Tag Archive | shopping

Credit Card Class

Now I assume that most of us have some type of bank card, either a credit card or debit card. It doesn’t matter which because both can be used to go shopping online or in a physical store. Now I won’t preach about budgeting your money. What you spend your money on is your business.

The problem is that banks just want your money because that’s how they stay in business. When you open an account, you give the bank your money and they give you a little plastic card in exchange, and to many banks have to many rules/fees about using the cards to access your own money.

But I really wish that it was required that every bank gave a mandated class on how to use a credit card everytime you get one. What I mean is…a class to teach you how to use the card to pay for items at a register if the business doesn’t have a chip reader. You would be surprised how many people argue with me about the fact that their card has a chip, so they HAVE to use it. Well guess what folks, your chipped card also has a strip on the back and it’s about time you refresh your memory on how to use it. It wasn’t that many years ago that we all used that strip before the silly chip was invented. Actually the chip was added to bank cards in the Fall of 2015, so unless you got your very first card after 2015, then you should remember how to slide a card at any register.

There are times when a credit card machine will decline a card, and sometimes it’s just because they can’t use the chip reader. I had a customer who had just used his card in another business before shopping in my store. His card worked fine in the other business but not in mine. He called his bank up to find out why. He had to explain that he was on vacation at a national park and that he was shopping in a store that didn’t have a chip reader. Quite a few stores in small communities (in the middle of nowhere) are not set up to accept the chip on cards. After being on the phone for about 15-20 minutes asking for permission to spend his own money, the bank told him to try the card again. After the phone call his card worked…which proved that the only reason it declined before, was the bank was refusing to let it go through not because there was anything wrong with the store’s machine. So now I use that guy as an example when other customers have cards that decline. So far, nobody else wants to take 20 minutes to call their bank. It’s easier for most people to just have someone else in their group pay with a different card.

I had another guy slide 5 different cards through our register to pay for his items. Why someone needs 5 different cards is beyond my comprehension. If a register declines your card when you use the magnetic strip, then you might have the option to try the same card by “tapping” the card with Apple-pay. I don’t fully understand Apple-pay and because I move around all over the country so often, my bank has never offered me that option. But I do recognize cards that have the option and will tell customers to use it if their card declines when the use the magnetic strip. Then I end up with a customer who will try to tap their card, even though their card doesn’t have that option. It’s because the bank never took the time to verbally explain their particular card’s account to them. They are just standing in a register line and see 1 customer use apple pay so they assume that they can also.

If I tell a customer to enter the card manually, they have no idea what I am talking about. When I tell them that they have to type in their numbers, then they will just type in 4 numbers as they are putting the card back in their pockets. Huh, ok, obviously it’s a debit card and they just put their pin number on the screen, for anyone to see. So I have to explain that all cards run as a credit card and unless they have all 14-16 numbers of their card memorized they need to get the card back out and type all the numbers from the card, along with the expiration date and the 3-number code on the back.

Sometimes they get all confused and have no idea what to do. So they either hand me their card telling me to do it or they decide to pay with cash. Then they get disappointed when I tell them that my store (and no business in the area) does Cashback with cards. The atm machines in the area have been empty for about a month because they guy whose job it was to fill them with cash has quit so customers can no longer get cash from them when their cards decline. If customers would just learn how to use their card for everything then they wouldn’t need cash…well unless they need to go to our post office or the laundromat in the campground nearby. Obviously if you have a bank card, you got it so you wouldn’t have to carry cash around, so why ask for Cashback?

Banks claim that a chip makes your card more secure. My argument to that is, if anyone stole my card there is nothing stopping them from using my card in any business that runs all cards as credit. If the business ran debit cards correctly then whoever was using the card would need a pin number. That new chip can’t tell if the card owner or a thief went shopping.

Even with all the information that’s supposed to be in a chip, my bank still has a hard time keeping track of me. I move around often and don’t always update my address with my bank. So now my bank will send me a new debit card about every 4 months. Sometimes it will take almost a month to get the new card because the bank sent it to an old address that I’m no longer located at. If the chip in my debit card is so secure, that my own bank can’t read it’s information to know that I have moved across the country again…then why does a chip hold such information? Who is this info for?

Actually I do have a few older relatives that refuse to shop online or pay any bills online because they would never dream of putting their card info on the Internet. Oh heck, some of them still send out paper checks to pay utility bills, while others will drive to the utility office twice a month to pay cash towards a bill. I also have one relative who pays for everything with his credit card. It’s easier for him to keep track of where is money went. If he ever needs to challenge a charge from any business and the business doesn’t want to refund his payment, then he can pull out his file of receipts…with dates, item purchase numbers and what else he needs to get the head of his credit card company to get his money back. So it boggles my mind, when customers don’t want receipts at my store..they even tell me that they don’t want to know how much they spent on vacation.

I have been waiting for the day, when every single customer in my store uses a bank card at my register. I wouldn’t have to worry about running out of change in my drawer. Of course I have been waiting for that for a long time. I don’t think it will happen anytime soon.

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Grocery Shopping Inside a National Park

In February, sometime before my last roommate moved away, she mentioned a budget software that her son bought her. Well it got me checking for budget apps to download onto my tablet. Found one that I had enough space for. Its called “Spending Tracker”. It seems pretty easy to use and was an eye-opener when I posted the income that I had actually brought home in January (not the gross pay). I kept looking at the total I brought home “VS” the amount in my bank account at that time, and the realization hit me that I really do need to stick to a budget more then I had thought.

Lately I have seen a few blogs around the internet and some comments in facebook groups where different people post what they spend at a grocery store. Usually it’s from people who live in locations with more than one store, which allows them to shop around and compare prices. Well in my tiny community outside of the national park there is only 1 store, with 1 bigger store inside the park. Stores like Walmart, Whole Foods, Sprouts, and Safeway, are in Flagstaff which is about 90 minutes away. Without a car, they might as well be across the country. Thankfully I can order some food online from Walmart and Amazon, to be delivered to my post office box.

So with my new spending tracker app, I want to see exactly what I spend in a month for: #1. Starbucks, #2. Dining out (restaurants) #3. Groceries at store (both inside and outside the park), #4. Schwan’s food truck delivery. #5. Foods ordered online. The idea is to find out exactly what I am spending on all the food and drinks that I consume and then figure out a way to save money. This should be an interesting month, as myself and all the other locals like to complain that it’s expensive to shop and eat here.

Sure there are days where I don’t care about a price and will go eat out at one of the local buffets. My last buffet was for Easter dinner. Then I become a Scrooge for a few days after my big-spending moments and refuse to buy anything.

(Saturday) for lunch I finished up a bag of frozen broccoli and cheese sauce that I had gotten from the Schwan’s truck last week, and I mixed it with a mini Minute-Ready container of red quinoa & brown rice. My lunch is technically not on my diet, but it’s what I had ,easy access to today before I get ready for work.

Around 5:30pm, I started feeling kinda BLAH. Got an ice cream sandwich during my lunch break and felt better afterwards. It normally cost $1.79 but with my employee discount, it cost me $1.43. I didn’t really eat much all day which is probably why I wasn’t feeling my best.

(WEDNESDAY) 4/25/2018

I came up to the store to buy a couple avocados, bag of spinach, shredded cheese, and some junk that I didn’t really need. So what does the produce section look like in your store? My total (with my employee discount) came to $14.34.

Now I am heading back home to have a huge salad while I do laundry.

It’s April…but no Spring Showers

My schedule got changed again this week because one of the international kids from Ecuador, wanted to go on a rec center trip to Walmart. So we traded days..she is working this morning for me and I will be working Wednesday night for her. I went shopping in Flagstaff with Robin last week. Robin was nice enough to take me to the bank so I could walk in and get a temporary bank card, as I still had not gotten mine in the mail.

According to the weather app on my phone, I don’t expect rain until the middle of May. But Utah and Colorado might get rain and even a bit of snow in the mountains, this month. But as usual that could all change next week. Today it’s about 63 degrees and windy in Tusayan.

I am typing this on Monday but probably won’t post it until Tuesday, when I go out to for breakfast. Last night I went to a dinner buffet at one of the local hotels. It was yummy but rather expensive (in my opinion..$28 is expensive). Being Easter, I ate lots of ham and spare ribs. Cheesecake isn’t on my diet but I had some anyways. Guests will usually come into the store and ask me about different restaurants in town. I had only tried breakfast here at the “Canyon Plaza Resort” before, and now I can honestly tell people that their dinners are helluva lot better. I was stuffed by the time I walked home. I fell asleep before 7pm, and got back up around 2am.

The above picture was taken last week..I was pretty excited because I don’t remember seeing the 160’s since May 2015 (according to what I could find posted online). While I was in Flagstaff I bought some pants to wear to work. All my size 18 pants were to big..I had actually started wearing a belt everyday. I had given up belts years ago, but now they were a necessity. The belt came with a pair of pants I bought over a year ago. Even though the pants fit at the time, the belt was to small. Now I can buckle the belt into the third hole. Anyways I am now wearing size 15/16 pants.

Today (Monday) I am finally getting around to putting away the stuff that I bought last week. Good thing I still have a room to myself…so far. Seeing as I bought a view movies from a thrift store I will also take time to watch a dvd movie that I had never heard of, “Eternal Sunshine..of the spotless mind”. It stars Jim Carrey and usually I like his movies. Ok this has got to be his strangest movie ever.

Last week, I ordered some craft supplies online. They should start arriving Thursday. I can’t wait to be able to create stuff again. I am hoping to create things to sell later. Not sure if that means I have to register for a business license in order to do this but I will figure that out later.

3-Day Weekend & Farmer’s Market Again

Somehow my body must of gotten used to the routine of going to class 5 days a week with a normal 2 day weekend.  Today is Sunday, but it’s my third day home and I still woke early checking the date on my phone a few times to make sure I really had today off.

Well Friday, I went to get another tire replaced on my car, and was told that I need to replace the front brakes & rotors for about $220. Sometime I also need to get the horn fixed along with the high beam light on the driver’s side. (Good thing I don’t drive much at night). The state of Utah requires a yearly car inspection and so far my car doesn’t pass. Geez, maybe it would of been easier to go to AZ. But it will be nice when it’s done and know the car is safe.

Well Yesterday was Saturday so I went to the farmer’s market again. I ended up winning 2 prizes. I gave the caramel sauce to the family I rent from. The ladies who make the sauce are from Beryl, UT. I am pretty sure that you can find them on facebook, just search for the Four Country Gals.

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Unfortunately there wasn’t any peaches or blueberries at the market this week.  So I ended up going to the grocery store to buy bananas & diced up watermelon  (along with junk that I didn’t need) to eat this weekend.

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As you can see there were some tomatoes & zucchini at the market which I love. The family I rent from has told me that I can eat some of the tiny tomatoes in their garden, so I don’t need to buy those for awhile.

Now I really need to do my laundry for the week. I have work tomorrow…yup I am still with “Convergy’s”, until something else comes along. I had a phone interview on Friday for a job at the Grand Canyon,  and I have sent 4 resumes into other places. It’s just the dreaded waiting game now to see which one will say …Yes, you’re hired.

Trying to Organize

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Here is part of my closet, sorry the whole thing does not show up in 1 picture; but this is most of the clothes that I have worn for the last few weeks. I have 3 hoodies in the car, so they are not in the picture. I don’t have a dresser and for now I’m in no hurry to get 1. Hey if all your clothes fit into 1 closet then why would I need to spend money on a piece of furniture that would take up space in a bedroom and to much space in a car if for any reason I needed to move again. They might be hard to see in this picture but I only own 3 pair of pants (2tan/khaki & 1 brown), 1 pair of blue capris are folded on top of my black & green shorts. If I actually end up staying here during the Winter then I will need to buy boots & a warm coat.

Course this doesn’t mean that the rest of my room is clutter free. I WISH!! So even though I don’t collect alot of clothes, I do collect to much paper clutter. I have maps, newspapers, brochures, recipts, magazines, books, cards, bills (and other mail), work stuff, and menus for different places. It’s the paper clutter that always drives me crazy.

You know you have to much “paper” clutter, when all the paper takes up more room in your car then your clothes do. I’m not exactly sure but I might have a few clothes left in the trunk of the car. I know for sure that I still have to much “paper” thrown all over the back seat.

Well it’s time for a break from this clutter. I need more coffee and some of yesterday’s applesauce bread. Ok, so I only want coffee and really need to throw out some trash. Less trash = less stuff to lose track of = more peace in my head. Peace is always a good thing.

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Saturday around Cedar City, UT.

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This morning while reading a local free paper, I saw a notice for the farmer’s market. This will be going on every Saturday till the end of the Fall season (I think). I only got peaches, blueberries and a loaf of yummy homemade applesauce bread. Some of the best peaches that I have had in the past have come from little farm stands (or bigger farmer’s markets) and today’s fruit is just as good as I remember. I have to go back next weekend because I got a call from 1 of the vendors saying I won a $25 gift certificate.

Later I went to the library to do some writing. I ended up studying for my next test;  in my training class at work. I need all the study time I can get. Believe me, just because I can practically live online 24/7, does not mean I understand how to do a job on a computer.  Didn’t take long though for my mind to wander away from school/ work stuff.

So I decided to go for a drive and check out the new Veterans Memorial Park. I am calling it new because it wasn’t here in the 80’s when I lived here before. Unfortunately I had left home today with only my cell phone for picture taking. I will need to go back another day for better pictures.

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Seeing as I blog with my tablet and all today’s pics were taken with my phone, it can be time consuming to first post pictures on facebook and then download them onto my tablet in order to post them here. The above picture is from the Korean War memorial. Don’t you just love the red mountains in the background?

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Just an wider shot of the area as I walked back to my car. You can see the flags flying above the trees in the memorial areas. Hard to believe that this is the edge of the city. Nice spot to get away from the rat-race of life.

It was a pretty good day, that got a bit warm. It was about 75° when I left home and had gone up 10 degrees by the time I got home. To warm for the long sleeve shirt I was wearing.

Cash or Credit

I work in a general store in a national park.  Of course we take credit/debit cards and we have an atm, for people that want to get cash out. 1 of my questions is, why do people “need” to use cash now-a-days? Is there anything that really requires cash anymore?

Then of course there are those people who drive me bonkers, when they don’t understand  that they need to carry their license or passport with them while shopping,  if the credit card is not signed. It’s  written on the back of your card that it is not authorized without a signature. Which is why most post offices refuse to accept any unsigned card (even if you remember to carry your identification) some people will write CID on the back of their card and still forget to carry their identification. They will get mad if I say that they need to walk back to the campground to get it or I will point to the atm and tell them that they can get cash out to pay for their stuff.

I just love it when spouses try to use each others card. A wife will say “Oh it’s my husband’s card but I sign for it all the time.” We’ll maybe so, but you ain’t doing it at my register. Or a husband will tell me that both names are on the account. Well sir if both names are not on the card that you handed me, then you ain’t using it at my register.

It drives me crazy when other stores/restaurants don’t ask for my ID when I hand them my unsigned debit card. Lately I have  noticed it in fast food places like Subway or Panda Express. Yes I realize that asking for ID would slow down the line while business is busy, but I don’t care. I want you to check my identification. I want to know that if my debit card gets stolen/lost that someone else won’t be able to use it without my ID.

Then yesterday, I paid a big bill at the dentist with my debit card, after shopping at Walmart. Later I tried to shop at the grocery store and was told that I had reached my daily limit with the card. Say whaaaat!? I had never heard this before…course I had never used the card to spend $500 in a single day before either. Damn, as I am sitting in the parking lot trying to figure out how to get enough gas in Kim’s truck to make it back home, I called the 800# on the back of the card to ask about the daily limit. The lady who answered finally agreed to raise the limit just enough so that I could get $20 in gas. Now there was a problem that don’t happen if you carry cash, but it’s a problem that I don’t like. Sure now I know that if anyone else tries to use my card that they won’t get over $500 worth of purchases. But I don’t like having that limit on myself. If I want to spend all my own $$ in 1 day then I should be able to.

Ok, I will get off my soapbox now and stop ranting…because it’s a beautiful sunny day outside and I wanna go check out the art show.