Range anxiety, the fear of being stuck somewhere without a charge, continues to prevent some consumers from buying an electric vehicle, even in states like California which have more charge stations than other parts of the country. “A recent survey of 181 San Francisco Bay Area public charging stations, partially funded by the nonprofit Cool the Earth, suggests that 23% of them might be nonfunctioning at any given time, stymied by broken screens, shoddy credit card or payment systems, network connection failures, or damaged plugs,” per Wired.
In celebration of Earth Day, the NHL and NHLPA donated $2,500 to schools that were the winners of its second-annual Future Goals Virtual Science Fair. One of the award winners will study whether raising the freezing point of water with chemical additives would lower the amount of energy used to maintain ice in an NHL arena.
Taco Bell is bringing back the popular Mexican Pizza after a two-year hiatus thanks to the clamoring of fans, including Doja Cat and Dolly Parton. Loyalty club members have first crack at the item, staring May 17. It rolls out to the general audience May 19. First debuting in 1985 as “Pizzazz Pizza,” the dish involves two crispy flour shells layered with beans, pizza sauce, seasoned beef, tomatoes, and a melted cheese blend.
Walmart+ is offering members discounts of up to 10 cents per gallon of fuel at participating gas stations including 12,000 Exxon and Mobil stations, Walmart, Sam’s Clubs and Murphy USA stations. “The discounts come as consumers are being particularly hard hit by fuel price inflation, and a few weeks after Costco reportedly slashed already competitive fuel prices for its members,” per Retail Dive.
Meta (aka Facebook) says its first brick-and-mortar space will open on May 9 on the company’s campus in Burlingame, California. “With a small, 1,500-sq.-ft. footprint, Meta Store will have demo areas where shoppers can learn about — and try out — the company’s hardware products, including the Portal video calling device, Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses and Meta Quest 2 virtual reality headset and accessories,” per Chain Store Age. “Meta’s VR items were previously sold under the now-retired Occulus brand.”
Stellantis’ Ram brand is teasing its electric pickup while poking at the yet-to-be available competition from Ford, the F-150 Lightning. “The decision to tease the electric Ram 1500 is clearly a shot at Ford, which is set to begin customer deliveries of its hotly anticipated F-150 Lightning truck this week,” per The Verge. “‘Time to steal some thunder,’ the tweet from Ram reads — a clear allusion to Ford and its lightning-branded EV.”
A California consumer is the lead plaintiff in a class-action complaint filed against Dressbarn for its markdown practices she claims inflate the true market value of her purchases. The suit alleges the retailer engaged in “a false and misleading reference price scheme” whereby goods were listed with “fictitious” original prices that were rarely, if ever, the actual price, per Sourcing Journal. The complaint requested a court order certifying a class of “at least thousands of individuals.”
Instead of the traditional clear fridge and freezer doors customers have grown accustomed to, some retailers are swapping them for opaque doors with screens showing what’s inside, along with advertisements. “Some customers really, really aren’t into it,” per CNN. “The tech provides stores with an additional revenue stream and a way to modernize the shopping experience. The company wants to engage more people with advertising, but the reaction, so far, is annoyance and confusion."
Whole Foods is testing the palm recognition service called Amazon One as a payment option at a location near its Austin, Texas headquarters. It’s the first region outside the Seattle area where Whole Foods Market is offering the service. ”Customer enrollment in the Amazon One service takes less than a minute, which involves linking credit/debit card info and creating palm signatures for one or both palms,” per Progressive Grocer. “Customers don’t have to worry about fumbling with their wallets and handbags anymore to pull out credit cards at checkout counters.”
Mattel has released a new Barbie in honor of Queen Elizabeth II’s 96th birthday. The Barbie's gown is inspired by one of the queen's most iconic looks: an ivory gown, blue riband with decorations of order and a stunning tiara. The queen's Barbie joins Barbie's Tribute Collection, set to celebrate "visionaries whose incredible contributions have helped shape and impact culture.” At a starting price of $75, the queen's Barbie is available through retailers including Mattel, Amazon and Target.