Posts filed under ‘frustration’

Drug Store Frustrations

drugs

I drove to the drug store to pick up my prenatal vitamin refill on December 1st. I hoped to pick it up on November 30th, the last day before my health insurance renewed, but the idiotic pharmacy failed to fill it on time. They claimed this particular vitamin was out of stock when I called to see if it was ready. For the record, I placed the refill order on November 20th to ensure this kind of thing wouldn’t happen, but somehow the pharmacy still failed me. They claimed the problem occurred because of the Thanksgiving holiday, but they clearly had plenty of time to place the order before the holiday began.

I am partly to blame for this failure. I should have followed up a day or so before the 30th. I assumed ten days would give them plenty of time to complete the refill, obviously I was wrong.

The pharmacy’s delay would have cost me an additional $50. I say would have cost me, because I declined the prescription. I plan to call the doctor’s office on Monday to ask for a cheaper option, because paying $75 for a vitamin seems slightly insane.

If I can’t find a cheaper alternative I plan to investigate vitamins that can be purchased without prescription. My current vitamin includes DHA, which is a bit more expensive then the standard form, but over the counter vitamins don’t cost nearly that much. The question is whether or not they contain similar quantities of the nutrients I need. If they do then I’m happy to pay the $25 over the counter cost, rather than a $75 prescription markup.

Luckily it’s not all doom and gloom. On the bright side I used the Rite Aid UP Rewards from the previous prescription refill to purchase a bunch of items for free on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I bought hair ties, q-tips and other personal and household supplies that we actually needed. Each of these purchases kicked out another UP Reward, which means I still have another $25 to spend at the drug store. Diapers are on sale again tomorrow, so I might buy a few more packs to add to my stockpile. Between a few printable coupons and the drugstore rewards program I should be able to purchase another four packs for free.

This doesn’t exactly make up for the $50 difference in prescription costs this month, but it’s better than nothing.

Photo Credit

December 6, 2014 at 10:57 PM 6 comments

Bargain Shopping Fail

carts

My son has been sick three times since starting preschool a little over a month and a half ago. Every time he gets sick he seems to pass those lovely germs on to the rest of us. I’ve gotten sick three times in that same span of time. My husband managed to avoid this last cold, but caught the prior two.

Luckily our little guy recovers quickly, typically within a day or so, but the symptoms seem to linger in me for days on end. This time around my runny nose has turned into a deep and violent cough, which wakes me from my sleep every hour or so.

After a particularly rough night my husband suggested a dose of Robitussin. With my son happily playing at preschool, (most likely getting infected with another virus), I planned a quick, solo trip to Target.

Before heading out of the house I searched for this week’s Target deals. After all, I was heading to the store alone, which means I could take an extra five minutes to snatch some inexpensive deals. Seems simple enough, right?

Honestly, I have no idea why the impulse to clip coupons and look for bargains grabbed a hold of me. Whatever the reason I found myself printing coupons and taking note of the items I wanted to buy before heading out to the store.

I didn’t feel well and I didn’t want to risk the lure of Target’s endcaps so I went directly to the aisles I needed to visit and didn’t hesitate once along the way.

I wasn’t in the store more than five minutes when I remembered why I gave up coupon clipping so long ago.

  1. Problem #1 – None of the items were in stock. Sure I had four coupons for cereal, but that doesn’t do a girl much good when the shelves are bare.
  2. Problem #2 – The prices listed on bargain sites weren’t reflected in my local store. One item priced at $7.99 on my favorite bargain blog was actually $14.99 in the store. Of course, I dragged that item to the price checker to verify the price and back to it’s original location when I realized it wasn’t on sale.
  3. Problem #3 – The promotions offering $5 Target gift cards with a purchase of ‘x’ number of items didn’t work. The cashier said the items I selected weren’t part of the special deal.

I’m certain feeling ill added to my frustration, but after failing to find three of the six bargains I quickly moved on to the register.

When all was said and done I walked out of the store with one good bargain and a roll of shipping tape that was desperately needed in our house despite the fact that it wasn’t on sale.

Photo Credit

October 23, 2014 at 5:31 PM 1 comment

Inundated by Unexpected Expenses

Every year it seems we have some ridiculous expense and more often than not when one major event comes our way it is quickly followed by at least one or two others. Last year we plunked $36,000 into a new vehicle. We bought the car below invoice, but that was definitely a hit to our wallets. In 2013 we also remodeled three of the four bathrooms in our house. In 2012 we paid over $20,000 in just over a month to repair damaged pipes, a car, air conditioner and closing costs on two mortgages. In 2011 we paid a hefty chunk of change for professional painters to coat every wall in our house and in 2010 we spent over $30,000 to replace all of the windows and doors in our home.

It seems this year will be no less pricey. From January to March I spent thousands of dollars on unexpected medical care followed by a big wad of cash for out of town medical charges that were three times larger than the originally quoted price.

Yesterday as my husband was driving our 1999 Toyota to work the engine crapped out. The vehicle was towed to our local mechanic who declared it wasn’t worth repairing. The repairs amounted to more than the car was worth, which according to Edmunds is just over $1,500. My husband was hoping to continue commuting with that vehicle for at least another two years, but is seems it isn’t meant to be. The cost of a new car: $20,000 to $30,000 depending on what we choose to buy.

As if that weren’t enough this morning we found out that our furnace needs to be replaced. The unit is probably as old as our house and has finally stopped working. We were able to make a few minor repairs over the last two years, but this morning the technician assured me it is time to call it quits. His recommendation a brand new, sparkly $7600 unit.

Just once I would like to go an entire year without a major expense!

October 1, 2014 at 9:08 AM 7 comments

Four Speeding Tickets in A Month!

street

I’m a pretty good driver. I pay attention to the traffic in front of me. I check my mirrors and I always look before switching lanes. I don’t text while driving and I use bluetooth whenever I’m on the phone. In the twenty years since I started driving I have only been in one minor, fender-bender type accident. Technically I think it might have been my fault, but the police who were called to the scene blamed the other driver.

The only trouble I have with driving is my inability to drive the actual speed. I tend to push the gas a little harder than I should. Up until now I’ve never paid for a speeding ticket. I received two or three warnings many moons ago, but nothing in the past ten years. So you can imagine my shock at finding four speeding tickets in the mail over the course of three weeks!

Technically I am only responsible for three of the tickets; my husband triggered the speeding camera on the fourth one. The speed light camera catches anyone traveling 12 miles over the speed limit and in three of the four tickets we were traveling exactly twelve miles over.

Each ticket cost us $40 and each charged a $2 or $3 fee for processing. So just like that we are out over $160! On each occasion I was in a hurry, which isn’t an excuse for driving too fast, but is true nonetheless.

I need to add a little extra time into my travels, so I’m not in such a hurry moving forward. It looks like I also need to drive a little slower from this point on…

Photo Credit

June 3, 2014 at 4:19 PM 2 comments

Would You Return to the Store to Save $10?

Target

This morning on our way back from art class I decided to stop by Target. I bought a really great storage box for toys a few days ago and I was hoping to pick up another one. For the record I now know that I am better off buying items in advance and then returning them if I don’t like them. Target’s clearance section sells out quickly and returning to the store with a toddler in tow is never easy. My little guy prefers walking to riding these days, which means it can take us quite awhile to walk through the store. Target is certainly not small and the baby section is always inconveniently located at the farthest point from the entrance. Sure enough after walking and waiting and waiting and walking we arrived only to find that the boxes I previously bought were no longer available.

While I was in the store it dawned on me that I had coupons in my binder that I didn’t use for my previous purchase. I have no idea why this thought popped into my head on my way out the door, but it did. I thought I would return to the store to explain my quandary, but I could not find my receipt anywhere. “No big deal,” I thought. Target has a great system for checking credit cards for previous transactions. So off we go to the store with the items, coupons and credit card.

Once again I drag my son through the parking lot. With lots of walking, waiting, waiting and walking. He patiently waits in line and when I reach the register the cashier informs me that I must have used a different credit card. “No problem,” I thought, “I’ll just pull that one out of my wallet,” but when I reach inside it is no where to be found. This sets my heart into a bit of a pitter-patter as I cannot remember where I last put my credit card.

Knowing that the cashier cannot help me. I decide to see if this store has storage boxes for sale in the clearance section. My little guy is smiling and happy but taking ever so long to reach the far end of the store. We arrive only to find the clearance section completely cleaned out. Ugh.

Back to the car so we can race home and look for my credit card. Two seconds after walking in the door it dawns on me that I pulled everything but my ID, primary credit card and insurance cards before heading out to a basketball game. I tend to keep my wallet in my back pocket and lighten the load if I know I won’t be shopping.

I grab the credit card. The receipt happens to be tucked right beneath it and gather my son, get back in the car and head back to the store. So here I go unloading my son for the third time, walking back through the parking lot, waiting in line behind a row of people and returning the items with coupons in hand to save $10.

Just two days ago I told my husband I didn’t want to complete an Amazon return because it wasn’t worth the time and effort to write to Amazon, dig up a cardboard box, pack the item and drop it off at UPS. Compared to today’s trips back and forth it would have been a breeze.

So what do you think? Would you have returned to the store to save $10? When you failed to return the items the first time would you have made a second attempt? I’m not sure I would do that again.

Photo Credit

January 28, 2014 at 5:46 PM 1 comment

The Complaint Department is Now Open

Sandwich

Did you see the picture of the sandwich in this post? That’s the sad excuse for a sub that I received from a local restaurant in my area. For my son’s second birthday my husband and I decided to take the easy approach to party planning by ordering subs from a local sandwich shop. I think this may be the first time we didn’t spend the day cooking and preparing, but we wanted to enjoy the time with our friends and family and opted to let someone else prepare the food.

During the party I noticed one of the subs was missing quite a bit of meat, but to be honest I was rushing around entertaining and didn’t pay close attention to the quality of food. A few hours later as we were wrapping up the remaining subs I was dismayed by the quality of sandwiches we purchased. A sub that should have contained healthy portions of turkey, cheese and veggies contained almost two thin strips of lettuce, no cheese, barely any meat and the saddest excuse for a tomato that I’d ever seen.

I paid over $100 for a platter of sandwiches that were all similarly composed. Of course, no one at the party complained. Even my parents refrained from comment until I asked them about it.

That night I took pictures of the food we received and emailed the restaurant with my complaint. In essence I kindly stated that I’ve ordered from this particular establishment many times and that I’ve never had a problem with the quality of food before. I explained the state of the sandwiches and the fact that they lacked ingredients of every type and reasonable portion.

The very next day the owner of the store called to apologize. He asked me to email him the pictures and quickly offered to make amends of the situation. A few days later I picked up a $100 gift card, which was slightly less than the amount we paid for two platters of subs.

Over the years I’ve experienced hit and miss luck reaching out to stores with negative feedback. Sometimes I receive a ‘thanks for letting us know’ response and other times, like in this case, I received full compensation for whatever I purchased. For the record I did not expect to be fully compensated. Despite the bad food the party goers did eat a healthy portion of subs that afternoon.

The fact is that some stores appreciate your business more than others. I had a completely different reaction when I bought two stale cupcakes from an upscale grocery store. In that case I was told I needed to speak with a store manager in person about the problem.  Although I paid nearly $15, (yes I realize that’s a crazy amount for cupcakes, especially two unappetizing cupcakes), it certainly wouldn’t make sense to drive to the store to speak with someone about it. The store is a forty-five minute drive away from my house and I only travel there once or twice a year. I explained the situation to a customer service representative but they said that was standard store policy. Perhaps they decided I didn’t frequent the store often enough to be considered a valued customer or that $15 wasn’t worth the hassle of trying to compensate me for my troubles.

This post might make me sound like Debby Downer and I assure you that is not the case. While I do send out complaint letters I am equally prone to contacting businesses with words of praise. Of course, it’s more enjoyable to write about positive experiences, but it can also help the employees. Waiters and waitresses have been encouraged by pats on the back from their bosses and on occasion we’ve been told that our kind words resulted in unexpected bonuses.

Do you notify businesses when you are displeased with their goods or services? Is there a minimum amount you have to spend in order to justify the time and effort spent complaining? Have you ever reached out to a store or restaurant where you had an exceptional experience?

November 19, 2013 at 6:19 PM 6 comments

Do You Have a Shopping Vice?

Christmas Tree

Did you ever have one of those moments where you look down in your shopping bag and wonder what on earth you just bought? Maybe you don’t regret the purchase right away, maybe it creeps up on you months later when you look at that awful orange dress hanging in the closet or the ridiculously expensive purse hanging on a hook that you’ve never found an occasion to wear.

My downfall has always been holiday decorations. I suppose it’s the wanna-be Martha Stewart in me. Whenever Christmas rolls around the sparkle of Santa and reindeer always catches my eye. Of course, every time I get home and plop new holiday knickknacks and doodads onto the dining room table I instantly regret my purchases. Two or three days later I trot off to the store, wait in a long line and hand over whatever it was that I really didn’t need in the first place.

I don’t have the space to store all of these items. In the past I shoved them into crawl spaces in our house, but typically forgot to retrieve them when the holiday finally rolled around.

I used to return a lot of the things I bought. Probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 to 50%. Sometimes I didn’t have enough time to try something on before leaving the store, other times I tried the item on in the store but couldn’t decide if I really looked good in it. Still other times I just couldn’t ignore the lure of something bright and sparkly. Wouldn’t that Santa look so cute on my dining room table? Couldn’t I fill that bright red bowl with beautiful Christmas decorations?

I always kept the tags attached and the receipts filed in my handy-dandy, ever so organized plastic binder, but wouldn’t life but so much easier if I stopped buying stuff that would eventually be returned? If I stopped wasting money on stuff I never really needed in the first place. Yes, of course it would.

So this year I am making a vow to avoid the lure of ridiculously overpriced decorations that are used for such a short time each year. No more glittery orange pumpkins or Santa Claus figurines. Doesn’t everyone need a turkey on their mantle or a large ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ wreath of leaves on their front door? No. It turns out I don’t need them either.

It’s tough to ignore the decorations popping up in every store’s entryway, but this year I’m bound and determined not to buy anything I don’t need. For the time being I’m able to pass by the table wrapped in shiny silver and red without batting an eye.

I remind myself that I don’t like to dust, don’t want to find a place to store new knickknacks and above all else I don’t want to find myself back in line returning something I don’t need.

I suppose I should count my blessings. As far as shopping vices go I suppose the lure of holiday decorations is pretty benign. Do you have a shopping vice? Something that you find yourself buying even when you know you shouldn’t?

November 11, 2013 at 10:24 AM 1 comment

$600 Got Him Moving!

keys

I hate to lose things. I mean absolutely, positively hate to lose things. To be honest I go a little berserk when things get lost. I inherited this characteristic from my mother. She wasn’t the most organized person in the world and she carried a tremendously large purse around wherever she traveled, which certainly didn’t help matters.

Sometimes she would throw her keys or wallet into her purse and completely freak out when she reached around in there and couldn’t find them. I can vividly recall my mom dumping the entire contents of her purse onto cosmetic counters in the mall trying to find her keys. This happened on more than one occasion. For some reason she always convinced herself that she left them in the car, in a different store or dropped them somewhere between the car and wherever we were at that exact moment in time. Ninety-nine percent of the time they were sitting in the bottom of that enormous bag she lugged around with her.

She struggled with similar problems at home. Rather than keeping her key on a hook or counter by the door she would drop them somewhere in the house and then completely forget where she put them. The next morning when it was time to go to church or school or wherever we needed to be, she would realize that her keys were missing and run around the house in search of them. This involved frantic worrying, raising her voice and ultimately getting the rest of us, (my dad, brother and I), to search every nook and cranny in the house alongside her.

I’m an uber organized person. I can probably tell you where ninety percent of the things in our home are located. Down to the specific room, drawer, box or bin. I’ve always been this way. As a kid I set aside a specific place for everything in my room and before leaving for school I would scan those four walls to make certain everything was in it’s place.

Most of the time being organized keeps me from losing things, but every so often things get misplaced. When things get lost I try to retrace my steps, I think back to the place I last had the object and all the places I’ve been in that day. Usually I can find what I’m looking for, but when I can’t I go absolutely berserk just like my mom did all those years ago.

I start a massive search, opening all drawers, the washing machine and dryer, pants pockets, the car, the couch and every where in between. I feel uneasy when things go missing, even though I know it’s not the end of the world when things get lost. I will obsess over it and the question, “where did I put that darn thing,” will pop into my head over and over throughout the day.

Day before yesterday I noticed that the smart key to our Toyota Highlander was missing. I remember taking the key in the morning. I moved that car out of the way in the morning so I could drive my son to the library in our 99 Camry. After climbing into the Camry I considered running the key back inside, but we were already late for story time and I really didn’t want to be any later. I remembered seeing the key in the cup holder of the Camry and I was almost positive that I moved it back to it’s usual holding place when I got home that afternoon.

My husband told me without a doubt that there was only one key there when he went to work the next morning. He is famous for losing his wallet, keys and just about everything else that can fit inside a man’s pocket, so I wasn’t quite sure if I trusted his memory on this one, but it was strange circumstances with which I grabbed the key to move the car so for the most part I believed him. I searched the entire house from top to bottom and both cars two or three times. I asked my husband to help me look for it. He glanced in his book bag and jeans pockets, which took all of three minutes, and then gave up. He never worries when things go missing.

I took my son to the playground after visiting the library and part of me wondered if I dropped it in the wood chips and didn’t hear it fall. We also ran around in the yard for quite a bit that afternoon and I wondered if it fell out of my pocket and into the grass.

I was so bothered by that key that I considered going back to the playground to search for it. I even considered raking the leaves in the backyard, because there was no way I could find it on the ground among all the leaves and sticks that have recently fallen.

Finally I came to terms with the fact that it was missing. I continued to mentally retrace my steps, but I was finished looking for it. I decided to order a new key and searched for the steps for getting a new one. It turns out that smart keys aren’t cheap. The estimates on the Internet averaged $600. I planned to call the dealer in the morning for a quote.

When my husband came home I told him I’d order a new one but it would probably cost about $600. “What?!,” he asked, “that much!” A $600 bill suddenly peaked his interest and he jumped from his chair to look for that key. Two seconds later, (I kid you not two seconds), he pulled it out of his coat pocket!

October 24, 2013 at 11:36 AM 2 comments

My Husband is Not a Moocher

HandsPhoto by: mormones.org

My husband has many good qualities and a few that drive me absolutely crazy. He’s the type of guy that won’t let his parents buy him an expensive birthday gift, even though they clearly have the money to pay for it.

When we’re in a restaurant he always yanks the bill off the table and immediately hands over his credit card. This ensures that no one else can share in paying the tab.

If he rides your jet skis he’ll pay for the gas he used. If you cross a bridge on your way from point A to point B he’ll dig cash out of his wallet before you reach the toll booth.

I admire his desire to pay his own way, but I wish every once in awhile that he would accept gifts from someone else. Do we really need to pay for each and every item we use?

Do we need to split the cost of dinner when someone says they really want to treat us? Shouldn’t we keep our credit cards in our wallet when our parents offer to buy us an expensive birthday gift. Especially when we know they have more than enough money to pay for it.

No one else ever offers to split the bill or pay for the gas they’ve used. To be honest no one other than my husband ever even seems to think about it.

Today I was complaining about my husband’s desire to pay for things when my mom stopped me dead in my tracks. “You know”, she said, “It’s good that he’s not a moocher. You could never accuse him of that and you would never admire him if he was like that.”

She’s one hundred percent right. I don’t think we should have to pay his parents back every time we eat with them, but deep down I do admire him for wanting to share in the costs.

Better to be married to a giver than a taker.  Better to be married to a man who wants to give of himself than one who wants to hoard all that he’s given.

Thanks mom for the reminder.

September 11, 2013 at 4:20 PM 6 comments

My Purse Was Stolen

My Diaper Bag

I’m not sure of the exact sequence of events, but at some point over the course of a 48 hour period my car was ransacked. There didn’t appear to be any visible signs of breaking and entering so I’m pretty certain that my husband or I accidentally left the vehicle unlocked.

I am typically vigilant about locking the doors, but every once in awhile my husband or I get distracted and simply forget. Unfortunately every time we’ve left the car unlocked thieves have taken advantage of our mistake.

Lucky for me the thieves had no interest in stealing my feminine hygiene products. Of course they didn’t, that’s why I store my emergency cash inside of a small travel package of panty liners.

They also didn’t take my external GPS system, which was wrapped up and stored in my glove box. I could have kicked myself when my old one was stolen from my vehicle a few years ago. I think navigation systems are so cheap these days that the thieves probably didn’t think mine was worth the hassle of stealing.

What they did take was my diaper bag/purse. Before my son was born I registered for a traditional diaper bag, but after two trips of lugging around that awful, heavy thing I opted for a very simple purse from Payless. I bought last May and have been using it exclusively ever since.

Before it was stolen I shoved my son’s toys, snacks, diapers and anything else he might need into that bag. It was pretty roomy and remarkably light. It had one zipper compartment so I usually tucked my wallet in there so my son won’t pull out my credit cards and throw them all over the place. Before I started using the pocket that was a regular occurrence.

I’m not exactly sure why my purse was in the car. I’ve never left it in there before. I know my son was tired when we returned home from the store and that I brought him inside so I could lay him down for a nap. I thought my husband carried everything else inside, but it seems he must have forgotten or simply not noticed it.

To my knowledge there wasn’t anything of value inside. Lucky for me, my wallet was in the house and there wasn’t any spare cash inside of the inner pocket.

As far as I know there was nothing in there other than a plastic bag containing three or four diapers and a pack of baby wipes. My son’s sun hat, which is unfortunately the only hat I can ever seem to keep on his head in the summer time, and a few containers of squeezable apple sauce.

I’ve been slightly worried that something else might have been stolen, but I double checked my wallet and it appears that all of my credit cards, gift cards and anything else I can think of are all safe and sound.

So then why did the thieves take it? My best guess is that they saw the purse and made a mad dash with it. They didn’t want to take the time to see what was inside of it, they just saw a purse and imagined they would find money somewhere within it.

When I took my son for a walk the next day I actually kept my eye out for it. I was kind of hoping the thieves would realize it was worthless and ditch the bag somewhere along the side of the road. I really liked that bag and I’m bummed about losing it. I’m also super bummed that they stole my son’s hat. It sounds silly but for some reason he left that alone. He takes all of the others off the minute they touch his head.

August 25, 2013 at 12:47 AM 5 comments

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