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Supreme Court Rules Amazon Employees Don’t Need to Be Paid for Time Spent in Mandatory Security Screenings

Supreme Court Rules Amazon Employees Don’t Need to Be Paid for Time Spent in Mandatory Security Screenings

eddygaleotti/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that neither Amazon nor a temp agency that supplies workers for Amazon warehouses is required to pay employees at its warehouses for the time they spend going through a security screening at the end of the day.The decision was presented by Justice Clarence Thomas with a concurring statement written by Justice Sonia Sotomayor. The court said that while companies are required to pay employees for all integral and indispensable activities, the security screenings -- which take approximately 25 minutes per day, according to court documents -- do not apply.

Firstly, the court said, "the screenings were not the 'principal activity or activities which [the] employee is employed to perform." Secondly, the screenings could have been eliminated by the staffing company -- Integrity Staffing -- without impairing the employees' ability to do their work.An appeals court that ruled in favor of the employees erred, the Supreme Court said, in considering whether an employer requiring an activity makes it integral. Instead, because the employees' time during screenings did not meet the legal criteria to be considered "integral and indispensable," the companies are not required to pay the employees for that time.

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California District Attorneys Settle with Lyft, File Lawsuit Against Uber

California District Attorneys Settle with Lyft, File Lawsuit Against Uber

QUIQUE GARCIA/AFP/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- District attorneys in both San Francisco and Los Angeles announced on Tuesday that they had settled a civil consumer protection action against ride-sharing app Lyft, while also filing a lawsuit against Lyft's competitor Uber for, "making false and misleading statements to consumers."In a press release, Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey said that Lyft had agreed to a permanent injunction that prohibited the company from making false claims about its background checks. The same injunction requires that the company to submit its app to the California Department of Agriculture's Division of Management Standards to ensure accuracy. Lyft will also have to obtain authorization from California airports to operate on their grounds and pay $500,000 in civil penalties.Uber, on the other hand, is accused of engaging in unlawful business practices, including making untrue or misleading representations about the background checks done on Uber drivers, illegally having drivers work at airports without authorization, and charging a fraudulent $4 fee for travelers going to or from San Francisco International Airport.The two district attorneys seek a permanent injunction against Uber, requiring it to cease illegal activities, as well as civil penalties against the company for its illegal business practices."Unfortunately, Uber, unlike Lyft, has refused to comply with reasonable regulations as required by California law," Lacey said. "As a result Uber continues to put consumers at risk by misleading the public about the background checks of its drivers and its unwillingness to ensure that correct fares are charged."

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Stocks Slide Futher Following Global Market Slump

Stocks Slide Futher Following Global Market Slump

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) –- Two of the three major indecies on Tuesday slid further off last week's record highs, following a slump in global markets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 51.28 points, ending at 17,801.20 and the S&P 500 dropped 0.49 to 2,059.82.The Nasdaq closed at 4,766.47 -- 25.77 points higher than it opened.Stocks of teen apparel company Abercrombie & Fitch rose $1.77, or 7 percent, to $28.13 after the company said its CEO, Mike Jeffries, is retiring immediately. Hallmark has removed a blue-and-silver roll of gift wrap from circulation after a customer complained that she saw a swastika embedded in the design.The Kansas City, Missouri-based company alerted retailers to the problem after receiving a complaint Sunday night from a Walgreens customer in Northridge, California. The disputed wrap was in a Hannukah display but a Hallmark spokeswoman says it was not intended for Hannukah.

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Elf on the Shelf Alternatives Heat Up Holiday Competition

Elf on the Shelf Alternatives Heat Up Holiday Competition

Chuck Berman/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- It's the Christmas tradition that's sparked $10 million in sales and yet another task for already harried parents getting ready for the holidays.There's no doubt kids these days love the Elf on the Shelf. It's so popular it even has a parody -- the Dwarf in the Drawer.Now, there's knockoffs that let a family count down to practically any holiday. Some -- like the Birthday Elf on the Shelf -- come from the same creator. But others are capitalizing on the elf's success.Switchcrafted is a book set that comes with a "Switch With" doll that encourages exchanging Halloween candy for healthier treats.And a Christmastime Elf isn't the only option. There's The Christmas Angel for families more interested in religion than reindeer. The book and angel doll works in the same way as Elf on the Shelf in that the kids wake up and look for it each morning, but the twist is that each morning they are tasked to do a good deed by the "angel."Some people are putting their own religious spin with their existing Elf on the Shelf. The mom behind the blog Crayon Marks and Tiger Stripes has created a "Jesus Style" version of the Elf on the Shelf for those who wish to make the tradition more about religion than reindeer.And for Jewish kids, there's the Mensch on a Bench, which comes with a doll and accompanying book to "introduce children to the story and traditions of Hanukkah, while emphasizing the fine characteristics of a Mensch -- a good and honorable person," according to the company. It's been so successful, the creator is "hard at work" on a Passover book.

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Holiday Home Decor, Delivered to Your Door

Holiday Home Decor, Delivered to Your Door

Seasoninatrunk.com(NEW YORK) -- From Birchbox to Stitchfix to Blue Plate, convenience in a box, delivered, has come to nearly every facet of our lives.But until recently, there was no interior decorator in a box. Season in a Trunk aims to be just that.Founder Christa Melton said the company is the first and only to offer seasonal decor delivered to your door.“I wanted to take that feeling you get when the season changes and package it up,” she said.Melton, a designer with a decade’s experience, said people connect with seasons through the clothes they wear and the food they eat. So why not connect with, say, winter, through your home decor as well?Season in a Box is not a subscription service. There are four boxes -- one for each season -- and then additional boxes that are holiday specific.Within each category, there are three levels of boxes ranging from $49 to $149. A customer can also purchase additional, individual items.

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Amazon Bike Messengers to Help Cut Home Delivery Time

Amazon Bike Messengers to Help Cut Home Delivery Time

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Amazon wants to provide more convenience for online shoppers with its new plan to speed up home deliveries.

The online retailer is "practicing one-hour deliveries with bike messengers in New York City," reports The Wall Street Journal. Amazon, the country’s largest e-commerce company, is also experimenting with other options to ease the home delivery process like storage lockers at brick-and-mortar stores and drone use for small packages.  The company is facing opposition from the Federal Aviation Administration, which could bring the drone proposal to a stop.  

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Walgreens Launches Program for Virtual Doctor Visits

Walgreens Launches Program for Virtual Doctor Visits

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Walgreens is making it easier for customers to see the doctor -- virtually. The drugstore chain has just launched a new telehealth program that will allow Walgreens website users 24/7 access to U.S. board-certified doctors through its mobile app.Walgreens, which launched its Pharmacy chat feature last year, has partnered with MDLIVE to give customers connectivity for these virtual doctor visits.“Offering mobile and virtual access to board-certified doctors is a natural extension of the robust range of health services that Walgreens already offers,” Dr. Harry Leider, Walgreens chief medical officer, said Monday. “We’re delighted to work with MDLIVE to provide our patients with a leading telehealth solution that will allow them to conveniently address their health conditions and needs with a medical professional.”Virtual visits cost $49, and doctors can diagnose and treat conditions like pink eye that don't require a physical exam. They also can write prescriptions.

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Amazon Unveils New ‘Make an Offer’ Feature

Amazon Unveils New ‘Make an Offer’ Feature

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Not only is Amazon an online superstore, it's also trying its hand at being a virtual flea market.The company unveiled a "make an offer" button on Tuesday, which will allow shoppers to haggle for more than 150,000 items, including collectibles and fine art.Among the items already being offered are a Toby Keith signed guitar, an autographed Hunger Games photo, and a 1938 Buffalo nickel.Sellers who are open to bargaining can enable the "make an offer" button. When a customer proposes a lower price, the seller will be notified and will have the option of accepting, rejecting or countering the offer.Once a price is agreed on, the item is placed in the customer's cart and they're free to complete the transaction before their item is shipped to their doorstep.Peter Faricy, vice president of Amazon Marketplace, said the company heard feedback from sellers who said they believed one-on-one negotiations would help drive more sales and earn loyal customers."The new 'Make an Offer' experience is a game-changer for Amazon customers looking for great prices on one-of-a-kind items, and for sellers looking to communicate and negotiate directly with customers in an online marketplace environment just like they do normally in their own physical store or gallery," Faricy said in a statement.The eligible items can be found by browsing here. Amazon said it expects the price negotiating feature will be offered for hundreds of thousands of new items beginning next year.

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Facebook: Improved Search Could Surface Embarrassing Old Posts

Facebook: Improved Search Could Surface Embarrassing Old Posts

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Consider this a warning to anyone who has ever posted something cringe-worthy on Facebook: The social network is rolling out an improved search function that has the potential to unearth your most embarrassing posts."With a quick search, you can get back to a fun video from your graduation, a news article you've been meaning to read, or photos from your friend’s wedding last summer," Tom Stocky, Facebook's vice president of search, said in a blog post.The new changes are expected to be implemented this week in the United States for iOS and desktop.While the update may be exciting for some, it also has the ability to quickly bring up your entire history on the social network, granted your privacy settings are set to share with friends or the entire public.For the early adopters of Facebook, that could mean up to a decade's worth of posts.Before you get trigger happy with the delete button, there are a few things you can do to make sure your privacy settings are exactly where you want them to be.It's possible to limit how far back other users can explore your timeline. Go to settings, then privacy and choose "limit old posts." This will change anything that was public or shared with friends of friends to "friends only."However, it's important to note that if a friend is tagged in a post, their friends will likely be able to still see it too.Also under the privacy settings tab, users are able to click "use activity log" and review everything they have been tagged in and are able to change who it is shared with.The timeline on the right side of the page can be used for quickly traveling back in time to adjust the settings on even the oldest posts in which you've been tagged.Finally, it's a great time to go through Facebook's three-step privacy check-up to ensure your settings are as open or iron clad as you want them to be.Go to settings and then choose "Privacy Checkup," where you'll be guided by a friendly blue dinosaur through three quick steps to make sure you're sharing with the right people.Twitter unveiled a similar feature last month that allows users to search every public tweet ever sent.

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Holiday Gifts You Shouldn’t Give at the Office

Holiday Gifts You Shouldn’t Give at the Office

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- When it comes to holiday gifts at the office, it's not just the thought that counts.Ken Wisnefski, CEO of Internet marketing firm WebiMax, based in Camden, New Jersey, learned that lesson the hard way."A few years back, I went through a lot of trouble getting everyone gift baskets with gourmet coffee, holiday nuts and cookies," Wisnefski told ABC News. "I heard a lot of people saying, 'Oh, we already have so many cookies. I don't want to eat too much.' And others were saying, 'I hate nuts.'"Wisnefski learned a lesson from the experience: While some people might be ecstatic if a co-worker bestowed a generous gift of gourmet coffee, others might prefer a spot of tea.Of course, Wisnefski's co-workers also might have been able to use a lesson or two in the etiquette of receiving a gift. No. 1: Don't insult the hand that feeds you."Most of the coffee mysteriously ended up in our common kitchen area as a donation," Wisnefski said. "I spent a lot of time trying to find different assortments and the actual gift baskets themselves, and clearly the recipients didn't love the gifts."Here are seven holiday gifts you might want to re-consider before bringing to your workplace gift exchange:1. Fruit Cake or Not-So-Tasty FoodThose store-bought holiday cookies may look festive, but you and Sarah in IT both know those calories won't be worth the cardboard taste."I would go so far as to say to not give any food," said James Pedderson, director of public relations for employment and coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. "People are so picky about food and with all of the allergies now, there’s almost no chance for success. At the very least, stick to the guideline: If you wouldn’t eat it yourself, don’t give it to someone else."2. Alcohol"While I wouldn’t mind receiving a nice bottle of scotch, you never know what a person’s history or personal feelings about alcohol might be," Pedderson said.3. Gifts that Give Unwanted AdviceSet aside the urge to passively aggressively tell your co-workers that they need a wardrobe upgrade or to improve themselves in some other way.4. Crass Joke GiftsUnless you are an 18-year-old working at Hot Topic, it's probably best to keep the toilet humor or sex jokes among your out-of-work social circle and away from any e-cards that can be forwarded to the whole company or your future employer.5. Cheap GoodsBeing frugal is a virtue, not a crime. With quick online delivery or store pick-up, last-minute gifts are everywhere. You can even pick up decent and affordable gifts at Walgreen's, which has dubbed itself "the season’s small gifting headquarters."In a survey of what 799 service providers wanted for the holidays, Walgreen's says -- despite Wisnefski's experience -- food and personal care sets are at the top of the hot list.6. Intimate GiftsYour colleague doesn't want to imagine being imagined in lingerie, so don't get too close to your co-worker's physical space.7. Complicated or Obsolete Technology"Technology is also something that people vary on and most of it goes unused," Wisnefski said.Pedderson had one other thought when it comes to what not to give co-workers at the office."I wouldn’t give anything you might give as a wedding or house-warming gifts," Pedderson said -- so no sets of barware, platters, serving bowls or vases.So what should you give? These days, Wisnefski said, he keeps it simple."Gift cards are something that everyone likes, especially if they are from 'larger' more visible brands," he said.His gift-giving consists of a "grab bag" of American Express gift cards, sprinkled with a few higher denomination cards."Everyone comes up and grabs their gift, and then the ones who won the bigger prizes are announced. Everyone loves it," he said. "It creates some buzz and it's always a winner."

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Wrapping Paper With Swastika Pattern Recalled by Walgreens

Wrapping Paper With Swastika Pattern Recalled by Walgreens

Courtesy: Cheryl Shapiro(NEW YORK) -- Wrapping paper that contains a swastika pattern in the trim is being recalled from stores nationwide after an outraged California shopper noticed it.Cheryl Shapiro and her grandson Eoin, 5 were shopping in a Walgreen's store on Dec. 4 in Northridge, California, when she stopped to look at some rolls of gift wrap. As the former interior designer gazed at them, her eyes widened at a blue and silver roll, noticing the swastikas engraved in it design."It blew me away," Shapiro told ABC News. "What the hell was that doing on there?"The swastika, once an ancient symbol of good luck and prosperity in many cultures, is now virtually synonymous of the murderous Nazi regime that co-opted it. "I said, 'I want it out of the store, but I wanted this to go national. I want this out of the stores nationally,'" Shapiro told ABC News.The manager removed the two rolls of the gift wrap from the rack and alerted the store's corporate headquarters she said."We're in the process of removing the product from our stores," Walgreens spokesman Phil Caruso told ABC News, adding that the company has initiated a process to prevent customers from purchasing the gift wrap at registers.The paper, adorned with two shades of blue and a silver shade, carries a Hallmark licensing tag. Hallmark did not return calls to ABC News for comment."How could the paper go through quality control and not be seen?" Shapiro asked.The wrapping paper is the latest item to be recalled because of cultural links to the Nazis or the Holocaust.Zara, a Spanish clothing brand removed one of its T-shirt designs this summer after complaints flooded in that the striped shirt with a gold star resembled the uniforms that people were forced to wear in Nazi Germany to formally identify themselves as Jewish. The same company also came into controversy in 2007 when one of its handbag lines featured a symbol resembling a swastika.Shapiro said she is impressed with how fast Walgreens responded to the issue, and that it has not ruined her holiday spirit."Not at all. We're much bigger than that. It made us stronger," she said.

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General Mills Bringing Back Popular ’90s Cereal French Toast Crunch

General Mills Bringing Back Popular ’90s Cereal French Toast Crunch

Photo Illustration by Joe Raedle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- General Mills will bring back their popular maple-flavored cereal French Toast Crunch, the company announced.In a post to their website, the company cited examples of tweets that they receive daily speaking glowingly about the cereal. Combine the social media response with a Facebook group and a petition created to bring back French Toast Crunch, and the company made the decision to unretire the breakfast favorite, which they announced on their Twitter account.

 

BREAKING: HUGE NEWS!! We're bringing back French Toast Crunch! http://t.co/MzvdGUZJxd pic.twitter.com/djGsRs2s6b

— General Mills (@GeneralMills) December 5, 2014

 

The company also created a Tumblr page for the cereal.

French Toast Crunch debuted in 1995 and was discontinued in 2006."We have been overwhelmed by the consumer conversations, requests and passion for the cereal to come back," Waylon Good, marketing manager for Big G said. "We value our fans and are so excited to be able to bring it back for them."By the end of January 2015, General Mills says the cereal will be back on grocery store shelves.

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Gas Prices Drop Ten Cents from Last Week

Gas Prices Drop Ten Cents from Last Week

FeelPic/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Department of Energy said Monday that the price of gas has fallen again, by about 10 cents since last week, and even more steeply, by 60 cents from this time last year.The average price of a gallon of regular gas dipped to $2.68 nationally. In Texas, the cost of a gallon fell below $2.50. Even in California, long one of the most expensive states in which to buy gas, the average price fell below $3.00 per gallon.Of the nine states the Energy Information Administration measures prices in, gas is most expensive in New York state, where the average price is $3.03.

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Expert Tips on How Much to Tip This Holiday Season

Expert Tips on How Much to Tip This Holiday Season

Purestock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It's the season to start shelling out the tips. From your hairstylist to housekeeper, teacher to doorman, how much to tip everyone in your life often feels like a faux pas waiting to happen. It's time to bring in the experts.Jacqueline Whitmore, an etiquette expert, author and founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach, Florida, offers these three tips, plus the dollar amount you should tip everyone on your list.1. Give what you can. Tips are appreciated, but not mandatory. If your budget is limited, opt for a small gift and a thank you note. If you're unsure of who can receive tips, call the company and ask whether there are specific guidelines. Someone in management will also be able to tell you whether a cash tip or gift is more appropriate and what amount is customary.2. Make a plan. Before you make a run to the bank, make a list of those people who have assisted you regularly. Once you know whom you'd like to thank, make a realistic budget of what you can afford to give. If you live in a major metropolitan area, the expected tipping range is slightly higher. Increase the tip for individuals with whom you have a friendship or those who go above and beyond the call of duty.3. Hand-deliver your tip. When possible, deliver your gift in person accompanied by a handwritten card. Freshly printed, crisp bills are ideal. Gifts should be delivered on or before Dec. 25, but may be given whenever you have contact with the person during the holiday season.

And as for how much to give:

Manicurist: $25 to $50 or a gift Hair stylist: $50 to $100 or a gift Barber: up to the cost of one haircut or a gift Personal trainer: up to the cost of one session or a gift Housekeeper: up to the cost of one visit Au pair or live-in nanny: one or two week's pay and a gift from your children Teacher: A gift card or gift certificate for up to $25, or pitch in with some of the other parents and buy a more expensive gift certificate Day-care provider: $20 to $70 each, plus a small gift from your child Babysitter: an evening's pay, plus a gift from your child Massage therapist: up to the cost of one session or a gift Superintendent: $20 to $80 or a gift, depending on how helpful your super has been to you Doorman: $15 to $100 Mail carrier: small gift or gift card up to $20 Newspaper carrier: $10 to $30 Sanitation worker: $10 to $30 each for private service; check your local municipality for regulations, as some areas may not allow tipping Yard or Garden Worker: $20 to $50 or a gift card Handyman: $15 to $50 or a gift card Pool cleaners: up to the cost of one cleaning or gift card Dog walker: up to one week's pay or a gift Pet Groomer: up to the cost of one session or a gift

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Today Is Green Monday, Third Biggest Shopping Day of Year

Today Is Green Monday, Third Biggest Shopping Day of Year

AndreyPopov./iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Shoppers are experiencing deja vu on Monday if they visit websites like Amazon or eBay. Just one week after Cyber Monday, e-retailers are offering promotions for another pseudo-holiday shopping day: Green Monday.And "green" has nothing to do with the environment. The moniker refers to the color of money.Green Monday is the second Monday of December, which is becoming a leading traffic and sales day for online shopping, according to a Walmart spokeswoman.

Online marketplace eBay started Green Monday to mark its busiest sales day in December, usually the second Monday of the month, according to MarketWatch. Its origins date back to 2007, according to PC World, when eBay noticed a surge in shopping activity in weeks leading to Christmas. Green Monday was the third-highest online shopping day of the 2012 holiday shopping season, according to comScore.

“This illustrated the change in consumer behavior and how peak shopping days extended past Black Friday,” eBay spokeswoman Kari Ramirez told ABC News.

Last year, Green Monday e-commerce revenue amounted to almost 50 percent of Cyber Monday revenue, making it one of the top grossing holiday shopping days, according to e-commerce analytics firm Custora. This Cyber Monday, people spent about $2.65 billion, up 16 percent from a year ago, according to Adobe Digital Index.“It is likely that this year Green Monday will be even bigger, thanks to the ‘stretching holiday shopping’ trend,” said Custora CEO Corey Pierson.“Bottom line, online shopping is now spread over multiple days during the holiday season, and not just ‘Cyber Monday,’” Pierson said.Amazon's Green Monday deals will take place in the next four days, including "dozens" of limited time lightning deals on its website. The giant e-commerce website's deals include 30 percent off certain clothing and accessories with the promo code "GRNMON14" and half off Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch tablets, starting at $139.A spokeswoman for Walmart said the retailer has offered Green Monday deals for the last few years. On Monday, the company is bringing back online its largest quantities of the top-selling Snow Glow Elsa Doll for $28.88.

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Wall Street Posts Losses as Oil Prices Drop

Wall Street Posts Losses as Oil Prices Drop

JaysonPhotography/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- After Friday's close brought all-time highs, Wall Street opened the new week on a down note Monday.The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 106.31 to 17,852.48.The Nasdaq slipped to 4,740.69, 40.07 lower than it opened, and the S&P 500 dropped 15.05 to 2,060.32.Bloomberg News reports that oil prices continue to drop after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries opted to keep their production levels steady, despite an increased supply of oil.

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Five Celebs Who May Be Earning Less Than Grumpy Cat

Five Celebs Who May Be Earning Less Than Grumpy Cat

Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Is Grumpy Cat earning more money than Lady Gaga these days? The movie and product-endorsing feline that started as an Internet sensation has reportedly earned her owner nearly $100 million in two years, beating the earnings of some notable Hollywood A-listers.Tabatha Bundesen, the owner of Grumpy Cat, told the British Express that her pet is "unstoppable.""I was able to quit my job as a waitress within days of her first appearance on social media and the phone simply hasn't stopped ringing since," Bundesen, of Morristown, Arizona, told the Express.Tardar Sauce is the cat's real name and she was born on April 4, 2012, her owner says on grumpycats.com. She became an Internet hit after her photo was posted on Reddit on Sept. 22, 2012, followed by YouTube videos. Bundesen and her agent did not respond to a request for comment from ABC News confirming Grumpy Cat's earnings.Among the trademarked Grumpy Cat products are a best-selling book, Grumppuccino iced coffee and the Lifetime movie Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever.In May 2013, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Bundesens have earned a low-six-figure sum off the cat at that point, which excludes the movie deal.The Washington Post estimated this past June that Grumpy Cat’s annual potential earnings just from YouTube range from $5,100 to $42,400 a year.

Here are five celebrities who may be earning less than Grumpy Cat:1. Jeff Gordon2014 Earnings: $18.7 million, according to Forbes, $5 million of which was in endorsements.2. Gwyneth Paltrow2014 Earnings: $19 million, according to Forbes, making Paltrow the fourth highest-paid actress this year.3. Britney Spears2014 Earnings: $20 million, according to Forbes. Britney Spears is the tenth highest-paid woman in music this year, thanks in large part to her recurring Las Vegas show.4. Serena Williams2014 Earnings: $22 million, according to Forbes, half of which was in endorsements. The tennis star is the 55th highest-paid athlete in the world. She has had $56 million in career prize money so far, says Forbes.5. Lady Gaga2014 Earnings: $33 million, according to Forbes. Musician Lady Gaga's earnings continue to fall from her peak in 2011 of $90 million.

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‘Green Monday’ Has Arrived, ‘Super Saturday’ on Deck

‘Green Monday’ Has Arrived, ‘Super Saturday’ on Deck

Fuse/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Are you panicking because the shopping days before Dec. 25 are dwindling fast?Part of the problem may be because you missed out on all the sales immediately before, during and after Thanksgiving.Well, fear not.  The best is yet to come, according to various retail groups, as stores gear up for "Green Monday" and "Super Saturday.""Green Monday" is the second Monday of the month, which happens to be Dec. 8. The National Retail Federation says stores "plan to tap email marketing, home page messaging, search and social media to entice customers with specials such as free shipping and site-wide percent off coupons.""Super Saturday," meanwhile, falls on the last Saturday before Christmas, Dec. 20. Retailers will be targeting last-minute shoppers with perhaps the best savings of the entire holiday season.Typically, about $15 billion of business is done on "Super Saturday."

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A Holiday Bonus Could Be in Your Cards

A Holiday Bonus Could Be in Your Cards

iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) — If your company hasn't paid you a year-end bonus during the last several years, that could all change this month.Chicago-based outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas says that the economy has apparently picked up enough that a solid majority of employers will offer their workers a bonus or some kind of token of their appreciation in 2014.According to its survey, Challenger, Gray & Christmas claims that nearly eight out of 10 human resource professionals say a gift or bonus will be offered, a significant increase from the 53 percent in 2013.Of those that are handing out something extra for their employees, half say it will entail traditional bonuses, while the other 50 percent will dole out gifts of under $100 in the form of a check, gift card or a present.Meanwhile, 52 percent of small business owners will offer their workers a bonus, according to a Bank of America Small Business Report.

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A Festive Way for Your Face to Get Torn Apart

A Festive Way for Your Face to Get Torn Apart

Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Tired of ordinary Christmas wrapping paper? A new company called "Gift Wrap My Face" lets customers put their faces or anybody else's on decorative holiday paper.Graphic artists Aryel Rivero and Vanessa Clavijo, a husband-and-wife team, came up with the concept four years ago when, as a gag, Aryel made gift wrap showing his face.Last Thursday, the couple officially launched their website, which enables other holiday revelers to do the same.The process begins by selecting a pattern and uploading photos to the site. Then, simply use the clipping tool to snip the part of the photo that you’d like printed on the gift wrap and make the purchase.For $14.99, customers can order one 25-inch roll with up to four images of their choice. Order four or more rolls and the price drops to $12.99 each.“The majority of photos that people send in are faces,” Rivero said. “We’ve also had dogs, President Obama, and even Kim Kardashian’s butt.”Rivero said he and his wife plan to donate a portion of their proceeds to anti-bullying efforts.

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