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The bookseller declares bankruptcy but says it will honor its gift cards. However, it might be prudent to redeem them soon.

By doubleace Feb 16, 2011 2:02PM

This post comes from Lynn Mucken of MSN Money.

 

Borders © Ben Margot/APWhat's the gift that never starts giving? A gift card from a company that declares bankruptcy or, worse, goes under.

 

Bookseller Borders has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, as expected. The chain, which operates more than 650 stores and employs 19,000 people, announced it plans to close one-third of its stores and concentrate on its e-book operations.

Borders said it will continue to honor its gift cards, both online and even at stores targeted for closure. Still, millions of dollars in unredeemed gift cards could be in danger if the company changes that policy.

 

A consumer survey also shows people are anxious about rising gas prices.

By Karen Datko Feb 16, 2011 12:25PM

This post comes from Matt Brownell at partner site MainStreet.

 

Americans hate high gas prices but are generally satisfied with online shopping and department stores, according to the latest iteration of the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

The quarterly survey, which tracks consumers' satisfaction with companies in various industries, shows overall satisfaction in the fourth quarter of 2010 at its lowest level since 2008. As the authors note, however, this drop is largely attributable to dissatisfaction with government services and rising gas prices

When you're on the clock, you represent your company, even if you're sending a personal e-mail.

By Karen Datko Feb 16, 2011 10:59AM

This post comes from Sarah Winfrey at partner blog Wise Bread.

 

Most employees get on the Internet for personal reasons while they're at work. It makes sense: When you're online all day anyway, you may as well check your personal e-mail, Twitter, or even Facebook.

Many employers don't mind if their employees spend some personal time online, as long as it doesn't interfere with customer service or hamper productivity. In order to keep it that way, though, there are some tips you should keep in mind. They are, for the most part, common sense, but you might be surprised how many employees break them. (See also: "20 signs that a pink slip is coming.")

 

There's a buzz about electric cars, but even their owners have some words of warning.

By Stacy Johnson Feb 16, 2011 9:52AM

This post comes from Michael Koretzky at partner site Money Talks News.

 

Brett Circe clearly recalls the last time he filled up his Chevrolet sedan. "It was the day after New Year's," he says on a crisp February morning. "The last time I was at a gas station was January 2."

Circe pats his Chevy Volt on the hood and smiles. "When you buy gas, you send money to the Middle East, which we don't want to do no matter how much a car costs."

 

And the Volt costs a lot. The mid-sized sedan starts at $40,280 ($32,780 after the $7,500 federal tax credit) -- much more than Chevy's other offerings, including the Impala ($24,390), Malibu ($21,975) and even Camaro ($22,680).

 

That's one obvious reason you might want to wait before driving electric, but there are others.

 

Despite the recession, the poverty rate for seniors has dropped to 8.9%. But many more are considered low income, and their situation worsens as they age.

By Money Staff Feb 15, 2011 7:04PM

This post comes from Philip Moeller at partner site U.S. News & World Report.

 

 U.S. News & World Report on MSN MoneyAnyone living on a fixed income has to look uneasily at the federal government's rendezvous with deficit destiny. Beyond partisan calls to cut more or less, sooner or later, from different programs, the underlying reality is that stiff budget cuts must be enacted to at least begin narrowing the deficit.

Older Americans who don't have the option of seeking additional income have very little choice but to reduce their standard of living should their benefits be trimmed. And for millions of older Americans, there is simply nothing to cut.

 

You'll get a Facebook message from a friend urging you to click on a link to watch the YouTube video.

By Karen Datko Feb 15, 2011 2:58PM

This post comes from Mark Huffman at partner site ConsumerAffairs.com.

 

During Sunday night's Grammy Awards, Los Angeles television reporter Serene Branson appeared to be having a stroke during a live report. She slurred words and at times spoke gibberish.

Despite the fact that Branson says she's fine, the video of her on-air meltdown has gone viral on YouTube, and has become a tool for at least one Facebook scam, according to security experts at Sophos, a security software and hardware company.

 

One benefit of the financial crisis is that people have become more knowledgeable about credit reports and credit scores. But some false beliefs persist.

By Karen Datko Feb 15, 2011 1:23PM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.

 

With the economy improving and consumer spending on the rise, I've been getting a lot of credit report- and credit score-related e-mails. With more people buying things, some of which will inevitably be on credit, folks are looking to make sure they don't make any mistakes that could jeopardize their good credit scores and increase their borrowing costs.

I like the fact that people are becoming more conscious of their behavior and how it affects their financial lives. It's one of the more positive side effects of the financial crisis.

Unfortunately, there are still a few ideas out there about credit that are flat-out wrong.

 

While overall inflation is expected to remain tame this year, one area where it might go wild is clothing, with overall prices expected to rise by 10% or more.

By Stacy Johnson Feb 15, 2011 11:07AM

This post comes from Stacy Johnson at partner site Money Talks News.

 

According to this recent article from The Associated Press, your clothing bill is about to go up by 10%, with some of the increase happening this spring and the rest by the end of the year.

On an inflation-adjusted basis, overall clothing prices have declined over the past 10 years as lower-cost raw materials and goods from low-labor-cost countries such as China flooded the market. But in recent months, both material and labor costs have been escalating.

 

In this article from last September, we warned that higher cotton prices would probably start translating into steepening prices for T-shirts and jeans. Cotton has continued to climb since then, recently hitting $1.90 a pound, the highest price since the Civil War. Synthetic materials are also increasing in price.

 

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