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March 28, 2016

“Use Only in the Case of an Apocalypse”

Filed under: Business,Computers,Humor,Internet — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:46 am

Just in time for April Fool’s Day…

Amazon recently released a software gaming platform for developers called Lumberyard. Buried in its terms and conditions is this unexpected little ditty:

*MOUSE PRINT:

57.10 Acceptable Use; Safety-Critical Systems. Your use of the Lumberyard Materials must comply with the AWS Acceptable Use Policy. The Lumberyard Materials are not intended for use with life-critical or safety-critical systems, such as use in operation of medical equipment, automated transportation systems, autonomous vehicles, aircraft or air traffic control, nuclear facilities, manned spacecraft, or military use in connection with live combat. However, this restriction will not apply in the event of the occurrence (certified by the United States Centers for Disease Control or successor body) of a widespread viral infection transmitted via bites or contact with bodily fluids that causes human corpses to reanimate and seek to consume living human flesh, blood, brain or nerve tissue and is likely to result in the fall of organized civilization. [emphasis added]

So only if science fiction zombies come to life, then and only then, can this software be used to save lives.

The world can rest easy now. Thanks, Amazon.




  ADV


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March 21, 2016

Outback’s “Biggest” 12-Ounce Steak?

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

Sometimes advertisers seem to make ludicrous claims.

Here’s exhibit #1:

Outback largest 12 ounce steak

The biggest 12-ounce steak? Isn’t a big 12-ounce steak the same size as a small 12-ounce steak?

Maybe yes, maybe no. Perusing Outback’s website actually provides a shocking additional fact about their largest 12-ounce steak claim.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Outback 12 oz can be 11 oz

What? Outback’s 12-ounce steak can actually be 11 ounces? Apparently so. At some locations, the largest sirloin steak that Outback carries is only 11 ounces.

I guess this is almost like Subway’s foot-long sandwiches being only 11 inches occasionally.

Eleven must be the new 12 in the restaurant industry.




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March 14, 2016

Blue Bunny Ice Cream Downsizes

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:03 am

Blue Bunny has been the white knight of the ice cream industry. When other brands downsized to 56 ounces, they stayed at half a gallon. Subsequently when the industry moved to a 48 ounce container, Blue Bunny touted that their now 56 ounce container gave you two extra scoops.

2 more scoops

Now, eagle-eyed Mouse Print* reader Richard G., the king of finding products that have undergone the shrink ray, reports that Blue Bunny has finally succumbed and downsized its ice cream and yogurt products, cutting out a cup or more of the sweet treat.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Blue Bunny 56 oz. Blue Bunny 48 oz.

In fact, some varieties are now 46 ounces, not even 48 ounces.

The company explains that it has changed its packaging to see-through plastic, and in answer to the question of why they shrunk containers, they say:

While ice cream is fun it is also a very competitive landscape! Over the last several years consumers have seen brands respond to the competitiveness with various changes to their products, from changing size of container to electing to stray from the true definition of ice cream and deliver frozen dairy dessert. While our packaging size has changed with our makeover, the quality of our ice cream has not been ignored, in fact our ice cream is better than ever! Most importantly, consumers can be confident Blue Bunny is committed to delivering an incredible ice cream experience with the best quality in all aspects – from the first opening to digging out the last scoop in the container! We are dedicated every day to ensure that we are delivering on the commitment to provide high quality ice cream products at a reasonable price for our fans to enjoy.

So, parsing all that flowery language… they are doing just what competitors did a long time ago.

They have also tinkered with the nutrition label, such as the one for the frozen yogurt above. The serving size is now 70 grams instead of the old 86 grams.

Just don’t expect Blue Bunny to proclaim these changes with a big banner like this:

Blue Bunny Two Fewer




  ADV


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March 7, 2016

New Rebate Requirement Easy to Overlook, Hard to Swallow

Filed under: Computers,Internet,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:21 am

Over the years, manufacturers have come up with a variety of obnoxious rebate requirements to trip up purchasers or to dissuade them from filing for their money back in the first place.

This new one from Laplink is a doozy, which was required to get the $30 PC Mover full price rebate that Consumer World promoted a few weeks ago as a “Bargain of the Week.”

Laplink rebate

Easy to miss is this fine print requirement to include personal identification.

*MOUSE PRINT:

¹To avoid fraudulent requests, you are required to submit evidence supporting your name and address. Acceptable evidence is a copy of government-issued identification (such as a driver’s license) or the front page of a utility or credit card bill. Account number or similar information may be blacked out. The name and address are required to match the name and address on the rebate request form.

What? They want a copy of your drivers license or credit card statement? Are they crazy (albeit they do allow you to blacken out account numbers, etc.)?

No company in memory has ever conditioned a rebate on what some might consider an invasion of privacy or a security risk. We asked Laplink why they are doing this considering that the rebate is in the form of a check that has to be either cashed or deposited at a bank in an account that matches the payee. The company did not respond.




  ADV


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February 29, 2016

What a 14-Day Return Policy Means on eBay Sometimes

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

Many people are reluctant to shop at eBay because unlike buying from a retail store, many items are sold by individuals and don’t come with any return privileges. When you are purchasing antiques, for example, it is often hard to tell just from the pictures what the actual condition of the item is, what the flaws are, and even what the true colors are.

So, it certainly can relieve some of that anxiety when you see that an individual seller has a decent return policy. Take for example this one, that offers a 14-day money back guarantee.

eBay returns

When clicking that “details” link, the truth is revealed.

*MOUSE PRINT:

14 day return policy

I accept returns only on items in which I have made a mistake in the listing. It is the buyer’s responsibility to ask any and all pertinant questions about an item prior to bidding. I require immediate notification, (within 24 hours of receipt of the item), of intent to return by the buyer. I do not accept returns for buyer’s remorse or for items that the buyer assumed could be purchased on approval. If you want your friend’s “expert” opinion on a piece, you need to have them view the listing and read the item description prior to bidding. You do not get to do this after receiving the item because this constitutes “buying on approval”. The returned item must be received by me in the same condition it was in when inititally shipped to the buyer.

Basically, what this seller is really saying is that you have no regular return rights, including 14 days to try out the item. You only have a right of return for a misrepresentation and YOU have to pay the return shipping!

That certainly is far different from what the average consumer would understand “14 days money back” to mean. So as with everything we write about in Mouse Print*, you have to read the fine print or you could get snookered.




  ADV


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