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8 things that will cost more this holiday season – Business on NBCNews.com

English: A Lenovo X61 tablet laptop shown in t...

It’s hard enough to scrimp up enough discretionary cash to pay for holiday gifts. But for Ben Tischler of New York City, getting ready for the holidays also means preparing to wed his fiancee, Alicia.

It has been especially taxing since he learned that jewelry prices would be higher this season.

“Everything was more expensive than I expected. The jeweler told me the price of gold has skyrocketed,” Tischler says. “This clearly isn’t the kind of thing I can wait to buy to see if prices come back down, so I bit the bullet.”

This holiday season could be a mixed bag for consumers, retail experts say. Electronics such as big-screen televisions keep going down, but if you want that laptop that turns into a tablet — Microsoft Surface, anyone? — or that fancy new camera, expect to pay a bit more than last year. And some traditional gift items could also take more of a bite out of your wallet as stores tap into the growing trend of using well-known designers or celebrities to hawk their goods.

All in all, prices are about 2 percent higher than last holiday season, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Here are eight things that will cost you more this season.

via 8 things that will cost more this holiday season – Business on NBCNews.com.

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Consumer Corner: Dog days of summer becoming back-to-school shopping daze instead – UPI.com

English: Purdue UniversityThe dog days of summer used to be for lazing about at the beach or swimming hole.

Nowadays, both students and parents are shifting into back-to-school mode, and with some school districts opening their doors as early as the second or third week in August, the back-to-school shopping season already is in gear.

Purdue University consumer sciences and retailing Professor Richard Feinberg notes back-to-school shopping is second only to Christmas in importance to retailers, with receipts expected to total $84 billion this season.

Helping the spending along are relatively lower fuel prices.

“Every penny saved on a gallon of gas translates to $1 billion available for retail spending,” Feinberg said in a release.

Among the biggest sellers? Backpacks and laptops.

“Spending on electronics will be almost as high as apparel,” he said.

Feinberg said the shopping starts about four weeks before the start of school to allow for shipping by online retailers.

The National Retail Federation estimates parents will spend an average $688.62 per child, kindergarten through 12th grade — if dad does the shopping, spending averages $739.75, much of it at department and electronics stores; but if mom does the shopping, spending falls to $640.42, much of it at discount stores. Total spending on elementary and high school students is expected to reach $30.3 billion. Add in college students and the total reaches 83.8 billion.

via Consumer Corner: Dog days of summer becoming back-to-school shopping daze instead – UPI.com.

Strange Random School Quote:

“A long time ago, there was no such thing as school, and children spent their days learning a trade, a phrase which here means “standing around doing tedious tasks under the instruction of a bossy adult.” In time, however, people realized that the children could be allowed to sit, and the first school was invented.” ― Lemony Snicket, Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can’t Avoid

Like a thief in the office: stealing stationery and supplies

It’s the kind of thing that goes mostly unnoticed – an express-post envelope here, a couple of highlighters or a glue stick there. But is the stealing of office stationery really stealing?

In a survey of 2000 employees conducted several years ago by Kelly Services, one in four Australians admitted taking home and keeping minor stuff that belonged to their employer. It’s not as chronic as other parts of the world, such as the United States, where three in four people honestly declare their dishonesty. Apparently, the worst offenders are men with tertiary qualifications.

In a poll released last year by an office design firm in the UK, respondents said pens are the most common item they steal, followed by paper, postage stamps, mugs, toilet paper seriously, and staplers. Other workers had stolen pot plants, filing cabinets, desks, chairs, and even – somehow – floor tiles.

Earlier this year, a 69-year-old man in Germany was arrested because he had nicked truckloads of office supplies from a range of workplaces – 25,000 kilograms’ worth, actually – much of which he kept stored in his basement and attic.

It seems many employers are cracking down on it. I recall first joining the corporate workforce 15 years ago and marveling at the fully stocked stationery cupboard open and available for any employee to use. These days, every workplace I visit has the cupboard locked, with the keys restricted to the reliable hands of only a couple of people.

The other question to ponder is this: what precisely constitutes stealing? Some would say a pen, worth only a few cents, is no big deal – but stealing a box of them is a crime. Likewise, a thin pad of post-it notes might be OK, but a thick wad is probably wrong. Is stealing ‘stealing’ no matter the quantity?

via Like a thief in the office: stealing stationery and supplies.

Strange Random Stealing Quote:

“The thief, as will become apparent, was a special type of thief. This thief was an artist of theft. Other thieves merely stole everything that was not nailed down, but this thief stole the nails as well.” ― Terry Pratchett, Sourcery

The Millennials [video]

Editor’s note: The Millennials are a generation that are constantly plugged in and moving fast to make their mark on the world. CNN’s Quest Means Business is tracking four of them.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Strange Random Generation Quote:

“It’s a different generation. They don’t want to sit and have tea and listen to a speech. They need to be more project-oriented.” – Bob Gordon

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Mystery shopper catches out retailers | BUSINESS News

A consumer watchdog group says some retailers are misleading consumers about their legal rights with extended warranties.

Consumer NZ‘s deputy chief executive David Naulls said selling extended warranties for home appliances is a lucrative sideline for retailers.

“If you’re buying goods for personal use, you don’t usually need one. You already have strong after-sales rights under the Consumer Guarantees Act”, he said.

Bond & Bond, Harvey Norman and Noel Leeming stores in Wellington all sold extended warranties with misleading advice about shoppers’ legal rights when they were mystery shopped.

“Sales staff told us that if we did not buy an extended warranty – which can cost several hundred dollars – then we would have to go back to the manufacturer if the product failed,” said Naulls.

Naulls said this advice is wrong.

via Mystery shopper catches out retailers | BUSINESS News.

Strange Random Guarantee Quote:

“If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster.” – Clint Eastwood (American Actor, Producer and Writer. b.1930, San Francisco, California, USA)

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