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April 17, 2017

MyPillow Adjusts its Advertising Without Much Improvement

Filed under: Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:19 am

It seems forever that Mike Lindell, the inventor of the wildly successful MyPillow, has been selling his fluffy creations on a “buy one, get one free” basis. One was $99.xx and the other one was “free.” If you didn’t need two pillows, you could hunt around on his website, go to a TV shopping channel or store, and buy one for $49.xx — the real price of a single pillow.

MyPillow bogo

The problem with offers like this is that it is generally considered an unfair or deceptive practice to double the regular price of an item in order to give away a second one free. Many moons ago, MrConsumer went after Mattress Discounters while at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office for this very practice. When they had a “buy the mattress, get the boxspring free” sale, they just doubled the price of the mattress in order to give away the boxspring free. We collected a cool million in penalties and mattress donations to the homeless.

The Better Business Bureau contacted MyPillow last summer about the misleading BOGO offer. It tried to explain to the company that you cannot perpetually advertise a sale and savings because at some point the sale price really is the regular price. Then in early January 2017 after Lindell had continued to advertise that offer all fall, the BBB pulled the company’s accreditation and lowered its rating to an “F.”

Then in late January, MyPillow finally changed its advertising. But it is still advertising sale prices. This time it is 30% off.

*MOUSE PRINT:

MyPillow 30% off

The problem remains the same, however. If you are continually on sale, whether it is “buy one, get one free,” or “50% off,” or “30% off,” the savings are illusory because they are based off a fictitious, inflated regular price that may never be charged. In Massachusetts, for example, there is a requirement that the item be offered at the regular price for a reasonably substantial period of time.

MyPillow could make some clever legal arguments to try to absolve itself of any wrongdoing should the company be sued, but that issue is for another day.

On the radio recently, MyPillow has gone back to promoting “50% off” sales and “buy one, get three free” offers. So it looks like not much has changed.




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April 10, 2017

Here We Downsize Again – 2017 (Part 1)

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:15 am

In the ever-shrinking world of groceries and toiletries, some big manufacturers continue to think that smaller is better (at least for their bottom line). Herewith, then, are some of the latest products to have been downsized.

Example 1:

Wayne L. was shocked recently when he checked out the display of Crest Pro-Health at his local store and found that P&G had again shrunk the size of their tubes.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Crest Pro-Health

Unbelievably, over the past couple of years, the tubes have gone from a full six ounces to 5.1 ounces last year, and now a measly 4.6 ounces. At this rate, they will be travel-size before you know it.

We asked P&G why the product was being downsized again.

Our first priority is to provide our trusted, quality products for you at good value. In these times where everyday costs are rising, the cost of the raw materials that go into our toothpaste has also risen. Although we have tried wherever possible to absorb and manage these, in some instances, we have had to reflect this in our cost-pricing to retailers. — P&G spokesperson


Example 2:

A Massachusetts consumer, Rosemarie L., was incensed that Coke 8-packs had become Coke 6-packs at her local supermarket and were selling for the same price as before. We contacted Coca-Cola to find out what was going on, and whether these Coke mini-cans had really been downsized but the price kept the same.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Coke

“We are in the process of phasing out mini cans in eight packs. We are shifting to six packs and 10 packs. … The suggested retail price of six packs is less than the suggested retail price of eight packs.” — Coca-Cola spokesperson

So, this may be a little more about Coke changing its product mix than downsizing in the conventional sense. While this consumer’s store chose to keep the price the same for both sizes, a check at Target revealed the 8-pack selling for $3.69 but the new 6-pack was only $2.99.


Example 3:

When the chips are down, that means the ever-changing cans of Pringles are probably down too (after being upsized a while back).

*MOUSE PRINT:

Pringles

Mike K., who kindly submitted this picture to Mouse Print*, says he “noticed that the Pringles shelf looked like a topographical map with all of the different new and old cans.” Each can lost about half an ounce of chips, going from 5.96 to 5.5 ounces.


Example 4:

Finally this round, one of the original products to ever be downsized — coffee — is at it again. This time, it is Maxwell House’s turn, following a similar move by Folgers a couple of years ago.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Maxwell House

The old 28-ounce size is now 24.5 ounces. This amounts to a loss of 30 cups of coffee per can with the total going from 240 cups down to just 210 cups. It is noteworthy to mention that five years ago when Maxwell House last downsized, each can of a similar variety produced 270 cups of coffee from a can weighing over two pounds. (See picture.)




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April 3, 2017

Thanks for Nothing #5

Filed under: Humor,Retail,Thanks for Nothing,Travel — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:48 am

In honor of April Fools’ Day a few days ago, we first offer you an ad to make you chuckle, and then two ads in our series of ones that don’t quite offer what they claim (but which throw in a chuckle at no extra cost).

Example 1:

Retailers are notorious for advertising that “everything” is on sale when there are many exclusions. Old Navy tried to play it straight(er) by advertising a big sale this way:

Old Navy "everything-ish"

Thanks for trying, Old Navy.


Example 2:

Southwest Airlines recently offered an airfare sale with “no gotchas.”

Souhtwest Airlines

Then what’s this?

*MOUSE PRINT:

Southwest terms and conditions

Thanks for nothing, Southwest. But thanks to Richard G. for the submission.


Example 3:

Our last “deal” is at Ace Hardware. Just use your loyalty card and pay $3 more than the regular price!

*MOUSE PRINT:

Ace Hardware

Thanks for nothing, Ace.


If you find an ad that screams “thanks for nothing,” please pass it on to Edgar(at symbol)MousePrint.org . Thanks.




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March 27, 2017

Extra 15% Off “All” Appliances at Sears?

Filed under: Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:14 am

A couple of weeks ago, Sears had its periodic “Family & Friends” sale boasting an “extra 15% off ALL appliances” Sunday only.

Sears 15% extra off

If, however, you went to buy a Whirlpool refrigerator, or Maytag dishwasher, or a Samsung washer and dryer, you got a nasty surprise, buried on page 13 of the circular.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Sears disclaimerClick to see disclaimer actual size

All the major brands other than Kenmore basically are only 10% off. Could anyone really read that disclaimer easily? Would you have been on notice that major brands are not an extra 15% off as advertised?

Probably not.

This is no way to treat friends and family, Sears.




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March 20, 2017

The Secret Behind Shrinking Corned Beef

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Health,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:12 am

Clara Peller, the feisty senior who famously questioned the lack of meat in Wendy’s competitors’ burgers, could well reprise her memorable line, “where’s the beef,” when it comes to corned beef.

Cooks across the country surely noticed last week that the plump corned beef brisket they boiled for St. Patrick’s Day emerged from the pot only a fraction of its original size. Most people probably chalked it up to the high fat content of corned beef. But that is only part of the reason.

Had all of us paid more attention to the package the corned beef came in, we would know the primary reason for the shrinkage.

*MOUSE PRINT:

corned beef

corned beef

What? Thirty-five percent watery brine? You bet. And we are not talking about water with a 35% concentration of salt and chemicals that the brisket took a bath in. The solution is actually injected into the meat to plump it up big time. According to meat packers that MrConsumer consulted, while the solution is in deed needed to “corn” the beef, manufacturers that inject their briskets with more than 20% solution are doing so for economic reasons.

A three pound piece of beef brisket plumped up with 35% solution magically becomes about a four pound brisket. That’s how stores can sell raw corned beef in Cryovac packages for only $1.69 a pound around St. Patrick’s Day. And this is all perfectly legal as long as the percentage of solution is stated on the package if over 20%.

One corned beef manufacturer candidly put it this way, “We’re basically selling water.”




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