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Consumer Confidence Up but So Is Saving Money

Consumer Confidence Up but So Is Saving Money

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — As it gets ever closer to the official start of the holiday shopping season, retailers are eager to see how much consumers are willing to spend this year, given that confidence about personal finances is near levels preceding the Great Recession.Yet, a Bankrate.com survey could dampen that holiday spirit somewhat since four in 10 Americans say their top priority remains paying off existing bills.What's more, two-thirds say they have to limit overall spending because their wages have been stagnant for a while or because they're trying to save for the future in the event there's another economic turnout.According to Greg McBride, analyst for Bankrate.com, Americans do feel more secure in their jobs but they're skittish about taking risks and believe that they haven't been able to save enough.The group most concerned with saving money is those 18-29 but Bankrate.com says they're also least concerned about wages. People most worried about what they're earning are Americans 50 and older, many of whom are now terrified that they haven't put away enough for retirement.

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The Time Has Come to Shop! In the Name of Love

The Time Has Come to Shop! In the Name of Love

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — You can try wearing blinders for the next six weeks but there's no getting around the fact that Americans are ready to go holiday shopping crazy with many already having plunged in.A survey of 1,050 adults 18 and older by Russell Research says that close to eight in ten have started shopping and 20 percent actually began even before September rolled around.Men apparently don't see the same urgency as women as one in seven will kick off their holiday buying on Cyber Monday, Dec. 1.Meanwhile, just over four out of five Americans will wind up at the mall this season with half the mall visitors doing at least some shopping there.Nine out of 10 millenials, the youngest generation of adults, plan to mall shop.The Russell Research survey also points out that 50 percent of Americans will do some form of shopping on Black Friday, Nov. 28 and of that group, 84 percent will shop in traditional brick and mortar stores.As for stores throwing opening their doors open on Thanksgiving, retailers may know what they're doing with 21 percent claiming they'll shop on Turkey Day.

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“GMA” Investigates: Do Used Car Dealers Know About Open Airbag Recalls?

“GMA” Investigates: Do Used Car Dealers Know About Open Airbag Recalls?

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — There are approximately 8 million cars subject to an airbag recall today, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Ten automakers in total have been affected by the recalls.

Stephanie Erdman, a Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, was a driver of one of the affected cars. The 29-year-old from San Antonio, Texas, bought a used 2002 Honda Civic in 2006. Erdman says she was never made aware that a few years after she purchased the vehicle, the airbags were recalled. Then, in September, 2013 she got into an accident in her car, which severely injured her.“The airbags deployed and I had a massive strike on my right side," Erdman said of the accident. “I just blinded out on that side and I just felt this dripping blood…It was absolutely horrible.”Erdman later found out it was a piece of twisted metal that struck her, which she says shot out of the airbag and into her face.“It’s an airbag,” she told ABC News. “It’s supposed to protect me.”“The very device that's designed to provide supplemental restraint or protection in a crash is what's actually causing the injuries to people,” Erdman’s lawyer, Rob Ammons told ABC News.Erdman is now suing Honda, Takata, the maker of the airbag, and the dealership that sold her the car. All of them deny responsibility.“I think there's certainly a moral obligation that if you're going to be in the business of selling products, pre-owned vehicles, that you assure that there are not known defects,” Ammons said.GMA Investigates wondered: what are used car dealers saying about the cars for sale on their lots with potentially dangerous airbags?While automakers are required by law to notify their new car dealers and the car’s registered owner about any recalls at the time they are issued, there is currently no federal law stopping car dealers from selling cars with open recalls, or requiring used car dealers to check for them.So ABC News producer Gerry Wagschal went undercover into nine used car lots in New York, New Jersey, and Alabama, to see what salespeople would say when we asked them about specific cars that we knew had open airbag recalls.Of the nine dealers ABC News went to, five told our producer they didn’t know if there was an airbag recall on the car, while four dealers told our producer there was no such recall.During our investigation, only one car dealer, in Mobile, Alabama checked for a recall on the spot. The salesman told our producer that he would Google the car’s VIN (vehicle identification number) and search for a recall. He didn’t find any information, so he then called a Honda dealer and discovered a recall on the car’s airbag.Other dealerships told our producer that there was no airbag recalls on the vehicles we identified.“It doesn’t have a recall for it,” a saleswoman in Paterson, New Jersey, told our producer. “No, no that I know of.”When asked again whether there was a recall on the airbag, she replied no.A manager at the Paterson location later told ABC News, “Usually if there is an open recall the vehicle manufacturer has to notify us and they didn’t notify us in this case…We usually don’t check the VIN in a database. In certain cases we call the dealer.”ABC News also went to a car dealership in Hawthorne, New Jersey, to inquire about a vehicle with an open recall.“That has zero recalls,” a salesman there told our producer.Later the salesman told ABC News, “We didn’t get any recall notice. All cars are titled in my name. If there’s a recall on a vehicle it won’t go out the door without first checking. I get recall letters. I didn’t get a letter. I do not have a letter on that recall. Before you would have bought the vehicle I would have run a carfax and if there was a recall it would not have gone out before it was fixed. I have a Cobalt right now with a recall that is getting fixed right now at the dealer.”Auction Direct Auto Sales in Jersey City, New Jersey, also told our producer there was no airbag recall on a vehicle. But, in fact, there was a recall, and it was one of four cars at that dealership under recall for the potentially dangerous airbags.

Later ABC News’ Gio Benitez made a return visit to the car lot.“So listen, you told Gerry that this didn’t have a recall, but it does,” Benitez told the salesman, Roberto Tanco.“It does?” Tanco asked.But Roberto told ABC News it’s not his fault, it’s the manufacturer’s. And although he feels responsible for the cars he sells, he said the automaker should have sent a recall letter.“We need somebody to let us know and that person is the company, the manufacturer,” Tanco said.The problem is recall notices are sent at the time of the recall to the registered owner and the carmaker’s new car dealers, but sometimes never again. Also, not all used car dealers are required to register their cars. If the used car dealer did not register the car, they would not receive a recall notice.The owner of Auction Direct Auto Sales told GMA Investigates that he hadn’t registered the SUV our producer inquired about and that, “We are not required by law to check for recalls. We don’t have time to check for open recalls.”Even so, Tanco told ABC News that he will start checking online for recalls, and wrote down the government website to do so -- www.safercar.gov -- right in front our cameras.The government agency, NHTSA runs that site and tells GMA Investigates the Department of Transportation has proposed a law that would make it illegal for used car dealers to sell cars with open recalls without fixing them.Our ABC News investigation concluded that in many cases, it’s up to the consumer to check for open recalls before purchasing a used vehicle.The site CARFAX, which is used by millions of consumers each year searching for vehicle history information, offers a free service at www.mycarfax.com that monitors cars for recalls. The service is also available through an application on Apple and Android devices.

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How Working Moms Can Handle the Hectic Holiday Season

How Working Moms Can Handle the Hectic Holiday SeasonStockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The kickoff to the holiday season is almost here, and for working mothers, with the spirit of the season comes major stress. It's a two-month period Teresa Taylor, Fortune 200 executive and author of the book The Bala...

Gas Prices Down Five Cents Nationally

Gas Prices Down Five Cents Nationally

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Gas prices dropped around the country in the last week, with the average gallon coming in at just under $2.90, down almost five cents from last week.The cheapest gas is in the Gulf Coast region, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said, where a gallon costs just $2.67. Meanwhile, gas on the West Coast costs $3.11 per gallon.California remains the most expensive state in which to buy gas, at $3.15 per gallon.

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Why Prince William Is Playing ‘Angry Birds’

Why Prince William Is Playing ‘Angry Birds’

Rovio(LONDON) -- Prince William may not be on Twitter like some of his fellow royal family members, but we now know he is willing to play a particularly addicting online game: Angry Birds.

William, 32, has teamed up with Angry Birds in his role as president of United for Wildlife to host a special Angry Birds tournament to raise awareness of the “critical threat to wildlife caused by illegal poaching.”

"By spreading the message about poaching, I hope you can be part of a movement that says no to poached ivory and rhino horn, and many other animal parts,” Prince William said in a statement. "With the help of Angry Birds, we have created an Angry Birds Friends tournament for the Pangolins, so you can have some fun while learning more about them and the wider issue of poaching."

The game, called “Roll With The Pangolins,” features animated versions of the scaly ant-eater creatures, one of the world's most critically endangered and trafficked animals who are hunted for their meat and their scales, according to United for Wildlife.

The week-long tournament kicked off Monday.

William was named president of United for Wildlife in September 2013.

He noted in a speech at a charity dinner that same month that he is involved in conservation work, in part, to make the world a better place for his son, Prince George, and other children.

“Like any new parents,” William said at the September 2013 dinner to benefit Tusk Trust, a British charity that funds conservation projects in Africa, “our thoughts inevitably turn to the world that our child will inherit. It is unfathomable to imagine a world in which children who have been born in the past couple of months may grow up in a world in which rhinoceros have ceased to live in the wild.”

The Duke of Cambridge and his wife, Kate, plan to travel to the U.S. next month. While Kate stays in New York City, William is scheduled to make a one-day trip to Washington, D.C., at least part of which will be on behalf of United for Wildlife.

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Stock Market Closes Mixed on Monday

Stock Market Closes Mixed on Monday

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Stocks were mixed on Monday as investors sifted through corporate deal news and Japan's unexpected slide into recession in the third quarter.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 13.01 points, closing at 17,647.75. The Nasdaq went down 17.54 points, closing at 4,671.00. And the S&P 500 gained 1.5, ending the day at 2,041.32.

Pharmaceutical giant Actavis is paying $66 billion to buy Botox maker Allergan in a cash-and-stock deal that could end a months-long takeover battle waged by Valeant Pharmaceuticals for Allergan.Pfizer says it will partner with German drugmaker Merck in developing potential cancer drugs in a new class that harnesses the body's immune system to fight cancer.

Halliburton is buying rival oilfield services company Baker Hughes in a cash-and-stock deal worth $34.5 billion.The deadline for victims of crashes caused by faulty General Motors ignition switches has been extended to January 31. The death toll has now reached 33.

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See Photos of Times Square’s Biggest, Priciest Billboard

See Photos of Times Square’s Biggest, Priciest Billboard

Fike photo. Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- North America's biggest and most expensive billboard will dazzle, or blind, city-goers in Times Square Tuesday just in time for peak tourist season.The 250,000-square-foot billboard has the highest resolution LED ever and covers an entire city block, according to sales agent Clear Channel Outdoor. It is owned by Vornado Realty Trust.Costing advertisers an estimated $2.5 million for four weeks of display time, the billboard is one of the priciest, the New York Times reported.It covers the facade of the Marriott Marquis hotel and retail spaces at 1535 Broadway, between 45th and 46th Streets in New York City.The first thing that will display on the screen when it goes lives Tuesday night will be an art exhibition by Universal Everything collective, until Nov. 24. Google will then be the exclusive advertiser through January 2015, although it’s unclear what will be marketed, the Times reported.A spokeswoman for Google and a spokesman for Clear Channel declined to comment about the deal's terms."We have great confidence that this spectacular billboard will be the most sought after display in the world for years to come," Harry Coghlan, president and general manager, Clear Channel Outdoor New York, said in a statement.The biggest billboard ever is 820.2 feet long and 39.3 feet tall and located near Saudi Arabia's King Khaled International Airport, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

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Halliburton Merges with Rival, Creates World’s Biggest Oilfield Services Company

Halliburton Merges with Rival, Creates World’s Biggest Oilfield Services Company

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Halliburton on Monday announced that it had reached a merger agreement to combine cash and stock with rival Baker Hughes -- a merger that would create the world's largest oilfield services company.According to a press release from Halliburton, the deal values Baker Hughes stock at $78.62 per share -- representing an equity value of $34.6 billion. Just days earlier, talks between the two companies had stalled. Halliburton says the agreed upon deal would "[leverage] complementary strengths, generate significant synergistic opportunities and increase cash returns to stockholders.""We are pleased to announce this combination with Baker Hughes," Chairman and CEO of Halliburton Dave Lesar said, "which will create a bellwether global oilfield services company and offer compelling benefits for the stockholders, customers and other stakeholders of Baker Hughes and Halliburton."The new company, Lesar added, will "deliver an unsurpassed depth and breadth of solutions to our customers...creating jobs and serving customers around the globe."

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GM Extends Deadline to File Claims Related to Ignition Switch Defect

GM Extends Deadline to File Claims Related to Ignition Switch DefectGeneral Motors(NEW YORK) -- General Motors has extended the deadline for submitting claims related to deaths or injuries caused by the faulty ignition switch that has prompted millions of vehicles to be recalled.The New York Times reports that Kenneth ...

United Announces Tasty Reboot to Newark International Airport Terminal

United Announces Tasty Reboot to Newark International Airport Terminal

File photo. United Airlines.(NEWARK, N.J.) — United Airlines and OTG Management are cooking up something special for their $120 million renovation to Terminal C at Newark Liberty Airport.The carrier announced plans Monday to enlist 24 of the nation's hottest and critically received chefs to bring an unprecedented number of dining outposts to the international hub.The cherry on top? Not only will it be one of the tastiest terminals in the world, it also seeks to be one of the tech-iest."In total, more than 55 new dining venues will provide travelers with an array of culinary choices, with menus at all price points emphasizing fresh, locally sourced ingredients, and highlighting regional and local dining experiences," stated a release from United Airlines and OTG Management.Bold-faced culinary names tied to the project include Alain Ducasse, Marc Forgione, Paul Liebrandt, Alex Guarnaschelli, Mario Carbone, Elizabeth Falkner, Alex Stupak, Wilson Tang and Elizabeth Karmel, among others. Food will range from French bistro fare to Mexican street food, pit-fired BBQ to authentic shwarma."Travelers will also have a range of options for outstanding beverages at John Delucie’s Proof, a whiskey bar oasis featuring a selection of seasonal cocktails that pair perfectly with a menu of hearty sandwiches, small plates and entrees," noted the release.Other areas to wet one's whistle will include Kevin Pemoulie’s Oeno, a wine bar, and Dale Talde’s Caps Beer Garden, "offering an expansive selection of draft and bottled beer."Design partners David Rockwell of the Rockwell Group, Jun Aizaki of Crème Designs, David Mexico of David Mexico Design Group and Andrew Cohen and Jeremy Levitt of Parts and Labor Design will all contribute to recreate a luxe, modern atmosphere for the terminal in step with its new tech offerings.About those: More than 6,000 iPads will be installed throughout the terminal for travelers to not only check arrival and departure information, but to conduct retail purchases, and order meals. And, for the first time, United fliers will have the option to use their MileagePlus program rewards to pay for items.There will also be more than 10,000 power outlets available for travelers to plug in their own devices and Wi-Fi will be complimentary. The redesign has already beguin at the airport, with several chef-curated menus already on offer and 1,000 iPads in place. Completion is expected in 2016.

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Website Lets Bridesmaids Rent a Designer Dress for Less

Website Lets Bridesmaids Rent a Designer Dress for Less

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Being a bridesmaid isn’t easy on the psyche or the wallet. The bride’s chosen helpers have to assist the bride, who will likely be stressed, and may also have to spend hundreds of dollars or more on their dresses and accessories, plus other costs.Kelsey Doorey, 29, questioned why bridesmaids should spend so much money on a dress they likely would never wear again, so, one year ago, she launched Vow to Be Chic, a website on which bridesmaids can rent designer gown for far less than the purchase price.Doorey, who has been a bridesmaid six times, told ABC correspondent Abbie Boudreau that bridesmaids can save up to 85 percent on the cost of a dress by renting from Vow to Be Chic.The dresses she offers don’t come with a profusion of ruffles or taffeta. Her website features more fashion-forward designs, including from by Alvina Valenta and Theia.One metallic Alvina Valenta dress that retails for $300 can be had for $110 through Vow to Be Chic, while a $495 Theia dress can be rented for $125.The rental process works like this: three months before the big day, brides pick out their bridesmaids’ dresses on Vow to Be Chic’s website. The bridesmaid submits her measurements and receives two sizes of the chosen style, which she tries to test the fit and returns to the company. One week before the wedding, the gown -- adjusted to fit her -- is sent back to her.The chosen gown also comes with a prepaid return envelope so that after the wedding the bridesmaid can drop the dress in the mail. Vow to Be Chic takes care of cleaning the dress.And customers' reactions? “They're loving it,” Doorey said.

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“Shark Tank” Success Story: GrooveBook Snapped Up by Shutterfly for $14.5M

“Shark Tank” Success Story: GrooveBook Snapped Up by Shutterfly for $14.5M

Kelsey McNeal/ABC(NEW YORK) — When Brian and Julie Whiteman appeared on Shark Tank to pitch their app, GrooveBook, to the show’s investors, they never imagined their pitch would make history on the show.Shutterfly, an online image storage, sharing and publishing service, announced Monday it was acquiring GrooveBook for $14.5 million. The app is the first idea pitched to Shark Tank that has been acquired by a publicly traded company.“I was pretty impressed with their presentation and also their business idea,” Shutterfly’s CEO, Jeffrey Housenbold, told ABC News in an interview last week.GrooveBook, which lets subscribers upload 100 photos a month for $2.99 and get a bound book of those photos in the mail, received a positive reception on the show, with investors Kevin O’Leary and Mark Cuban offering $150,000 in financing in exchange for 80 percent of licensing rights.The other investors also offered them deals, but the Whitemans -- who live in Los Angeles and have two children -- chose the offer from O’Leary and Cuban.GrooveBook was founded in 2012.Julie Whiteman said she didn’t anticipate this kind of success.“Since airing on Shark Tank, we could have never imagined how it would have doubled, tripled and multiplied,” she said. “It's been incredible.”The episode aired in January, and in the months since, GrooveBook's growth has been staggering. More than a million people have downloaded the app, more than 200 million photos were uploaded and subscriptions were up 1,400 percent.Her husband recalled their appearance on the show, saying: “It's extremely intense when you're in the shark tank you have five extremely sharp people trying to get to the bottom line of why they want to give you money."O’Leary explained why the couple’s idea resonated so much with him.“I’m a photographer and I'm passionate about it," he said, "and I loved the idea of what they were doing."

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Why the World Could Be Running Out of Chocolate

Why the World Could Be Running Out of Chocolate

dziewul/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As the gap between demand and production widens, the world may be running out of chocolate.According to Bloomberg News, disease, drought, new markets and displacement of cacao plants have led to unbalanced supply and demand. In 2020, Bloomberg says, the gap between how much chocolate the world wants and how much it will produce will reach one million metric tons.The growing popularity of dark chocolate may also play a role. Dark chocolate requires more cacao than milk chocolate does.

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Postmaster General Announces Retirement in 2015, USPS Names Replacement

Postmaster General Announces Retirement in 2015, USPS Names Replacement

njpPhoto/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Postmaster General and United State Postal Service CEO Patrick Donahoe announced on Friday that he would retire effective Feb. 1, 2015.Donahoe, who has worked for the USPS for 39 years, made the announcement at a Board of Governors meeting on Friday morning. Chairman of the Board Mickey Barnett called Donahoe "the calm in the financial storm...He ignored the naysayers and went forward with his team and built a comprehensive plan for the future of the organization, made tough decisions, and executed against those decisions."In the last 10 years, the USPS has eliminated about 220,000 employees.The Board of Governors announced later Friday that the next Postmaster General and CEO would be current COO Megan Brennan.Brennan, who Barnett praised for her "outstanding vision, leadership and executive ability," has worked in the USPS since 1986.

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Seahawks Stadium Beers Still Have Kick, Brewer Insists

Seahawks Stadium Beers Still Have Kick, Brewer Insists

iStock/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) -- Beer maker Anheuser-Busch said Friday it should not have been flagged for serving watered down beer at Seattle Seahawks football games, insisting that its stadium brews have all the alcohol they are supposed to have.The giant beer maker said it tested the batch of beer that was recently tested."We analyzed the production for the beers sampled in this instance, including alcohol levels, and found no irregularities. Based on our findings, we believe the draft beers sampled at the stadium during those dates met the specifications," David Craig, Anheuser-Busch regional vice president, said in a statement to ABC News.This week, ABC affiliate KOMO released an alcohol analysis of six types of beer served at the Seahawks' stadium.

After working with a lab in Seattle, KOMO said the alcohol percentages of the draft beers tested were below the stated alcohol content. For example, Budweiser has an advertised 5.0 percent alcohol content, but KOMO said its sample tested at 4.4 percent.Anheuser-Busch, which owns five of the six brands tested at the stadium, said it sells "only full-strength beer in the state of Washington.""The Anheuser-Busch draft beers offered at CenturyLink Field, and throughout the state, are the same as the packaged beer consumers purchase at bars, restaurants, convenience stores and other retail locations including CenturyLink Field," David Craig, Anheuser-Busch regional vice president, said in a statement to ABC News.Redhook, the brewery which sold the sixth stadium beer, said it "is not aware of any requests from any retailer, including CenturyLink, to make an existing beer at a lower ABV under the same name, thereby forcing them to deceive beer drinkers.""Not only would something like this be incredibly difficult to pull off logistically, it would also directly violate standards and protocols," a statement from a Redhook spokeswoman said.

Craig said that beer "has unique properties, and accurately measuring its alcohol content requires specific controls, equipment and expertise.""A large number of variables could affect testing results including management of the sample, equipment used and how it’s calibrated, and the testing method," Craig said. "In this case, the collection and transport using a plastic container, the lab and testing method could all fail to protect the alcohol content, which would explain the same variance in all samples taken."CenturyLink Field did not respond to a request for comment.

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Daughter Petitions Kmart So Mom Doesn’t Have to Work Thanksgiving

Daughter Petitions Kmart So Mom Doesn’t Have to Work Thanksgiving

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A Delaware woman heartbroken that her mom has to work at Kmart on Thanksgiving Day is petitioning the store to change its holiday hours.Jillian Fisher told ABC News she's fed up with retailers opening earlier and closing later to keep up with Black Friday shopping demand. For years, she has watched her mom, Donna Fisher, leave the family every Thanksgiving night to go to work at Kmart in Wilmington, Delaware, to prepare for the rush of bargain-hunters.

But in recent years many stores, including Kmart, have been increasing their hours, and employees' family time is being cut short."Can't those sales wait a few hours?" she said.

"This is ridiculous," Fisher, 25, added. "Why are we stealing family time? This is important time."

So she launched a Change.org petition urging the store to close early.

Mom Donna Fisher of Landenberg, Pennsylvania, who has worked at Kmart for 21 years, told ABC News on Friday she's proud of her daughter for starting the petition, but doesn't want to start trouble. She said she just wants people to realize how out of hand Black Friday shopping -- and staffing -- has gotten.

"I don't have a problem working, I have a problem with having to be at their beck and call 24/7," Donna Fisher, 58, said. "I'm not a first responder out there saving lives, I'm selling clothing. I really don't think we need to be shopping for napkins on Thanksgiving."

Kmart will open at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving and stay open for 42 hours straight.

"Kmart has been a destination for early-bird shopping and last-minute entertaining needs on Thanksgiving Day for 23 years," the company said in a statement today. "We have opened our doors at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day for the past four years based on positive feedback from Shop Your Way members, who seek more flexible holiday in-store shopping times and are eager to shop doorbuster deals."

As for Donna Fisher, who had requested a particular shift but not time off, the company went on to say that "in this particular instance, our associate is aware of her schedule and her manager accommodated her preferred shift on Thanksgiving. All associates are compensated time and a half pay for the hours they work on Thanksgiving Day."

The Fishers just want Thanksgiving to be about family time, not shopping. "It's a trend we need to get away from," Jillian Fisher said.

The Fishers aren't the only ones miffed about early store openings. A handful of online movements are petitioning malls and stores including Target and Macy's to stay closed Thanksgiving.

Meanwhile, stores continue to capitalize on the shopping rush. Walmart recently announced it's turning Black Friday into a five-day event.

And retail analyst Owen Shapiro doesn't think stores will slow down.

"It's been a long trend toward longer and longer hours," said Shapiro, author of the book, "Brand Shift: The Future of Brands and Marketing."

"The Internet is putting a lot of pressure on the big-box stores," he added. "Because obviously the Internet is open on Thanksgiving."

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Stocks Pause on Friday After Days of Record Finishes

Stocks Pause on Friday After Days of Record Finishes

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Stocks didn't move much on Friday, taking a pause after record finishes in six of the last seven trading days.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 18.05 points ending the day at 17,634.74. The Nasdaq gained 8.4 points closing at 4,688.54, and the S&P 500 went up 0.49 to 2,039.82.

Overall, the major averages were up for the fourth straight week.Retail sales were up last month, which is encouraging news for retailers as we move into the holiday shopping season.Microsoft has surpassed Exxon to become the second-most valuable company in the world. Exxon's shares have been falling recently, along with the price of oil, while Microsoft's shares have been rising since last month.

Apple is till the world's most valuable company.

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Check Out Beam, a Faster Chat App

Check Out Beam, a Faster Chat App

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Have you ever wanted to send a text without having to wait your turn? Now, one app is making this possible.

Beam is a real-time messenger that allows you and your friends to see what you’re typing, as you’re typing it.

The angle is for mobile users to be able to see the other person’s thoughts as soon as they happen -- just like a face-to-face conversation.

How it works is while you’re texting, you can read, chime in, and take back the last thing you said. Beam identifies this as “beaming in,” or the “ability to interrupt, interject, comment, and like.”

According to the app’s Google Play page, the messages are inherently secure -- meaning no single message is ever delivered. “Letters simply arrive on your phone in an organized fashion,” says the description.

The free app, which claims to be the first of its kind, is currently available for Android users to download. Beam’s website says an iPhone version is coming soon.

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Why Mike Myers Is Starring in a Sears Canada Ad

Why Mike Myers Is Starring in a Sears Canada Ad

Lloyd Bishop/NBC(NEW YORK) -- Mike Myers is the funny man behind iconic movies like Austin Powers, Wayne’s World, and Shrek. But if you are watching TV in Canada, you may see the Canada native appearing as a pitchman for none other than Sears.

Myers is starring in a new ad for the retail chain alongside his older brother, Peter Myers, who has worked for the company for 32 years.

The ad shows Myers ripping on his tabloid fame and singing the old “softer side of Sears” jingle, until his brother tells him the company does not use the song anymore.

Myers instead offers up another slogan, looking into the camera and saying, “Sears Canada. My brother works there.”

The YouTube video of the ad, titled #MyBrotherWorksatSears, has racked up over 1 million views since it was posted last week.

It aired only in Canada.

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