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Consuming Interests
A blog for the smart consumer
Marylanders welcome gas prices below $3 a gallon

Tatiana Fish lives in Pigtown, works a restaurant job in Fells Point, attends classes at the Community College of Baltimore County and usually visits her father twice a week in Montgomery County.

Meeting all her obligations requires the 23-year-old to regularly fill her gas tank, she said — making the sign advertising $2.99-a-gallon gas at the Royal Farms store on Russell Street a welcome sight Monday.

"It's definitely nice to think I'm not going to be spending $80 on gas this week," Fish said, which she did over the summer, when prices were closer to $3.60 a gallon.

While gas prices are normally lower in the fall than in the summer, they have dropped sharply in recent weeks in Maryland and across the country thanks to a dive in the global price of crude oil.

Crude oil is selling now for just over $80 a barrel, down from more than $100 as recently as July, driven by global supply and demand — a strong supply of crude oil, including in the United States, and weak international...

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Mall in Columbia announces 6 new accessory, apparel retailers

Six new apparel and clothing retailers will join the Mall in Columbia for the holiday season, mall owner General Growth Properties announced Friday.

The new retailers are:

Victoria's Secret Pink: a 4,506 square-foot store will open in the lower level this month. The company sells apparel, undergarments and accessories geared toward young women. House of Hoops by Foot Locker: a 6,208 square-foot store will open on the lower level this month. The store is a specialized basketball shoe store. Watches

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Holiday season spending and hiring will increase, surveys find

Many of the nation's biggest retailers plan to sharply increase hiring for the holiday shopping season as consumers look to spend more, according to reports out today.

Macy's, Kohl's, Walmart, Amazon and Game Stop are among the retailers planning seasonal hiring increases, by 45 percent for Kohl's and 47 percent for Game Stop. Target, Toys R Us and JC Penney plan to hire the same number as last year, according to figures compiled by outplacement company Challenger, Gray

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Stores announce Black Friday hours for Thanksgiving day

It seems that the Thanksgiving holiday is well on its way to becoming the new "Black Friday."

Retailers already are announcing their hours for Thanksgiving weekend, the traditional kick-off to the holiday shopping season, and the shift toward opening earlier and earlier on Thanksgiving is continuing.

Macy's will open most of its department stores on Thanksgiving night at 6 p.m., two hours earlier than last year's 8 p.m. Thanksgiving opening.

The stores at Arundel Mills also will open at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 27, but will close at 1 a.m. before reopening on the actual Black Friday at 6 a.m., the Hanover mall said today. Retailers among more than 200 at the mall include Best Buy, Coach Factory Store, The Disney Store Outlet, H&M, Michael Kors Outlet, New York

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Hair Cuttery will donate haircuts to vets on Veterans Day

Get a haircut at Hair Cuttery on Veterans Day and help a veteran.

The chain of hair salons announced today that it will donate a free haircut certificate to a veteran for every adult haircut purchased on Tuesday, Nov. 11.

It will be the 15th year for the chain's Share-a-Haircut program, in which the company has offered free haircuts to the homeless, schoolchildren and victims of domestic abuse. This year, the 900-store chain will partner with local veterans groups in hopes of reaching 25,000 veterans.

"We hope in some small way we are able to help those who have sacrificed so much for our country," Dennis Ratner, founder and CEO of Hair Cuttery said in the announcement.




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Dickey's Barbecue opens Thursday in Abingdon

Dickey's Barbecue Pit, a Dallas-based barbecue chain, will open a location in Abingdon on Thursday.

Former Harford County Public Schools teacher and administrator Mark Buzminsky will operate the fast-casual restaurant on Emmorton Road. He plans to open several more locations in the area.

Dickey's was picked this year as a Top 10 growth chain by Nation's Restaurant News. Buzminsky has been looking at potential franchises for three years and thought the Dickey's concept would be a good fit near schools and military bases.

Dickey's also has Maryland locations in Gambrills and Germantown.

As part of a three-day grand opening, Abingdon customers will have a chance to win free barbecue for a year. The first 50 eat-in diners will get gift cards worth up to $50, and on Saturday, the eatery will serve $2 pulled pork barbecue sandwiches from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The chain was started in 1941 by Travis Dickey specializing in slow smoked barbecue and has grown to more than 450 locations in 42 states....

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