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NEWS
August 8, 2012 | By Betty Hallock
COFFEE COSTS The average monthly price for a pound of coffee fell 24% in July from a year earlier. But the price drop won't trickle down to customers until next year. [U.S. News] SPLASH LAB Watch an IBC root beer bottle shatter to bits through the power of tiny bubbles in a video produced by the Brigham Young University Splash Lab. [Bon Appetit] OVEN TEMP FALLACIES Think your oven is at 350 degrees when you set the dial to 350? Nope. It's anywhere between 330 and 370 degrees -- by design -- and that's if it's well calibrated.
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BUSINESS
July 2, 2013 | By Andrea Chang
Consumers often turn to the Internet to research a product before buying. Fake reviews are always a concern, and the problem may be bigger than previously thought. There have long been reports and rumors of businesses posting negative reviews of their competitors' products or companies that pay or reward users to write glowing reviews (known as cyber-shilling). But new research shows that loyal customers are writing extremely negative reviews about products they never purchased.
BUSINESS
November 23, 2012 | By Walter Hamilton and Ricardo Lopez, Los Angeles Times
As you pack into the mall today with hordes of other Black Friday shoppers, think of it as an act of economic patriotism. With your shopping bags full of holiday gifts, you'll once again be playing a central role in the U.S. economy. After retrenching in the early days of the recovery, consumers are reasserting themselves as the key driver of U.S. economic growth. And that's coming at an opportune time, given that other economic propellants such as manufacturing and exports have slowed.
BUSINESS
April 15, 2012 | By Chad Terhune, Los Angeles Times
Californians are still struggling to get straight answers about the cost of common medical procedures despite state efforts aimed at lifting the veil on medical pricing. As consumers shoulder a larger share of their healthcare costs, the ability to comparison shop is key to keeping that care affordable. Medical costs borne by U.S. employees have more than doubled since 2002 to more than $8,000 a year, while the median household income has dropped 4%. Under a state law that took effect in 2006, hospitals must publish their average charges for the most common procedures on a state website.
BUSINESS
December 17, 2010 | By Sandra M. Jones
Early this fall, James Reinhart noticed something odd happening at ThredUp, the children's clothing swap site the Harvard Business School graduate and his buddies dreamed up a year ago. Swappers started using the online exchange to trade toys. As the volume of toy trading increased, ThredUp decided there was enough demand to expand its service. The San Francisco start-up officially launched its toy exchange site Dec. 6, just as holiday shopping shifted into full gear. The turn of events at ThredUp signals how dramatically shopping is changing in the wake of the Great Recession.
BUSINESS
March 20, 2013 | By Salvador Rodriguez
A new poll says 46% of consumers surveyed would not spend more than $500 for Google's smartphone-like eyewear -- early versions of which the company is selling for $1,500. Nearly a quarter said they would not spend more than $1,000 for the glasses. Only 6% of respondents said they would spend whatever it takes to buy the device. Despite consumers reluctance to spend $1,500 for the glasses, interest in the product is fairly strong, according to the survey, which found that 61% of respondents would buy it if it was priced right.
BUSINESS
October 18, 2011 | David Lazarus
Thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court, you may not have the right to sue a company you think has wronged you. Instead, if the company prefers, you could have to arbitrate the dispute — a process that consumer advocates say tips the scales of justice in favor of businesses. That imbalance would be remedied with passage of the Arbitration Fairness Act, a bill under consideration in Congress that would supersede the Supreme Court's ruling and reestablish consumers' right to sue and to join with others in class-action lawsuits.
BUSINESS
August 24, 2012 | By David Lazarus
The more-than-$1-billion award in Apple's patent case against Samsung is a big win for the iMaker of the iPhone and iPad. But it may not be in the best interest of consumers. At least not in the short haul. A jury in San Jose found that Samsung infringed multiple Apple patents for smartphones and tablets. The patents involve the look and feel of devices. Apple had sought $2.5 billion in damages. In a countersuit, Samsung had demanded $422 million from Apple for what it said were violations of its own patents.
BUSINESS
October 30, 1987 | From a Times Staff Writer
Consumers say their buying plans haven't changed and their confidence was only moderately shaken by the stock market upheaval, according to a survey by the Conference Board. A survey commissioned by the nonprofit business research institute found that nearly 73% of the consumers questioned still intend to make planned purchases of automobiles, household appliances, furniture and other major goods despite the market turmoil.
WORLD
September 28, 2008 | From Times Wire Reports
Premier Wen Jiabao promised to improve Chinese food safety amid a widening scandal over tainted milk that has sickened thousands of children. "We plan not only to revitalize the food industry and the milk powder industry, we will try to ensure that all China-made products are safe for consumers, and consumers can buy with assurance," Wen said at the World Economic Forum in the port city of Tianjin. The scandal erupted this month after melamine, used to make plastics and fertilizer, was found in powdered milk and linked to kidney stones in children.
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