Friday, February 28, 2014

Man charged in strangling death of SC teen

<weather com codep>A Holmes County family says they are living, breathing, praying proof miracles happen. 78-year-old Walter "Snowball" Williams died late Wednesday night. Thursday, he was back to life. Holmes County

A Holmes County family says they are living, breathing, praying proof miracles happen. 78-year-old Walter "Snowball" Williams died late Wednesday night. Thursday, he was back to life. Holmes County

'Real Racing 3' Celebrates First Anniversary With Free Porsche 911

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It just goes to show how quickly things happen in the App Store, as it feels like Real Racing 3 [ Free] was released ages ago, but it's only been a year. Time flies on the App Store. We loved it in our review, and followed the review up with a guide on how to play it without spending money.

Well, if you're still playing Real Racing 3, or just still have it on your phone and haven't played in forever it might be worth firing it up to grab the free 1972 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7. The developers tweeted about it last night, and grabbing the car is as easy as following the banners for it in game.

If you've yet to try Real Racing 3, I say give it a shot. It's a pretty awesome racer, and while it'd be nice if you didn't initially have to tip toe around free to play elements, you can still have a lot of fun in it spending zero dollars.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Digital discounter sets terms for $130 million IPO, a digital network of Amazon Deal, online coupons, loyalty card promotions and mobile coupons, announced terms for its IPO on Tuesday. The Mountain View, CA-based company plans to raise $130 million by offering 10 million shares at a price range of $12 to $14. At the midpoint of the proposed range, the company would command a fully diluted market value of $1.1 billion., which was founded in 1998 and booked $168 million in sales for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2013, plans to list on the NYSE under the symbol COUP. initially filed confidentially on October 25, 2013, and plans to price the week of March 3rd. Goldman Sachs, Allen & Company, BofA Merrill Lynch and RBC Capital Markets are the joint bookrunners on the deal.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Know Which Online Retailers Offer Coupons Via Live Chat


Can't find a Super Sale anywhere? With the growing "live chat" customer service trend, many operators are trained to hand out coupon codes to polite shoppers that simply ask. I did the research and found a dozen of the most popular retailers that'll hand out a code via live chat to shoppers who play their cards right.

This post originally appeared on Rather Be Shopping.

Here is what I discovered (in alphabetical order):

Bass Pro Shops

One popular online store that readily hands out coupons via live chat is, which is a huge shopping destination for hunters, fishermen, and outdoors-men. If you can't find a coupon the traditional way, be sure to pull up a live chat session and politely see if they have a coupon code up their sleeves. A few tips:

  • Always be polite and courteous when asking for a coupon since your words are all you have when trying to score an online discount.
  • [Customer service agent] Debi immediately hooked me up with a coupon code good for free shipping on my entire order. This coupon did exclude boats, but luckily I'm not in the market for a new boat!
  • If live chat fails to bring you a coupon at Bass Pro Shops make sure to check out their Facebook page as they have currently have a couple coupons posted on their wall.

Birthday Express and Celebrate Express

If you're in the planning mode for your child's next birthday party or any other big shindig, be sure to hit up a live chat operator for a coupon at Celebrate or Birthday Here's the skinny:

  • Both websites use the same coupon codes so you can start the live chat feature from either site and the codes will work on both.
  • Leslie hooked me up immediately with a coupon code good for 15% off your $75+ regular-priced merchandise total. Not a great coupon but certainly handy for larger purchases.

Dress Barn

For those who love to shop for bargains at you're going to want to get well acquainted with their live chat feature. Here are a few tips:

  • I got the impression that my operator, Laurel, had a big list of coupon codes at her disposal. I say this because she said "Try PRES14″ as if she had other codes up her sleeve if for some reason it didn't work.
  • So if you're buying more than one item, or any sale items, ask the Dress Barn operator for a coupon that better fits your online order. I think you'll be happily surprised with the results.


For those of you not familiar with, they sell athletic footwear, apparel, and training equipment. They are known for their amazing selection but tend to also be on the expensive side so you'll always want to shop with an Eastbay coupon code. Here is how I scored one from live chat:

  • I was having trouble viewing their website and asked my operator, Dan, if they had any current coupons. He told me they did and it was viewable during step four of the checkout process.
  • I told him I couldn't see it on the website and he was able to tell me the coupon code needed to collect 20% off.
  • This is a good strategy for any website you're having trouble using as many retailers will give you a coupon for your inconvenience.


I can only assume that the Foot Locker live chat operators are sitting at their desk wearing a stripped ref shirt with a whistle around their neck.

  • My Foot Locker live chat buddy, Aaron, hooked me up with a free shipping on $75 or more coupon code. Not great, but if you shop regularly at Foot Locker you already know that most of their shoes are priced above $75.
  • I tried to get something better out of Aaron, like 20% off, but he did not have another coupon for me. He said that later in the month he'd have a 20% off coupon, but nothing right now.
  • I asked him if better Footlocker coupons typically come out later in the month and he confirmed this to be true.

Home Depot

Next, I hit up Jen via live chat at The Home and asked her for a coupon code. She was unable to provide one but she did offer a pretty cool service that is worth sharing.

  • I told her I was doing a kitchen remodel and looking for a coupon for a new dishwasher. The washer was already on sale for close to 25% off and no additional savings were available but she was incredibly familiar with the washer and was able to answer all my questions. Very handy if you are doing a big remodel and have a bunch of questions.
  • Jen was by far the most helpful live chat operator I have ever talked to in terms of product knowledge. Well done Home Depot.


I was really impressed with the live chat operator at, who ironically was also named Jill. I wonder if they only hire gals named Jill? But anyways, she really went beyond the call of duty.

  • First, Jill hooked me up with a free shipping coupon and then she dropped the 411 on where to find the best deals. She told me J.Jill was offering their entire "Sale and Outlet" section for an additional 30% off for a limited time. No code needed.
  • I love when live chat operators tell me where they most savings can be found on that particular day.
  • Also be sure to follow J.Jill on Twitter as they are known for dropping exclusive coupons on their feed on a weekly basis.


L.L.Bean is known for their quality clothing and outstanding customer service that includes a 100% satisfaction guarantee. These days they always offer free shipping on your purchase but rarely have other coupons. Your chances increase greatly if you use their live chat feature as they want you to finalize your purchase today. Here's the best strategy:

  • Be polite, maybe even compliment them on how happy you have been with prior L.L.Bean purchases. In other words, butter them up a little then ask for a coupon to help you save a little money today.
  • I was able to get a 10% off coupon code to apply to my purchase. Not huge savings, but well worth the few minutes it took to get my discount.

Lands' End

There is little doubt the live chat feature at Lands' End will pay off for you in one way or another. Here is the direct link to a Lands' End live chat operator. Here is your best strategy for savings:

  • By being polite and direct I was able to score an online coupon for 30% off all merchandise with free shipping on $50 or more.
  • Lori, my live chat operator, was very receptive to helping me save some money and she had excellent knowledge of Lands' End sizing and styles which was a very nice bonus.
  • If you can't find a Lands' End coupon always open up a live chat session and politely ask for one. Chance of success: 95% at the very least.

Office Depot

I opened up an Office Depot live chat session I was not very confident that I would get a coupon code as they can be pretty tight about handing them out. But my buddy Bobbi delivered the goods. Here is your best strategy:

  • I simply asked for a $10 off $50 or more coupon and was given it right out of the box, next time I will amp it up and ask for a 20% off coupon. I got nothing to lose.
  • Also, it is worth noting that over the years I have received tips that the Office Depot Facebook page is also a great resource to score a coupon when 'Live Chat' doesn't deliver the goods.


I was really impressed with the customer service live chat employee "Sweety" gave me. Here is how it went down:

  • After I asked her if she had any coupons I could use, she asked me to make sure my order was in my virtual shopping cart so she could take a look at it and find the best coupon for me. Pretty cool.
  • After I placed my photo-book in my cart, she took a look at it and came back with the very generous offer of a $10 credit on my photo-book on top of the 25% off site-wide offer Shutterfly was already offering.
  • Tip: Make sure you add the maximum number of stuff you want to order in your cart, open a live chat session and start negotiating the best coupon you can get.


For those of you not familiar with Snapfish, similar to Shutterfly, they specialize in taking your photos and turning them into amazing prints, gifts, and cool books and calendars. Your order total can add up pretty quickly so be sure to hit up the Snapfish live chat feature and ask for a coupon code.

  • I simply asked for a coupon code, nothing specific, and my buddy "Shashank" hooked me up with a 30% off coupon. I couldn't help but think of Morgan Freeman as I collected my savings.
  • They typically allow you to stack coupons so feel free to politely ask for a free shipping coupon as well. They often have a free shipping coupon on $25 or more.

Have you had any success scoring a coupon code at other online retailers using their live chat feature? Let us know in the discussion below.

Ask For a Coupon | Rather Be Shopping

Kyle James is the founder of Rather Be Shopping, a website updated daily with the best online coupon codes, printable coupons, and bargains that we can find to all your favorite online stores.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Can Amazon Be the Source for Cheap Textbooks Students Desperately Need?

With students and parents already dealing with the rising cost of attending college, little attention is paid to the ridiculous price of text books. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, or PIRG, is looking to change that with the release of " Fixing the Broken Textbook Market: How Students Respond to High Textbook Costs and Demand Alternatives."

NASDAQ: Big business, captive audience
Whereas regular book publishers have to compete with the idea that you can choose the new Stephen King over the new John Grisham (or simply not read at all), academic publishers have a captive audience that has to buy their books. Because of that, while prices for regular books have fallen since the advent of e-reader's like amazon's ( AMZN ) Kindle and Barnes & Noble's ( ) Nook, prices for textbooks continue to climb.

According to the PIRG study, the average student in United States spends around $1,200 a year on books and supplies. Between 2002 and 2013, the price of college textbooks rose 82% -- nearly three times the rate of inflation.

To make matters worse, those rising prices, the study said, have forced already strapped students to make some difficult choices.

  • 65% said they had decided against buying a textbook because it was too expensive.
  • Nearly half (48%) said the cost of books had an impact on how many or which classes they took.
  • 94% of the students, who had skipped buying a required book, said they were concerned that it would hurt their grade in that course.

Amazon to the rescue?
PIRG says publishers use "a set of tactics to drive prices skyward," such as releasing new editions every three to four years regardless of changes in the subject material.

"They price these new editions quite high, which in turn dictates the price of used books and rental books," said Ethan Senak, a higher-education associate at PIRG. "Even as they move into e-textbooks, publishers incorporate paywalls, expiration dates, and printing restrictions that further continue the practices they've used to control the traditional market."

Amazon, and a variety of online start-ups, have tried to create alternate markets for textbooks, which cuts out the publishers and Barnes & Noble, which runs bookstores at a number of universities. Through its used-book market, Amazon, has bought back books from students and resold them well-below their list price.

The textbook publishers, however, are hip to this strategy and have come up with a number of ways to force students to buy new books. According to PIRG:

  • Publishers release new editions every three to four years regardless of changes in the subject, with prices that are 12% higher on average. Once a new edition is released, that copy takes the place of older editions on store shelves. That means students are not only forced to buy the more expensive new edition, but are also unable to sell back their used book from the previous semester.
  • Publishers also increase costs by packaging textbooks with online pass-codes or CDs that increase prices 10% to 50%. These pass-codes often expire after a limited time period, eliminating the viability to sell back the book.
  • New "cost-saving" options like loose-leaf and custom editions are more affordable upfront, but often end up costing more because they have no resale value.

Little competition
Just five textbook companies control more than 80% of the $8.8 billion publishing, market, according to PIRG. Three of those companies -- Pearson ( ) , Cengage Learning, and Macmillan Publishers --sued a start-up, Boundless Learning, which was attempting to offer free alternative textbooks. That federal court case was settled with the details not released, but it shows that those making the most money off of students will do whatever they can to protect their turf.

Still, change is coming
Students overwhelmingly support a change in the system. According to PIRG, 82% of students felt they would do significantly better in a course if the textbook was available free online with buying a hard copy optional. This is exactly how open textbooks are being designed.

In addition to open textbooks, which are only available for a tiny percentage of college classes, a number of schools have begun book rental programs. According to PIRG, there were only 300 schools with rental programs in 2009, "that number had increased 10-fold to more than 3,000 by 2013.

In addition, launched a college textbook rental program in 2012. Per a PIRG spokesman, "The proliferation of these programs seems to have mitigated the cost curve for students over the last several years."

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Saturday, February 1, 2014

Transfer window: Guide to all the January 2014 Premier League deals

<Best Dealsul>
  • Cheslea sign Kurt Zouma from Saint Etienne for £12.5m - defender to stay in France for rest of the season
  • Lewis Holtby joins Fulham on loan from Tottenham
  • Cardiff wrap up double deal from Manchester United with Wilfried Zaha and Fabio da Silva arriving
  • Sunderland sign Liam Bridcutt from Brighton for £2.5m
  • PUBLISHED: 23:00 EST, 31 December 2013 | UPDATED: 20:35 EST, 31 January 2014

    Sportsmail's transfer centre

    Whether clubs are primed to contest the title race, battle over European places or fight tooth and nail to avoid the drop, the winter transfer window is their chance to shuffle the squad.

    Clubs notoriously play it rather cagey in the early part of the window. But as soon as a couple of big deals happen later in the window, it often sparks a mad scramble as clubs look to bolster their squads at knockdown prices.

    Of course, January is also a time out-of-favour players agitate for a move away - especially in a World Cup year - or clubs look to ditch high earners.

    So, keep track of all the latest transfers this month with our club-by-club guide...

    CARDIFF Click here for the latest Cardiff City transfer news Click here for the latest Crystal Palace transfer news Click here for the latest Hull transfer news





    Thievy Bifouma (Espanyol, loan)