CONSUMER CATCH-UP: How much Americans spend on Halloween candy, a simple way to cut your water bill by 13 percent, and Congress urged to reevaluate airline 'family seating' policies

ByMichael Finney and Simone Chavoor via KGO logo
Friday, September 27, 2019
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CONSUMER CATCH-UP: A new survey reveals how much Americans spend on Halloween candy, a simple way to cut your water bill by 13 percent, and Consumer Reports urges Congress to reevaluate airline 'family seating' policies.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Turning off the tap while brushing your teeth can cut your water bill by 13 percent

The average American wastes about 900 cups of water every week by leaving the water running while brushing their teeth.

According to a survey conducted by Red Fuse Communications, about 42 percent of people admit to leaving the faucet on. Each round of tooth brushing with the water on can equal four gallons of water wasted. However, by just turning off the water, the savings can add up. A family of four can conserve about 11,000 gallons per year -- saving up to 13 percent on their water bill, says David LaFrance, CEO of the American Water Works association.

How much are Americans spending on Halloween?

According to the National Retail Federation's annual survey, U.S. consumers are expected to spend $2.6 billion on Halloween candy, or, about $25 per person on average.

With other Halloween purchases like costumes, decorations and greeting cards, spending for the holiday is expected to be $8.8 billion, down from $9 billion last year; an average $86.27 per person.

Out of more than 7,400 polled by the NRF survey, 68% of Americans said they plan to celebrate with 69% saying they will hand out candy, 49% decorating homes and 47% dressing in costume. The survey also found that up to 25% of Americans' holiday plans are influenced by social media, such as Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.

"Spending hasn't changed much over the past few years, but we are seeing a noticeable increase in consumers whose Halloween purchases are inspired by their friends, neighbors and even celebrities on social media," said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.

Consumer Reports urges Congress to reevaluate airline "family seating" policies

Consumer Reports wrote a letter to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure this week, urging Congress to reevaluate the airline industry's "family seating policy" regulations.

What consumers may not know is that parents are not guaranteed a seat next to their child during a flight. To ensure they'll be seated next to their child, parents often must pay an extra fee to reserve seats.

Consumer Reports uncovered more than 100 consumer complaints in documents from the Department of Transportation. In the complaints, parents express concern for their child's safety while seated next to a stranger on a flight. In 2016, Congress directed the Department of Transportation to review airline family seating policies to ensure that young children can sit with their families on airplanes at no extra cost.

Three years later, the Department of Transportation still has not asked airlines to make changes to their family seating policies; instead they added a section to their website offering advice to families about sitting together. DOT claims this is not a serious issue because it is only 1% of complaints, but parent disagree.

In the meantime, Consumer Reports advises parents to read the fine print, call the airline, and appeal at the gate to ensure parents get a seat next to their children.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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