Money Quote Friday – “How Fitting” Edition.

Those who steal from private individuals spend their lives in stocks and chains; those who steal from the public treasure go dressed in gold and purple.” – Marcius Porcius Cato

How fitting for these times… Have a great weekend everyone!


Using Twitter To Get Better Customer Service.

Do you use Twitter? If no, why not? If you are not using Twitter, you may be missing out on one of the best ways to contact customer service that has ever been used. Sure, you can call a 1-800 number and sit on hold for 20 minutes…or you can find out what a company’s Twitter name is and contact them that way. I have done this on several occasions in the last 3 weeks and twice my issue was taken care of quickly and to my satisfaction. Beats calling up a customer service rep only to get handed to another one and then hung up on! (Thanks, DirecTV and Bank of America)

First up, Comcast. Since I was canceling DirecTV (who didn’t bother responding on Twitter) and looking for new TV/internet service, I put out a call to my Twitter friends for their thoughts on the Comcast Triple Play (which I wrote about here). While I received many great responses and comments, I was also contacted by Comcast themselves via Twitter. They gave me a contact name to email directly, and a live person CALLED ME to set up service at my house. She went over everything with me on the phone, I got all the numbers up front, I received a discount, and everything went smoothly from then on out. Score one for Twitter!

Next up, UHaul. When I was having difficulty getting a guaranteed truck rental, I bitched about them online and they gave me a number to call and have it taken care of. Finally, some help! After dealing with the guy at my local rental place (who claimed to never remember me each week that I came in to see about my truck), I got UHaul to guarantee me a truck, give me a confirmation number, and tell me what time to pick it up. Needless to say, I gave the local guy a terrible review but I only have good things to say about the help I got online.


Sometimes it fails miserably, like in the cases of DirecTV and Samsung, but more often than not people are having great success using Twitter to contact customer service for their issues. Before you pick up the phone and dial a number, try to use Twitter and see what results you get. You can easily find most corporate Twitter accounts by googling “Twitter + Name Of Company”, but if you happen to need one of the two I just used, here they are:


Happy customer service Twittering!


When In Doubt, Ask About A Discount.

As you know by now, I just finished a move to Denver, Colorado. And because I moved into a new place, there are a few things I needed to buy to make it more like “home”. I have been checking out a few stores looking for these items, and one thing I have done in every single one of them is to ask if what I am buying is going on sale anytime soon. With the holidays coming up, most stores will be cutting prices, so I wanted to make sure that what I wanted wasn’t going to be advertised next week at a much cheaper price. I found that most clerks were more than willing to tell me the truth, and thus a few of the things I wanted to pick up I will be waiting another couple of weeks for. These are not make or break items – they are just things I wanted for the new place.

One of the places I went to first was Crate and Barrel to get some new bar stools for my kitchen. I knew exactly what I wanted and they had the cheapest price on these compared to any online or brick and mortar store. I asked if the bar stools were going to be on sale anytime soon, and she told me that they didn’t have any plans to put them on sale… so I bought them. (and they look great!) However, I saw a few other things I was interested in while in the store, so I asked her if any of them would be cheaper in a few weeks – and she said yes! She told me which ones would be on sale after Christmas, so I put them back on the shelves and decided I could wait in order to save some money. After all, moving isn’t cheap and I have spent more than my fair share of money this month already.

The lesson here? Always ask as it can never hurt. I know there are some people who ask for a discount on any and everything they buy, but I don’t normally do that. However, I have learned that asking if something is going to be on sale can definitely save you a few bucks – especially around the holidays. So go ahead and ask away – what have you got to lose?

However, if something isn’t going to be on sale and you still really want them, go ahead and buy them:



To Save Energy, California To Limit The Size TV You Can Buy.

I don’t have much to say, really, but I will say that I think this is absurd. Yes, I am an environmentalist. And yes, I am a liberal who is OK with some government regulation. But not selling certain size TV’s to customers in order to save some energy? Ridiculous.

On November 18th the California Energy Commission (CEC) is scheduled to vote on a proposal that would require by 2011 flat screen energy use be reduced to 30% of the power used today, and by 2013 the energy use would be reduced to 49%. The Consumer Electronics Association says the current CEC proposal would essentially ban the sale of all plasma TVs larger than 60-inches and 25-percent of all HDTVs currently on the market.

So, residents of California can water their lawns all day long, enjoy gigantic swimming pools, play a round of golf on one of thousands of golf courses, drive gas guzzling cars, run air conditioners all year, and light up their cities all night…but they can’t buy a certain size TV for their home? Stupidity reigns sometimes…

What do you think?


My Experience: Don’t Spend A Ton Of Money On HDMI Cables.

Some of you may remember that I mentioned trading in some American Express Rewards Points towards a new HDTV and a Blu-Ray player, and I finally have them all hooked up here in the new apartment. And while the cable guy brough an HDMI cable to hook the cable box to the TV, the Blu-Ray player didn’t come with one so I had to buy one for myself. So I went online to look for one and was amazed at how vastly different the prices can be! A 6 foot HDMI cable on Amazon.com can vary from $.27 all the way up to $299…I was absolutely stunned. While some are basic and some are high-speed HDMI cables, I did some research online to discover that most of these cables all work perfectly fine, especially for people like me who probably wouldn’t notice any difference at all in the quality. On some HDTV forums it was suggested to at least get a high-speed HDMI cable for Blu-Ray players, so I settled on one that got a ton of positive reviews and only cost $9.99 – this Mediabridge Ultra Series 6ft High Speed HDMI Category 2 Certified cable. I hooked it up and everything works and looks great and I am very happy that I didn’t spend a fortune on a $10 cable!


Out of curiosity I stopped by Best Buy this weekend to check out the prices on their HDMI cables – wow. People actually pay those prices? $79 for a cable with the same ratings and length as the one I bought online for $9.99? What a ripoff. I am willing to bet that no one could tell the difference between an image being sent through my $10 cable versus one sent through an $80 one, and I am so glad I did some homework before wasting all that money.

The lesson here? Don’t blow your money on overpriced cables for your home audio/video setup. Chances are that unless you are charging admission for others to watch movies at your house, you are just wasting your money that could be better spent elsewhere!

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