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January 16, 2017

How Much Milk Can You Squeeze Out of an Almond?

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Health,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:31 am

Almond BreezeElsie the cow would probably turn over in her grave if she could see all the newfangled milks on the dairy shelf, like Milkwise, which we wrote about in 2015. And there are a lot of soy milks and almond milks.

Almond Breeze is one of the big brands. It looks and sounds wholesome and nutritious. But even checking the ingredients listing doesn’t give you a full picture of what you are really buying.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Almond Breeze

It may seem like a bit of circular reasoning, but “almondmilk” is the first ingredient in almond milk. But if you are just casually reviewing the list, it appears that almonds are the second ingredient in the order of predominance after water. But that is a bit of word trickery — almonds are not really second overall. After that is a form of sugar, which might give a clue to what you are really buying. And the nutrition label offers yet another clue by noting it only has one gram of protein.

The trouble is we really don’t know how much of the product is derived from almonds. I don’t know about you, but when I squeeze an almond, I can’t get any milk out of it. 🙂 So leave it to some industrious lawyers who found out the answer.

*MOUSE PRINT:

According to a lawsuit they have filed in 2015, Blue Diamond Almond Milk only contains two-percent almonds.

So the product is really just a bunch of water and sugar with a pinch of almonds. While the flavor may be pleasing to many, the nutritional value of the product seems questionable at best.

Fast forward to late 2016 and early 2017.

A settlement of this class action was announced last month that will cost Blue Diamond $9-million. And of course, the company denies any wrongdoing and stands by its advertising. Consumers who purchased Almond Breeze are entitled to $1 back per container, for up to 10 containers, depending on whether they have proof of purchase or not. The deadline for filing a claim is April 13, 2017.

Last November, 25 members of Congress wrote to the Food and Drug Administration calling on the agency to investigate and take action against any producers of “milk” products that are not derived from cows.

And just last week, Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin introduced a bill in Congress to fight back against nondairy products mislabeled as milk, yogurt or cheese.




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January 9, 2017

T-Mobile Intros Honest Pricing

Filed under: Electronics,Humor,Telephone — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:15 am

Last week, T-Mobile announced something novel in the postpaid cellphone industry — the price you see advertised is the price you will actually pay on your bill — all taxes and fees included! And they did this by absorbing those charges not raising their prices.

For years, it has been an obnoxious game played by cell providers, cable companies, and rental car companies to grab your attention with a seeming low price, but then jack up the bill with all sorts of junk fees and taxes. And the real costs were never fully disclosed even in the mouse print of the advertising.

To dramatize the deceptive nature of these pricing ploys, T-Mobile released this short video:



To demonstrate how fees and taxes inflate customers’ bills, TMO offers a comparison.

TMO comparison


But lest you think that T-Mobile has completely found consumer religion, plans other than T-Mobile One still play the old game.

*MOUSE PRINT:

taxes and fees extra

Nonetheless, hats off to T-Mobile for taking the first step to bringing transparent pricing to cell service.




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January 2, 2017

Can You Drench Your iPhone in Water?

Filed under: Electronics,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:57 am

A new TV commercial by Apple depicts a senior citizen leaving his iPhone on loud in a puddle of water next to the swimming pool so he can hear dramatic music as he dives off a high tower.

iPhone sitting in water

Here is the commercial:



At the end of the commercial, the man finally dives into the pool causing a splash of water to hit the iPhone. And miraculously, it still keeps playing music.

water splash

What you probably missed in the commercial is the very faint disclaimer at the very end.

*MOUSE PRINT:

iPhone disclaimer

In case you still can’t read that, it says “Liquid damage not covered under warranty.”

So why does the ad seemingly tout the waterproof or water-resistant properties of the device if they are not willing to stand behind it? We asked Apple, but all a spokesperson would say is:

“iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are splash, water and dust resistance. The entire enclosure was reengineered to make the very first water resistant iPhone, enabling it to handle mishaps such as spills and splashes.”




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December 19, 2016

Here We Downsize Again – 2016 (Part 3)

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:46 am

Our next issue will be January 2

We wrap up the year with more items that have shrunk in size — many of them spotted by eagle-eyed Mouse Print* readers.

Happening right now in a dairy case near you is the downsizing of flavored varieties of Philadelphia whipped cream cheese. The 16 ounce containers are going down to 15.5 ounces, and the 8 ounce ones are slimming down by half an ounce as well and that’s a greater percentage loss. Thanks to Richard G. for spotting this one.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Philadelphia cream cheese


There are many categories of grocery items that are serial shrinkers like toilet paper, potato chips, and ice cream. Well, we have a new candidate today – frankfurters. And in particular, Mr. Consumer’s favorite dog (until now), Nathan’s.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Nathan's frankfurters

These no longer “bigger than a bun” frankfurters went from a full pound down to 14 ounces in 2012. And just recently, they knocked another two ounces off, bringing Nathan’s down to just 12 ounces. This is some way to celebrate their 100th anniversary. The regular short ones, incidentally, are still 14 ounces.


A favorite of moviegoers is a box of Junior Mints. In the past few months, however, the packages have been downsized by 12-1/2 percent to three and half ounces from four.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Junior Mints


Following a downsizing by Colgate a few months earlier, could other brands be far behind? Sure enough, Crest Pro Health shrunk from 6 ounces to 5.1 ounces. (Thanks for the tip, Wayne L.)

*MOUSE PRINT:

Crest Pro Health

 
Even dollar store, old time favorite Pepsodent was downsized. (Thanks for the tip, Richard G.)
 

Pepsodent




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December 12, 2016

BBB’s National Advertising Division Sides with Mouse Print* and Against Lowe’s on Misleading Ads

Filed under: Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:42 am

Several months ago, we told you the story of a Lowe’s TV commercial that promised “20% off major appliances $396 and up,” but the hard-to-read fine print excluded virtually all the major brands: “Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Amana, GE, LG, Samsung, Frigidaire, Electrolux and Bosch brands limited to a maximum 10% discount, unless otherwise shown.”

Outrageous, right? After Mouse Print* pointed out the deceptive nature of this advertisement, the company pulled the ad and said it was an error. Lowe’s tried to correct the ad merely by adding the words “up to” — saying “Up to 20% off major appliances $396 and up.” But, they kept the same disclaimer indicating that almost nothing was 20% off.

Lowe's revised ad

Our trusty mouse was infuriated. He filed a complaint with the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, which reviews problematic advertising usually at the behest of an aggrieved competitor.

Last week, the NAD rendered a decision in the case calling upon Lowe’s to discontinue their “up to 20% off” savings claims in future advertising unless a substantial amount of their inventory is at least 20% off, and any exceptions are clearly and conspicuously disclosed (unlike the inconspicuous disclosure used in the commercial).

Here is their press release announcing the decision and this is the full decision.




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