Archive for January, 2010

Make Your Possessions Make $$ For You
January 28, 2010

So how many times do  you use your lawnmower a month? What about that KitchenAid Mixer? Why not rent it out for half a day?

One of my favorite consumer websites has the scoop on where and how you can rent out your stuff to make some extra money.


SNAP to it!
January 23, 2010

I spent Friday night at the grand opening of the newly expanded SNAP Spay-Neuter & Animal Wellness Clinic at I-10 & Shepherd.

Me with the SNAP Board of Directors

In case you haven’t heard of SNAP, it’s a non-profit organization whose mission is to prevent the suffering of dogs and cats caused by overpopulation. The non-profit provides free spay and neuter services for dogs and cats. The new clinic and wellness center is in a central location making it easy for pet owners to take their dogs and cats to be spayed, neutered or receive vaccinations. You do have to make an appointment. You can do that by calling (713) 862-8001.

SNAP raises all of it’s own funds… and sometimes they have to get creative to do that.


SNAP's "Donation Dog"

The Lemonade Girls raise money for SNAP

SNAP also has a mobile clinic that it takes to low-income areas to spay and neuter dogs and cats.  Here’s where you can find the mobile clinic for the rest of the month:

Tues., Jan. 26th      West End Multi-Service Center     170 Heights Blvd.

Wed., Jan 27th    Harris County Courthouse    14350 Wallisville Rd.

Thurs., Jan. 28th      San Jacinto/ Highlands Community Center    604 Highland Woods

Fri., Jan 29th   PetSmart      104 FM 1960 & I-45

If you’re an animal lover, you’ll want to check out the HoustonDogBlog. It’s written by Ryan Rice, an avid animal enthusiast and the proud owner of Isabella, the “donation dog” pictured above.

Mobile Clinic

Just Desserts! My Fav Event!
January 21, 2010

I think I was still working off the calories from last year’s San Jacinto Girl Scout Council “Just Desserts” event; but who could say no when they called and asked me to be a judge again?

Here’s the deal: Houston-area chefs create delicious desserts using Girl Scout cookies. Girl Scouts who have sold more than a thousand boxes of cookies are invited to help and taste the desserts. Every year it helps kick off Girl Scout Cookie Sales. Grab several boxes. You know you’ll wish you bought a few more when it’s summer time and you’ve run out!

Operation Price Check #4
January 20, 2010

The managers over at Kroger may thank me for this.

It was close to 9pm when I left the gym tonight. I needed to grab a few things for dinner at the grocery store. There is a Randall’s on my way home; and I honestly didn’t feel like requesting a refund if Kroger overcharged me tonight.

Of  course, it happened at Randall’s. “Operation Price Check” is only a Kroger thing (for now) to find out how much the retailer overcharges me in one year’s time on groceries; but Randall’s has the same rule: If you are overcharged for any item, you are entitled to 1 of that item for free.

It was a small one… but fair is fair. Randall’s charged me .89 for a cucumber that was supposed to be .69. Tonight, I’m adding .89 to the Houston Food Bank donation envelope!

For a full explanation of how “Operation Price Check” works, go back to the post on December 13th.

Here’s the latest from my shopping this year:

Overcharged Refunded Time Wasted Undercharged

12/13/09      .10     $1.61          4 minutes

12/18/09       No errors

12/20/09     No errors

12/22/09     No errors

12/26/09     .19                                                    $1.65  (Didn’t request refund of $1.44).

12/30/09    .10  (Didn’t ask for a refund of $1.89.) .31 undercharged

1/1/10            No errors

1/9//10         No errors

1/10/10        $8.18   $27.47     >5 min.      .14 undercharged

1/13/10       $1.30    $3.29       2 min.

1/16/10        No errors

1/19/10      .20      .89        Less than a min.  Randall’s

Sony TV Leaves Trail of Complaints
January 14, 2010

What if your $2,100 TV looked like this when you turned it on?

It’s life for Linda Fields. She purchased her Sony Wega TV in 2006 at Conn’s. She even went to the trouble and expense of purchasing an extended warranty. That got her through April 2009. Then in December a yellow blob appeared on the screen; and it won’t go away.

Most consumers would just chalk it up to bad luck. Linda looked online and noticed that a lot of Sony customers had this problem with their Wega sets. According to the complaints on Facebook on a page called “I have a defective Sony TV,” the blob appears about 3 to 5 years after you buy it. For $2,100 I think it’s safe to say most of us would expect more enjoyment from a TV.  But all Sony would agree to do is give her half off another Sony TV.

“Why would I want to buy another Sony knowing that in another 3 years it will have the same problem?” Linda asked.

I offered to call Sony, hoping to get a better deal for Linda. After my call, a Sony representative offered her 50% off the cost of repairs for her TV. Sony spokesperson Elizabeth Lucas told me that when they noticed that the service rates for the Sony Wega TV were above levels Sony deems acceptable, the company extended the warranty on the TV to 4 years from the date it was manufactured (not the date it was purchased). This does nothing for Linda.

Lucas told me the standard offer for any customer who has problems with their Sony Wega after their warranty has expired is 50% off the price of repairs OR 50% a new Sony TV.

Is that fair? Certainly Linda and other Wega owners got several years of use out of their TVs, but was it enough to convince them to plunk down more for another Sony product?

What do you think?