Friday, February 29, 2008

The World of Returns

My poor digital camera took a spin cycle (literally) when I accidentally put it in the washing machine last week. It died a horrible death- RIP Elph.

I went to Costco (aka the happiest place on earth after Disneyland) to buy a new one so I could document 80's dancing with the Snowbird crew. I picked out a cam similar to but beefier than my last and when I got the receipt I noticed some very odd words at the bottom. The fine print states that Costco has a new 90-day return policy for electronics. Say whaaat? Only 90 days? This means I won't be hearing about people returning their electronics after two years for a full refund just to get the latest version. Even if a camera, tv, camcorder, etc. had been through the wash, a house fire, or dropped off a cliff, Costco would still fulfill the return- in cash.

Nordstrom is similarly cracking down on those who take advantage of their previously lenient return policy. You used to be able to bring in whatever you wanted- fully used makeup, old jeans from D.I., even a set of tires- and they would take the junk with open arms and give you cash for it. Now you have to have proof of purchase, be it a receipt or the little bar code they put on each item.

Both places still have great return policies. Some places won't let you return items that are used or opened, but you can eat half a case of frozen Morning Star sausages from Costco and then take it back if you didn't feel like eating the other half. It would be ethically wrong because you did enjoy half the case unashamedly, but thankfully Costco forgives and you could return it nonetheless.

Good return policies help businesses retain customers and therefore increase profits. I ordered some pepper spray off a self-defense website a few weeks ago. I now want to return it for a smaller, less bulky model that can fit on my key chain without looking like a night stick, but the company's "no nonsense" return policy says you have to return the product within 7 days of receiving the item, and you can only return it if you bought the shipping insurance. I'm probably not going to purchase from them again.

Costco, however, will have me as a customer as long as it keeps doing what it's doing. Both the return policy and consistently high-quality products keep me going back for more. I bought some face cream by a funky brand called Borghese over the Oil of Olay because when it is branded "for Kirkland Signature," I know I have nothing to fear.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Taxes. First of all, they stink. The only good thing about them is the return. I am thoroughly enjoying being young and poor and getting almost everything I pay to the fed and state back. Knowing I'll get a return allows me to think of paying taxes during the fiscal year as depositing my money into a savings account. When springtime comes around I get to take the money out spree!

The government is not a simple organization, and navigating the procedures and forms of filing taxes can be very intimidating, especially if you have a multiple incomes and many deductions. Fortunately for multi-millionaires and simple folk alike, there is TurboTax. If you are filing a 1040EZ the service is completely FREE! The site takes you through the tax filing process in an easy, step-by-step manner. If you have your W2 handy, you could be done in 20 minutes. I filed my taxes this way (thanks, Mom) and my refund was deposited in my bank account in about eight days.

If you want to save yourself a lot of time and headache, use Turbotax or one of its competitors. If not you can continue slaving over your paper forms and hopefully your refund check will come 6-8 weeks after your snail mail (hopefully) gets processed.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

You're Already Saying, "Gimme Gimme More."

Welcome to post numero uno. I've been contemplating starting a blog for a while but, as with most trends, it's taken me a while to add my voice to the 112 million-plus bloggers (and that’s only the number being tracked by the blog search website Technorati) out there in cyberspace. Now that I’ve joined the ranks of Ann Coulter, Matt Drudge, and Perez Hilton in posting my thoughts for all the world to read, I’m going to do it right.

As with any good writing, I feel my blog should have a focus. Will I record every single detail that punctuates my enthralling life? No way. But I will write about interesting current events, entertainment, politics, fashion trends, FOOD, and events in my life. You might even get a deep thought or two (I do have those occasionally). The keyword here is interesting, so basically anything that fits in that category is fair game (so much for a 'focus', this is why I'm still taking English classes).

There is much I could say to round up this introductory ditty, but I will simply end with this: bedtime snacks are not just for kids. I have one every night. Some good options include a glass of milk and a graham cracker, a piece of dark chocolate and tea, or yogurt with granola. Only children who don't eat their vegetables at dinner are supposed to go to bed hungry.

Yes, this blog will be intensely educational and informing in addition to being superbly entertaining. Buckle up and enjoy the ride.