out in the spring.

via Consumerist

Jury Orders Domino’s To Pay $32M In Lawsuit Over Deadly Crash Involving Delivery Driver

A Texas jury is holding Domino’s Pizza partially responsible for a car accident involving a delivery driver that killed one woman and left her husband with brain damage. The victims’ family claimed that it was Domino’s fault that the driver was driving in a car with allegedly bald tires. The jury agreed, awarding the family $32 million and saying that Domino’s should have had inspection rules in place to keep such a vehicle off the road.

The jury says Domino’s was negligent, reports, and ultimately 60% responsible because it didn’t enforce its vehicle inspection policy with franchisees.

“Domino’s simply refused to enforce the basic safety rules for the safety of the vehicle, that gets back to the fact that we had a set of tires on this particular delivery vehicle that by everybody’s admission were unsafe, defective, dangerous.”said an attorney for the family, adding that the promise of delivery in 30 minutes is also to blame.

“We also learned that Domino’s enforces a tragically unsafe delivery method by providing bonuses and other incentives for fast delivery,” he said.

It was raining at the time of the accident, said the attorney, and the delivery driver reportedly hydroplaned into oncoming traffic, slamming into the couple’s vehicle.

A Domino’s spokesman issued a statement on the $32 million award, noting that while the company is sorry for the family’s loss, Domino’s shouldn’t be held responsible for the franchisee’s driver.

“First, our hearts go out to all involved in this tragedy. This was a terrible accident. What’s difficult to comprehend is the idea that a corporation is responsible for whether an independent franchise employee is driving on bald tires. The employee is in question did not work for us; he worked for an established independent franchise operation. Franchisors do not control the day-to-day operations of franchisees, especially to that minute level of detail. We are saddened by this tragedy, but do intend to appeal the decision.”

$32 Million Verdict Against Domino’s Pizza []

SE Texas jury finds Domino’s partially responsible for deadly crash, awards $32M in lawsuit [Associated Press]

via Consumerist

Now That You’re Done With Your Summer Travels, Gas Prices Are Lower Than Last Year’s

Year-over-year gas prices are lower heading into the Labor Day weekend, mostly because prices aren't taking off like they did last August.

Year-over-year gas prices are lower heading into the Labor Day weekend, mostly because prices aren’t taking off like they did last August.

After a summer during which the average gas price in the U.S. was frequently higher than what consumers paid 12 months earlier, the last few weeks have seen a leveling off of prices at the pump. In fact, the average price per gallon is the lowest it’s been in a few years. Of course, this happens after you spend your retirement savings driving the kids to Wally World for vacation.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average price per gallon currently sits at $3.55, $.13 lower than this summer’s peak in late July. In 2012, gas prices actually dipped during the middle of the summer, reaching around $3.40/gallon, but then began rising quickly in August. So between the current, somewhat flattened price, and last year’s rapid increase, folks getting out for one last road trip this International Bacon Day weekend are paying $.19 less per gallon on average than they did a year ago, and $.03 less than during the same time period in 2011.

Of course,’s historic chart of the last ten years of prices shows just how much prices have soared (and briefly, mercifully sank in 2009) since 2003.

A little bit of gasoline-scented nostalgia to make you pine for $1.70 gas.

A little bit of gasoline-scented nostalgia to make you pine for $1.70 gas.

It should be pointed out that we’re only talking about the national average gas price here, as retail prices vary widely depending on where you are. Many densely populated parts of the country, including New York and Connecticut, some major metro areas in the Great Lake states, and the California coast, are generally paying above the national average. Meanwhile, the areas where you’re most likely to find prices below the national average includes the cluster of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee and Missouri, along with South Carolina, Virginia, Texas, and parts of the Southwest.


via Consumerist

Actual Living, Breathing Human Wins Publishers Clearing House Prize Of $5K A Week — Forever

Every time the doorbell rang when I was growing up, I knew without a doubt that it would be the prize crew from Publishers Clearing House on my doorstep with a big, fat check, and that I’d be able to keep myself in LEGO, Barbies and Pixie Sticks for a lifetime. But the actual odds of winning PCH’s “Forever” Prize — $5,000 per week for life — are about 1 in 1.215 billion.* As such, the doorbell usually heralded the Fuller Brush Man or one of my neighborhood pals, and I had to find money in the lemonade stand.

So just imagine the joy of a real, actual, living, breathing human who beat those seemingly insurmountable odds and had the real Prize Crew show up on his doorstep, complete with balloons, a giant check and smiling faces.

FOX 2 Now in Illinois says the 26-year-old man is the youngest person to ever win the Forever Prize, a fact that may have been lost on the fella during the hubbub. Of course, when confronted with 20 people, a ginormous check and a camera crew, anyone would be stunned.

His sister was on cue, however, screaming: “Are you kidding me?”

Nope. The man had ordered World War II magazine recently and entered the sweepstakes, and said he didn’t think he’d ever win. His mother had plenty to say, noting that her son had lost his job last year.

“It’s just that we live payday to payday,” she explained.

First things first: He’ll be buying a new car. Then, might we suggest, a large frame for that life-changing check?

*According to the official rules, as seen here.

Illinois mans wins Publishers Clearing House “Forever Prize” [FOX 2 Now]

via Consumerist

Have You Done Your International Bacon Day Shopping Yet?

We know that technically this upcoming holiday weekend is for Labor Day, but in our clogged heart of hearts, the better holiday this weekend is being celebrated on Saturday — International Bacon Day!

How to celebrate? By buying baconed-up foods and bacon-themed products, of course.


If you’re looking for a new car but just can’t seem to find one that suitably expresses your love for pork products, Ford is feting Bacon Day with “custom bacon graphics that pork purists can have installed on their new Fiesta.”

Ford even has a graphics simulator so you can decide whether you want to spend just a couple hundred bucks on a pair of bacon strips for your hood, or several thousand for the full bacon wrap.


While some of you may be content to enjoy a few strips of bacon tomorrow morning and say you’ve fulfilled your IBD obligation, there are those who crave a more immersive holiday experience. Over at CBS’s ManCaveDaily, they provide a guide on how to properly wrap oneself up in the International Bacon Day experience:

After breakfast, make sure to brush your teeth with some bacon toothpaste, floss with some bacon floss, and get any remaining chunks of breakfast out of your teeth using a bacon-flavored toothpick. Now’s the time to jump into a quick shower and utilize your bacon soap and bacon shampoo. Once you’re all cleaned up, throw on some clothes, slap on some bacon-flavored lip balm, spray yourself down in your favorite bacon-scented fragrance and get your day started!


Sure, International Bacon Day is only a single day on the calendar, but it’s also a chance to make an impact that can last all year, if not a lifetime. has a list of 10 things to do on IBD, some of which can perpetuate the holiday spirit long past Aug. 31.

There are simple things to please oneself, like joining a bacon of the month club, which is something that exists but about which the world had neglected to inform me until now.

You could also make some bacon-infused bourbon, which will hopefully last you longer than one single day.

Then there is the generous gesture of reaching across the aisle to friends and loved ones who don’t eat meat, not to convince them to give up their beliefs, but to introduce them to the array of bacon-like products that contain absolutely no bacon or other meat products.


For those who think bacon is simply a breakfast side dish or something to garnish the occasional cheeseburger, they should look at the menus of the fancy restaurants in their area. They will inevitably find bacon in all manner of forms.

Readers in the Houston area should check out’s slideshow of 29 Ways to Eat Bacon in Houston. This is no standard diner fare.

However, one chooses to celebrate the holiday, remember to stay hydrated, lest you end up feeling like a piece of bacon on Sunday morning.

via Consumerist

How To Clean Sunscreen Stains From Your Summer Duds (Do It Now, Rather Than Next Year)

Let’s face it. Summer? It’s almost over. But if you want to wear those beach clothes next year instead of splashing out more cash on shorts, tanks and sundresses, it’s best to remove signs of this season’s beach fun from your clothing now instead of bemoaning the sunscreen stains next year. The fix? A little bit of glycerin and liquid dish soap. Who knew? [via]

via Consumerist

Spreadable Beer Is A Thing, Someone Invented It For Some Reason

spalmabileSure, you can drink beer. If you encase it in dough, you can even deep-fry it. Until now, though, we’ve been unable to spread beer on other foods, having to content ourselves with delicious but non-alcoholic substances like butter or Nutella. No longer.

A partnership between a brewery and a chocolate company in the same Italian town has brought us spreadable beer. The idea allegedly started as a joke, but the chocolatiers realized that they had the expertise to turn the liquid into a creamy substance. You can use it to spread on crêpes or to frost a cake. Both light and dark beers are available.

We haven’t found a US distributor that sells the product, but Selfridges out of the UK does carry it and ship internationally. It will cost you $51 to have one jar delivered to your door, but, you now, being the first person you know to serve beer on toast is priceless. Isn’t it?

Italy’s latest culinary “treat” [CCTV]

via Consumerist

Build-A-Bear Recalls Sulley Stuffed Monster Because Plastic Eyes Are Not A Tasty Treat

If the label number (circled in red above) on your Build-A-Bear Sullie ends in 4384, 4385, or 4387, then it has been recalled.

If the label number (circled in red above) on your Build-A-Bear Sulley ends in 4384, 4385, or 4387, then it has been recalled.

In the pixar movies Monsters, Inc. and Monsters University, the character of Sulley is supposed to be terrifying to children. In real life, the stuffed toy version of Sulley from Build-A-Bear apparently poses enough of a choking hazard to children that it’s been recalled in the U.S. and Canada.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the monster’s eye can detach, posing a choking hazard to young children.

In case you bought one of these toys for your kid and somehow weren’t also subjected to countless viewings of either of these movies, there’s a picture of the doll in question above.

There’s also this description from the Consumer Product Safety Commission:

Sulley is a furry blue creature from the Monsters movies. The Build-A-Bear stuffed monster is covered in blue furry fabric with purple spots, horn on its head and has blue eyes measuring about 1 inch in diameter. The stuffed monster is about 17 inches high and 10.5 inches wide.

The specific Sulleys being recalled were sold during June 2013 in Build-A-Bear workshops in North America, and online at Recalled toys have tracking label numbers ending in 4384 or 4385 (for U.S. consumers) and 4378 (for Canadians). The numbers, also shown in the image above, can be found on a sewn in label on the backside of the leg of the Sulley doll.

If you have one of these toys, CPSC says it should be immediately be taken back to any Build-A-Bear store for a coupon for any replacement stuffed animal from the company.

Customers with questions can call Build-A-Bear toll-free at (866) 236-5683 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. CT Monday through Friday; on Saturday between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. CT, and on Sunday between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. CT. You can also email the company at

via Consumerist

Consumerist Friday Flickr Finds

Here are nine of the most interesting photos that readers added to the Consumerist Flickr Pool this week, picked for usability in a Consumerist post or just plain neatness.

Our Flickr Pool is the place where Consumerist readers upload photos for possible use in future Consumerist posts. Want to see your pictures on our site? The pool is open to everyone. Just be a registered Flickr user, go here, and click “Join Group?” up on the top right. Choose your best photos, then click “send to group” on the individual images you want to add to the pool.

via Consumerist

jeudi 29 août 2013

Pearl Izumi Sorry They Said Shoes Will Run Your Dog To Death

Dogs make great running, hiking, and walking companions: they (usually) go wherever you want, keep up a good pace, alert you to nearby squirrels, and don’t try to engage in any pesky conversations. So it’s understandable that people who run with their dogs found an ad for Pearl Izumi shoes that ran in Canada offensive. It shows a man performing cardio-pulmonary resuscitation on his dog, and implies that this is a good thing.

run longer

The ad appeared on Media Bistro’s Ads of the World page, but has since been taken down. (You can see a cached version here.) The ad’s text, which may be hard to read in this photo of the magazine page, was reproduced on Ads of the World:

Run Longer

Project E:MOTION isn’t for the faint of heart.* That’s because our new midsole design forces your stride into fluid submission. This undeniable smoothness translates into less work for your legs, so you get into your zone faster and feel like you could stay there forever. Sure, not everyone will appreciate your increased efficiency, but, ironically, not everyone was born to run like an animal.

The ad got the attention of animal lovers, but the “Project E:MOTION” site even features an educational video on what to do if your dog does collapse on the road.

Educational videos: good. Framing it as an unfortunate but amusing downside of being able to run faster than your dog… not so much. If you’re really moving that fast, consider getting a jogging stroller or a skateboard for your pet. Or, you know, leave it home.

After a barrage of angry messages on their Facebook page, the company apologized and said that they won’t run the ad anymore.

pearl izumi apology

The line between edgy, attention-getting humor and offensive humor is sometimes blurry and hard to figure out. We suggest to marketers, start by staying away from jokes about killing household pets.

Project eMotion [Official Site]

via Consumerist

Raiders Of The Lost Walmart Remain Lost In 2011

The Raiders of the Lost Walmart search the retail landscape without ceasing for the finest and least valuable retail antiquities. What items have they found recently that you should absolutely not ever buy?

Brian snapped this picture of some PC games that debuted in 2004 still on the shelves of his local Walmart.



“Granted, at least Everquest II is still receiving new expansion packs,” he notes. “I guess their presence on the shelves is a testament to their long-lasting popularity!” That means that it has plenty of loyal players, but is anyone new picking up the game?

Brandon sent along this atlas from the shelves of his local Big Lots. Sure, Big Lots is a closeout retailer, and things probably haven’t changed that much since 2011, but maybe they have.


Finally, how’s our old friend the MobiBLU MP3 player doing? It cost $110 in April of this year, and at another store was down to $60. Frequent Raider Knah spotted one at his local Walmart this week and sent it in. How much is it now?


Well, that’s unfortunate. Wait a minute, though…how long has this player been sitting in the clearance aisle?


That’s even more unfortunate.

via Consumerist