Category Archives: Finances

Athletic ability  (or lack thereof)

​It’s like looking in a mirror…

Giving credit where credit is due

We hear about bad customer service all the time.

I want to highlight some amazing treatment I received from Miranda, a live chat representative at Discover Card.

discover logoAs most of you probably know, I earn ‘cash back’ for using my Discover Card — a percentage of my monthly purchases.  I can take that cash back as money; use it to pay online purchases; or buy gift cards from partner retailers.

I am a movie junkie…so I buy AMC Theatre gift packs every time.

amc theatresFor $20, I get two movie passes and a $5 gift card for concessions.

In New York City, that’s a $40 value since our movies costs so much more.

It’s a great deal.

Recently I was using some of those $5 gift cards at my local AMC theatre concession stand, and they didn’t work. I tried one after the other…

Nothing.

I used the live chat feature at Discover.com and told Miranda my troubles.  When she found out that six of my $5 gift cards were sickly, she immediately sent me six complete AMC Movie Theatre gift packs.

That’s $120 worth of gift packets — $240 by NYC standards — for a mere $30 worth of bad cards for my inconvenience.  Now, that’s amazing customer service — above and beyond what I expected.

Thanks, Miranda. (I gave you a great evaluation.)

The little people

I have often dreamed — and schemed –about winning the lottery.

image

How I would react. What I would buy. How my life would change.

This week I won the Powerball — albeit $4, but a win nonetheless — and learned something new to add to my imaginary lottery list:

How my family would glom onto me.

I won a lousy four bucks, and they all wanted a piece. I mean, after the $2 ticket price, the profits wre slim to none. But they still wanted their cut. So if I won a multi-million dollar jackpot, it seems pretty clear…

Changing my phone number is now job one.

Cash only, please

It’s a well-known principle of sales — don’t ask the customer if they want a product.

Ask them to choose between product A or product B.

Well, look at how some crafty salespeople are making  this thinking pay off  — literally — at the check-out counter.

tip as survey question

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(And the correct answer is, of course, “Harry Potter.”)

My green initiative (cont.)

If you’ve read The Sticky Egg this week, you know I’m playing the lotto again —  ’cause the jackpot is huge — even though I know a big city chick like myself has little-to-no chance.

Some folks have supported my views; others wanted more evidence, which I am happy to provide below.

Exhibit A:  The list of lottery winners over the past 12 months from my New York City neighborhood, courtesy of nylottery.org.  (Hint:  I live on the west side of Central Park…near the red balloon.)

LotteryMap

That’s of any dollar amount, people.  Encouraging, don’t you think?

Exhibit B: I played Mega Millions yesterday, even though it had a paltry $12 million jackpot. Didn’t win. Again.

(No one else did either…but still.)

Exhibit C: I have a ticket for tonight’s $235 million Powerball jackpot — the impetus for my renewed interest in the lottery.  If there are any lottery officials reading this —

About time for some random winners in my ‘hood…don’t cha think?

Color me green

There’s another big Powerball jackpot looming on Wednesday — $235 million — so I’ll be buying a ticket along with every other optimist out there.

Except I’m not so optimistic this time.

lotteryI’ve seen who wins the lottery, and it’s not people who live in Manhattan. The system maybe random, but let’s face it —

In this case ‘random’ appears to like small town stories.  I’ve decided I need to take a train out of town and buy my ticket to have any kind of chance.

So, where should I go before Wednesday’s drawing?  Remember —

We’re looking for local color that attracts GREEN.

Priceless

Ripped from the headlines in jolly ol’ England…

Downton Abbey meets Occupy Wall Street!

Manchester resident Steph Pike was arrested for aggravated trespass while protesting outside a Barclays Bank.

Friends say she was conducting a peaceful protest as a member ‘UK Uncut,’ a grassroots group formed to highlight ‘corporate tax dodging’ and alternatives to the government’s spending cuts.

Police say she was arrested to preempt the aggravated trespass that was clearly being established.

Seriously?

While I’m sure her presence outside the window was aggravating to certain Barclays employees, any charges of trespass are trumped up at best.

Me? I’d charge her with a keen sense of humor, creativity and — I gotta say it…

Balls.

Shirt off your back

The rich pay fewer taxes, and celebrities get free clothes — just some of life’s many injustices.

But you would think — if you were one of those lucky celebs — you’d wear free clothing that was a) good-looking and b) looked good on you.

Case in point:  Express has been giving away the same blue-and-red striped dress to a lot of young actresses in Hollywood.  Take a look-see:

Now, with the exception of January Jones (who is many months pregnant right now), these are some of the skinniest women on the planet..and yet the broad, horizontal stripes make them appear short and wide and thick, which I doubt was the goal.

(Imagine what this dress would look like on someone of average size, height and weight.  No, I take that back…don’t.)

I know it’s free, ladies, but that doesn’t mean you have to wear it.  Your jobs all pay pretty well.  Although you may have forgotten how, you can pay for your own clothing…just like the rich can pay more taxes.

(Well, it’s fun to think about anyway…isn’t it?)

Attitude adjustment

I wasn’t the big winner in the Fancy Farm Picnic car raffle.

The chances were slim, I know.  But anytime I enter a raffle or play the lottery, I seriously think I am going to win.

Crazy, right?

I’ve read the odds on the Mega Millions drawing.  It’s some insane figure like 1 in 175,711,536.  And yet, on the extremely rare occasions I buy a lottery ticket — or a raffle ticket for the Fancy Farm Picnic, where the odds are a wee bit better…

I really think I’m gonna win.

Does everyone who plays the lottery feel such certainty when they lay their money on the counter?  They’re investing — and losing — funds on a more regular basis, so maybe not.

But when the lottery says “you can’t win if you don’t play”…

I expect to win.

Travel tips

Have you spent the morning after the 4th perusing your friends’ vacation snaps online?

I know I have.

I stayed in Manhattan this year, but many folks left the city to find their bliss.  The question is: how did they decide whether to drive or fly?

I found a nifty calculator on BeFrugal.com that helps you compare the cost and time of both modes of transportation, so you can make the best choice for every trip.

Just enter your starting and ending destinations, the length of your stay, even the estimated price of hotels along the way if you were to drive.  The calculator will show you the relative cost of the trip by car and plane in dollars and hours.

It even tells you the carbon footprint for each — my, they’ve thought of everything!

Well…not everything.

Which is why I would like to propose my own travel calculator….which I believe simplifies things quite a bit.  You only have to answer two questions.

  1. Who is paying for the trip?  If the answer is “me,” proceed to TRAIN  or BUS.  If the answer is “someone else,” proceed to PLANE.
  2. How long will it take to drive?  IF the answer is under 2 hours, proceed to TRAIN.  If the answer is more than 2 hours, proceed to PLANE.

I hope this has been helpful.