Las Redes Sociales y las Marcas #infografia #infographic #socialmedia #marketing

Hola: Una infografía sobre las Redes Sociales y las Marcas. Un saludo

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Pescando consumidores en FaceBook #infografia #infographic #socialmedia #marketing

Hola: Una infografía sobre: Pescando consumidores en FaceBook. Vía Un saludo

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Los 10 países del Mundo con mayor penetración de Twitter #infografia #infographic #socialmedia

Hola: Una infografía sobre los 10 países del Mundo con mayor penetración de Twitter. Algunos para mi son tremendas sorpresas. Un saludo You will find more statistics at Statista

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United Strands My Wife All Day In Newark, Shrugs

Look, it’s not United Airlines’ problem. Yes, they canceled the second leg of Neil’s wife’s flight, the part that was to bring her from Newark to Rochester, N.Y. They put her on a plane from Newark to Rochester. I mean, yeah, the plane didn’t take off until 10 P.M. and arrived too late for her to get a rental car or for anyone she knew to pick her up. Isn’t flying her to Newark enough?

Instead of hanging around in the airport for eleven hours or so waiting for her late-night flight, Mrs. Neil shared a cab to JFK airport and bought another ticket that took her to Rochester. United did refund her for the flight that they canceled, but here’s the catch: they wanted a refund of the entire ticket, including the Boston to Newark portion. The part that she had already used.

This was Neil’s logic: there were earlier flights from Newark to Rochester, but the airline didn’t put her on any of them. The only option she had was the unacceptably late flight. Flying her to Newark and leaving her there all day wasn’t a service for which the couple wanted to pay. “All she got for her $219 was a useless flight to Newark,” Neil writes. “In other words, she paid United Airlines for the privilege of stranding her in Newark.”

The problem, of course, is that airline tickets don’t work that way. United’s contract of carriage is pretty clear on this: they’ll give some kind of refund for the unused portion of a multi-leg trip if the passenger doesn’t want a credit for future travel and doesn’t find any of the alternate flights that United offers acceptable.

If the Passenger is not transported as provided in C) 1) or 2) above and does not choose to apply the value of his or her Ticket toward future travel as provided in C) 3) above, the Passenger will be eligible for a refund upon request. See Rule 27 A).

Rule 27A spells out that the refund a passenger gets for the unused leg of a multi-stop ticket is the same as a comparable one-way fare on the same route. Fair enough. But there’s nothing in there about a refund for being stuck in the wrong airport all day.

Yes, it would be gracious of United to refund the flight that stranded them in Newark, but the key word here is “refund” — Neil and his wife are quite determined that they’re never going to fly United again. “I had wanted her to book on JetBlue from the very start, but the UA flight was cheaper,” Neil pointed out in his e-mail to Consumerist.

Maybe that’s the only consumer lesson that we can take home from this story: that you shouldn’t go for the cheapest option when what you really want is available.

We contacted United to see what they had to say about the dilemma, and they didn’t answer us yet. Maybe their lack of response is their answer: they won’t refund passengers for flights that they already took, even if that flight strands them in New Jersey all day.

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

Cómo son los abogados en España #infografia #infographic

Hola: Una infografía sobre cómo son los abogados en España. Vía Un saludo

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Síntomas de adicción a Twitter #infografia #infographic #socialmedia

Hola: Una infografía sobre los síntomas de adicción a Twitter. Vía Un saludo

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Previsiones economía Unión Europea 2014 #infografia #infographic

Hola: Una infografía sobre las Previsiones economía Unión Europea 2014. Vía Un saludoArchivado en: Economía, Infografía, Unión Europea Tagged: Economía, Infografía

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Cómo usar tu tarjeta de débito en el Bun Fin (México) #infografia #infographic #ecomemrce

Hola: Una infografía sobre cómo usar tu tarjeta de débito en el Bun Fin (México). Un saludoArchivado en: Comercio electrónico, Infografía, Marketing on line, México, Sociedad de la información Tagged: Comercio electrónico, Infografía, internet, Marketing, tic

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Diferencias entre un buen y un gran Community Manager #infografia #infographic #socialmedia

Hola: Una infografía sobre las diferencias entre un buen y un gran Community Manager. Vía Un saludo

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6 maneras de proteger tu Dropbox #infografia #infographic #internet

Hola: Una infografía con 6 maneras de proteger tu Dropbox. Vía Un saludo

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¿Es el WiFi una nueva droga? #infografia #infographic #internet

Hola: Una infografía que plantea si ¿Es el WiFi una nueva droga? Un saludo Infographic by Iconic Displays

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El Buen Fin online (México) #infografia #infographic #ecommerce

Hola: Una infografía sobre el Buen Fin online (México). Un saludo

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Las 15 marcas más valoradas del Mundo #infografia #infographic #marketing

Hola: Una infografía con las 15 marcas más valoradas del Mundo. Un saludo World’s Top Most Expensive Brands

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Millenials en Latinoamérica #infografia #infographic

Hola: Una infografía sobre Millenials en Latinoamérica. Un saludo

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November Food And Supplement Recall Roundup: Puréed Ew

Natural blue raspberry flavoring....wait, what?

Natural blue raspberry flavoring….wait, what?

In today’s food, supplement, and drug Recall Roundup, we learn that Listeria could be everywhere, and that blue raspberry flavored apple slices are apparently a thing. So is “natural blue raspberry flavor.”

Our monthly Recall Roundups have grown so expansive that we’ve had to separate them into two separate roundups: one for consumer goods, and one for consumables.

If you have any of these listed items in your pantry, first check the varieties and flavors against the ones listed on the recall site or press release, then check expiration date or lot numbers.

If there’s a match, don’t panic! If an item is listed as having undeclared walnuts and you’re not allergic to walnuts, for example, you don’t have to do anything at all. You can keep the item, eat it, not eat it, or return it to the store or the manufacturer for your own peace of mind.

Items that may be contaminated with bacteria are worrisome for everyone, and you should return them to the retail store where you bought them or contact the company for a refund and further instructions.


Plum Organics baby food pouches


Crunch Pak apple slices – possible listeria contamination

3 Fellers Chocolate Cream Pies – undeclared almonds

HyVee Chocolate Caramel Clusters and Chocolate Covered Caramels – undeclared peanuts


Trader Joe’s, Delish, and Atherstone Farms salads and wraps – possible E. coli contamination

Bremer Garlic Shrimp (Aldi) – possible undeclared eggs

Garden-Fresh Foods vegetables, salads, desserts, spreads, dips – possible Listeria contamination

Trader Giotto’s Caesar Salad – undeclared wheat, soy, and anchovy


OxyElite Pro Dietary Supplements – risk of possible liver damage

Vega One Nutritional Shakes and Vega Sport Performance Protein – traces of antibiotic


Perrigo (generic at many major retailers) Acetaminophen Infant Suspension Liquid – oral syringe not clearly marked


Bailey’s Choice dog treats – possible Salmonella contamination

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

Ataques DDoS y defensa #infografia #infographic #internet

Hola: Una infografía sobre ataques DDoS y defensa. Un saludo

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Las 10 mayores adquisiciones tecnológicas (2003-2013) #infografia #infographic

Hola: Una infografía con las 10 mayores adquisiciones tecnológicas (2003-2013). Un saludo You will find more statistics at Statista

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Which ISPs Don’t Cap Monthly Data Usage?

See the whole chart at

See the whole chart at

Do you know if your Internet service provider caps your monthly data allotment? Are you sure? Not all ISPs are transparent about the caps they place on subscribers. Luckily, the folks at GigaOm have put together a chart comparing caps and overage fees (or lack thereof) at several of the largest ISPs, so you can have a better idea of how many Netflix movies you can watch without hitting the ceiling. [via GigaOm]

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

FDA Ruins Everyone’s Weekend With French Fry Health Notice

According to the FDA, the darker you like your fried foods, the higher likelihood of finding acrylamide. (photo: Dyanna Hyde)

According to the FDA, the darker you like your fried potatoes, the higher the likelihood of finding acrylamide. (photo: Dyanna Hyde)

Like many of you, I plan on enjoying yummy french fries this weekend, because they taste good. But in doing so, I’ll have to ignore the downer of a reminder from the FDA about how fries and other fried foods may contain an animal carcinogen called acrylamide.

The FDA explains that acrylamide, which has been found to cause cancer in animals exposed to very high levels of the chemical, can form in plant-based foods — potatoes, cereals, coffee, crackers or breads, dried fruits among others — during high-temperature cooking processes like frying and baking.

“While acrylamide has probably been around as long as people have been baking, roasting, toasting or frying foods, it was only in 2002 that scientists first discovered the chemical in food,” writes the FDA, which has spent the last decade investigating the effects of acrylamide and how it can be reduced in food products and limited in folks’ diets.

And so yesterday it released a draft document [PDF] containing non-binding guidelines, suggestions, and strategies for food producers on ways they can lower the amount of acrylamide in those foods associated with higher levels of the chemical.

The FDA also released suggestions for consumers on how they can cut down on how much acrylamide they eat. The agency admits that it’s neither feasible nor necessary to completely eliminate the chemical from one’s diet, but maintains that there are benefits to cutting back on the amount one takes in.

Alas, some of the below recommendations from the FDA do mean paler taters on your plate:

Frying causes acrylamide formation. If frying frozen fries, follow manufacturers’ recommendations on time and temperature and avoid overcooking, heavy crisping or burning.

Toast bread to a light brown color rather than a dark brown color. Avoid very brown areas.

Cook cut potato products such as frozen french fries to a golden yellow color rather than a brown color. Brown areas tend to contain more acrylamide.

Do not store potatoes in the refrigerator, which can increase acrylamide during cooking. Keep potatoes outside the refrigerator in a dark, cool place, such as a closet or a pantry.

For further reading, the FDA has an entire FAQ page dedicated to questions and answers about acrylamide.

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Starbucks Once Again Fails To Stop New Hampshire Company From Selling ‘Charbucks’ Coffee

Black Bear has been fighting the legal battle with Starbucks over the Charbucks name for more than a decade.

Black Bear has been fighting the legal battle with Starbucks over the Charbucks name for more than a decade.

It’s been a couple years since we last heard about the Starbucks v. Charbucks legal battle, pitting the Seattle coffee colossus against Black Bear Micro Roastery, a family-owned operation out of New Hampshire. At the time, a federal court had shot down Starbucks’ claim of trademark dilution, but that didn’t stop the company from appealing… only to lose in court again this week.

Black Bear freely admits to having made up the Charbucks name for one of its blends as a way of mocking Starbucks — whose beans some coffee aficionados insist are over-roasted — after that company snatched up a local Boston coffee chain.

In 2011, a U.S. District Court judge ruled that the Charbucks blend names and marks are “only weakly associated with the minimally similar Starbucks marks and, thus, are not likely to impair the distinctiveness of the famous Starbucks marks,” and stated that Starbucks had failed to prove that the possible confusion was likely to cause “dilution by blurring” of the Starbucks trademark.

And so Starbucks appealed that decision to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court, but Reuters reports that the appeals panel let the District Court ruling stand this week.

To make its case against Black Bear, Starbucks had commissioned a telephone survey of 600 people, which — not surprisingly — found that the number one association with the name “Charbucks” is the name “Starbucks.”

The District Court judge had criticized the survey for playing word-association games rather than testing how consumers would react to the Charbucks brand in a commercial setting. And while the Charbucks/Starbucks association was the most frequently cited, only 30.5% of respondents made the connection, a number the District Court judge deemed “relatively small.”

The appeals panel agreed, calling the survey “fundamentally flawed” for not testing the real-world branding of Charbucks, which does not physically resemble any existing Starbucks branding.

“Viewed in light of Starbucks’ fame… the fact that more survey participants did not think of ‘Starbucks’ upon hearing ‘Charbucks’ reinforces the district court’s finding that the marks are only minimally similar,” wrote the panel.

Now we wait to see just how high up the legal ladder Starbucks wants to take this case.

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Nobody Knows Exactly Why We Can Taste Bitter Flavors

The first time I ever moved on from light beer to try an IPA (when I was of course, 21) I clearly remember thinking, “I hate this. I’d rather eat soap.” Bitter foods can be off-putting at first, but here I am years later, happily ordering IPAs and chugging coffee. So what use is the bitter flavor to humans?

Scientists don’t really know, it turns out. The prevailing thought for a long time now has been that our ancestors used our mouths’ powers of bitter detection to keep from munching on possibly toxic plants, back when we weren’t thinking about which craft beers to sample but were more focused on gathering food to survive.

But now other science types are saying that might not be the case, reports NPR’s The Salt blog. Our bitter abilities first popped up about a million years ago after a twitch in our ancestors’ DNA gave them the ability to perceive a bitter compound in things like olives, nuts and seeds, the scientists note in the journal Molecular Biology Evolution.

That happened way before modern humans showed up to order bitter beers or add bitters to drinks, but the reason probably isn’t what we thought.

When the authors of the study analyzed taste genes across indigenous groups still practicing ancient ways of living, like hunter-gatherers and nomadic herders, those gatherers didn’t have any extraordinary bitter taste skills or special gene sequences compared to the pastoralists.

“We thought we’d see a difference in the bitter genes between the hunter-gatherers and pastoralists because of their diet,” the study’s author tells The Salt. “But there was no correlation all.”

The researchers found that the ability to perceive bitter flavors varied by geography, but it had nothing to do with how they got their food.

If it’s not for the sake of our survival that we can taste bitter flavors, then why are we tasting it all? No one is sure, the study’s author says.

“These genes could be detecting a compound we don’t know anything about,” she says. And because bitter taste receptors are also in cells in our guts, lungs and even testes (oh and also the bitter tears I cry over Aaron Rodgers’ collarbone), maybe they aren’t even supposed to be involved with tasting food.

“So the receptors are not only altering how we perceive food,” she says, “but probably also our physiology, in ways we have no idea about.”

Why Can We Taste Bitter Flavors? Turns Out, It’s Still A Mystery [The Salt]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

Dallas Cowboys’ Dez Bryant Plays Santa, Buys PS4s For Local Walmart Shoppers

Dez posing for a photo with one of the lucky Walmart shoppers last night.

Dez posing for a photo with one of the lucky Walmart shoppers last night.

Last night, folks around the country lined up to get their hands on the new Sony PS4 gaming console when it was released at midnight. Among them was Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant, who got into the holiday spirit a bit early by footing the bill for several other shoppers’ consoles.

The initial Tweet, which included the photo seen here said that Dez was at Best Buy, but confirms it was actually in a Dallas-area Walmart.

The man in the photo with Bryant says he was among the first five in line at the store to pick up a PS4 when he saw Bryant talking to a Walmart employee.

“He came over to the line of about 6 people and just said that he would purchase four PS4 and one for himself,” writes the lucky shopper. “He then handed over the cash… Dez was clearly being nice and in the giving spirit.”

As some of you know, I’m an Eagles fan, so it pains me to say anything positive about Dez Bryant, so I’ll just say this was a not-horrible thing for him to do. I also hope he becomes so engrossed with playing his new PS4 that his play declines significantly in the weeks to come, hitting bottom in week 17 when the Cowboys and Eagles face off for the second time.

[via Polygon]

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Best Buy Accepts Check For $2,500, Rejects One The Next Day For $320

Believe it or not, some people still write checks for large retail purchases. And even with all the new-fangled technology that gives consumers and retailers nearly instant access to account balances, there is still some mystery about just how some checks get approved or denied. Take, for example, the Best Buy customer in Ohio who had no problem with a $2,500 check, but who couldn’t get approval on a $320 check from the same store the next day.

This was the situation brought by a reader named CG to the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Theresa Dixon Murray.

CG had used a check to pay for a $2,500 TV at Best Buy. The check was electronically cleared and the transaction went through without a hitch. But when CG returned the following day to buy a $320 stand for the pricey new TV, it was a no-go.

“A statement on the back of the check returned to me was from TeleCheck and stated that the check could not be accepted,” writes CG. “But there was more than $2,000 in the account.”

As Dixon Murray points out, this appears to be an issue with TeleCheck’s cloaked-in-secrecy approval process and not with Best Buy.

See, TeleCheck doesn’t look at a check-writer’s available balance when determining whether to approve or decline. If it had, then CG’s purchase would have sailed through. Instead, it weighs other potential risk factors and warning signs of check fraud, like how much is being spent, where is it being spent, and is the item being purchased a favorite of check-kiters?

What Dixon Murray suspects — and we agree with her — is that the $320 check wasn’t approved because of the $2,500 check. The fact that these are both relatively high-value purchases at the same store within a two-day period is probably enough to set off the auto-denier at TeleCheck.

This sometimes happens with debit and credit card companies, where the issuer will flag a purchase — especially an online transaction — if there are multiple expensive purchases in a short period of time. Of course, most card issuers have simple ways for you to resolve this immediately by calling customer service and verifying your identity and that you are indeed making those purchases.

With the TeleCheck example, the customer doesn’t even have any recourse at the store level, as this determination is all being done by a third party. So complaining or appealing to a manager gets you nowhere.

If you insist on writing checks, especially for several hundred or thousands of dollars, be prepared for being given a hard time, and be prepared to pay with plastic or cash in case that check isn’t accepted.

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

4 Things You Don’t Really Need To Pay For


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We all have things that we refuse to pay for when there are free or super cheap alternatives. But while everyone knows that you can get canning jars and scratched furniture on Freecycle, did you know that there are ways to expand your knowledge, see brand-new movies, watch premium streaming video, and listen to audiobooks, all for free? And legally. The “legally” part is key.

Consumerist alumnus Phil Villarreal wrote up four ideas for getting free stuff over at Money Under 30. The four categories, which you might not have thought of, are these:

  • College courses. Yes, there’s Coursera, which lets you audit classes without leaving your couch. You can also audit courses in real life at your local college or university – get to know the professors teaching classes that interest you, get their permission, and soak up the learning. You’ll still have to buy any textbooks required that aren’t available at your local public library, though.

  • Movies. First-run movies, no less. It’s easy to find free screenings of films that are new or are about to come out, even if you live far from New York or L.A. Phil recommends Text Movie Club and Gofobo.

  • Streaming services. This one requires paying attention, but use free trials for services like Netflix and Hulu and cancel them before they expire. This is great if you don’t know which service you like. If you’re feeling underhanded, churn through them over and over by sharing an account with your partner, roommate, friend, or adult offspring so a different adult is signing up each time. Or just sign up once, binge on movies, and take a few months to recover.

  • Audiobooks. If you’re some kind of narration purist, this might not work for you, but you can listen to audiobooks for days and days without buying any at all. The trick? Public domain audiobooks! LibriVox offers free recordings of classic books read by volunteers. If the book you have in mind isn’t available there, put the full text in a text-to-speech app on your smartphone. They’re available for just a few bucks.

Free Stuff you can do That Costs Most People Money [Money Under 30]

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

There’s A $500 Booze Milkshake If You’ve Got Money To Spend On That Sort Of Thing

Not the milkshake in question. Just a milkshake. (Morton Fox)

Not the milkshake in question. Just a milkshake. (Morton Fox)

Money is so heavy and awful to carry around, isn’t it? If you just can’t stand the annoying weight of all those Benjamins in your pocket, there’s a boozy milkshake for sale at a Hollywood cocktail bar (where else?) starting Nov. 22. What does a half grand get ya?: Edible gold leaf, “the finest Belgian chocolates,” a bunch of unspecified booze and a $190 Swarovski Nirvana Mountain Ring. [Thrillist]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

CFPB Looking Into “Confusing Rules” Of Credit Card Rewards Programs

As we mentioned earlier this week, credit card rewards programs can be overly complicated and come with rules and limits that drain their value. Now the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says it is looking into these programs to determine if cardholders are being misled about the costs and benefits of these offers.

In an e-mail to Bloomberg News, CFPB Director Richard Cordray wrote of the “detailed and confusing rules” for credit card rewards programs and said the Bureau “will be reviewing whether rewards disclosures are being made in a clear and transparent manner, and we will consider whether additional protections are needed.”

At issue is whether consumers understand what it actually costs to earn the rewards — whether its airline miles, retail discounts, cash back, or some other benefit — that are advertised by the card issuers, and whether these companies are being transparent about the limits on using these rewards.

While many banks ditched debit card rewards programs after new legislation limited the amount of money the card issuer received for each retail transaction, the programs have remained on credit cards as a way to entice consumers into charging more, thus earning more rewards while also making it more likely that the cardholder will carry a higher balance.

“To what degree does something have to be a problem before we take a look at it?” asks Pamela Banks, senior policy counsel at Consumers Union. “We should identify trends early.”

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Couple Charged With Stealing 1,970 Trees From Forest

A man and woman in Minnesota face up to a year in jail and thousands of dollars in fines after they were caught sap-handed in their attempt to steal a huge quantity of spruce trees and tree tops from county-managed forest land, all with the goal of selling to unsuspecting Christmas-tree buyers.

“The total was 1,970 trees, and they said they are getting from $6 to $9 per tree top, so it would have been a felony theft had it gone through,” a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer tells the Duluth News Tribune. “We get these illegal cuts just about every year, but this is the biggest one I’ve had.”

Cutting is allowed in the forest, provided people get the proper permissions from the county and pay the appropriate fees. The couple did not do that.

And rather than simply taking the tops off of older trees, allowing the bases to continue to grow, couple apparently went around crudely cutting down young trees near their bases, which can permanently damage or misshape the trees.

“They just went in there with a shears and lopped them off,” explains the Conservation Officer.

Authorities say the cache of pilfered trees were cut down over the course of several days and somehow hidden on private land adjacent to the forest.

The couple was caught after the Conservation Officer was tipped off to the fact that trees were going missing from the forest. The officer then discovered the aforementioned stash o’ trees and eventually spotted the male suspect carrying bundles of illegally cut trees.

The suspect was arrested and apparently had no problem naming his accomplice, who was found a short distance away, bundling stolen tree tops in the county forest land.

The couple claimed they didn’t know they were stealing from county-managed land, but did allegedly admit that they knew they were stealing.

They were both charged with theft of timber and misdemeanor trespass. The male suspect was also charged with violation of a protection order that had been put in place by his female accomplice after he was convicted earlier this year of domestic assault against her.

All this discussion of trouble with the trees means I have no choice but to embed this classic:

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

BREAKING NEWS: Pilgrims Probably Didn’t Dress Like Grandma’s Thanksgiving Decorations

What do countries do if they don’t have a super smart Jeopardy! champ around to dash our kitschy cute dreams of how adorable our forefathers were? Good thing we’ve got Ken Jennings here in the US of A to bust the myth that no, the pilgrims probably don’t look like the figurines on your dining room table or the outfit your mother made you for the 1st grade play. To the history machine!

Jennings knows just about every darn thing in the entire world (including if Alex Trebek is actually a robot, I bet) and this time he took on the question of pilgrim wardrobes in his Debunker column on

Namely: Did they wear those awfully boring black-and-white ensembles and tall hats with buckles everywhere all the time? Well no, not really.

Jennings explains that the root of this idea likely comes from 17th-century portraits of religious leaders in the Puritan and Separatist movements. Sure, Protestants back then got gussied up in severe black, but for special occasions like say, having their portraits painted. Black was the fanciest color back then because it was the hardest color to dye cloth.

But just like you didn’t always wear that fantastically geometric sweater you’ve got on in your 2nd grade picture every day, neither did the pilgrims wear black all the time.

“In reality, the pilgrims wore black on Sunday, but that’s about it,” Jennings says. “Mayflower cargo records, wills, and other documents reveal that most of their pilgrims’ daily clothes were multicolored: red, brown, yellow, blue, gray, and so on. Those are the colors they would have been wearing at the first Thanksgiving.”

About those awesome hats and shiny buckles? The hats were a real thing, called capotains, but they were (gasp) sans buckles. Buckles weren’t fashionable until decades after the pilgrims left England and were super expensive. It was cheaper to just tie your pants and shoes together, unless there was a Black Friday sale on buckles or something.

That being said, your Thanksgiving decorations are still really adorable.

The Debunker: What Did Pilgrims’ Hats Really Look Like? []

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

Bank Of America Accused Of Neglecting Foreclosures In Non-White Neighborhoods

Two BofA-owned properties in the Oakland area. The one on the left is in a predominantly African-American and Hispanic neighborhood, while the one on the right is from a predominantly white area.

Two BofA-owned properties in the Oakland area. The one on the left is in a predominantly African-American and Hispanic neighborhood, while the one on the right is from a predominantly white area.

In 2012, a National Fair Housing Alliance survey of bank-owned properties in nine metro areas found that those buildings in predominantly white neighborhoods were more likely to be properly maintained by the bank while those homes in non-white parts of town were often being allowed to fall into disrepair, driving property values down for neighbors and causing public health and safety concerns. Since then, the NFHA has filed a federal discrimination complaint against the bank for what it alleges are violations of the Fair Housing Act.

The NFHA recently amended its complaint [PDF] to the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, by adding additional cities, along with photographic and diagrammatic evidence to bolster its case.

The complaint now claims bad behavior on the bank’s part in 20 different cities — Oakland; Grand Rapids, MI; Atlanta; Dayton, OH; Miami; Dallas; Phoenix; Washington, DC; Orlando; Charleston, SC; Chicago; Milwaukee; Indianapolis; Denver; Memphis; Las Vegas; Tucson; Philadelphia; Toledo, OH; and Baltimore.

In evaluating whether or not a bank-owned property is being properly maintained, the NFHA looked at seven things:

1. Curb Appeal — Is there mail piling up, overgrown or dead grass/shrubbery, trash?

2. Structure — Are the doors and locks broken or removed? Is there damage or rot to the roof, walls, steps, or floors?

3. Signage & Occupancy — Is the “for sale” sign intact? Are there warnings against trespassers? Are people living in the property without authorization?

4. Painting & Siding — Is it damaged, chipped, covered in graffiti?

5. Gutters — Are they intact, damaged, hanging, clogged?

6. Water Damage — Has this resulted in any mold build-up?

7. Utilities — Have these connections been tampered with?

“In each of the metropolitan areas where Complainants evaluated a number of Bank of America REOs [real-estate owned properties] in communities of color and White communities, the properties in White communities were far more likely to have a small number of maintenance deficiencies or problems than REO properties in communities of color, while REO properties in communities of color were far more likely to have large numbers of such deficiencies or problems than those in

White communities,” reads the complaint.

For example, here’s a map supplied by the NFHA of the Indianapolis area that it claims shows that foreclosed properties in predominantly white neighborhoods are being maintained with more care:

(Click to see full-size)

(Click to see full-size)

And here is a photographic comparison of two houses in the Indianapolis area. First, there is this BofA-owned home in a predominantly African-American neighborhood. According to the NFHA survey, it had 13 deficiencies:



Then there is the home that NFHA claims is in a predominantly white neighborhood, which only had five deficiencies:



“Bank of America has known about these problems for more than four years, yet, sadly, they have chosen a path that continues to harm the health of people living in these communities,” said Shanna L. Smith, President and CEO of the NFHA in a statement. “Bank of America’s conduct sends a message that it does not care about the viability of the neighborhoods or the health of the residents in communities of color.”

A rep for BofA tells that this is all just a matter of these properties being caught in a transitional phase between the former owner and the bank.

“It’s not that we’re perfect, but when somebody brings a property to our attention that fell through the cracks for one reason or another, we’re doing everything we can to take immediate action,” says the bank rep.

Earlier this year, Wells Fargo reached a $38.5 million settlement in a similar discrimination case brought by the NFHA.

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Waitress Says Customer Denied Her A Tip Because She Disagreed With Her Lifestyle

We don’t like how it’s apparently becoming a trend for customers to choose to not only stiff their servers on tips, but to then explain that it’s because of how they “live their lifestyle” which translates to, “because you’re gay and I disagree with that, you don’t get a tip.” A waitress in New Jersey says that’s what just happened to her on a $93.55 bill.

She sent a photo of the receipt in question to Have A Gay Day on Facebook, which then posted it on its page. The receipt shows no tip and then a scrawled note saying: “sorry I cannot tip because I do not agree with your lifestyle & the way you live your life”.



The waitress says she never thought in a million years that this would happen, writing, “Not only was it a family with two kids, but as I introduce myself and tell them my name is Dayna – the mom proceeds to look at me and say ‘Oh I thought you were gonna say your name is Dan. You sure surprised us!’ “

She goes on to write that she’s offended, pissed off and hurt that the woman’s kids will grow up witnessing this behavior.

“I served in the Marines to keep ignorant people like them free,” she adds. “Sorry lady but I don’t agree with YOUR lifestyle and the way you’re raising your kids but you didn’t see me throwing that in your face and giving you shitty service. Keep your damn mouth shut and pray we never cross paths again.”

If all is at it appears to be, we’re upset that there are people out there who choose to treat others like this. Have some common decency, people. Yeesh.

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

McDonald’s Adding A Third Window To Drive-Thru To Push Orders Through Faster

McDonald’s reputation as the slow, lumbering fast food dinosaur who’s nowhere near the lead in the drive-thru race is apparently bothering it enough to redesign its ordering system. Instead of the usual two windows — one for ordering, one for pick-up — there will now be a third window to send cars to if their orders are clogging up the works.

It even has a fancy name: The Fast Forward Drive-Thru. It’ll start showing up in new and rebuilt Mickey D’s next year reports Bloomberg.

“It enables customers to pull forward to receive orders at a third window when their order is not yet ready,” a spokeswoman said. It “will enable us to better serve more customers quickly.”

Getting people through the line quickly is a major thing for McDonald’s as 70% of its sales are generated by drive-thru orders. The more people you can scoot through that line, the more money there is to be made.

It seems it could work, as one franchisee added a third window to one of his seven locations and says he saw service speed up. He’s planning on adding a third window to an additional store next year.

“The slowest function is delivering the food,” he said. With the third window, “we’ve been able to more quickly take care of our guests.”

As always, the more complicated the order is, the longer time it will take to get you your food. So if you want it really fast, keep it simple. Or just be patient.

Third Window a Charm as McDonald’s Patrons Twitter Grief [Bloomberg]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

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