Heads up: Since I know a lot of you are sensitive to Splenda, you might want to know that starting in August Diet Pepsi will be be switching its formula from aspartame to Splenda + Ace-K.
So here’s another heads up about TurboTax — they’ve temporarily suspended the ability to e-file state tax returns in all states due to concerns about fraudulent activity. You’re going to want to read the full article if you are a TurboTax user; and if you saw it already yesterday it has been updated today.
So what’s next? As of yesterday, Thursday, February 5, Intuit is temporarily pausing transmission of state e-filing tax returns. This is effective for all states. Intuit will be working with the states today to begin turning transmissions back on.
It’s important to note that as of now, this issue is only being reported by taxpayers using TurboTax. For everybody else, it’s business as usual.
So I read an article yesterday on Hershey’s attempt to keep British chocolate out of the U.S. — have you guys seen this?
As a result of a settlement with the Hershey’s Company, Let’s Buy British Imports, or L.B.B., agreed this week to stop importing all Cadbury’s chocolate made overseas. The company also agreed to halt imports on KitKat bars made in Britain; Toffee Crisps, which, because of their orange packaging, and yellow-lined brown script, too closely resemble Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups; Yorkie chocolate bars, which infringe on the York peppermint patty; and Ms. Perry’s beloved Maltesers.
Jeff Beckman, a representative for Hershey’s, said L.B.B. and others were importing products not intended for sale in the United States, infringing on its trademark and trade dress licensing. For example, Hershey’s has a licensing agreement to manufacture Cadbury’s chocolate in the United States with similar packaging used overseas, though with a different recipe.
“It is important for Hershey to protect its trademark rights and to prevent consumers from being confused or misled when they see a product name or product package that is confusingly similar to a Hershey name or trade dress,” Mr. Beckman said in an email.
I’ve never personally been confused, how about you? It’s not like you see these side by side at your local CVS… Anyway, those of you who are fans know that the British chocolate has a different formulation and often a better taste — where the first ingredient here, for instance, might be sugar, the first ingredient in the British counterpart might be milk. The two biggest importers of British chocolate have agreed to no longer import these products.
A while back
I posted a roundup of some British chocolate on Amazon a few months back — I just went back and looked, and the price on every single one of these has jumped, especially the Cadbury!
- 20 Curly Wurly bars are now $17.72 shipped.
- Pick up a six pack of Cadbury Curly Wurly bars for $3.46 with free shipping!
- Six bars Cadbury Crunchies are now $7.45 shipped.
- Nestle Toffee Crisps, $5.64 with free shipping for six bars.
- Nestle Lion bars, $7.18 for six of them shipped.
- Six pack of Cadbury Flake bars for $5.97 shipped.
- A six pack of Cadbury Wispa will run you $6.65 shipped.
Have you guys seen this Consumerist article about Kmart canceling Christmas layaways, and in some cases not refunding money til after the holiday? I hope that none of you got caught up in this.
Earlier this week I shared some articles about the new “arbitration” language on the General Mills site. Well, they’ve apparently changed their minds now due to consumer backlash:
“We rarely have disputes with consumers –- and arbitration would have simply streamlined how complaints are handled,” the company’s blogpost said. “Many companies do the same, and we felt it would be helpful. But consumers didn’t like it.”
Here — read for yourself: “When Liking a Brand Online Voids Your Rights to Sue.”
Might downloading a 50-cent coupon for Cheerios cost you legal rights?
General Mills, the maker of cereals like Cheerios and Chex as well as brands like Bisquick and Betty Crocker, has quietly added language to its website to alert consumers that they give up their right to sue the company if they download coupons, “join” it in online communities like Facebook, enter a company-sponsored sweepstakes or contest or interact with it in a variety of other ways.
Instead, anyone who has received anything that could be construed as a benefit and who then has a dispute with the company over its products will have to use informal negotiation via email or go through arbitration to seek relief, according to the new terms posted on its site.
When asked what a consumer should do, Richard Daynard, Northeastern Distinguished Professor of Law, responded that they should definitely not “like” any General Mills brands on Facebook and perhaps take it further than that. “A smart consumer would actually not buy General Mills products,” he says.
In other words: It just became nearly impossible to get a deal on a General Mills product without forfeiting your rights to sue the company. Even if your kid with a peanut allergy eats a Fiber One bar with trace amounts of peanuts and gets sick.
It reminds me of the increasingly bizarre language we’re seeing on coupons, just taken to the next level.
Let’s just lump all our dizzifying news announcements today, mm-kay?
Jewel buying more Dominick’s
- 763 Howard Street in Chicago
- 424 W. Division in Chicago
- 3243 S. 115th St in Merrionette Park
- 800 NW Highway in Fox River Grove
- 345 S. Rand Road in Lake Zurich.
Jewel parent company is buying Safeway (who just closed Dominick’s)
Safeway says it has agreed to be acquired by an investment group led by Cerebus Capital Management, the owner of Albertsons and several other supermarket chains.
Under terms of the long-rumored deal, Safeway will merge its brands with Albertsons. The Idaho-based grocer, the naton’s fifth-largest, is controlled by Cerberus, which operates more than 1,100 stores under the Albertsons, Acme, Jewel-Osco and Shaw’s brands.
Wait, so they closed our Dominick’s and now Jewel is merging with Safeway? I’m so confused… lol.
Staples will be closing up to 225 stores by 2015
Staples said Thursday it will close 225 stores in North America by the end of 2015 amid falling fourth-quarter revenue as sales increasingly shift online.
Keep stocking up on that free after rebate paper while you can!
Did I miss anything?
Or is that enough news for today.
Here’s another in our series of big name store closings — Sears will be closing its State Street store in Chicago by early April.
Jadeyzma and Jenifer both shared this story from the Chicago Tribune: JC Penney CEO Ron Johnson is OUT today, and has been replaced by… his predecessor.
J.C. Penney Chief Executive Ron Johnson, who tried to replace sales and coupons with everyday low prices, is out after sales plunged 25 percent last year, and the department store chain said it will replace him with his predecessor Mike Ullman.
Shares in J.C. Penney rose nearly 11 percent after the initial CNBC report that Johnson was out, then fell 6 percent after the company said Ullman was back.
And here’s another report from the New York Times:
Still, it is a curious move to go back to Mr. Ullman. Most of the senior employees that he had assembled at Penney either left or were dismissed by Mr. Johnson. And it was dissatisfaction with where Mr. Ullman was taking the company that led Mr. Ackman to look for another leader in the first place. Though profitable, Penney was seen as a mediocre retailer that was losing ground to competitors like Macy’s and Kohl’s.
Now, it is unprofitable, still losing ground to Macy’s and Kohl’s, and in the midst of a very expensive turnaround, the future of which is uncertain. Though some of Mr. Johnson’s plans can no doubt be jettisoned, his new merchandise is arriving in stores, the stores are undergoing extensive renovations, and Penney has already revised pricing several times. The company is also fighting Macy’s in court over Penney’s attempt to sell Martha Stewart home goods in its stores.
What do you think — are they going to be able to turn it around with Johnson now gone?
I thought this was an interesting article yesterday over on the Bloomberg site: Customers Flee Walmart Empty Shelves for Target, Costco.
It’s not as though the merchandise isn’t there. It’s piling up in aisles and in the back of stores because Wal-Mart doesn’t have enough bodies to restock the shelves, according to interviews with store workers. In the past five years, the world’s largest retailer added 455 U.S. Wal-Mart stores, a 13 percent increase, according to filings and the company’s website. In the same period, its total U.S. workforce, which includes Sam’s Club employees, dropped by about 20,000, or 1.4 percent. Wal-Mart employs about 1.4 million U.S. workers.
A thinly spread workforce has other consequences: Longer check-out lines, less help with electronics and jewelry and more disorganized stores, according to Hancock, other shoppers and store workers. Last month, Wal-Mart placed last among department and discount stores in the American Customer Satisfaction Index, the sixth year in a row the company had either tied or taken the last spot. The dwindling level of customer service comes as Wal- Mart (WMT) has touted its in-store experience to lure shoppers and counter rival Amazon.com Inc.
What do you guys think, especially those of you who regularly shop Walmart — has this been your experience?