Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Whole Foods Does Not Have Their Whole Act Together

If anyone has watched South Park lately, you would have seen that Whole Foods became the object of ridicule.  In the end, the store leaves town in the form of a spaceship, possibly returning to the planet it came from.

Sounding negative is not unusual for me.  This time my complaint is about shopping at Whole Foods.  And it is the little things that really bug me. When it comes to Customer Service, I feel that is one area a business should put in some effort.  My following comments relate to the store in the Time Warner Center in NYC. 

After going down an escalator, I land smack in the middle of people going every which way, with or without their shopping carts or baskets.  It's enough to make you want to march right back up the escalator. There is no rhyme or reason in how entering the store is structured and you can have people walk right into you while they are wandering around trying to make some sense of their surroundings.  So one thing that needs to be done is make entering the store more manageable. I should not get stressed in a store which sells products to help you stay healthy. 

Today all I wanted/needed was apples.  I walked over to Customer Service to ask if I could check out with them since all I had was a bag of 4 apples.  The response, in a tone which made me feel she did not give a hoot, was, "I don't have a scale so you will just have to get in line."  She could have at least said she was sorry but unfortunately she has no scale.

They have an express line for 10 items or less.  Two weeks ago I got on that line and the line which was not express, moved much faster.  On my way out I asked Customer Service if that made sense and was told, "It just depends."  Today I went to a non-express line with my bag of 4 apples and again, it moved faster than the express.  I guess people buying their lunch think that they will get out faster on the line meant for small purchases, so the line gets longer than the regular check out line.  There is something wrong with the way that is set up. Maybe they should call it the "Less Item Lane" for people who want to spend even more time in Whole Foods.

Another time I had come in and they were out of a bakery item which was on sale.  I went to Customer Service for a rain check since I didn't think I would get back there before the sale was over.  It took over 20 minutes for Customer Service to get someone who worked there to go back to the bakery to ask about the sale and come back to report the findings and only then was I issued a rain check.  You would think I asking for my lottery winnings and they had to prove my ticket was real.

It's this attitude that makes me wonder why I would go back to shop at Whole Foods.  At least make me feel that you care if I remain a customer.

Friday, December 18, 2015

EBATES, EBATES, EBATES...Have you signed up yet?


I wrote about it before.

I am getting so much money back especially now, since some companies are offering 10 - 15% back on your purchases.

And you don't need to do anything to earn money back other than going through Ebates to your favorite site and shop.

You can set it up for the magic "E" to show up when you open a website.  Just go to Ebates.com and get it going.  This way you never can forget to attach the "E" to your shopping experience.  When you see the "E" flashing on the website you are shopping on you click it and it creates a shopping ticket for Ebates and then the website you are shopping at reappears. 

Since I started, I have earned close to $400 back.  And if you know my mindset, I love to get money back or at least figure that the items I bought actually cost less when I factor in the "rebate from ebates."

Here is a link, from me to you, to sign up and start shopping:


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Super Automatic Coffee Machines Are Not Super If They Break Down

I am on my second Super Automatic coffee machine since 2005.  Both had to be sent back to the company for repairs.  Both cost a good deal of money to do so. Both had new issues further down the road.

Someone from a site which sells this type of machine recently told me that if you use these all the time, their life span is about 5-6 years.  I guess that with all the parts in use just to grind beans and make coffee, it makes some sense that things will go wrong, even if you take great care of your machine, as I do. 

Why am I telling you this?  Two weeks ago, I had an issue where the water was not coming out of the machine into my cup, or if the water came out, it came out in places it was not meant to drip from.  I called the manufacturer, and in my case it was Jura Capresso, and as always, they are very forthcoming with advice on troubleshooting. After I tried all of their suggestions, the problem persisted.  I was presented with 2 choices:  I could either send the machine back for repairs or I could trade it in and put the trade in value towards purchasing a new machine from a list of specific models. 

Not too bad, but I was upset thinking of all the money I had spent on purchasing this machine and previously repairing it.

Onto the Internet in search of help.  Did I luck out!

Found a video on YouTube which showed how to take the machine apart and do repairs.  The YouTube channel is PartsGuru USA.   The website is: partsguru.com.

The video was clearly shot and detailed. And an added benefit of being able to open up the machine correctly, was that we were able to clean it, remove mildew build up, flush grinds out of the water tube and make it look almost new again. Could not have done it without this video.

As I scrolled down the video page, I saw how many people were helped by his videos, and how grateful we all are for his help.  He quickly responded to the two questions I asked. If you need the proper tools to do the repairs, he has them.  We were lucky that we had whatever we needed and although it took us a few hours to make sure we did everything correctly, our machine is working again!  

Videos of many well know brands appear on his YouTube channel and many machines are available to purchase on his website. He also does repairs.

I am forever grateful to PartsGuru for what he offers us. Considering the expense of owning these machines, what a coup to at least try to fix it yourself!

Check out:  partsguru.com.  

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

I Want My Phone to be My Camera and Not A Phone...When I Travel Out of the Country

Good News:  I can use my phone as my camera when I go out of the country.

But why then did I accumulate $800 in charges on my phone, which I left on but put in my suitcase, on my last trip?

It all depends on where you are going.

Thank you Verizon for making it easy...only joking.

When I was on a ship in Costa Rico, I forgot to turn my phone off.  I tucked it away in my suitcase, never to be seen until I reached the US of A.

What a surprise that I had accumulated charges of $800.  No, don't worry, I didn't have to pay.

So this time, now that I am off somewhere else, I called to ask:  how can I use my phone as my camera and not get charges on my bill?

Easy, said the rep.  Where I am now going, if I don't put a Global Plan on the phone, I can't use it anyway, so go ahead and make it your camera!

Why then did I have an issue with the last trip?  The rep said: where I travelled to last time didn't need a Global Plan.  How was I to know that?  I was out of the country, so one would assume you would need a different plan.

My advice:  call your carrier before taking a trip to get the correct information. Maybe then you can use your phone as your camera...and nothing else.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Power of Attorney is a Powerful Document

We are aging and so are our parents.  Along with their aging comes a little more responsibility on our part to take care of things.

With that in mind, it is important to have a Power of Attorney, putting someone in charge of dealing with our parents' lives.

Not everything or everyday but enough to be able to call a bank or insurance company on their behalf and be able to have a dialogue with the representative.

It is almost impossible to get information without a POA and I had tried many times, sometimes pleading with the representative, just so that I could straighten out an issue an older relative was having.

If your parent has to be hospitilized and then have surgery and they don't have a spouse (not unusal as they age,) they need someone to advocate for them.  I am not talking about a Living Will or Health Care Proxy, although those are very important.  I mean you need to be able to make other types of decisions, sign documents.

What I have learned is that it is a difficult world out there when what has to get done is not really clear to the elderly person and they don't know how to handle situations.  They need help and the help has to come from someone they trust.

For the past 4 months I have had to deal with hospitals, rehabilitation centers, home care aides, insurance, bills, checking accounts and credit cards for starters.  You can't blame a company for not wanting to speak with someone whom they don't know especially if it is over the phone.  Too much fraud in our world.

Many parents may not want to give up their independence, knowing that someone else can do things for them, even without their knowing or understanding.  That too is the point: sometimes they don't understand and can make bad decisions. Or they show signs of dementia and may forget to do something which needed to be done.  So many scenarios, each situation has its own concerns.

Take time to discuss this with your parent or relative or sibling or whomever may need you down the road. And visa versa. You don't want to learn the hard way and have to scramble to accomplish what could have been done under less stressful conditions.

Thursday, July 23, 2015


This will be a short one.  I am out of patience with FEDEX.

I track my package online.

Shows delivery on 7/23.

Today is 7/23.

It is 4pm so I call FEDEX to ask where it actually is since the last info they post is that it is somewhere in CT at 3am and I cannot imagine it getting here, to Martha's Vineyard, today.

Get told it is being delivered tomorrow.  I keep my dogs in most of the day since they love jumping into the truck.

Now I am told that the info online is not correct.

So, I ask, why is there not an update?

And they say it takes 24 hours to update.

I say, that can't be.  Not in this day and age.

With UPS, you not only get up to date info, they say that it will be delivered by a certain time at the latest.

The agent tells me that she is taking notes, registering my comments.

I told her that I am calling the company sending the package never to use FEDEX again.

I am so annoyed and so are the dogs. They missed chasing another rabbit!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Prescriptions Not Covered by Insurance? Take a Good Look at GoodRx.com!

As good as our insurance coverage may be, there are those prescriptions which are just not covered.  For example, your doctor gives you something to help with spots on your skin.  The spots are not serious, they just show up on your skin as a sign of getting older!

Now the prescription is considered "cosmetic" and most likely is not covered.

There is a site to go to:  GoodRx.com,  which may offer you a coupon for a discount on the retail price of the prescription, considering you are buying it with or without insurance coverage. And because GoodRx.com compares pricing amongst pharmacies, you can shop at the best priced one.

I used it the other day and truthfully, I was shocked that it actually worked. The only caveat is that the price you are quoted on the site COULD vary once the prescription is placed. Mine was a $3.00 difference.  I called GoodRX and they did confirm that all pricing is an estimate and it can vary.  I guess if you don't like the final pricing, you can refuse the prescription at time of pick up, as you can do with any prescription you fill.

Check out the site: goodrx.com

It works with or without insurance. I would think that what your co-pay is will determine if you want to use the site or not. I priced one of my generic prescriptions covered by my insurance and found that my co-pay was much less than what the site offered. It does NOT work with Medicaid or Medicare or any Federal or State funded program.

For those with pets, you can also find coupons and pricing for their prescriptions. The beauty of this site is that you get the pricing and can decide to use it or not.  

I did it all online and sent myself an email with the coupon info.  If you do it in a store using the app, just make sure you have service on the phone.  The store I was in yesterday had the pharmacy one flight down from the street and I had no cell service, so I was glad that I had already opened the email I had sent myself before I got there. 

Good to do business with GoodRx.com.  Nice to save some money whenever we can!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Macy's Should Be Known As Incompetence, Inc.

I shop online most of the time.  Anything is better than having to go into a store and wait in a long line whenever they have a sale.

Last week I ventured onto Macy's website because they seemed to be having a good sale. Very rarely do I shop at this site or in the store but I thought I would try it.

After doing my research and putting the right items in my cart, I checked out. Mission accomplished.

Not so, as of the next day when they now offered a 15% additional discount on what I just bought.  It was not even 24 hours after I placed the order.

Being who I am,  I called up customer service to see if they would give me the additional discount or maybe I would just cancel the order and start from scratch.

Speaking with the rep, I just lost all of my energy because she was inept and didn't grasp what I wanted to do.  I had to end the call before I "lost it."

I called back a little later and after explaining the reason for my call, which this second rep understood, she informed me that there was a change to one of the items in my cart, so that what I wanted the discount on was actually not in my cart.  A substitution was made.  She could not tell me who changed it since I certainly didn't.  Now we were dealing with a different issue altogether.  The item I originally ordered was a comforter which was a Down alternative.  The one which now appeared in my cart was not listed as a Down Alternative.  The rep said it was made of Down.  At that point, she nor I had a clue as to what happened so I asked for a supervisor.

Finally someone came back to the phone.  I needed to start the saga all over again.  He told me that he would order the correct one for me, ship it for free, give me the discount and will call UPS to intercept the "incorrect" one for a pick up.   He said the problem must be with Macy's.  No kidding! Now I had to explain that the original one was shipped with other items, so that if he asks UPS to intercept the package before it is delivered, I wouldn't get my other items.

Now he was perplexed. I suggested that he does not ask UPS to return it, but rather let me receive it, take out the other items from the package, then call him for a merchandise pick up.  He agreed but I still did not know if he understood.

Guess what?  Both packages arrived and they were the same exact item! Go figure that one out.  I called today to ask for a pick up and was told that it takes 10-12 business days for UPS to come for the package.  They also said that UPS will send me an email letting me know when they are coming. I am not holding my breath about any of this and will have to check back with Macy's customer service if no email arrives.

Will I ever shop online at Macy's again?  No way, no matter what price point they offer.  So much of my time was wasted so it was not money well spent.

And that is just not right.

Alert:  Today on their site the item is now $20 more, but there is a 20% coupon.  How can anyone shop that way?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

No Keurig Coffee "Cups" in my Landfill

With all the negative publicity about how many Keurig coffee "cups" are in landfills, a company has come out with Biodegradable coffee "cups" which work in the original Keurig machines.

The article below, written in 2013 states that the coffee "cups" are 97% biodegradable.  I reached out to the company for an update and as of this writing, have not heard back. I know they were working on making the "cups" 100% biodegradable.

Even so, 97% less for the landfills is a great start:


Aside from these coffee "cups" Rogers Family Coffee Company sells great coffee beans, a good amount of which is organic.  I use the whole coffee beans in my Jura Capresso machine and totally enjoy the taste.  Choose from Zen Blend, Rainforest Blend, Hurricane Espresso to name a few.  There is even one called Gorilla Decaf!  The coffee "cups" are also available in a variety of flavors and types.

For those with a Keurig 2.0 which only allows use of actual Keurig cups, there is now a "Freedom Clip" so that you can use these coffee "cups" from Rogers Family Coffee Company:


Hope you enjoy your morning coffee!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Bed Bath and Beyond: Customer Service Is Beyond Expectations

The other day I was searching for a specific humidifier which I did find at numerous stores.  The price points varied as well as shipping fees.  As I pride myself on being a conscientious consumer, my first thought was to buy it at Bed Bath and Beyond and use a 20% off coupon.

My problem was that the item was not in any of the stores near me, but available online.

Ah, although I have lots of coupons for the store, I didn't have one to use for an online purchase.

Writing to Customer Service got me a rapid response.  Here is what they wrote:

"Thank your for your email.  If you choose to place your order online, you can take the invoice, coupon and credit card used to make the purchase to any of our stores and you will be credited for the discount amount. You also have the option to visit your local store to place the online order.  Payment is processed at the register, so you will be allowed to apply your coupons.  Please note that stores cannot accept coupons over the phone."

How is that for exceptional customer service as well as an exceptional store policy?

FYI:  if you sign up for emails from Bed Bath and Beyond, every now and then you will get an offer for an Online Coupon. Yes, it has an expiration date, but nice to know if you do want to order online and don't want to make a trip to the store.

Considering the magnitude of items available on their website, I am happy to have learned that I never need to be concerned about getting my discount...and I love my discounts!