TIME Parenting

5 Million Strollers Recalled After Fingertip Amputations

The company received 11 reports of fingertip amputation, partial-fingertip amputation and finger laceration on faulty hinges

Graco is recalling almost 5 million strollers after complaints that children’s fingers were at risk of being amputated.

A hinge on the side of the stroller can pinch a baby’s finger, according to federal officials; Graco received 11 reports of fingertip amputation, partial-fingertip amputation and finger laceration.

The company is reaching out to parents to contact it for a free repair kit to be shipped next month that includes hinge covers. In the meantime, the company advised parents to exercise caution:

“While waiting for a repair kit, caregivers should exercise extreme care when unfolding the stroller to be certain that the hinges are firmly locked before placing a child in the stroller. Caregivers are advised to immediately remove the child from a stroller that begins to fold to keep their fingers from the side hinge area.”

TIME Food

Holiday Ham May Be Pricier Than Ever

A deadly virus killed millions of piglets.

Ham might take a bigger cut out of your budget this holiday season.

Prices have soared to a record high this fall ahead of the holidays—when half of total ham consumption occurs—after a devastating virus shrank the number of hogs slaughtered this year by more than five percent, Bloomberg reports.

The price has been pushed up further because farmers have fed their hogs more to fatten them up and make up for losses caused by the virus; while fatter pigs mean more meat, their hind legs can grow too large for the seven-pound spiral-cut, half hams popular during the holidays.

Read more at Bloomberg

TIME Retail

Amazon’s Massive Holiday Sales Start a Week Before Black Friday

An employee seals a box at the Amazon.com Inc. fulfillment center in Phoenix, Arizona on Dec. 2, 2013.
An employee seals a box at the Amazon.com Inc. fulfillment center in Phoenix, Arizona on Dec. 2, 2013. Bloomberg/Getty Images

The online super retailer is sliding ahead of the competition

Amazon is beginning its deals for this year’s Thanksgiving shopping blowout earlier than ever, using its online platform to get ahead of competing retailers.

Amazon.com will begin offering deals on Friday, Nov. 21, one full week before the traditional Black Friday, the company announced Thursday. It will add new deals as often as every ten minutes for eight days.

Some deals Amazon is already offering include up to 45% off on some Samsung TVs, as well as nearly half off on many popular books. A full list of Amazon’s deals can be found here.

Among Amazon’s advantages this holiday shopping season is that as an online retailer, it can avoid making customers uneasy by opening stores on Thanksgiving, a practice many brick-and-mortar stores have begun employing. Amazon is also getting a head start on competitors by beginning deals earlier in the month and not waiting until Cyber Monday, a digital deals day that traditionally takes place on the Monday following Black Friday.

“If you’re Amazon, you don’t want to just be batting in the second slot on Cyber Monday,” said Colin Gillis, an analyst at BGC Financial. “There’s been some pushback as Black Friday pushes into Thanksgiving, disturbing the holiday period, so its a window of opportunity for Amazon.”

 

TIME The Brief

#TheBrief: The Air Bag Recall That’s Affecting Millions of Cars

Exploding air bags made by Takata Corporation

Exploding air bags have led to one of the biggest auto recalls in history, one that’s five times larger than GM’s ignition-switch fiasco. How did this happen?

Several large automakers including BMW and Honda have used the air bags, made by Japanese company Takata Corporation, the largest supplier of air bags parts in the world. Now they have had to recall millions of cars after the defective driver’s-side air bags have been blamed for at least five deaths and more than 100 injuries in the past decade.

Watch #TheBrief to find out more about the recall.

MONEY Scams

Price-Matching Scam Had $400 Sony PS4 Selling for $90 at Walmart

Scammers have been trying to take advantage of Walmart's price-matching policy by using fraudulent web pages to get Wii U bundles and Sony PS4 consoles for a fraction of their actual prices.

Leading into the 2014 winter holiday shopping season, Walmart broadened its price match guarantee policy to include prices offered by major online retailers like Amazon, as well as websites for stores such as Best Buy, Sports Authority, Staples, and Target. Until the change was made, Walmart would only match the sale prices posted in advertisements and competitors’ weekly circulars.

Well, it didn’t take long for opportunists to try—and, in some cases, succeed—to take advantage of price matching from Walmart and other stores. Earlier this week, Kotaku reported that a pricing glitch over the weekend on the Sears website showed Wii U bundles listed at $60 when they normally sell for upwards of $300. Sears fixed the mistake, and it appears as if no one was actually able to buy the console bundle for that price at the retailer’s site. But that didn’t stop many shoppers from trying to get the same deal from Sears’ competitors such as Walmart, Toys R Us, and Best Buy by way of their price matching policies. It’s unclear how many consumers were able to get the price honored, but several showed off their receipts at Reddit—one Toys R Us receipt notes the customer “Saved $240″ on the purchase—and surely many more succeeded and kept things quiet.

Then scammers took things a step further by creating fake Amazon.com pages that appeared to list Sony PS4 game consoles, which normally run $400, for under $100. As Consumerist.com explained, anyone with a registered account for selling things on Amazon can list an item at whatever price they choose. Amazon tries to root out obviously fraudulent or misleading price listings—such as a new Sony PS4 for $90—but it can take some time to catch up with the fraudsters. Before that happens, someone can take a screen shot and bring what appears to be a perfectly legitimate image into a store and ask that the price be matched.

That’s what happened at Walmart this week. By Wednesday, Walmart caught up with the scam, and some stores posted signs stating that the “PS4 Amazon.com Ad will not be Ad matched Due to Fraud.” The world’s largest retailer alerted CNBC and others that its price-matching policy has been updated to clarify that stores will not honor “Prices from marketplace and third-party sellers” such as those Amazon pages that were manipulated by users. “We can’t tolerate fraud or attempts to trick our cashiers,” a statement from Walmart explained. “This kind of activity is unfair to the millions of customers who count on us every day for honest value.”

So the scam appears to be dead, but not before an unknown number of consumers were able to take advantage of it and snag ultra-cheap PS4 consoles and, in some cases, cut-rate Xbox Ones and video games. If you think that the only ones hurt by this kind of behavior are Walmart and other major retailers, consider how much more difficult and time-consuming it’s going to be for perfectly honest customers to get genuine prices matched. Now that retailers are on the lookout for scams, be prepared to get the third degree when seeking a price match, even if you’re completely on the up and up.

TIME Companies

Uber Is Hiring Lawyers to Rework Its Privacy Policy

"Our business depends on the trust of the millions of riders and drivers who use Uber," the company says

Uber is hiring a team of data privacy experts to review its internal policies as the company seeks to recover from an outcry over its alleged mishandling of users’ data.

Attorney Harriet Pearson and other members of law firm Hogan Lovells have joined Uber’s privacy team, according to a Thursday blog post, where they will review and recommend improvements for Uber’s data privacy policy.

Uber has faced a barrage of criticism in recent days over its privacy slip-ups, which include reports of company employees tracking the location of a journalist and a venture capitalist during their rides on the service, as well as a conversation in which an Uber executive proposed the idea of investigating hostile reporters. The ride-sharing company is aiming to restore trust among its users, some of whom have said they will no longer use the app.

“The trip history of our riders is important information and we understand that we must treat it carefully and with respect, protecting it from unauthorized access,” Uber said. “Our business depends on the trust of the millions of riders and drivers who use Uber.”

The company also published a clarification on its privacy policy on Tuesday, emphasizing that it only uses customers’ data for legitimate business purposes.

TIME Careers & Workplace

You Don’t Get What You Don’t Ask For

Business People Raising Their Hands
Getty Images

How simply asking for things in the right way can get you almost anything you want in life

Inc. logo

This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

90% of people are afraid to ask for things. Is that a real statistic? Nope. But I believe it to be a true statistic, if not higher than that.

We, as humans, are afraid to ask for things. We’re afraid to ask people to buy our products. We’re afraid to ask someone out on a date. We’re afraid to ask for more money at our jobs. We’re afraid to ask the tough questions in our relationships.

We’re afraid to ask because we fear rejection.

Rejection is this unbelievably strong thing that keeps us from getting so much in life. If you experience rejection one time, it is likely to derail you from ever asking for that thing again. Most of us have had the unpleasant experience of asking someone on a date and getting rejected. Unfortunately, that horrible empty feeling sticks with us for years to come (and for some people, the rest of their lives).

But why is rejection so strong? Why is it so hard to overcome the feeling that the tiny two-letter word “no” gives us?

Much like rejection, negativity is incredibly powerful. 100 people could tell you how freaking amazing you look today, but if one person says you look like crap, those 100 positive messages won’t matter.

See, on some level, we all just want to fit in. The reason we fixate on things like rejection and negativity is because they make us feel alienated from the rest of the world. Experiencing those things on any scale cuts us to our most basic human core.

Think about the last time you asked for something out of your comfort zone? Or even something in your comfort zone. You probably felt hesitation. You probably had 20 scenes play out in your mind, all disasters and worst-case scenarios. You might have even delayed your ask until you finally built up enough courage.

Over the years, I’ve had success in business for two reasons:

  1. I wasn’t afraid to ask for things most people wouldn’t dare ask for.
  2. I was willing to work my ass off to get the thing I wanted, because it was something I was really passionate about.

When people hear that I’ve made over $1,000,000 and worked with over 2,000 companies since 2009, I’m sure it comes off like a nice shiny success story. But what they don’t hear is that I sent more than 15,000 emails to make those deals happen (75% of those emails were most likely follow ups).

Writing that many emails wasn’t easy and on many occasions I was afraid to make “the ask.” One thing that always helped me overcome my own fear of asking was that I believed in myself and the thing I was asking for. If you don’t believe in what you’re asking for, you’re never going to overcome your initial fear.

Everyone wants to make good money, but most people are afraid to put in the hard work to make it happen. There were many times when I got discouraged when people said “no” to me. There were many times when I wanted to give up and thought my ideas weren’t good when I got negative criticism. But I believed in what I was selling and wanted it more than the feeling of rejection could dissuade me.

The simple magic to getting anything you want in life is just to ask.

The only caveat to simply asking for what you want is this: make sure you do it with creativity, confidence and effort.

When it comes to selling something online, your product or service most likely has competition. Someone else is already asking people to buy, so that alone should give you the validation and confidence to ask. But, you should also think about a unique or creative way you can package your ask so it stands out from the crowd.

When it comes to relationships, confidence is key. No one wants to talk to, let alone go on a date with, someone who has zero confidence. But just like asking for things, the more you work to build your confidence and the more practice you put in, the more results you’ll see. No one becomes confident overnight or by reading a few self-help books. You have to put in the work and not give up at the first sign of rejection.

The four-time Olympic gold medalist Jesse Owens put it perfectly: “We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.”

Effort is truly a secret to success. No one has ever put in an insane amount of effort for something and not gotten some value out of it. The more you ask for things, in the right ways, the better you’ll get at it. And the better you get at asking, the amount of times you hear “yes” will increase.

You’re going to hear “no.” You’re going to feel rejected. You’re going to encounter negativity. But if you truly want whatever you’re asking for, you won’t and shouldn’t give up at the first sign or thought of adversity.

Start repeating these words to yourself every time you’re feeling hesitation: You don’t get what you don’t ask for.

If you enjoyed this article and want to read more of my writing, subscribe to my weekly newsletter (feel free to say “no” I certainly won’t mind).

TIME Retail

Only 11% of Americans Plan to Shop on Thanksgiving, Poll Suggests

Customers shop at a Walmart store in the Porter Ranch section of Los Angeles November 26, 2013. This year, Black Friday starts earlier than ever.
Customers shopping at a Walmart store on Black Friday 2013. Kevork Djansezian—Reuters

Many retailers are opening earlier than ever this Thanksgiving

About 11% of consumers plan to shop on Thanksgiving, a new poll suggests, despite a retail bargain frenzy brewing around Thanksgiving and Black Friday deals this year.

The survey, released by the National Retail Federation (NRF), shows that 61.1% of shoppers will bargain hunt over the Thanksgiving weekend, which is consistent with data from last year. But, only 18.3% of those who said they would or might shop that weekend said they would do so on Thanksgiving Day, down from 23.5% last year. MarketWatch reports this indicates that about 11% of consumers overall plan to go deal-hunting that day.

“We could witness a sea change this holiday season as consumers’ reliance on extremely deep discounts over the biggest shopping weekend of the year shifts to more of a ‘wait- and-see’ mentality around what retailers will be offering on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay in a press release.

[MarketWatch]

TIME Technology & Media

Amazon Kindle Users Are Getting the Washington Post for Free

US-IT-AMAZON-KINDLE
Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, introduces new Kindle Fire HD Family during the AMAZON press conference on September 06, 2012 in Santa Monica, California. Joe Klamar—AFP/Getty Images

Jeff Bezos reshapes the Washington Post with new Kindle app

Owners of Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet are getting a 6-month digital subscription to the Washington Post for free, the retailer announced Thursday. The deal marks the first major collaboration between the newspaper and the retailer since Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos bought the Post last year.

Amazon Fire owners will have access to the Post through the paper’s brand new tablet-only app, which at first will be available only to Fire users. The Washington Post will package news for the Fire tablet in distinct morning and evening editions, along with updates for major breaking stories.

Both the newspaper and the online retailer have plenty to gain from the new arrangement. With its platform on the Kindle, the Post will aim at tapping into a wider audience. And Amazon could bring more customers to the Kindle Fire in order to gain exclusive access to the tablet version of the Post.

“Digital reading opens up so many possibilities for experimentation, and The Washington Post’s new app offers an immersive news-reading experience that we hope our customers find engaging and informative,” said Russ Grandinetti, Senior Vice President of Kindle, in a statement.

Bezos completed his $250 million purchase of the Washington Post in October 2013. He has since helped usher in substantive changes at the paper, dismissing the Post’s longtime publisher Katharine Weymouth and replacing her with former President Ronald Reagan aide Fred Ryan. He’s also hired 100 new journalists and cut retirement benefits for current employees.

Bezos played an outsized role in helping design the Post’s app, the newspaper’s chief technology officer Shailesh Prakash told the New York Times. “We talked to him constantly,” Prakash said about the feedback Bezos gave to developers. “He’s our most active beta tester.”

The Post’s app has been designed with high-resolution photos and graphics, Amazon said, and has an immersive read view as well as a bird’s eye browsing view. Readers can swipe once to move from story to story. The editions will be released at 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET.

Amazon has a base of 22.7 million tablet users, according to Kantar World Panel analyst Carolina Milanesi, though its share of tablet sales dropped to 18% from 25% in the year ending in September. The Post saw its paper sales decline 44% in the six years before Bezos purchased it, and both the paper and Amazon hope to energize their businesses through the collaboration.

Analysts said that for Kindle Fire owners, who use the device much more for reading than do owners of other tablets, the new Post app will improve the tablet’s value. But it’s unclear whether the app will drive new Fire sales. “There’s a heavy skew in the amount of time during the day that Kindle Fire owners use it for reading,” said Milanesi. “So that would suit this kind of bundling. But would it make a huge difference to a readership when the free content offering ends? It’s hard to tell.”

For the Post, access to a new audience is instantaneous. “With 42 million monthly readers and growing, this is another step forward in our effort to serve an even larger national and global audience,” said the Post’s Ryan.

TIME Transportation

Looking for a Ride? Here’s a List of Uber Alternatives

140529_FF_NerdWallet_Lyft_1
A Lyft car operates in San Francisco. courtesy of Lyft

A lot of companies want to be your driver

Uber has lost some users this week following stories about executives proposing opposition research on critical journalists’ personal lives and tracking a journalist’s use of the service without her permission. Some customers publicly ended their relationship with the company via social media, including humorist-actor-author John Hodgman. “I really don’t want to take that crummy car I was so glad to hang up on two years ago,” he wrote in a post about his decision to delete the app. “But I just can’t get into a car with those guys anymore.”

If you live in certain parts of the world, you might not even have Uber available as an option to walk away from. And you may have no intention of quitting Uber at all, continuing to love the service that is leading the revolution of local transportation around the world, providing an on-demand alternative to calling up a old-fashioned taxi cab dispatcher.

But for those out there into trying new things, here are some of the other players on the road offering smartphone-enabled rides from A to B:

Lyft: The San-Francisco based ridesharing company is the friendly neighbor to Uber’s cool chauffeur. Drivers use their personal cars, grilles adorned with signature pink mustaches, and invite users to sit in the front seat, often offering a fist bump as a greeting. The company has rolled out three additional services, Lyft Plus (fancy SUV version), Lyft Line (carpooling version) and Lyft for Work (commuting version). Lyft operates in about 60 U.S. cities, compared to Uber’s 220 worldwide. In some cities, like New York, Lyft functions very similarly to Uber.

Sidecar: This ridesharing company, also based in the Bay Area, promises the “lowest prices on the road.” Available in 10 major U.S. cities, Sidecar aims to match riders with “everyday people” driving their personal cars. But unlike other services that rack up a fare as you go, Sidecar asks riders to enter their destination and offers a selection of pre-set prices, along with ETAs, which the rider can choose from. The company also offers a cheaper “Shared Rides” carpooling option like Lyft Line and Uber Pool.

Flywheel: Taxi companies are using apps like Flywheel to re-disrupt the disruptors. Currently in San Francisco, L.A. and Seattle, Flywheel allows users to order a taxi on-demand and have payments made automatically through the app. The ride likely won’t be as fancy as an Uber black car or as cheap as an UberX, but there’s no surge pricing and the company is brokering deals to allow scheduled rides to airports, places where ridesharing companies are typically non grata.

Curb: In August, Taxi Magic launched as the rebranded Curb, broadening their focus beyond providing licensed taxis on-demand to include fancier cars-for-hire (like Uber black cars) in some of the 60 markets where Taxi Magic was already working with fleets. Unlike most of the other app-based services, customers have the option of paying with cash rather than through the app. The refreshed company is also working on launching pre-scheduled rides, to the airport and beyond.

Hailo: Another e-hail company that works with licensed cabs, Hailo is focused on the European market, having launched in London in 2011. (betrayed by their slogan, “the black cab app.”) In October, the company announced it would be closing operations in U.S. cities like New York, Chicago and Boston, shifting their eye to growth in Asia and, perhaps, re-entering the U.S. market in a few years. In September, the company launched an innovative feature that allows users to pay for the bill in a street-hailed taxi through the app.

Summon: The rebranded and overhauled InstaCab, Summon is an on-demand service that has a hybrid approach, offering both taxi e-hails and cheaper peer-to-peer “personal rides” with a no-surge-price promise. Summon is currently available only in the Bay Area, but the company said earlier this year they plan to expand to L.A., Boston and New York. The startup offers pre-scheduled rides through their Summon Ahead program, including fixed-rate rides to surrounding airports, with a journey to San Francisco’s SFO costing a mere $35.

RubyRide: Based in Phoenix, Ariz., and founded in 2013, RubyRide is a fledgling subscription-based startup that bills itself less as a taxi replacement and more as a replacement for owning a car. A basic plan that allows unlimited pre-scheduled pickups and drop-offs within certain “zones” like Downtown Phoenix costs $299 per month. The company offers limited on-demand service but plans to expand their options—including replacing rides to and from the dry cleaners, say, with delivering members’ dry cleaning—as they grow.

Shuddle: Dubbed “Uber for kids,” this San Francisco startup positions itself as an app for lightening Mom’s load. Parents can pre-book rides to take kids (who aren’t old enough to drive themselves) to sports practice or school. With safety the obvious concern, the company institutes layers of checks beyond thoroughly screening employees: drivers are given passwords they have to use before picking up kids; parents are given photos of the drivers and cars and can monitor the trip through their app. Drivers must have their own kids or have worked with kids. The company’s first 100 drivers, which they call “caregivers,” are all female.

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