Talk of the day: I'd like to cut your gas price, but it's illegal

Published May 10, 2007

A service station that offered discounted gas to senior citizens and people supporting youth sports has been ordered by the state of Wisconsin to raise its prices. Center City BP owner Raj Bhandari has been offering senior citizens a 2-cent-per-gallon price break and discount cards that let sports boosters pay 3 cents less per gallon. But the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection says those deals violate Wisconsin's Unfair Sales Act, which requires stations to sell gas for about 9.2 percent more than the wholesale price. Bhandari said he received a letter from the state auditor last month saying the state would sue him if he did not raise his prices. Bhandari, who bought the station a year ago, said he worries customers will think he stopped the discounts because he wants to make more money. About 10 percent of his customers had used the discount cards.

Yahoo service tells you where to go

Online powerhouse Yahoo Inc. has added personalized trip recommendations to its travel service to lure more users and advertisers. Visitors to Yahoo's travel site will now see 10 suggested destinations, selected based on the pages they've viewed in the past and the subjects they've searched for, said Jasper Malcolmson, the service's director. Users that browse for sports cars, for example, may receive information on trips to places like Las Vegas, Malcolmson said. The recommendations work in a similar way to those on sites such as Amazon.com and Netflix, which suggest books and movies based on users' interests. With the personalized trips and travel deals, Yahoo aims to tap the growing market for vacation bargains and advice.

Downloads cater to Disney devices

Walt Disney Co., the second-largest U.S. media company, started an online store to sell music and videos for its own, proprietary media players, similar to Apple Inc.'s iPod. The Mix Central site will offer podcasts, video clips and films from the company's television and movie studios, and songs from artists at its music labels, Disney said Wednesday. Disney is expanding Internet outlets for its programs and movies. Owners of Disney's Mix Stick and Mix Max players can download songs for 99 cents. Albums start at $9.99 and music videos are $1.99. The Mix Max player, released eight months ago, uses postage-stamp-sized memory cards with full-length movies preloaded that sell for $19.99.

Just don't use the money to buy beer

A Brazilian court has ordered a brewer to pay $49, 000 to an alcoholic beer taster who said he drank more than three pints of beer a day. The unidentified employee alleged that the company did not provide the health measures needed to keep him from developing alcoholism, a labor court in the Rio Grande do Sul state said. The employee said that for more than a decade, he drank 16 to 25 small glasses of beer during his shifts at the company. An initial ruling had favored Ambev, or Companhia de Bebidas das Americas, which can still appeal the decision. The local brewing company alleged the employee already was an alcoholic before becoming a beer taster. Judge Jose Felipe Ledur said the company still was negligent because an alcoholic should never have been made a beer taster.