Free admission to museums and amusement parks, plus discounts on cruises, are among the offerings.
With Memorial Day weekend approaching, it's time to remember the reason for the holiday: to honor those who gave their lives in defense of our country.
In honor of all U.S military members, both past and present, some businesses and attractions are offering special deals this weekend. Some deals are only for active-duty personnel, and others include retired and former military members.
- Bing: Memorial Day sales 2010
Among the tips: Don't be afraid to be on hold -- and use it to your advantage.
The New York Times recently published an article of reader-collected techniques for prevailing in customer-service disputes. Here's a sampling of a few of my favorites from the article:
Use your camera. Suzanne Barchers of Stanford, Calif., always photographs any unpleasant surprises in hotel rooms, using her handy digital camera. Of a recent trip to Las Vegas hotel she writes, "When asked upon checkout how my stay was, I simply said, 'Let me show you.'" The images included some dingy towels, broken shelves and a view that was less than promised and paid for. "My bill was cut in half without any prompting."
A new website provides an outlet for AT&T wireless users who are fed up with the network's ability -- or lack thereof -- to carry calls.
A new website is setting the stage for a class-action lawsuit regarding the Apple iPhone's apparent propensity to drop calls.
The site lets iPhone users upload their internal phone data, including the number of calls that their respective phones have dropped. The site administrators plan to aggregate the data and file a lawsuit on behalf of everyone who has used the site.
The website calls the iPhone "the best portable computer ever made, while at the same time being the worst phone ever because it drops calls all the time," and urges users to "run Apple and AT&T through the ringer."
Bookstores' summer reading programs offer rewards, and public libraries offer free kids' activities.
Bookstores want your children to read this summer, and they are offering free books as an enticement.
Of course, your public libraries always have free books available, as long as you're willing to bring them back on time. Most public libraries organize free children's programs in the summers, some with prizes. Our public library will offer teens henna tattoos in addition to organizing more traditional programs around books, film and music.
- Bing: Best children's books
Libraries lend more than books, too. You can check out DVDs, videos, music and audio books.
Local independent bookstores organize free children's events and some also have summer reading programs. Many bookstores offer free regular story hours, too.
With the resort industry reeling from the recession, golfers can find bargains.
Golf course owners are still searching for the green -- and that could be good news for vacationing golfers.
After ticking down 1.8% in 2008, the number of rounds of golf played in 2009 inched south another 0.6%, according to the National Golf Foundation. Some states saw steeper declines: South Carolina, with well-known golfing destinations in Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach, saw 4.3% fewer rounds of golf played last year than in 2008, and golf rounds fell 12.8% in Hawaii.
The drop-off in business could add up to some good last-minute deals for consumers, says Bob Bruns, associate director of the PGA Golf Management program at Methodist University.
Before you spend a lot of money, investigate free or low-cost options.
Scams aren't just for the unsophisticated. Even a reasonable job seeker with an ounce of urgency might be convinced by polished, persistent schemers who are pros at overselling the value of job-search services.
To be semantically precise, these setups are more scheme-like than pure scams. Service providers don't take your money and disappear; instead, they deliver a service that may be worthless or have value that is a fraction of its fee.
- Bing: Write a perfect resume
As such, these schemes persist, especially when hawked by aggressive salespeople disguised as career-services experts. They prey on the sense of urgency and latent fears of high-achieving people who happen to be unemployed or underemployed at the moment. They exploit the idea that exclusive, high-priced services are better than readily available, free or lower-priced alternatives.
The online retailer earns praise from customers, but some think it's merely a PR stunt.
A pricing-engine mistake at a Zappos.com sister site, 6pm.com, capped all prices at $49.95 for the first six hours of Friday before the error was caught. Now, in a brilliant customer-service move, Zappos says it will honor all of the orders placed and eat the $1.6 million mistake.
Hopefully, someone somewhere got the $1,000 GPS for just under 50 bucks. Customers overall, it appears, are impressed with the company's response.
"Wow, you mean they didn't pull an Amazon and just canceled all those orders? Crazy!" a reader commented at CNET News. Amazon acquired shoe and apparel online retailer Zappos last year.
This is certainly a departure from how many online retailers handle pricing mix-ups and gaffes. For instance:
The 'sin tax' defines candy as a sweet without flour. Except some candy contains flour. It's still candy, isn't it?
Starting June 1, you'll have to pay sales tax if you buy candy or gum in Washington state. Local taxes vary, but in Seattle, for example, that's 9.5 cents more on a $1 candy bar.
Unless you buy a Kit Kat, Milky Way or Twizzlers.
Those aren't candy, according to the state's definition. Because the state and city don't tax food, those sweets are tax-free.
That doesn't mean they're better for you. It's just that those non-candy candies contain flour. And, by the state's definition, an item that contains flour isn't candy, even if it's candy.
Copyright © 2013 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
ABOUT SMART SPENDING
Editor Bev O'Shea lives and works in the foothills of the Appalachians. A former copy editor for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Orlando Sentinel, she joined MSN Money in 2007. She's a fan of sunsets, college football and free shipping, among other things.
Having worked as a writer, reporter and editor for more than 25 years, Editor Julie Tilsner is the sort of person who can't help but correct grammar in Facebook postings and on billboards. She's written for BusinessWeek, the Los Angeles Times, Parenting, Redbook, AOL and others. She lives in Los Angeles County with her family and loves to drink wine and practice yoga, although not generally at the same time.
A writer for MSN Money since January 2007, Donna Freedman won regional and national prizes during an 18-year newspaper career and earned a college degree in midlife without taking out student loans. She also writes about smart money tactics for magazines and on her own site, Surviving and Thriving.
Mitch Lipka has been warning people about scams and shining light on questionable business practices for more than 20 years. Mitch, the consumer columnist for The Boston Globe, has also been a reporter and editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, Consumer Reports, South Florida Sun-Sentinel and AOL. He won the 2010 New York Press Club award for best consumer reporting online and was honored in 2011 for his reporting on child product safety.
Marilyn Lewis is an award-winning writer with a passion for getting readers clear, straight information that helps them stay out of financial trouble. A former reporter for The San Jose Mercury News, she works from her home in Port Townsend, Wash. Contact her at MarilynLewis@Outlook.com.
LATEST BLOG POSTS
These airlines have taken a la carte flying to a new level, charging for everything you can think of and then some.