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This Week in Consumer News: Playing Mario Kart Could Save Your Grandma

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By Stephanie Sarno, dealnews Features Assistant

Tired of being bombarded with a constant flow of unimportant information day in and day out? We're here to help sort through all the noise; like a real life cheat sheet, this handy roundup of consumer news from the past week highlights what's important for savvy shoppers to know. While some of these stories are just outright amusing, in many ways they can also help keep your wallet happy, too. This week:

  • Netflix Becomes More Family-Friendly
    The popular streaming service now allows subscribers to create up to five separate profiles on a single account there by creating a queue and suggesting shows tailored to their individual viewing preferences. Now when your kids watch Dumbo, you won't have to suffer through strange suggestions for other Disney films amongst seasons of Breaking Bad and Mad Men. [Hollywood Reporter]

  • LEGO Creates a Simpsons Series
    Lovers of little bricks and cartoon characters can rejoice, as LEGO announced that it's producing a special series based on The Simpsons. This new series won't launch until 2014 though, so in the meantime, you'll have to get by with your own version of that iconic couch. [ABC News]

  • Storytellers Make the Most Money on eBay
    According to Harvard Business Review, there's a science behind eBay selling, and a rather popular sales strategy — telling an engaging backstory for the product — might be the most lucrative. According to the study, the value of an object is not entirely found in the object itself, but in the meaning behind it. As such, sellers with compelling stories sold their wares for on average 2700% more than what they were worth. Bonus points to anyone who can create a sob story to accompany our broken digital camera from 2008. [Harvard Business Review]

  • Pinterest Now Provides Price Alerts for Users
    It's not surprising that Pinterest would want to capitalize on its community of people who are publicly lusting after a variety of products. As such, the company has developed a tool that tracks the price of pinned objects and alerts users when they go on sale. Think of it like a personal shopper that you don't have to pay for. [TechCrunch]

  • Grandma Is Safe, Thanks to Mario Kart
    After his great grandmother passed out while driving 60 miles an hour, a 10-year-old in Colorado grabbed hold of the wheel and steered the car out of oncoming traffic. The hero told reporters (in adorable fashion, we imagine) that he was able to drive to safety thanks to all that time he spent playing Mario Kart. Gamers, remember this story the next time someone criticizes you for playing at all hours of the day. [CNET]

  • The CBS and Time Warner Saga Continues
    In the wake of heated disputes between CBS and Time Warner Cable, TWC chairman Glen Britt announced that CBS stations should be available to customers a la carte. This option would allow subscribers to choose which specific CBS stations, like TMC and Showtime, they would like included in their channel packages. [The Verge]

  • Spotify Users Can Browse Tailored Playlists, Share Music in a Facebook-y Way
    Spotify users can now browse themed playlists in Spotify's mobile app. These playlists are geared towards specific needs, like music for workouts, mornings, and certain moods. Users must have a $10 a month subscription to use the app, although this feature may add value to the otherwise flawed mobile offering from Spotify. [CNET]

    Another new and free feature on the desktop Spotify app "threads" conversations between users, making it easier to share songs. This feature will function more like a Facebook or SMS conversation, and users will be able to access past conversation threads. Sound enticing? Check out our music streaming flowchart to see if Spotify is a good fit for you. [Gizmodo]

  • JetBlue Adds First Class Option for Flyers
    JetBlue is well-known all-coach airline, but beginning next year, it will offer first class options on flights between New York and California. Starting in the second quarter of 2014, flights aboard the Airbus A321 will feature 16 lie-flat seats with televisions, massage features, and cushions with adjustable firmness. However, JetBlue isn't the only airline looking to make the change: American Airlines, Delta Airlines, and United Airlines are reportedly also looking to put lie-flat beds in their first class cabins. [TwinCities.com]

  • Microsoft Slashes the Price of the Surface Pro
    As of last week, Microsoft has reduced the price of its Surface Pro tablets by $100. You can now purchase the 64GB for $799 and the 128GB tablet for $899. Microsoft has recently also lowered the price of the Surface RT by 30%, prompting many to assume that the manufacturer will soon refresh the tablets in the near future. [The Verge]

Follow @dealnews on Twitter for the latest roundups, price trend info, and stories. You can also sign up for an email alert for all dealnews features.
Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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