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Where she works, the customer is always right, and the employees are expendable.

By Karen Datko Nov 1, 2010 12:12PM

This guest post comes from I am the working poor.


Working with the public is always an adventure. You never know what the attitude of the day will be. Large corporations usually work hard to please all of their customers to keep a steady customer base. Some companies become overzealous in trying to make all customers happy at any cost.


I work for an overzealous company.


Nationwide program buys back Halloween candy and sends it to U.S. troops overseas.

By Teresa Mears Nov 1, 2010 10:57AM

It's the morning after, and reality has set in: What ARE you going to do with all that Halloween candy your kids brought home last night?


You certainly don't want them to eat that much candy. You can help out, of course, but it's way too early in the holiday season to sabotage your diet.


Your dentist may be able to help.


Dentists and orthodontists nationwide are paying $1 per pound for Halloween candy, which they will donate to troops overseas. Dates for this year's Halloween Candy Buyback vary by dentist. Some are collecting the candy today, Nov. 1, and others will be collecting all week. Some offices are scheduling special events, and lucky kids may even get a toothbrush or other freebies.


More consumers say they'll buy jewelry this year; here's what you need to know.

By Karen Datko Nov 1, 2010 10:09AM

This Deal of the Day comes from Sarah Morgan at partner site SmartMoney.


Call it the Beyonce effect. In spite of the sluggish economy and the tight job market, more consumers say they'd like someone to put a ring on it this holiday season. Jewelry ranks higher on holiday wish lists than laptops, smart phones, digital cameras or TVs, according to one survey, and it was the only category to grow more desirable since last year.


And to shoppers' surprise, in spite of the skyrocketing price of gold, it's not a bad year to be in the market for sparkle.


Dirty sheets and towels on my bedroom floor? Really?

By Donna_Freedman Nov 1, 2010 9:15AM

Since the end of May I've made two long trips, to Alaska and New Jersey, spending about 14 weeks away from home in all.

During that time I had two housesitters, each of whom sent me an e-mail I really didn't want to get:

"I'm leaving a month early," the first one wrote.

"Do you have a plunger?" queried the second. 

Why are the interest rates charged by credit cards higher than they've been in recent years?

By Karen Datko Oct 29, 2010 5:51PM

A Budgets are Sexy post we featured here asked readers to fill in the blank: I wish my credit card had _________. We strongly suspect no one answered "a 59.9% interest rate."

That's the rate you'll get if you apply for a First Premier Centennial Classic credit card. The bank just abolished its lower, 23.9% annual percentage rate for new Centennial Classic customers, so all will get the 59.9% rate, says.


(You may recall First Premier, parent of the 79.9% credit card. Also, Consumers Union recently named the First Premier Bank MasterCard the nation's worst credit card. Congratulations.)

First Premier's decision to offer only the higher rate was enough to raise the overall average APR for new U.S. credit cards to 14.69% in's weekly survey, up from 14.37% last week. It's now "the second highest level on record since began tracking APRs in 2007," the website says -- this while mortgage rates are at lows not seen since the 1950s. What gives?


The standard tip used to be 15%. Now it's 20%. That's craziness, and you're at fault.

By Karen Datko Oct 29, 2010 12:14PM

This guest post comes from Len Penzo at Len Penzo dot Com.


One of my articles from 2009 that continues to get a steady stream -- OK, trickle -- of occasional comments is my article imploring people to not feel guilty for tipping their servers 15% for average service.

In that piece I noted that the standard tipping guideline for expected service was 15% for as long as I could remember.

I also pointed out that nowadays a lot of people are pushing 20% or even more as the standard for average service, which I think is ridiculous.


I used to buy through a rewards program, but I've found a more cost-effective way.

By Donna_Freedman Oct 29, 2010 11:08AM

I order an Entertainment Book every year. In the past I've gotten it through MyPoints, one of several rewards programs that I use to get free gift cards.

But now I've found an even better deal: I ordered the EB through a cash-back site.

Cash-back sites are affiliate marketers, which means they get a fee for sending customers to merchants. Then they share a sliver of that fee with us.

In this case it wasn't exactly a sliver:


Both Verizon and T-Mobile are expected to offer cheaper plans. Should you bite?

By Karen Datko Oct 29, 2010 8:41AM

This Deal of the Day comes from Kelli B. Grant at partner site SmartMoney.


Following AT&T's lead, both Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile are expected to unveil new cell phone data plans, offering lower prices for customers willing to give up their unlimited data plans.

But the $15 savings might not be worth it -- and if you switch, there could be no going back.



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