September 19, 2013

'Tis the season for retailers to tighten generous return policies. REI no longer allows customers to return products after years of use -- and today we're learning that Bloomingdale’s is trying to halt clothing returns from customers who wear the clothes and then take them back. Liberal return policies were designed to build customer loyalty; are they now costing the companies? You can hear that story this evening. In the meantime, we want to hear from you: What's the most shameful or embarassing return you've ever made? Have you worn a dress to a wedding and then returned it? Have you broken some gear and then tried to get a refund? Share your story with us on our Facebook page.

Also, have you tossed out milk, cereal or canned vegetables because of their expiration date? What you probably didn't know is that not all expiration dates are the same: The sell-by date is for the store, for stock rotation. The use-by date is for us consumers, but it just tells us when a product is at its peak. We don’t realize we can eat stuff after the use-by date, and not get sick.

THE NUMBERS as of 2:35 P.M. EDT

DOW +27.82 (+0.21%) Dow up; NASDAQ +7.80 (+0.26%)Nasdaq up S&P 500 +3.99 (+0.24%)S&P 500 up

Mid-day Update

PODCAST: The Fed throws economists off guard

The Federal Reserve's big surprise: no cuts to bond buying for now, the economy isn't strong enough.

JPMorgan agrees to pay $920 million in fines over bad bets. The 'London Whale' saga continues. 

Looking for a house on a budget? How does $1 sound?

Publications are hiring reporters to cover the luxury life. Could you qualify?

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American Futures

A cross-country flight featuring The Atlantic's James Fallows and Kai Ryssdal, looking at how the global economy is changing small town America.

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