Sunday, June 21, 2009

Shockingly Appalling Behavior: Maid of Dishonor

Have you ever had an instance in which someone's behavior is so awful, that you wonder how individuals like that go through life? They're so oblivious to their own lack of decency and respect for others.

Today's shenanigans were so bad that they inspired this new blog series. I am going to recount my many, endless tales of being treated poorly by different people. One by one.

This weekend a friend of mine from college got married. Originally I'd planned on going with my husband, but he had to work. And then another friend from college said she would meet up with me and we would share a hotel room that the bride's other had already booked and was non-refundable. Then she told me she was unable to go at the last minute. Now, the last few weeks have been rather stressful and although I just got back tonight from 12 hours on the road, I have another obligation tomorrow morning. I was not expecting to see any other friends at this wedding and kind of wanted to stay home, but would have felt bad backing out of the hotel room. Plus, when I say I'm going to do something, I don't like to flake out.

So I went to this wedding. By myself. Another of the bride's friends ended up crashing in the room with me, and that was nice. We carpooled to the wedding and I find it fun to meet new people, especially when they are friends with a friend.

At the wedding, I was excited to find a small handful of people I knew from college. It was a great surprise. One of the girls is a good friend that I had not seen in a very long time. She and I got to catch up and I met her lovely husband for the first time.

As I was trying to leave the reception, the father of the bride said he had an emergency. The maid of honor, Abbie, needed a ride to the airport the next day to catch a flight back to Boston. He told me that the Charlotte, NC airport was about an hour away and that it was "kind of" on my way back to Florida. Abbie told me that she could leave "whenever."

Now, I thought it was a bit odd for the bride's parents to ask an out of town wedding guest with probably one of the longest drives home to drive an hour out of their way to take a stranger to the airport. I barely know the bride's parents, having only met them once before. However, they were very kind to me and I've been helped in the past by people I barely knew. So I felt I should pass along the favor. The parents seemed very grateful and relieved that this girl, a family friend was taken care of. Abbie and I agreed to meet back up at 11am the next day to leave. Her flight was at 2pm, so that seemed like a good plan.

The next morning I was getting my things together at the hotel when Abbie called around 1015am. She had a rather brusque tone when she told me that she'd been mistaken about her flight time. It actually left "a little sooner" than she'd thought. Also, that the airport was TWO hours away instead of one hour. She asked if I could "get there any sooner?" Now, if she had called at 9:30, everything would have been fine. But we were definitely cutting it close, as I'd planned to leave my hotel at 10:30. At this point, I still had to check out. "Getting there sooner" was not very likely with no advance notice.

I told her that I'd get to her hotel as soon as I could. But I did wonder why she did not check her correct flight time sooner.

At 10:58, I pulled up to the drive, and Abbie ran out and put her suitcase in the trunk of my car. I pulled out my phone's GPS to get directions to the airport. When I asked her what time her flight actually left, she said "1:07." The ETA to the airport said "12:57." It did not look like there was any way we'd make it. By this point, I was driving back toward the interstate. Now, I did not want to be rude, but I had almost a ten hour drive ahead of me. If there was no urgency for her to get back, and she would miss her flight, I really was not feeling very up to driving this girl to the airport. It was also double the drive that I thought it would be, and we were still near her hotel.

I asked her why we were driving to the airport, only for her to miss her flight. She told me she wanted me to take her anyways so that she could "try to make it" and if not, to try to change flights. Now, keep in mind, that Abbie really does not know me at all. It's not like we got to know each other at the wedding or anything. In fact, she'd barely said two words to me... until she needed a ride to the airport.

Abbie called the airline, to see if they had any later flights. They apparently were going to charge $500 for her to switch flights, and she was um, very unhappy about that.

Since it looked like she was now in no hurry to get to the airport, I expressed my concern about the time. My ten hour drive was going to be a twelve hour drive. I asked her if we could drive to a car rental branch and if maybe she would be willling to rent a car to drive herself, because there was really no reason for me to go to Charlotte, I am unfamiliar with the area, and had a very long day ahead of me. I am always willing to help someone, but in this case, it would have helped me greatly if I could just start heading south. From Asheville, Charlotte is two hours east. It made no sense for me to go in that direction.

Abbie responded in a haughty tone, "I don't want to drive." She then told me that I "should have said something the night before" if I could not take her to the airport. Keep in mind, the pretenses I was given when I agreed to do this were much different.

I suggested that if she did not want to pay the $500, that it would be far cheaper just to rent a car and drive back to Boston. It would be a long trip as well, but not nearly as costly. She responded, "That's what I was trying to avoid."

So this girl I don't really know was not willing to put in any effort whatsoever to get to the airport or get home, but was totally willing to impose greatly on a stranger who had to drive from North Carolina to FLORIDA that day??? What is wrong with her, I thought.

I asked her if there was anyone else who could possibly take her to the airport later in the day. She gave me a rather witheriing look, and told me that she might have been able to find someone to take her, if I had "said something earlier." She did say that her aunt lived in the area, but she made no effort to contact her own family to see if they could help her out. Yet, she was fine with imposing on a complete stranger.
Abbie also made several mentions of how I would be "screwing her" if I didn't drive her.

That pissed me off. I really, really, really wanted to pull over and tell Abbie to get the fuck out of my car. The only reason that I did not actually do that was to keep peace. After all, she's a close friend of one of my friends. Looking back, I should have dumped Abbie at a gas station and reminded her that her travel woes were really not my problem. Instead, I kept driving towards the airport.

On the way, Abbie told me that she was "sorry" to do this to me, because she had told the bride several times that she needed a ride to the airport, but that the bride had forgotten. (yes, because the maid of honor's travel arrangements are the bride's responsibility) She'd also accidentally booked the return flight originally to the wrong state. Yes, I'm serious. The WRONG STATE. She'd sent her flight information to the bride, and apparently, very late in the game, the bride noticed the error. Abbie then proceeded to tell me that the bride should have noticed that earlier, and we would not be in this predicament. That was why she was "confused" on the flight time. I also did not understand why she did not check the flight time earlier. This whole dilemma was completely her own fault. She never once admitted that.

Unless I'm mistaken, people are responsible for themselves. When I was a maid of honor for my best friend Jill a few years back, the last thing I wanted to do was inconvenience Jill or her family in any way. I flew into town, and got a rental car, so they would not have to worry about my transportation. In fact, instead of asking for rides, I ended up helping to pick up other members of the wedding party at the airport. Why didn't Abbie rent her own car or at least try to arrange for her transportation on her own, instead of expecting her friend the bride to do it for her.

Whenever I take a trip out of town, I always rent a car, so that I do not inconvenience my friends and family. Yes, it is an extra expense, but it is worth the preservation and upkeep of relationships.

Anyways, back to the passenger from hell. I could barely keep from losing my temper, so my method of dealing with Abbie was to just stay silent and glance at my GPS every five seconds. I really could not believe this was happening. It was like a bad dream, and I wish that was all it was. The girl even had the nerve to change my radio settings and tell me how to drive. In my opinion, if you're in someone ELSE'S car, that's a no-no.

I tried to go as fast as I could, partly because I just wanted to get this God awful experience over with. For reasons beyond me, I actually did attempt to get Abbie to the airport to catch her flight. The entire way, I swear, I drove 20 miles over the speed limit. The irony is that Abbie was okay with me risking my drivers license for her, but she refused to even consider getting a rental car to relieve me of this unwanted duty. She had not printed out her boarding pass online like most travelers who want to shave some time, so I suggested she call her airline and alert them to her situation. She really did not seem to have a clue what to do. I figured if she only had to get through security, she would increase her chance of making the flight.

During the car ride, she insisted that "I am totally planning on giving you money for gas." I told her that money was really not the issue. She said quietly, "I know. It's the time." Yet, she did not once offer any form of compromise to help me out at all or take responsibility to fix her own problems. Later, she said she would "send me a check." Yeah, because I really need $20 from her that bad.

Believe it or not, I made at least a two hour trip in one hour and 39 minutes. And for this, I got a rather casual "thanks" from Abbie on her way out of my car. The level of gratitude was such that of a teenager to her mother dropping her off at soccer practice after school.

Honestly, I was just glad to get that bitch out of my car.

How can someone be so delusional about everyone around them? If I had been in that situation, well, I would never get myself into a mess like that to begin with, but I digress. She just expected everything to be taken care of for her, even though she's supposedly an adult. If it had been me, I would have rather paid $200 for a taxi to the airport than ask some poor wedding guest to drive them. Also, I didn't think my suggestion to have her rent a car was bad at all. If not for my excessive speeding, there is NO WAY she would have made it to the airport on time. I almost wish I would have driven 40 the whole way so that she would have been out the $500. Not to sound boastful, but I completely saved her ass, and $500.

If someone did that for me, I would at the very least, send them a very nice gift or a check for AT LEAST $100. I also would have profusely thanked the person, and tried to give them whatever money I could for their trouble.

It's my understanding that Abbie did not urgently have to be back in Boston. Apparently she's an aspiring actress. Yeah, good luck with that. So it's not like she had a dying loved one to get back to or anything. She definitely didn't have a career to get back to on Monday like I do.

I'm not a mean person. If I was, I totally would have left this girl's ass somewhere in Hendersonville. She's over 18 and had a cell phone. It would have been a helpful life lesson for this obviously self absorbed twentysomething.

If she had been nice to me, NONE of this would have been an issue. But Abbie treated me like shit and wasted two hours of my time taken away from spending time with my husband and kitten. That was really uncool of her.

The sad thing is, she probably has no idea or semblance that she acted completely inappropriately towards me. Well, Abbie, the next person you do that to may not put up with that.

Soon after I left her at the airport, I received this text from Abbie.

"I made it! Jen, you're my hero. I can't thank you enough."

Umm, I really don't want to be your hero. Why don't you save yourself, girlfriend?

My response:

"Glad to have helped save you $500."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Smoking Hot Chef

There's a new Chef in town... and he's easy on the eyes.

(Okay, he's my husband)

Check out his new blog here.

It's really good. I promise.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Book Review Time!

I can't say I've ever really written a book review in my entire life, but recently I was lucky enough to receive a copy of a really great read for all you frugalists out there. I kinda feel like I'm in high school again.

10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget was written collaboratively by the writers of Wise Bread, a personal finance web site that has a blog of endless tips and life hacks, as well as links to online deals and forums for readers.

Right now the book is on Amazon for only $10 and some change. That's nothing compared to how much I can see it saving me.

I am less than halfway through the book and there are literally, so many good items in it that I can't remember them all.

Over the years, I've read everything from Rich Dad Poor Dad to Millionaire Next Door, and I still have yet to finish Your Money Or Your Life. They are all very good publications for big picture ideas, but there are some advantages 10,001 Ways to Live Large On A Small Budget kicks those other books' asses.

1) It was written by not one or two people, but TWENTY. These folks all come from many different walks of life. They are different sexes, races, ages, and live in different parts of the country, I'm basically getting valuable money saving advice from twenty people. How cool is that?

2) It's super practical. Saving money in every area of your life from travel to household items. So far one of my favorite tips is a recipe for how to make astringent. Currently I use the Body Shop's Tea Trea Oil line. Each bottle is $11 and lasts just over a month. What caught me about the recipe is that it calls for tea trea oil, which can be purchased cheaply online. I'm dying to try it. I'm guessing each bottle of homemade astringent would cost about $3 or $4. If I go through 12 bottles per year, that's $132 versus $48.

Which price would you rather pay for something that's essentially the same?

3) There is something for everyone. Maybe you don't use astringent, but want to save on grocery shopping. There are good secrets to saving at the check out.

I've been a frugalist and money saving maniac for quite some time. I CVS. I clip coupons and use my Entertainment book. And so far I have learned quite a bit of useful information from Wise Bread bloggers.

I give the book 5/5 stars.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Fuck Walmart

Apparently big-time retailer Walmart will turn down customers who want to purchase items from the store.

I'm not kidding.

As I write this, I am furiously thinking of ways to help Walmart go out of business. It's been about six weeks since I've blogged anything, but I'm so pissed at Walmart that I feel this merits a blog.

That seems to be logical. I mean, If the company will not sell items to willing buyers, what is the purpose of doing business?

Now, I realize that there's no law against businesses refusing a transaction with anyone. But it's just plain stupid to turn down money.

Today I needed a few items including a paper shredder, a pet carrier, and a few other items for our new kitten.

To start off, I'm not a huge fan of Walmart. There's the past allegations of using child and sweatshop labor, mistreating and underpaying workers, and the giant helping close long-time mom and pop shops.

However, the prices are low. The stores in general suck ass. Many of the employees don't understand basic English, aisles are crowded, other customers have screaming children, and it takes forever to find what you need. Target is such a better store!

I decided to brave it anyways to look particularly for the pet carrier and the paper shredder.

So I went to Walmart.

After searching around for a half hour, I found what I needed including the carrier. I found the one below, but it seemed to be the only one in the pet aisle and was out of the box. It was near a spot with a price around $30. I was definitely willing to pay that, despite the fact that I would have preferred a model in the box and fresh.

So I get to the register (12) and the cashier notices that the pet carrier does not have a tag on it, which I hadn't noticed. She's not sure what to do. The woman calls over a manager who tells her that it's a "floor model" (Floor model, WTF? If that's a floor model, I'm the pope) and that the "pet manager" needs to approve the purchase and the price.

The cashier rang up my other items, so the customers behind me in line can check out. (Note: I actually suggested that to her, she really had no idea what to do) She also calls the pet department. Twice.

Ten minutes later and I'm very unhappy. It's been a really shitty week and this is not cool. I ask the cashier if there's anything she can do. She suggests I go to the manager's area and ask. Gee, how helpful of her.

I take the carrier over to the managers area and a woman takes it back to the pet department.

Fifteen minutes after that I'm still waiting. Finally, the manager who earlier told me I needed "approval" to purchase the carrier returned with it. He informed me that they could not find anyone with the pet department and since they could not find the item, I could not buy it. That they couldn't "make up a price" (Why didn't they check the web site to see if they could find the item?)

This, after spending 30 minutes just waiting for a price check.

Have you ever heard anything so ridiculous???

I told him that. I said I had been waiting a very long time and was upset that I did that only to be told I couldn't buy an item in a fucking store.

If you find my language offensive, please accept my apologies. I'm not a regular curser unless I'm absolutely livid.

I told the asshole manager that I wanted to return all the items I just purchased. Unfortunately the line for returns was massive. He very rudely replied "Well, go ahead and wait in line."

I left the store in tears, and told the greeter at the door that I would never go back there again.

As I pushed my cart to my car I could not believe what had just happened. I was so angry that I hurled my cart upside down in some grass near my parking spot. Sorry, Walmart, not using those cart return spots this time! This is a bit embarassing, but I was also in tears leaving and driving home.

While driving out of the parking lot, I called 1-800-Walmart to file a complaint with that store. I really wish I had noticed the asshole manager's nametag. He was a heavier set white guy with brown-gray hair in his mid to late 40s. I've NEVER called a corporate office of any store to complain before.

I then called the store I had just left to try and find out his name. I was told Roy was the assistant manager on duty.

Just a few hours later Roy actually called. The voice didn't sound like asshole-man from earlier. He "apologized" for my experience and said that they found another identical carrier in the box. (Genius Roy, why wasn't anyone able to find it when I was actually AT the fucking store???) Apparently the carrier was $16 and not $30. He told me he could "help" me out with the price. Like I needed help with buying a $16 carrier?

I told him how poor the customer service is at Walmarts in general, and that store in particular... and that I would be returning all the items I'd purchased that day. Why the hell would a store refuse to sell a customer an item that's ON THE SHELF???

He told me to stop by and see him when I was there.

I had great satisfaction in telling him that I would go out of my way to return the other items at another store.

Personally, I will never set foot inside that store again. And besides a trip to another location to return the stuff I bought and get my money back, I will never go to Walmart again. My husband and I have a Sam's Club membership. Sam's Club is unfortunately owned by Walmart. I really don't have a desire to renew our membership and give that horrible corporation our business.
And it is now my mission to destroy Walmart. I urge all of you who have pride and are sick of being treated with no respect and dealing with the nightmare that is Walmart to shop elsewhere. Target, Aldi's, Big Lots, local shops, wherever.
Why give over your hard earned money to a business that apparently doesn't want or need it.
Fuck Walmart.
I recommend to anyone who lives in the Tampa Bay area, NOT to give your business to this particular Walmart store:

8001 US Highway 19 N
Pinellas Park, FL 33781
(727) 576-1770 - Ask for assistant manager Roy!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Free Home Security System Quote

At my old apartment, the unit across the hall was broken into while we slept. So I found this free quote for a Brinks system and I think I'll check it out. I'll let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Get a Free Silicone Baking Pan

Hello Readers!

It's definitely been awhile!

Between having the Super Bowl in the Tampa area, and newlywed life, I have had to put blogging on the back burner the past few months.

Sorry guys!

I am still CVS'ing every week, and enjoying having a Gordon Food Service nearby our apartment.

Gordon Food Service is a regional distributor that's open to the public. It's kind of like Sam's Club or Costco, but without the membership fee.

On Sunday we bought an ENTIRE ribeye lipon beef portion. (this is the part of the cow that we get delicious ribeye and delmonico steaks from). It was about $4.55 lb or $69 for 15 lbs of meat. Tim, being the chef that he is, broke down the meat into 16 steaks ranging from 12 - 15 oz. and 15 oz of beef tips to use for cooking.

That equals about $4.50 per steak! Pretty great deal!

The one complaint we had was that the sign in the store said the beef was USDA Choice, but the plastic packaging said USDA Select, which is one step down.

We compared a steak from this batch to a more expensive flat iron steak. The quality was similar!

I highly recommend trying to find an entire ribeye or strip pieces of beef. Sam's Club also carries these larger pieces. They're quite a great price for what you get! Don't be afraid of having to cut the meat yourself. The outside of the meat may not be pretty, but the inside will have a beautiful color and marbling.

Get an Entertainment book for 50% off!!!

These are fantastic! I used a discount last night when Tim and I had Italian food. $14 less we had to pay, and the waiter gave us free dessert!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

$5,000? Really?


I just finished reading a CNN article that was a follow up to last week's plane crash into the Hudson River.

U.S. Airways is sending $5,000 to passengers in the crash-landed flight.

The airline is saving it will be "months" before passengers receive recoverable possessions. All items must be weighed, dried for eight weeks, and weighed again.

Now, why do they need to be dried for eight weeks? Please, U.S. Airways, this isn't like dry aging a steak.

And I highly doubt many passengers are going to see their stuff back. Good-bye cell phones, iPods, clothing, laptops, souvenirs. If I survived a freaking PLANE CRASH, I don't think I'd be too concerned about my bluetooth headset and wallet.

In case you live under a rock, a flight last Thursday from LaGuardia to Charlotte lost power to both engines, forcing an emergency landing on the Hudson River. All 155 people onboard survived.

And if I'd been one of the passengers, you can bet that $5,000 (oh yes, and another check with a flight refund) wouldn't really be enough to cut it. What did they give the pilot? An extra sick day?

Really, $5,000? The airline should at least give them $25,000 - $50,000. That's an absolutely terrifying ordeal, and U.S. Airways shouldn't shirk its responsibility with this assenine level of cheapness. That's like a guy trying to go dutch on a McDonald's date.

Adding up $5,000 times 155 passengers equals $775,000 plus let's say about $50,000 for the reimbursed flights. That's less than a million bucks. If U.S. Airways gave everyone $25,000 that's about $3.875 million.

Captain Chesley B. Sullenberger should get a huge raise and pension. He saved U.S. Airways' ass and tons of money. Imagine how much U.S. Airways would be out if everyone on the plane had perished. He should get compensated at least $1 million. With $25,000 for every passenger, flight refunds, and pilot compensation that's still under $5 million. Chump change compared to a barrage of wrongful death lawsuits.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Expecting? Get some free samples!


Search for Grants

You've probably seen news stories about people who received thousands of dollars for a housing or research grant. Well, here's a way to search for them yourself.

Using Up Those Extra Care Bucks

Earlier this week I started checking out the CVS ads. There was a sneak peek ad scan on someone's site that was exciting to find.

As soon as I woke up I cruised and printed out a $2 off one St. Ives product and a $2 off Excedrin Express Gels coupons. (Excedrin is on sale for $1.99 and St. Ives lotions are $2.99)

Since I had to pick up a prescription also, I went this morning around 10a.m.

Conveniently, there's a newspaper vending box right outside my closest CVS store. Talk about great!

I found a $1.50 coupon off Vaseline Intensive Rescue products as well as a $3 coupon for certain Bausch & Lomb eye drops.

When I paid for the prescription, a $3 off any 2 body lotions coupon printed out.

Vaseline lotion was on sale for $5.99.

CVS allergy tablets were free after ECBs for $3.69 (limit 2)

Nutra Trim gum was also free after ECBs for $3.79 (limit 2)

Maybelline makeup B1G1, and I needed new mascara, so I picked up 2 Great Lash packages for $4.79. I knew I'd seen a coupon recently, but I was outta luck this time.

Earlier this week I'd been emailed a $5 off a $30 purchase coupon from CVS.

The eye drops were $7.29 with $2 in ECBs.

Here's what went down at the register:

$40 total

-$1.50 Vaseline

-$2 Excedrin

-$3 Bausch & Lomb

-$2 St. Ives

-$3 CVS body lotion

-$5 CVS purchase of $30

-$14 ECBs from last trip

Total out of pocket - $8.31

ECBs earned: $17.56

Friday, January 16, 2009

True Romance

Last night I got home from work after a hectic day just a few minutes before Tim pulled up.

When he walked in the door he had a rose, a bottle of wine, four hot dogs, and four taquitos. All from 7-Eleven.

I found it rather cute. Since I love hot dogs, it was a good surprise.

And what girl can turn down a large bottle of $11.99 Barefoot Merlot?
I know I can't.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Check Your Credit!

It's 2009, and with the economy in the shape it's in, why not check your credit report for free??

This service will give you an extensive report of the last 24 months for free. I just used this link to discover that my credit score is 794 - which is apparently excellent.

A hint: you do have to enter a credit card number (for a free trial membership of credit bureau monitoring). Immediately after ordering the free credit report call 866-883-3309 to cancel the free trial. The whole process takes about ten minutes.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Rolling Into 2009

I'm definitely rolling into the new year with some major life changes.

Met my husband over the summer at a mutual friend's wedding. We got engaged six weeks later and married last month. It was the easiest decision I've ever made in my entire life.

2009 has brought both joys and challenges to Tim and I. The day after we got married, we moved into a rented condo in St. Petersburg just a few blocks from my previous apartment.
A few weeks after we moved, Tim was hired at La Fogata, a Brazilian steak house in Gulfport, FL. He likes his job so far and we feel lucky that he found employment in this tough as nails economy. Tim is in charge of cooking all the meat that the restaurant serves. If you're not familiar with this type of food, it's churrasco style. It's an all-you-can-eat meat smorgasboard, where diners are served slices of delicious meat right at their table.

Neither of us want to have to work our entire lives. Ideally, we'd like to retire earlier rather than later. Our primary goals are saving as much money as possible. We'd like to purchase a foreclosed home at the end of the year, fix it up, then sell it. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Prices are still rock bottom, so getting a great deal shouldn't be too hard. Tim does remodeling work so we can save quite a bit of money doing this and build equity and value in the house.

We've also tossed around other ideas like catering on the side, and even making our own furniture. Over the New Year holiday, Tim acquired a nice table saw and a router. He's been tinkering with the new toys this week and I think furniture crafting is something he'll enjoy.

I've drawn up a preliminary budget, and with our current incomes, we should be able to save a very substantial amount of money (about $1,000 per month). That's not even including my 10% kicked into my 401k. That's a huge relief to me!

So all in all, 2009 may be okay for the Moore family despite the crumbling economic infrastructure around us.