A couple of stories from the Consumerist / by Dan Lockton

"Is Sylvester Stallone Taking Over Your TV?" - anecdotal suggestion that some digital video recorders may be attempting to 'push' certain movie franchises in the run-up to release by recording (unrequested) previous titles in a series, or with the same actors.

Well, this is totally impossible to confirm, but we just got a complaint from a reader saying that their DVR was recording Sylvester Stallone movies all on its own. They think this might be some sort of sly promotion tied into the new Rocky movie. Is this happening to anyone else, or do these people have a possessed DVR?

And from the comments:

I have Time Warner in NYC as well, and a month ago Bond movies started automatically queuing up. I thought it was a fluke, but that was right when Casino Royale was hitting wasn't it? I'm the only person who touches my DVR, so it wasn't a prank.


Also, in a similar vein to my earlier post on the price structures of ticketing systems, Consumerist reports on US Postal Service stamp vending machines, which require a minimum purchase of $1 (it's suggested that this is in violation of Visa's merchant agreements).

While minimum purchase amounts for credit card use are fairly common, (especially with smaller businesses, due to the transaction fees charged by the card company) when a minimum price is imposed on a system such as this stamp vending machine - and only made clear to the user after he or she has already selected the desired item - the practice seems somewhat sneaky. Many people who use a stamp vending machine will do so since they are in a rush, need to send that item of mail, and haven't got time to wait in a queue. If you only wanted a 39 cent stamp, you're forced to pay an additional 61 cents (more, in fact, since the stamp face values don't add up to exactly $1) just to accomplish what you set out to do.

Still, you do get the extra stamp(s) you were 'forced' to buy, and at least they don't go out of date or expire like a bus ticket or a parking ticket.