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Consumer

Can Tipping Change a Waiter’s Behavior?

by Luke Landes
Can tipping change a waitress's behavior?

A friend of mine once lamented publicly: “When did the standard restaurant tip change from 15 percent to 20?” Sure, I remember paying typically 15 percent for a tip when I first started dining out with my friends. That was when I gained my first sense of independence from my parents twenty years ago, as […]

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What To Do If You’ve Donated to a Fraudulent Charity

by Luke Landes
Charity scam and fraud

It happened after September 11, Katrina, Sandy, the Boston Marathon, and other disasters, man-made and natural, around the world. After serious tragedies, when a compassionate public is at its most vulnerable, unscrupulous individuals find taking advantage the world’s generosity comes easy. Within hours — even minutes — of the news, new operations spring up, offering […]

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Prepaid Debit Cards Are Riskier Than Checking Accounts

by Luke Landes

Thanks to heavy marketing campaigns, including endorsements and partnerships with everyone from Russell Simmons to Kim Kardashian to Suze Orman (it’s hip! it’s popular! it’s financially smart!), use of prepaid debit cards has surged. Prepaid debit cards were once a fringe financial product. They were intended to be used by people who have a communal […]

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Are Sophisticated Producers Taking Advantage of Their Fans With Kickstarter?

by Luke Landes
Kristen Bell, Veronica Mars

I like the concept of crowdfunding. Websites like Kickstarter have been helpful to start-up businesses, sole individuals with an idea but without capital, and independent entertainers looking for support for their first project. It’s democratic capitalism; the best ideas receive necessary funding while the “investors” receive neither a financial return nor equity. It’s a great […]

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Do You Let Brands Use You for Advertising?

by Luke Landes
World Book Encyclopedia

From one of my social media accounts a few days ago, I responded to an article in Psychology Today. First of all, the article is a good read that discusses the relationship between money and happiness, and a recent study that disagrees with some of the more publicized studies from the past few years. It’s […]

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Maker’s Mark Adds Water

by Luke Landes
Maker's Mark

I’ve never had Maker’s Mark, but I do have friends who enjoy this particular brand of bourbon — or the bottles in which the bourbon is sold. With this latest piece of news, I’m wondering if the company believes the bottle is the product being sold rather than the alcohol inside. Beam, the corporate owner […]

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U.S. Postal Service Ending Saturday Delivery

by Luke Landes
Mailboxes

The U.S. Postal Service announced today that Saturday delivery of first-class items will end in August. When I asked a few years ago whether we should eliminate the Postal Service entirely, the question generated a good discussion, with many readers agreeing that the best solution to the perennial problem of the service not generating enough […]

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Credit Card Checkout Fees Are Here

by Luke Landes
Credit Card Surchage

I’m currently in California, visiting my mother, who as I mentioned in a previous article is in the hospital. While articles this week will likely be slow on Consumerism Commentary, one thing I won’t have to deal with while visiting family is the relaxed regulation on merchants who accept credit cards. Starting this week, retailers […]

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American Express, Capital One and Discover® Refunds Total $435 Million

by Luke Landes
American Express

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau hasn’t stopped its crusade against credit card issuers that manipulate and deceive its customers. Earlier this year, regulators ordered Capital One to pay $210 million in refunds and fines for tricking card holders into buying add-on products with the implication that these were required purchases for those with bad credit, […]

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Black Friday: The Dark Side of Humanity

by Luke Landes
Darth Vader

It is a sad commentary on our culture when not only are people willing to trample and hurt each other to scramble for what is perceived to be a “good deal” but when such trampling is glorified by the media. (Crazy people drive ratings, and ratings drive large advertising profits for the media!) No one […]

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