consumer goods

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Toxic Lake of Horror Comes From Making All Our Gadgets

Inner Mongolia lake filled with sludge from processing of rare earth minerals

(Newser) - "Dystopian" and "horrifying" are just two adjectives Tim Maughan uses to describe for the BBC what he recently witnessed in the remote industrial city of Baotou in Inner Mongolia. Most disturbing was his visit to a man-made lake filled with toxic sludge that makes the surrounding area smell... More »

Recession's Silver Lining: We're Content With Less

(Newser) - Americans are embracing the no-frills attitude necessitated by the recession, USA Today reports. One-third say they are spending less and plan to keep up the practice as their “new, normal” way of living, according to a study. A whopping 47% of Americans say they have all they need, another... More »

That Cheap Bookshelf Has a Global Cost

But new book finds it's not all China's fault and IKEA is a hypocrite

(Newser) - Though you might have hand-crafted antiques handed down from your grandparents, chances are your grandkids aren't getting their mitts on that wood-veneer bookshelf you just schlepped home from IKEA, writes Stephanie Zacharek for Salon. The modern desire for cheap, replaceable goods is a cause and a symptom of a global... More »

Dow Up 173 on Housing, Retail

(Newser) - Markets rallied today on positive news from the retail and housing sectors, the Wall Street Journal reports. Major builders saw stocks go up as much as 15%, leading some to predict an end to the crisis in the housing market. In retail, meanwhile, companies such as Bed Bath and Beyond... More »

Economic Crisis Is Too Advanced for Rescue

Layoffs just part of the problem, as states, consumers cut back

(Newser) - September's spike in US unemployment numbers was the latest indication of a faltering economy, but the country's problems certainly aren't limited to layoffs. Unfortunately, the $700 billion bailout plan won't make things much better, analysts tell the Los Angeles Times. From consumer activity to state governments, the economic signs are... More »

Shopping in US Looks Like the 1970s: Analyst

Automotive industry, discounters predict permanent shift

(Newser) - Retailers and marketers are closely watching American shopping trends, knowing that recession habits can linger for years, the AP reports. Studies show that 63% of Americans have cut down spending by coupon-cutting, biking to work, and buying store brands. They're also buying smaller cars and shopping at discounters. "We... More »

EBay Wins Pivotal Tiffany Counterfeit Suit

Tiffany's must police their own mark, decides federal court

(Newser) - A US judge ruled today that eBay had taken sufficient steps to stop the sale of fake Tiffany jewelry, the Wall Street Journal reports. Ruling on a suit filed by the New York-based jeweler, the judge deemed Tiffany responsible for monitoring its trademark. It was a pivotal victory for eBay,... More »

Consumers Are Quickly Trading Down

Switch to cheaper goods is broadest since early '80s

(Newser) - As fuel prices and home foreclosures steadily rise, Americans are trading down in everything from automobiles to their lunch options. That's not unusual in an economic downturn, but the speed with which it's happening is, the Wall Street Journal reports. And the flight to the affordable and generic is affecting... More »

How 'Bout Them Rotten Apples?

Before era of iPod and iPhone, company had some stinkers

(Newser) - Apple has been around for almost a quarter of a century, but not all of its products were as ingenious as the iPod. Wired highlights the company's biggest flops.
  1. The MessagePad (AKA The Newton): Fashioned to revolutionize personal computing, this PDA was too far ahead of its time for consumers.
... More »

Companies Cash In on Food Scare

As fears about imports from China mount, premium products flourish

(Newser) - The contaminated-import crisis, set off when potentially dangerous products from China turned up on the shelves of pet stores, supermarkets, and drugstores, has meant bigger profits for clever companies. BusinessWeek looks at several strategies: using only fresh, local ingredients in premium products; finding ingredients from somewhere other than China; and... More »

China's Surplus Soars to $26.9B

Weak yuan is driving China's economy to a record expansion; trade surplus nearly doubled

(Newser) - China's trade surplus surged to a record $26.9B in June, an 87% increase since last year. Economists attribute the trade gap to China's significantly—as much as 40%—underpriced currency, the yuan, reports Bloomberg. Half of China's surplus is with the US, which recently began preparing legislation to sanction... More »

Zimbabwe Arrests Dozens in Price Wars

Businesses flout strict cost-control laws as inflation passes 3,700%

(Newser) - Police in Zimbabwe have arrested 1,328 businesspeople, including 33 top executives, for violating official price controls installed to curb uncontrollable currency devaluation. The new regulations demand that many goods' prices be cut in half in response to inflation that has now risen to more than 3,700%. More »

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