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Consumer Confidential: The skinny on Black Friday; Keds recall

November 18, 2011 | 10:28 am

Here's your feelin'-stronger-every-day Friday roundup of cosnumer news from around the Web:

-- Getting all excited about Black Friday? Maybe you'll want to rethink things. Here are a few reasons why the Black Friday hoopla is overblown: Most "door busters" are second-tier products offered by less-prominent brands. Many of the same deals you'll find in the store can be found online. Layaway may not be available until after Black Friday ends. Return policies are often stricter for discounted goods. And more importantly, you're likely to overspend after lining up in the middle of the night to get a shot at some bargain-basement product. The stores know this, which is why they go through all this fuss in the first place. Just saying. (MoneyWatch)

-- Heinz wants to make a little ketchup go a long way. The world's biggest ketchup maker's second-quarter profit fell as it focused on fast-growing emerging markets. But in struggling developed markets such as the U.S. and Europe, the company is shrinking product sizes and selling lower-priced products such as ketchup for 99 cents and beans for around a dollar to appeal to budget-stretched shoppers. Many people are living paycheck to paycheck, buying only what they can afford rather than bigger bottles or cans of food that might be more cost-effective. Heinz says that to meet consumers' needs, it is selling pouches instead of bottles of some of its condiments, reintroducing bean products to the U.S. and selling a bag of french fries for family dinners at $1.99. (Associated Press)

-- Heads up: Keds is recalling about 45,000 Know It All girls' shoes. Ornamental stars on the heel of the shoe may loosen, posing a laceration hazard. The company has received 27 reports of cuts and scratches resulting from metal stars that loosened from the heel of the shoe. This recall involves Keds girls' rubber-soled shoes. The shoes are black and pink, with white trim and a pink loop on the heel. The Chinese-made shoes were sold in girls' sizes 12 to 5 at various department stores and online retailers. Consumers should take them away from children immediately and contact Collective Brands to receive a gift card for $30 redeemable at Stride Rite stores or (

-- David Lazarus

Photo: Black Friday may be more hassle than it's worth. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times