Bloomberg News hired a lab to analyze samples of store brand aloe gel purchased at Wal-Mart, Target, and CVS. As the first or second ingredient (after water), all the products listed aloe barbadensis leaf juice — another name for aloe vera. None of the samples contained any. From Bloomberg:
Aloe’s three chemical markers — acemannan, malic acid and glucose — were absent in the tests for Wal-Mart, Target and CVS products conducted by a lab hired by Bloomberg News. The three samples contained a cheaper element called maltodextrin, a sugar sometimes used to imitate aloe. The gel that’s sold at another retailer, Walgreens, contained one marker, malic acid, but not the other two. That means the presence of aloe can’t be confirmed or ruled out, said Ken Jones, an independent industry consultant based in Chapala, Mexico.
Target Corp. declined to comment. Spokesmen for Wal-Mart Stores Inc., CVS Health Corp. and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. said their suppliers confirmed to them that their products were authentic.
The trademark was granted to discount eyewear company Specsavers, whose slogan is "should've gone to Specsavers." If you object, you have until October 12 to file with the IPO. Read the rest
If you're an Amazon seller and you pay people to review your products on Amazon, the company may sue you. The online commerce giant sued three sellers today for using sockpuppet accounts to post glowing but phony product reviews.
David from Atheist shoes (previously) sez, "We've just been successful in raising money for the first Atheist Shoes Missionary Mobile Shoe Shop, which will criss-cross the USA, selling handmade shoes and spreading our European message of godless comfort and joy. The fund-raising is ongoing, as we aim to get a whole fleet of buses on the road. The first US tour begins in September 2016, and will take in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Texas." Read the rest
Suppose you wanted to design a home away from home. What would you put in? What would you leave out? What kind of seating would you have? (Soft? Hard? Low? High?) What kind of tables — big working slabs or intimate little two-tops?
A good “third place” may seem casually homey, but its design is the end result of a million tiny decisions. This week on HOME: Stories From L.A., it’s a conversation with Kambiz Hemati, who oversaw store design at Starbucks for two years and now owns Love Coffee Bar in Santa Monica, where he gets to think hard — and think small — about what makes a place feel like home.
Thanks for listening. And if you like what you hear, please subscribe and leave us a rating and/or review on the iTunes Store.
Trendy idea: America's bookstores—Borders, Barnes and Noble, etc—failed not because of Amazon, but from adopting a doomed big-box retail model that cannot be escaped. The evidence: UK bookstore chains are thriving, having located themselves in smaller units surrounded by foot traffic. And it turns out that wee used bookstores are doing great in the U.S, too.
Drew Nelles writes that The Used Bookstore Will Be the Last One Standing, focusing on Topos, a bookcafé in Queens.
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Other shops have shuttered, or fled Manhattan in search of cheaper rents. But this has not necessarily been the case for used bookstores, many of which are thriving. “Strangely enough, it’s the big chain bookstores that are more of an anachronism,” Björkenheim said. “Even Strand is having to do a lot more of what Barnes & Noble was desperately doing for the last ten years. I don’t even know what they’re selling now—more tchotchkes and t-shirts and tote bags. Which is something a used bookstore doesn’t necessarily have to resort to.” The whole industry was probably heading in this direction, he added: “smaller used bookstores, rather than enormous megastores.”
In a clever marketing stunt, German book publisher Bastei Lübbe and bookshop Hugendubel built a vending machine that accepts unwanted Christmas presents as payment for new books. According to TheBookseller.com, the machine will be tour shopping centers in Germany this month. The collected gifts will go to charity. Read the rest
Shoppers at a Target in Campbell, California on Wednesday were surprised by the sounds of a porn film played over the store's loudspeaker system. Gina Young, shopping with her two 3-year-old children, recorded and posted this recording the event.
“We are actively reviewing the situation with the team to better understand what happened and to help ensure this doesn’t happen again,” a Target spokeswoman told the Los Angeles Times.
Thing is, it isn't the first time. In July, shoppers at a Target in San Luis Obispo, California heard grunts and moans over the loudspeakers. The store was "evacuated" until the audio was silenced, according to report in the San Luis Obispo Tribune.
Online retail giant Amazon just launched a marketplace for handcrafted goods: Handmade at Amazon. It's “an arts-and-crafts bazaar online that squarely takes aim at a niche but growing market dominated by the Brooklyn-based Etsy,” as the New York Times puts it.
Handmade at Amazon went live early Thursday more than 80,000 items from roughly 5,000 sellers in 60 countries around the world. They're launching with only 6 categories — home, jewelry, artwork, stationery and party supplies, kitchen and dining, and baby.
Crafters can sell their crocheted pants or 3D-printed succulent cozies on the new Amazon marketplace, just as they've been able to for years at Etsy, a $2bn-a-year business .
Amazon's business is a lot bigger: $75 billion in annual sales. And Amazon's is growing, while Etsy appears to be challenged. One recent change at Etsy that allowed sellers to outsource their production to others is seen by many as a move away from its maker/seller roots.
Amazon, on the other hand, promises “Genuinely Handmade.” In the launch announcement, Amazon emphasizes that everything will be “crafted and sold directly from artisans.”
“We only approve artisans whose products are handcrafted,” said Amazon in a statement. “We are factory-free.”
Them's fighting words. Is this the end of Etsy as we know it? I hope not, I love Etsy.
Here's the full Amazon press release. And here's a snip from the Times story:
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Amazon will start out with six categories — home, jewelry, artwork, stationery and party supplies, kitchen and dining, and baby — Mr.
Home Depot stores located in the area of Reno, Carson City, and Nevada's Black Rock Desert--where Burning Man takes place--create special Burning Man sections that cater to people who are headed to the annual festival. These stores report huge sales spikes for certain items. Read the rest
"Kmart Solutions" in-store video from 1998. Read the rest
What happens to all the Wal-marts when we have every last Q-tip droned in from Amazon warehouses? Read the rest