Consumer Confidential: Cyber Monday opens, Fiji Water sinks, here come Frankenapples
-- Apparently our bosses shouldn't expect the busiest of days from us. Productivity is said to be down as people roam the Net in search of Cyber Monday deals. Nearly half of Americans plan on holiday shopping during their work day this season, according to a recent survey by staffing firm Adecco. This is particularly true on Cyber Monday, when some 106.9 million Americans are expected to shop online. That's up from 96.5 million shoppers last year, according to the National Retail Federation. My advice: Don't worry if you don't get the deal of your dreams -- e-tailers will keep the discounts coming for weeks. And if you're not offered free shipping, look elsewhere.
-- Is this the end of absurdly high-priced water? Fiji Water, owned by Los Angeles entrepreneurs Lynda and Stewart Resnick, has shut down its operations in Fiji because of a hefty tax increase imposed by the local government. Fiji Water's president, John Cochran, says the island nation is slapping a new tax rate of 15 cents per liter on companies extracting more than 920,000 gallons of water a month -- up from the current one-third of 1% rate. Fiji Water is the only company extracting that much water. "This new tax is untenable and as a consequence, Fiji Water is left with no choice but to close our facility in Fiji," the company says. Horrors: We may have to actually drink domestic water.
-- And in a separate affront to Mother Nature, a Canadian biotech company has asked U.S. authorities to approve a genetically modified apple that won't brown after being sliced. Although the Frankenapple is seen as a boon to marketing apple slices as snacks, U.S. growers remain wary of genetically modified fruit, saying they're unsure what consumers would make of the product. Okanagan Specialty Fruits of Summerland, British Columbia, licensed the non-browning technology from Australian researchers who pioneered it in potatoes.
-- David Lazarus
Photo: That laptop isn't just for work on Cyber Monday. Credit: L.G. Patterson / Associated Press