CBS News Logo McRib return puts popular sandwich in harsh light

(CBS/AP) The return of the McRib may have McDonald's customers licking their chops, but critics of the fast food industry are blasting the pork sandwich some have dubbed "barbecue without the bones."PICTURES - Flab fest: 8 most shocking restaurant dishes "Doesn't the word 'rib' mean anything?" Michael Pollan, the author of "In Defense of Food" and other books about eating habits in the U.S., said to CBS News in an email. If there's no rib, he said, "why hasn't the FTC taken an interest in this question?" The McRib is usually available only when individual restaurants feel like making it, but McDonald's plans to announce Monday that the McRib will be sold at all U.S. locations through Nov. 14. The boneless patty, dressed with onions, pickle slices and barbecue sauce, was introduced in 1982, developed after the company's then-president decided to add pork to the menu. With 500 calories and 26 grams of fat, according to the McDonald's website, it's slightly trimmer than the Big Mac, which has 540 calories and 29 grams of fat. "If you eat at McDonald's, it's by no means the worst option from a nutritional point of view," Dr. Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University, told CBS News in an email. But she mocked the sandwich, saying, "Fewer calories than a Big Mac! Practically a diet food!" Pollan and Nestle may not be fans, but the McRib has something of a cult following. There is a Facebook group called "Bring Back the McRib!!!" There are Twitter tags, where posts range from "Lucky me, the McRib is back" to "If you eat McRibs, you need to re-evaluate what it is you actually want in life." It's usually up to the local franchise to decide if or when to sell the McRib (except in Germany, where it's available year-round, McDonald's Corp. says). But last November, for the first time in 16 years, McDonald's made the McRib available at all U.S. restaurants for about three weeks. It was a smash, and while McDonald's declined to Continue Reading

Cabela’s Crafty Returns Strategy: How to Cut Off Retail Thieves Without Annoying Customers

Last Updated Jun 23, 2010 3:50 PM EDT It's one of the trickiest spots in any retail store -- the returns desk. How to discourage returns fraud without pissing off customers? Cabela's (CAB) recently discussed a clever new policy that cut returns more than 10 percent, on a National Retail Federation Webinar on fraudulent returns, Security Director News reports. The NRF reports organized retail fraud is booming, and an estimated $14.8 billion in losses a year happen in returns. So it's a big problem. Cabela's previously had a generous returns policy on the order of Nordstrom (JWN) or sporting-goods chain REI (wags joke its name stands for "return everything indefinitely"). The new policy is simple: Want to return something at Cabela's? They scan the driver's license of any customer seeking to return an item. This builds a database of who is returning merchandise that allows Cabela's to identify potential thieves who are repeatedly returning goods. "We were pleased to see that warnings, not hard denials, worked," said Bill Napier, Cabela's senior manager for corporate asset protection. Even this approach isn't without its downside. Some customers see the required ID as an invasion of their privacy. On the consumer-gripe blog ComplaintsBoard, blogger daguilla vents his worry that Cabela's will make nefarious use of the driver-license information they scan and calls the policy "unjustifiable and shameful." You can't please all the shoppers all the time. But given the epidemic retail theft has become, many retailers are ready to look at new ways to shut down fraudulent returns. Cabela's method keeps its sales staff from having to endure unpleasant confrontations with consumers at the returns counter, and will probably cause many thieves to drop the chain as a target. Hard to argue with the results, especially given the low-key methods used to get them. Photo via Flickr user jamesmome Continue Reading

That drill you returned to the hardware store? It’s now half price at a liquidator

What happens to home improvement products that shoppers return or ship back to stores or Amazon? Retailers won’t risk that a cordless drill, circular saw or dorm fridge could have been abused or be missing a part. Instead, they sell them to people like Jimmy Vosika at 15 to 35 cents on the dollar. Vosika founded the TV parts and accessories site After friends in the corporate returns division at a national retailer persuaded him to buy some of their returned goods, he opened MN Home Outlet three years ago in Burnsville. From a start in a 1,500-square-foot space, it’s now the size of a Cub Foods. “We’re Home Depot without the lumber,” Vosika said. Contractors, remodelers, flippers, DIYers and cheapskates are frequent customers for products that were sold and returned to firms like Amazon, Home Depot, Target and Walmart. Vosika is one of the recent successes in the reverse logistics or liquidated returns business. The amount of goods that U.S. consumers are returning has become so large that entrepreneurs are buying them up to resell them at a profit. In the Twin Cities, five liquidation stores have opened in the last several years, including Dock 1 in Hopkins, Brand Name Deals in Brooklyn Park, KX Real Deals and Mid Metro Discount Warehouse, both in St. Paul. Vosika plans to open a second MN Home store in Coon Rapids in December.In its first year of business, MN Home sold $870,000 in merchandise. This year, it’s on track for $11 million in revenue. In some months, sales at the outlet store exceed those at, which has about $20 million in annual sales. Amazon alone feeds the need by accumulating hundreds of trailer loads of returns each week, said Irwin Jacobs, founder of Jacobs Trading in Hopkins, which specializes in opportunistic buying. He just opened Dock 1 Bargains with a large assortment of furniture, hardware, TVs, patio sets and appliances. An assembled, 19-inch two-burner Member’s Mark gas Continue Reading

There’s money to be made in returning online orders

By Tracy Lien Published 3:28 pm, Tuesday, December 26, 2017 Photo: Genaro Molina, TNS Image 1of/1 CaptionClose Image 1 of 1 David Sobie, a co-founder of Happy Returns, staffs a return bar at Santa Mon i ca Place. The startup handles returns to online retailers at no cost to shoppers. David Sobie, a co-founder of Happy Returns, staffs a return bar at Santa Mon i ca Place. The startup handles returns to online retailers at no cost to shoppers. Photo: Genaro Molina, TNS There’s money to be made in returning online orders 1 / 1 Back to Gallery Every week, dozens of people walk into Petals N Wax, a gift store in the Los Angeles County coastal city of Marina del Rey, to return items they bought from online retailers. They bring in blouses from Eloquii, shorts from Chubbies and bags from Everlane. The practice would be totally bizarre were it not for the fact that Petals N Wax is working with Happy Returns, a Santa Monica startup trying to make money by making it easier for people to send back e-commerce purchases. The company sits at a unique intersection of frustrations: Customers who buy things online don’t like the arts-and-crafts experience (packing tape, shipping labels, boxes) of online returns. Online-only retailers, feeling pressure from the likes of Zappos and Amazon to offer free returns, are bleeding cash to do the same. And brick-and-mortar stores losing foot traffic to online competitors are struggling to entice people back. Happy Returns frames itself as a solution to each of those problems. LATEST BUSINESS VIDEOS Now Playing: Now Playing FOX Business Report - 1/4 Fox7 Mike Tyson to Grow Marijuana on 40-Acre Plot in SoCal Veuer Mike Tyson to Grow Marijuana on 40-Acre Plot in SoCal Buzz60 AT&T Set to Launch 5G Network in 2018 Wibbitz Nintendo Continue Reading

UPS says it will handle a record 1.4 million returns on Wednesday

The holidays are over, which means it's time for the annual rush of returns. But instead of flocking to stores, unwanted merchandise in hand, shoppers are increasingly mailing back their ill-fitting sweaters, creating new issues for shipping companies and retailers. UPS, FedEx and others are bracing for what they expect to be a week of record-setting returns as Americans head back to work - and drop off their boxed-up returns on the way. Consumers are projected to take back roughly $90 billion worth of gifts this holiday season, accounting for nearly one-fourth of the year's returns, according to Optoro, a Washington-based firm that helps retailers manage the returns process. "While the day after Christmas used to be reserved for long return lines at department stores, the growth of e-commerce has changed when and how consumers return gifts," Alan Gershenhorn, chief commercial officer for the United Parcel Service, said in a statement. The company expects to process 6 million returns this week and a record 1.4 million packages on Wednesday alone, which it has dubbed National Returns Day. Overall, UPS estimates it delivered 750 million packages between Thanksgiving Day and New Year's Eve, up 6 percent from last year. The U.S. Postal Service, meanwhile, says online returns grew 26 percent during the last two weeks of 2017, and that it expects that growth to continue into January. As consumers do more of their shopping online - e-commerce spending is projected to exceed $100 billion this holiday season - they end up returning more, too. An estimated 25 to 30 percent of online purchases are sent back, about triple the rate for items bought in-store, according to Worldwide Business Research. For clothing and shoes bought online, the return rate can be as high as 40 percent. For retailers, the spate of post-holiday returns is driving up expenses and creating new challenges that could undo some of the gains they saw during a brisk holiday season. Early projections show Continue Reading

Shoppers are about to return $90 billion in unwanted gifts that likely can’t be resold and will end up in the trash

An estimated $90 billion in holiday merchandise is about to be returned to stores. Much of that is no longer salable and will be thrown in the trash. The rise of online shopping further complicates returns. Every headline of a happy holiday result comes with a flip side: concerns about returns. Returns make up the bulk of every retailer's holiday hangover. An estimated $90 billion worth of unwanted items will be sent back to retailers, according to CNBC, which cited Optoro, a tech firm that helps retailers organize and manage their returned goods. Making matters worse, only half of returned goods make it back to shelves immediately. The next quarter is given back to the manufacturer. The rest, most likely because they arrived in opened or damaged boxes, are sold to various third parties like discount retailers or liquidators. window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-5', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 5', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-10', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 10', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-13', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 13', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); Photo: Matthew Busch, For The San Antonio Express-News Image 1of/13 CaptionClose Image 1 of 13 FILE-- Lori Hodges, left, returns gifts for her two sons to Super Target the day after Christmas on Monday, December 26, 2016. FILE-- Lori Hodges, left, returns gifts for her two sons to Super Target the day Continue Reading

Good news for FedEx and UPS: People just opened $90 billion in unwanted gifts

Don't like your holiday present? That's a gift for Consumers will return about $90 billion worth of goods this holiday season, estimates Optoro, a firm that specializes in the business of return shipments. That sum amounts to close to a quarter of the total value of goods returned each year, an amount that has been growing steadily as consumers shift their shopping online, according to Optoro. Both FedEx and UPS have been trying to capture a bigger share of the returns business as retailers contend with demanding shoppers who want a generous and user-friendly return policy. Returns are a major challenge to retailers who are facing costly return rates as e-commerce grows. Trevor Outman, co-founder and president of Shipware, a consulting firm aimed at vendors trying to reduce shipping costs, said return costs are among the top concerns of clients. One way to reduce costs, he recommends, is to reduce "dead space" in shipping boxes that might be too big for the item, which drives up prices. "Being able to return is now a competitive tool," said Bruce Cohen, who heads strategy and private equity for retail and consumer products at consulting firm Kurt Salmon, a unit of Accenture. "If it's a pain for customers to return items, they will go elsewhere." Shoppers prefer to buy online but return goods in a store, Raj Subramaniam, who heads FedEx's marketing, said on a call with investors last week. About 15 percent of goods are returned, while apparel returns come back at twice that rate, he estimated. But both FedEx and UPS are trying to get a bigger slice of the pie for both deliveries and returns, by making drop-off locations convenient Continue Reading

Online retailers look to size up shoppers to cut returns

BERLIN - Online retailers are trying to cajole consumers into revealing their vital statistics with new sizing technology tailored to turn back a tide of returned garments that is hurting profits. Up to half of the clothes bought online are sent back, many due to poor fit, squeezing retailers’ margins and creating logistical problems in recovering and re-selling rejected stock. Clothing is the most popular online shopping category in most of Europe: 45 percent of Brits and 41 percent of German consumers bought online in the last year, Mintel research shows. Germany’s Zalando and Britain’s ASOS, online-only fashion retailers, grabbed market share by promising a free returns service - that now threatens to undermine long-term profits. ASOS Chief Executive Nick Robertson said a 1 percent fall in returns would immediately add 10 million pounds ($16 million)to the company’s bottom line. ASOS reported attributable net income of 32.9 million pounds for the year to Aug. 31, 2012. It’s not a problem that can simply be solved by charging for returns, retailers say. Businesses would still find it tough to recoup the cost of extra shipping and warehouse fees, damaged goods and difficulty in selling items that may no longer be season-specific - not to mention the intangible impact of unhappy customers. “If you don’t have to return something then clearly that is a better experience than having to return something,” Robertson told Reuters, adding the average ASOS returns rate is about 30 percent, taking into account variations between markets. E-commerce still only accounts for 15 percent of total garment sales. Much of the lag is down to shoppers’ reluctance to buy clothes they can’t try on., a London-based developer of sizing software, estimates that around 80 percent of all clothes bought in-store pass through a fitting room. is one of several start-ups to have recently sprung Continue Reading

Giuliana Rancic says she’ll return to ‘Fashion Police,’ talks about possible IVF, adoption to have baby

Many were shocked when "Fashion Police" pulled the plug after Kelly Osbourne and Kathy Griffith left the show, but Giuliana Rancic has good news for fans. The E! host says the show is "definitely coming back." "(The controversy) shows that a lot of people were watching the show and enjoyed the show," she told Access Hollywood. "So yeah, it's coming back in September, in time for the Emmys." The E! host says that Brad Goreski will be joining her on the show but doesn't mention who might fill the two other spots. Although Rancic has her hands full handling many projects and a young son, she is considering another TV endeavor as well with her husband. "Bill and I would love to do something together," she said. "I have a great marriage, and we're thinking maybe something in the relationship space to help people — not just bring them on to fight and get ratings — but actually bring them on to talk about their problems and get them a real solution to their problems." Regardless of their strong marriage, the couple has recently opened up about the struggles they have had expanding their family. After their surrogate had a miscarriage with their final embryo the pair have decided to explore other options. "We're talking about it and we're talking to our doctor and we're just figuring out what we can do," Rancic told the Access Hollywood. "Can I somehow do IVF again to try to have a baby? Or adoption? We're not quite sure what it is, but we absolutely want to expand our family. Absolutely." Continue Reading

The Triumphant ‘Return of the Jedi’: 1983 movie review

(Originally published by the Daily News on May 25, 1983. This story was written by Ernest Leogrande.) At this point, George Lucas hardly needs more hullabaloo. All that’s missing is a ticker-tape parade for him. It is no surprise by now that “The Return of the Jedi” marks a triumph for Lucas and his production family - three movies made over a span of years that stand together as a unit, a mass entertainment coup. Lucas describes these three “Star Wars” movies as the middle trilogy of a nine part adventure saga. Even if he never makes the other six episodes - although if he doesn’t, he could run the risk of fanatical retribution - the achievement is phenomenal. There have been movies that inspired sequels that tied together with the original and can be viewed as episodes in a continuing story. The “Star Wars” movies, however, were fashioned as episodes in a continuing story from the start, a gamble that has paid off. But there’s another accomplishment Lucas and his team couldn’t consciously have planned to achieve, that is, creating a concept that has become a myth in its own time. The term “star wars” has entered the language, even, God save us, to the point of describing a potential actuality. What takes hold of the public consciousness like this just can’t be foreseen. Of course, for those who consider all this “Star Wars” stuff too juvenile to concern them, none of this is going to have any significance whatsoever. For those who do care, however, this wrap-up movie neatly dovetails together the elements that began with “Star Wars” six years ago, what already seems “a long time in a galaxy far, far away…,” and was followed by “The Empire Strikes Back” in 1980. This unity has been preserved with three separate directors: Lucas himself for the first, Irvin Kershner for the Continue Reading