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Thanks for Nothing — Summer 2021

A few times a year we take a step back to roll our eyes at some companies’ practices or promotions that are real head-scratchers. Here is this summer’s crop of sellers not doing shoppers any favors in these instances.

Example #1

If this bag of grass originally sold for a thousand dollars, it must have included a lot of weed.



Thanks for nothing Farm & Home Supply.

Example #2

A consumer on Reddit posted a picture of an unusual warning on the box of the HD television set that he just bought. And it was in pretty big type.


Sceptre save the box

What? Your TV warranty is void if you don’t save the box it came in for possible future use if you need to move the TV or send it in for repairs? I suspect most people are not in the habit of reading those boxes to learn about their warranty rights, or save those huge things at home. Thanks for nothing, Sceptre.

Example #3

Cell companies are busy promoting their new 5G cell networks with both largest size and fastest speed claims. Boost Mobile recently advertised that it had the largest 5G network like this:


Boost 5G

Nothing like a little pictorial misrepresentation to make you think that their 5G network is possibly larger than it really is. Can’t they try to make the map at least somewhat accurate? Thanks for nothing, Boost.

Example #4

Herb W. of Seattle, renown consumer reporter from KOMO radio and Consumers’ Checkbook, sent us a picture of a package of Impossible Foods’ plant-based burger “meat” which is sold at the fresh meat counter in supermarkets.

Impossible Foods

He wanted to check the freshness date on the package, but was having a devil of a time doing so. The date shown on that sticker above is not the sell-by date incidentally.


Impossible date

There it was on the edge of the package, and true to their name, it was almost impossible to read. (And we photo-enhanced the above picture to make it barely readable.) Why make it so difficult for shoppers to see this important information? Thanks for nothing, Impossible Foods.

If you find an advertisement or product label suitable for featuring in a future edition of “Thanks for Nothing,” please send a clear photo or screenshot to edgar(at symbol)MousePrint.org . Thanks.

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Slack-Fill Case Against Barilla Dismissed

Five years ago, a group of New York consumers sued Barilla claiming that their pasta packages were misleading. In their complaint, they demonstrated that the company used the same size boxes even though the contents varied from 12 to 16 ounces.


Barilla pasta
Barilla spaghetti

Putting 12 ounces of spaghetti in a box made for a full pound can well be classified as “slack fill.” That term refers to the nonfunctional empty air space in a product package that can lead shoppers to believe they are getting more content than they actually are because of the size of the package. Most boxed pasta sold is 16 ounces.

We thought this case had been settled in 2019 as we reported at the time because they seemingly came to agreement to have the company place a disclosure and a fill-line on each box. But recently the plaintiffs dismissed their case against Barilla without explanation. We asked two law firms involved in the litigation why the case was withdrawn but neither responded. The lead attorney on the case passed away in January, so perhaps that is a reason.

Using underfilled pasta boxes is not only an issue with Barilla products but with other name and store brands as well. The lesson: don’t assume you are getting a full pound… read the net weight statement.

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Peloton’s $4000 Treadmills Bricked Unless Owners Pay $39/mo Fee

Tread+Imagine buying a $4,000 treadmill and then being told unless you buy an online membership program for $39 a month, the company will disable the machine, making it a very expensive doorstop.

That is exactly what Peloton, the maker of high-end exercise devices, including the recently recalled $4000 Tread+ treadmill, is doing to its customers who own this model.

The company had to come up with a fix to keep young children from turning on the machine and accidentally getting sucked under its moving belt. So, they now require entering a password on the treadmill’s screen to operate it. And the unit will also stop functioning after 45 seconds of inactivity. To start it up again, the user has to re-enter the passcode.

But there’s just one problem.


Apparently, to implement the operation of the new locking and password mechanism, a recent software update removed the “Just Run” option from users’ screens. That mode lets users operate the treadmill without the online interactive features and classes that have made the brand so popular.

So, how do users get to use the machine on their own AND have the safety features enabled? They have to buy a $39 a month membership.

Peloton membershipEmail sent to Business Insider from unhappy owner

Customers have taken to the Internet to complain that in essence Peloton is bricking their exercise equipment if they refuse to sign up for a membership.

A spokesperson for Peloton has said in published reports since the controversy erupted that it is working on updates to its software to remedy the problem. Upset users are considering suing the company if a fix is not forthcoming.

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