A Random Act of Kindness

Yesterday I went to My Organic Market (MOM) to grab a few items for a trip today. Upon completing my shopping, I walked up to the cashier to check-out. One customer was ahead of me.

After this customer paid for her items, she realized she forgot to use a $5.00 off card. The customer asked the cashier if she could apply the $5.00 off card to her completed transaction. The cashier replied, sorry, no.

The customer appeared really disappointed. The cashier reminded the customer that the $5.00 off card expired in a few days. The customer responded I know and walked away.

The cashier then rang up my purchases. The total – $15.24. As I pulled out $16.00 to deliver to the cashier, that other customer returned and gave ME her $5.00 off card. Both the cashier and I commented about such a kind act. After accepting the card, I again thank this customer. With $5.00 off, my total came to $10.24 and I handed the cashier $11.00.

As I walked out the store, that customer was getting into a car. I thanked her a third time for her kindness.


Which would you choose?

Free checking or cash reward for debit card usage? These were the choices USAA presented to members who participated in a survey (I didn’t participate). The overwhelming majority of members preferred free checking (yes, my fellow USAA members are smart).

What prompted USAA to this point, where it would continue to offer one, but not both? The change in federal law capping the fees banks could charge merchants when customers paid by debit card.

Yes, folks, reward program and cash back is funded from something. It’s true – you get nothing for free. Thus the end of cash reward for using the debit card.

It still exists!

What? The honor system.

Last Thursday I sent an email to the Archivist of Edgefield County, South Carolina requesting three documents. Received a reply from her today, explaining the fee schedule, the total cost of my request, and where to send payment by check. In the last line of the paragraph the Archivist wrote, “Please let us know if you want us to mail your order – we will need your address.”

In my reply I thanked the Archivist and added, “I will print your response with check I will mail tomorrow.”

The Archivist responded, “I can put your package in the mail today if you will send me your address. We go by the honor system, so we send out the material before we get the check.”

Wow. How many businesses and government agencies have such an honor system? Definitely none of the government agencies in the District of Columbia.

Nice to know the honor system still exists.

I shouldn’t have but I did

Since May of this year I have set aside $100 per pay period as a principal payment on the 2nd trust.

Yesterday during lunch I drove to a tiny shopping strip to purchase a few items at a Natural Foods store and to pick up a treat for my dog. And I told myself, I will not stop at REI.

When I arrived at the parking lot near the grocery store, an employee approached and asked if I intended to shop at the store. I replied yes. He explained the store is closed due to construction, apologized for the inconvenience, and gave me a card with $5 off during my next visit (must use by 27 July 2011).

So I visited the pet store and purchased the treat for my dog.

Having some extra time, I walked into REI.

I saw clearance signs on racks when I entered so I walked to the women’s section.

I saw several Capri pants and tried on six pairs. I needed some pants because I basically don’t have any. I have budgeted my money so tightly, have allocated my pay to multiple categories, that I have no extra money for clothing. I added the discounted price of three pants and the subtotal was under $100. When I paid for them, the total amount was $99.21.

I have mixed feelings about spending that money designated for the 2nd trust but I needed those pants.

I may have to revise my budget!

The Great Recovery

The Great Recession has definitely over-stayed its welcome. There is still high unemployment, lots of foreclosures, no help for “Main Street” but tons of assistance for “Wall Street.”

But there is hope. At least according to Dave Ramsey.

This Thursday, July 21st is The Great Recovery Kickoff Event.

What is The Great Recovery? According to Dave Ramsey it “is a grassroots movement spread by people who are tired of looking to Washington for answers. The truth is that the government can’t fix this economy. It’ll be restored one family at a time, as each of us takes a stand to return to God and grandma’s way of handling money.”

During the July 21s kickoff event you will “[h]ear from pastors and top leaders from around the nation who are ready to help lead this country back to God’s way of handling money.”

If you are curious, check out http://www.daveramsey.com or http://www.thegreatrecovery.com for more details. You can register for the kickoff event.

Whole Foods Parking Lot

While attending a training session on Saturday, I mentioned Whole Foods is known as “Whole Paycheck.” Then someone mentioned there’s a great music video, a rap song, about shopping at Whole Foods that I can find on YouTube.

I searched and found it!

The refrain, “It’s getting real at the Whole Foods Parking Lot” continues to run in my head.

Anyone who has shopped at Whole Foods will appreciate this video.

My favorite line, “Pay my 80 bucks for six things and get the heck out.” That’s why it is known as “Whole Paycheck.”

Let me know what you think.

Check out this video on YouTube:

Adopting? Sorry, excluded under your health insurance policy

YES, this is not a joke!

Yesterday evening, I had a second home visit with the social worker in hopes of adopting an infant. The social worker inquired about my health insurance. I told her I have Blue Cross Blue Shield – Federal Employees Program (FEP). She replied, that’s fine.

She informed me that lately some health insurance policies are EXCLUDING ADOPTIONS from a worker’s coverage. Amazing! It’s tough enough of a process – all the paperwork, having the financial resources, taking training courses – without the additional insult of your health insurance policy SLAPPING you in the face by excluding your adopted child under your policy.

Not family friendly, is it?

And, frankly, it is discriminatory. There are couples who, unfortunately, cannot conceive. IVF treatments are expensive with no guarantee of success. Adoption is a viable option for such couples (as well as couples who have biological children but want to raise other children, gay couples and single individuals).

And, if these unnamed health insurers start on the slippery slope of excluding adoptive children under the policy, I can foresee in the future, they may deny coverage if you have, let’s say, more than three biological children. Because you know, too many children affect the bottom line. Lots of medical expenses with newborns. Shareholders’ dividends will be smaller and Wall Street will react negatively.

Dave Thomas (founder of Wendy’s – who was adopted and a big advocate of adoptions) is spinning in his grave!

No relief in sight – housing woes

Read two articles this week on NPR.org about the housing market.

First one was about foreclosed properties, which are unoccupied, that develop mold. So not only is there an issue with getting a foreclosed home sold, on top of that, money has to be spent to abate the mold.

Second article noted the number of foreclosures are down this time of year versus last year. That sounds good but really isn’t. The number of foreclosures dropped because of the robo-signing
controversy. Foreclosures are expected to rise the 2nd half of year. This backlog simply delays clearing these homes off the market. One expert opines the backlog of homes won’t clear the market til 2015.

So the housing woes will be with us for some time. 😦

Killing two birds with one stone

Leaving work this evening, the temperature is just perfect: low to mid 80s, low humidity, and a slight breeze. I decide to walk from the worksite to the Metro Station rather than wait for the bus.

Of course, the bus just passed me 2 minutes ago and I have yet to reach the entrance of the station (though I am close). Killing two birds with one stone: saving fare money AND exercising.

Thanks, Mother Nature 🙂

Raising the debt ceiling

Haven’t followed this issue but I know August 2nd is the drop dead date.

Even if the debt ceiling is raised by August 2nd, what remains unresolved is dealing with this nation’s significant debt.

Don’t pretend to have any answers. But our politicians need to check out what’s going in Europe – particularly Ireland & Italy. And we need a serious, level-headed approach to tackling our debt. It can’t be spending cuts only or tax increases only.

I believe it is time to recall the Deficit Commission to duty.

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