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Dunkin’ Donuts giving out free iced coffee today in Florida

It’s a good day to be a Floridian, especially if you love coffee. 

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Dunkin’ Donuts is offering free iced coffee to Florida residents Monday to show its appreciation to customers after the turbulent hurricane season, which forced many locations to close or modify hours. 

“We are very thankful to Florida residents for being understanding as we worked to get our locations back up and running following the hurricane season, and we are glad that we are able to show our appreciation by offering a free beverage,” Melissa Goulette, field marketing manager of Dunkin' Brands, Inc., said in a news release.

You won’t need a coupon but hours and participation may vary by location. 

Online sales top $5 billion on Black Friday

There were plenty of crowds on Black Friday, but the shoppers that stayed home and took advantage of online sales is on the rise, CNN reported.

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American shoppers spent a record $5 billion online in 24 hours, an increase of 16.9 percent in dollars spent on the internet from Black Friday in 2016. Those figures were released by Adobe Digital Insights, which tracks 80 percent of online spending at the 100 largest retail websites in the United States, CNN reported. 

Amazon said Friday that orders were being placed “at record levels,” with more than 200,000 toys sold in the first five hours of the day, CNN reported. Amazon did not provide sales figures for the entire day.

While sales boomed online, purchases at malls and large retailers remained strong, CNN reported. Estimates from ShopperTrak, a data analytics company that measures the number of shoppers at stores, said sales at those outlets decreased “less than 1 percent” compared to Black Friday in 2016, CNN reported.

Adobe predicts that Cyber Monday will be even bigger than Black Friday, bringing in as much as $6 billion in digital sales, CNN reported.

ShopperTrak was optimistic for the holiday shopping season, since there are four Saturdays in December before Christmas. ShopperTrak added that after Black Friday, Dec. 23 and Dec. 16 -- both Saturdays -- will be the second and third busiest shopping days of the season.

World’s biggest shopping day tops $20 billion 

The biggest shopping day of the season has been a record-setter, CNN reported Saturday.

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But it’s not Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba said Saturday that sales topped $20 billion of sales on Singles Day, topping the $17.8 billion collected during last year’s sale.

Singles Day has for years racked up more sales than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined, CNN reported. 

By comparison, American shoppers last year spent more than $5 billion shopping online on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, according to Adobe, which tracks such data. Shoppers also spent $3.39 billion on Cyber Monday last year, the largest single online shopping day in the U.S., Adobe said.

Earlier Saturday, Alibaba said shoppers spent $1 billion in just 2 minutes and $18 billion in 13 hours. 

Singles Day started out as an informal holiday in China celebrating single people on a day that epitomizes not being paired off: 11/11. Alibaba turned it into a festival of discount deals in 2009.

Will Little Debbie trim treat from its roster?

Is Little Debbie going to discontinue one of its iconic snacks?

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A tweet by the company might lead one to think that a choice may have to be made.

Wednesday morning the company tweeted “Which one?” and a secondary phrase “One gotta go forever.” The tweet was accompanied by four favorites: Christmas Tree Cakes, Nutty Buddy, Oatmeal Creme Pies and Honey Buns.

On Monday, the company tweeted, “How ready are you for Christmas Tree Cakes?” Perhaps not enough people responded, because three days later Christmas Tree Cakes found themselves among the four apparently endangered baked goods, WJW reported.

Twitter users began immediately responding, giving their votes for which one should get the boot. It’s going to be a tough decision.

The responses were varied but fervent:

Amazon launches Black Friday deals early

Feeding Americans’ insatiable appetite for exclusive deals, Amazon has decided not to keep its online shoppers waiting until Black Friday. Instead, the digital shopping juggernaut kicked off its Black Friday deals Nov. 1.

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The early launch of Black Friday is a part of Amazon’s “50 Days of Holiday Deals” campaign, which will encompass deals on toys, electronics, home goods and a variety of hottest gifts.

“Customers shop Amazon year-round for our great prices, unbelievable selection, and free shipping on over 100 million products,” Doug Herrington, Amazon’s senior vice president of North American Retail, said in a statement.

“During the holiday season, customers love to discover great deals and must-have holiday gifts for friends and family.”

Beginning Nov. 8, Prime members will also have access to Amazon Key, the new service that will allow eligible packages to be securely delivered inside their homes while they’re out and about.

Though various discounts and deals will be running between now and the official Black Friday, Amazon listed some initial deals in their release on Nov. 1.

‘McVegan’ burger makes debut in Finland

McDonald’s introduced its “McVegan” burger on Wednesday, but vegan lovers will have to travel a long way to find it for now.

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The fast-food giant said its newest menu item will only be available at one restaurant — Tampere, Finland — and for a limited time, Elite Daily reported. The burger will be available through Oct. 21, Fox News reported.

The burger consists of mustard, pickles, onion, lettuce, tomato and a soy-based patty on a sesame seed bun. Food & Wine reported the McDonald's Finland also serves vegan fries, but that's just because their fry recipe is vegan by default (McDonald's fries in the U.S. are made with a hydrolyzed milk, and therefore not technically vegan), Fox News reported.

A McDonald’s spokesman told Today that the company was not planning to offer the burger anywhere else — for now.

Sandusky’s son pleads guilty to 14 counts of child sexual abuse

A son of former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky pleaded guilty Friday to charges he pressured a teenage girl to send him naked photos and asked her teen sister to give him oral sex, CNN reported.

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Jeffrey Sandusky's plea deal comes a week before his trial was slated to begin on the charges, and nearly six years after his father was arrested in a child molestation case. Sandusky, 41, pleaded guilty to all 14 counts, including solicitation of statutory sexual assault and solicitation of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, the Centre County district attorney’s office said.

The counts included soliciting sex from a child younger than 16 and soliciting child pornography, CNN reported. According to the district attorney's office, Sandusky will become a Tier III sex offender, the highest level in Pennsylvania.

As part of the plea deal, Sandusky will spend up to six years in state prison, but the judge could impose as much as eight years. The plea deal comes nearly six years after his father was arrested in a child molestation case that shook Penn State.

Both victims said Sandusky tried to use different excuses to try to get them to participate, including saying that he "had studied medicine," CNN reported.

"This outcome also ensures the victims need not suffer the trauma and re-victimization of testifying at trial and importantly, the defendant will have to comply with strict sex offender registration requirements for the remainder of his life," District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller said.

Sandusky's defense attorney could not be reached for comment, CNN reported.

Oreo to unveil candy canes for Christmas

It is still six months until Christmas, but Oreo cookies could be part of your holiday tree decorations.

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The cookie maker is unveiling candy canes for Christmas, Country Living reported.

The Candy Hunting Instagram account revealed that Oreo Cookies & Creme Candy Canes will be available in time for Christmas. However, Nabisco, the parent company for Oreo, has not confirmed the product’s release.

Candy Hunting conceded in its post that “I highly doubt these will taste like Oreos, but hey, why not brand everything with Oreo to boost sales?”

KFC debuts romance novel for Mother’s Day

When it comes to a love story, Colonel Sanders might just have a leg up on the competition.

Or a wing. Or even a thigh. 

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KFC is touting the Colonel as a dignified hero with his silver mane and distinctive goatee in its first foray into romantic literature. Sanders becomes “a handsome sailor with a mysterious past” in “Tender Wings of Desire,” USA Today reported.

The fast-food fried-chicken chain is offering the novella as a Mother’s Day promotion. The book can be downloaded for free from Amazon, and 100 Facebook users will be offered a hardback copy, USA Today reported.

“The only thing better than being swept away by the deliciousness of our Extra Crispy Chicken is being swept away by Harland Sanders himself,” said George Felix, KFC’s United States advertising director. “So this Mother’s Day, the bucket of chicken I get for my wife will come with a side of steamy romance novel.”

While KFC touts its chicken as finger-lickin’ good, the company is approaching its book tastefully. The book will mirror the prudish era of Victorian England, USA Today reported. Madeline Parker is a bored housewife who is trying to escape her loveless marriage at stately Parker Manor.

As one might expect, the Colonel delivers, sweeping Madeline off her feet. The chicken might be fried or even extra crispy, but KFC is hinting that the passion between Sanders and Madeline Parker will be steamy.

Rob Lowe debuts as KFC’s newest colonel Sunday

Meet the new KFC colonel — actor Rob Lowe.

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The actor has played many roles through the years — as Sam Seaborn in “The West Wing” and Chris Traeger in “Parks and Recreation,” for example — but the former Brat Pack member who also starred in “St. Elmo’s Fire” is branching out into fast food.

Lowe will portray Colonel Harland Sanders beginning Sunday, donning the colonel’s white suit, black string tie and trademark goatee — but he also will be wearing a space suit, USA Today reported.

Lowe, 53, will be promoting KFC’s Zinger chicken sandwich, the restaurant chain announced Friday.

“My grandfather was the head of the Ohio chapter of the National Restaurant Association in the 1960s and took me to meet Colonel Harland Sanders when I was a kid,” Lowe told USA Today. “It was a big deal. I thought this would be a nice homage to both Colonel Sanders and to my grandfather.”

Among the other seven celebrities who have portrayed the founder of the Finger Lickin’ Good chicken are Darrell Hammond, Norm Macdonald, Jim Gaffigan and actors George Hamilton and Billy Zane.

Lowe, 53, has previously done commercials for DIRECTV.

The spicy Zinger sandwich will debut Monday in the United States after a 33-year stint overseas, KFC said. In a video promoting the sandwich, Lowe steps to the podium in his space suit and proclaims that “The time has come to explore beyond our known horizons.”

Lowe ends the video by asking, “Can you actually launch KFC’s world-famous Zinger chicken sandwich into space?”

His answer? “We certainly hope so. Our entire marketing campaign depends on it.

“But when we succeed, we will lick our fingers. We will lick our fingers good.”

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