Thursday, February 18, 2010

Movie and a Dinner

The older I get, the more comfortable I want to be. That means dinner and a movie is not much of an option anymore. Why? Because I eat a big meal and get sleepy. So what's the use in spending big bucks to go to a movie afterward? Plus my clothes fit a bit tighter. I'd rather be in the recliner in my pajamas than sitting upright in a hard seat in the movie theater wearing jeans and a blouse.

I used to enjoy dinner and a movie all the time in high school. Every weekend, we'd head to Owensboro, hog out on a good meal, and then catch a flick. And still have enough energy to drag Main when we got back home. But I think somewhere between college and now, I got tired. I just can't do it anymore. I don't want to do it anymore. And I don't have to.

But I like to get out every once in awhile. And I don't miss out on all the fun of the movie theater experience. So I reversed it: movie and a dinner. It's cheaper, it's earlier, and I don't have to go to bed as soon as I get home either. I can have the evening out as well as enjoy a night at home. Just go to a 4pm showing, follow it up with Mexican food and I'm home by 8pm, in my recliner, fat and happy.
I'm hoping to convince Pmo to go see "Alice in Wonderland" with Johnny Deep when it comes out next month. We'll probably stop by Fiesta Acapulco afterward for some quick and delicious food. Maybe play some Wii when we get home and call it a night. Now that's what I call entertainment.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Let's Talk TV Part 2

I decided to take care of my Target TV problem after work on Saturday. I don’t usually work weekends, but I was helping with a Super Bowl special we were taping for Channel 44. So after a couple of hours at the station, I took something back to JC Penney and headed to Target. I first encountered a lady that had no idea what I was talking about and also did not want to pay attention to me. Her husband had come through the door and she was more interested in greeting him than helping me. Then she asked her manager for help and I felt better knowing we were about to get down to business.

The problem was the manager couldn’t refund the TV then sell it to me again because it had the same serial number. Also, I had waited too long to come back and my temporary card (a receipt) had expired. For the record, the sales guy told me to wait several days so I wasn’t just taking my sweet time. Add that to the fact that customer service would not give me my account number for security reasons and I didn’t have my card yet. So after 45 minutes of trying to figure this out, I walked away with all my receipts and no closer to solving the problem.

Unbeknownst to me, there were 2 different times on Saturday that I could have gotten the Target card number. The first was when I was about to check the mail before I left home, but instead decided to let Pmo get it when he came back from the gun show. The second was when I thought about calling Pmo while I was at Target to see if, by chance, the card had come in the mail. Which it had. And if I had had it with me, the process would have gone a lot smoother and I wouldn’t have had to go back on Sunday. But I wasn’t expecting the card so soon. I had only opened the account 6 days before. I wrote down the Target manager’s work schedule so I wouldn’t have to go through this whole thing with someone else and knew she was working Sunday. So I went in just after 2pm and everything worked out swimmingly. Finally.

Here’s something else I didn’t know. When I opened the card, I got a 10% off coupon that I could use for one day, all day. Apparently, I could have used it on the TV but, once again, the sales guy did not tell me this. Much to my surprise, I was able to use it during the return/resell process and buy the TV cheaper, $449 plus tax. I also used the 10% on a Mamma Mia DVD I’d been thinking about buying. I searched the store for something bigger, even looked at crockpots, but nothing really appealed to me. I spent way too much time looking at purses and finally decided that was the last thing I needed. My purses have their own closet.

There was one more thing at Target that ticked me off. Toward the end of my customer service journey, I walked past a display of Tostitos and dip on sale. I needed some for the Super Bowl so I decided to take advantage. The chips were 2 for $5 with a free jar of salsa or cheese. After reading the sign closer, I discovered it was a certain size chip and a 15 ounce dip. But there were several different size chips in front of me and no 15 oz dips in sight. Only 20 ounce. I had to go back to the normal chips and dip section to get the 15 oz salsa because I knew the 20 oz wouldn’t pass the cashier. But somehow I ended up with the wrong size chips and it rang up wrong at the counter anyway.

I got it straightened out, but the point is the display is so misleading. Your average Joe is going to walk by it, see the sign, grab two random bags of chips and a 20 oz cheese dip, not pay attention when the cashier rings it up, and get ripped off. How hard would it be to stack that display with the right items? How hard is it to offer a sale and then deliver it? Why do some stores make customers work so hard for a deal? We already have to make the effort to read all the ads, cut out dozens of coupons, keep tabs on the expiration dates, watch every item that rings up at the counter, and deal with stupid sales guys who tell you a promotion that’s been advertised is not available when it really is, and give you a 10 percent coupon that you could use on a very expensive TV, but fail to tell you that you could use it!

Whew. I’m exhausted.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Let's Talk TV

Pmo and I have been thinking about getting a bigger TV for some time now. We saw some deals around Black Friday, but we weren’t committed to the idea yet. Plus, we really didn’t need one. I mean, who really needs a bigger, flat screen TV? It’s purely a want at this point. And we like to wait and cash in on a good deal when we can.

We’d been talking about buying a Wii for some time when Walmart decided to sell them for $199 and give away a $50 gift card with it right before Christmas. So when I saw some Super Bowl bargains on TVs in this week’s newspaper ads, I decided to get serious about the purchase. We thought we could manage a 32 or 37 inch, but after measuring the cubbyhole where the TV sits, we discovered we had more room to work with. 41 inches in fact.

Target’s new promotion allows you to buy a 32 inch TV or bigger, open one of their credit card accounts, and pay no interest until September. Perfect, right? I can pay off a TV in 8 months. And even though the interest rate after September is pretty high, I can close the card or just keep the balance low so I can pay it off every month. So after running a few errands on Sunday, we ended up in the electronics section at Target. We found the 42 inch TV for $499 that was in the ad. We measured the floor model and discovered we had just a few centimeters to spare on each side, but it would fit our space. And the price was right.

I found a sales associate and told him what I wanted and how I wanted to pay for it. He told me I could get the TV and I could open the account, but I couldn’t put the purchase on the account. What? That’s the whole point of buying the TV and getting the card! He said there was some sort of glitch in the system. I could pay cash for the TV then come back later, get my money refunded, and put the purchase on the Target account after the glitch was fixed. Hello! If I could pay cash for the TV, I wouldn’t need the 0% interest on the credit card! I told the sales guy I would think about it, and he walked away. Then I stood there and mulled over it for a bit, and decided to wave the guy back over to discuss it again. It didn’t make any sense that a store would advertise a promotion, then turn around and say, no, we can’t do that. Even if there is a glitch, they have to appease you, right?

After arguing with the sales associate some more, I discovered he really didn’t explain the situation to me very well in the first place. Turns out I could buy the TV with a different method of payment, like another credit card, and also open the Target Account. Then when the glitch was fixed, I could come back and get the purchase taken off my credit card and put it onto the Target card. Now we’re talking. Why didn’t he say that in the first place? His whole attitude from the beginning gave me the impression that the store was offering something I couldn’t have. And the whole pay with cash thing just threw me for a loop.

But here’s the kicker. I bought the TV and opened the Target account, which is super easy by the way. They just scan your license and you fill out a few questions on the electronic pad and boom, you’re done. No paper application to fill out, it was so sweet. But the TV purchase ended up on the Target card, so I didn’t have to put it on another credit card after all. Or fool with cash. The sales associate was surprised and said, “It wasn’t supposed to do that.” Seriously? I went through all that confusion and crap, and the damn thing works? But it wouldn’t let him scan the 0% interest form which I will have to go back and take care of later this week. You know, when that glitch is fixed.

We got the TV home and went to work on setting it up. It’s a tight fit, but it’s in there. I prefer to think of it as maximizing our space. And it’s a bit crooked. We can’t determine whether it’s our TV stand or the stand that’s attached to the TV. I don’t know. We’ll figure it out. But we got a big TV for a good price and I won’t have to pay interest in the long run. That was the goal all along. Just took awhile for it all to make sense.