Tag Archives: credit cards

Braxton’s 7th Birthday; No McDonald’s, Instead Picnic In The Woods With Homemade Burgers.

by Anura Guruge


Click pictures to ENLARGE.

Attribution WILL be enforced.






For the last 12-years the tradition has been to always take them both, on each other’s birthdays, to McDonald’s at Alton Circle, for burgers (and of late ice cream).

But then came COVID-19.

On May 15, 2020, we made an EXCEPTION & went to McDonald’s for Maya’s 9th birthday. I did NOT like it. Was not a very sanitary experience — as I outlined. So, much so that I got an e-mail from McDonald’s apologizing & a gift card for ONE (whole) burger! Didn’t fancy another full-contact credit card transaction.

So, I went to Hannaford, earlier in the day, & bought some premium, Hannaford-made burgers. Then I cooked them. I cook their burgers WELL. I eat mine basically raw! (Does that make sense?)

I was going to take them to the McDonald’s parking lot! But, it was HOT. 90F.

So, instead, I took them for a picnic in the woods so that they can run around. A route that they are familiar with. Worked out well. Cooler. No one around.

But, we will be back at McDonald’s next year or year after — post-COVID. They know the routine.


Year’s Past

2019


2018


2017

2014 — 1st Birthday


Related posts:
Search ‘Braxton birthday’.


by Anura Guruge

‘The Foothills Of Warner’ — A Quaint, Delightful Eatery In Scenic, Warner, N.H.

by Anura Guruge


Click pictures to ENLARGE.

Attribution WILL be enforced.





Click to access their Facebook page.


We stopped here for lunch, on Tuesday, July 23, 2019, after our very rewarding visit to the nearby ‘Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum‘.

A great place. Very welcoming, airy and cozy feel. Outgoing staff. Extremely friendly patrons. Delightful, satisfying food — and ‘yes’ their 6oz burger is very, very good.

We had a wonderful time. Met some interesting folks.

They don’t take credit cards — and I will readily admit that that irks I. This is now an unnecessary affectation. Not cute, anymore. Jack up the prices or even say 10% surcharge for using credit cards. But, please take my damn card. Yes, they have an ATM on site which charged me $5 to withdraw $40 — though it claims that it only charges $2.50. Cute. Just on principle I called up my bank and had the extra $2.50 reversed! SMILE. Principle. I would have paid $5 if that is what it said. But, do NOT tell me $2.50 and then charge me $5.00. Yes, making the call cost me more than $2.50 BUT it was worth it.

They also don’t have Wi-Fi. I am cool with that. They have a sign saying ‘No Wi-Fi, make believe it is 1985 and talk with each other‘ (or similar). I actually agree with that. But, they, kind of twoface on this DO NOT tell people to NOT use their damn cell phones. One gentleman in particular, much to my amusement and delight, conducted a rather private phone call, to no doubt a client of his, discussing some sensitive legal matters. I knew what they were talking about. Made my day. It was like being in a TV show. But, this did not detract from the meal.

Yes, most likely will go back. Would love to hear more phone calls like that. Well, you too might want to go to check out the burger and see what phone calls you can hear. Try not to use the ATM. SMILE. There is a Market Basket 4-miles down the road. You can withdraw money from them for ‘free’ (which is what I normally do). SMILE.

Anywho … It was good.


Related posts:
Search ‘Warner’.


by Anura Guruge


 

I Am In Love With Citi Credit Card “Price Rewind”.

by Anura Guruge


citipricerewind

Click to check out this LOVELY feature at Citi.


To be fair I have YET to receive a cent back from Citi ‘Price Refund’ BUT they tell me that I might be in line for a $70 refund! Wow. I am in love. Not going to tell you what I am due that refund for … but IF you are a regular reader of this blog you know what I spend the money that I do not have on. No, it is (no longer) on women and booze.

Not putting ANY big purchases on my Amazon card ever AGAIN! Not good news for Amazon and actually also for I since I own a fair number of Amazon shares!

When I was shopping around for Credit Cards in January, when I decided that I had had it with ‘Bank of America‘ and the 3 cards I had from them (one going back (via MBNA) to 1986), I saw the ‘Price Rewind’ on Citi. That was a consideration. Deanna and I had both had Citi Credit Cards before and I was getting (at least) 3 invitations a week to get a card. In the end I ended up getting TWO Citi cards — a SIMPLICITY and an AAdavantage.

That they do not give you REWARDS in cash is a slight frustration BUT I have a Fidelity card that does.

But I love this “Price Rewind”. Can’t stop smiling. SMILE.


Related posts:
++++ Search on ‘credit cards’ for many other related posts from past years >>>>


by Anura Guruge


Not Just Netflix, All Of Us Will Be Impacted By Credit Card Insertion — Adding 30(+) Sec. Per Transaction.

creditcardemvAnura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail
.

.
.
.
.
.
by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>>
Credit card chip enforcement (EMV).

++++ Search on ‘credit card’ for other posts >>>>


netflixchipa

Click to ENLARGE and read here. Here is the link to the original: http://goo.gl/jaPxXs


Now that credit card chip enforcement (EMV) — i.e., insert vs. swipe — is in use have you noticed that it is taking 30 to 40 seconds LONGER for each transaction to be authorized. At least that has been my experience at Walmart — one of the FEW retailers, around here, that have moved to ‘insert’. Maybe that is just teething troubles during this first month. But then again it could be that the additional processing, which why we have a chip on the card in the first place, will always take longer — though possibly, with luck, not 30 to 40 seconds longer.

Unless we are travelling I don’t do too many credit card transactions a day (compared to others that work in a city or go shopping at Malls on a regular basis). But let’s say we, on average, do 4 credit card transactions a day. The extra 30 seconds would then translate to 2 minutes a day of WASTED time where we are hanging around, in front of a credit card machine, waiting to complete our transactions. That is a pretty amount of time — in my book. But let’s work this out. 2 minutes a day is 14 minutes a week. Now you have to admit that that is starting to get your attention.

1 WHOLE HOUR A Month!

1 whole hour.

That is 1/2 a Day each year.

A full day every 2 years.

Get the drift. This is NOT good. As some of you know I have a phobia about wasted time. Time is my greatest and most valuable possession. I really resent my time being wasted.

So a BIG heads up.

Check this INFOGRAPHIC about how much time we already spend inline — just on vacation. Credit card insertion will ADD to that!

Click to ENLARGE and read here.
This is the link for the original from the U.K. “Daily Mail”.

inline1111addsfsinline2222addsfs



Netflix balming credit card insertions for their DROP in U.S. revenues AMUSED ME — and I am a NFLX shareholder (and I own more than a couple).

Read between the lines.

This is what I think they are saying. There was a LOT of fraudulent credit card transactions on Netflix!

The chip-based cards are weeding out some of this FRAUD. That I think is the real cause.

 


Credit Card Chip Enforcement (EMV) Kicks In October 1, 2015. Is New Hampshire Ready For ‘INSERT Please’?

creditcardchip111

Click to access ‘Market Watch’ post.

Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail
.

.
.
.
.
.
by Anura Guruge


Related posts:

++++ Search on ‘credit card’ for other posts >>>>


I had read about this months ago and had done some quick Googling to find out what it was all out.

In a nutshell, starting tomorrow, October 1, 2015, UNLESS you pay by credit card by INSERTING the card, so the embedded chip can be read, the credit card company will REFUSE to compensate the MERCHANT IF the transaction proves to be fraudulent. This is ANOTHER attempt to cut back on credit card fraud — which is a HUGE, billion dollar, if not trillion dollar, problem. The chip in the card, unlike the magnetic stripe, is HARDER to ‘crack’ — both in terms of making counterfeits or changing the information.

creditcardemvBut note. We as consumer are still protected SINCE we can’t determine what technology the merchants use. So the credit card companies will still protect credit card users.

The penalty and liability is on the MERCHANT.

So, how many times have YOU INSERTED your card in — recently, in New Hampshire.

I have done it a FEW times. Walmart uses it. Haven’t seen Supermarkets do so yet. Actually swiped my card this weekend. Wow. Don’t even think the New Hampshire Liquor Stores were using INSERT.

But all this changes tomorrow.

IF you are NOT INSERTING after tomorrow QUESTION the merchant. I have. At places like supermarkets, those working the register, have no idea. And I don’t blame them. Not their job.

But a HEADS UP.


“Polar Caves”, Rumney, New Hampshire — Quite The Place, A Ton Of Fun, August 2015.


.Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail

.

.
.
.
.
by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> York’s Wild Kingdom, Maine.

**** Refer to Category ‘New Hampshire’ for other posts >>>>


Click on any & all pictures to ENLARGE.

Attribution is MUST.







Yes, Monday was “York’s Wild Kingdom” and Thursday, August 20, 2015, was “Polar Caves“, Rumney, New Hampshire. These were the two ‘special’ day trips that Teischan got, in addition to going to the beach and Great Waters concerts, while Devanee is at Camp. ‘Polar Caves”, by far, was where she most wanted to go. She had gone there on a school field trip, a few months ago, and since then has been agitating to go back. Now we know why. It is fun. Neither of us, though we have driven past it many  a time, had been. So it was all new to us.

It was good. We were impressed. These are by no means the ‘Luray Caves‘. There are no stalactites and stalagmites (and remember it is the ‘tites’ — like tight — that always come down). One of the caves, the 2nd I think, had some ice. But these caves are more of an obstacle course than cathedral type ones with large open spaces. Yes, they were a bit tight — and I am not that big. But it was fun. Nice elevation too at the top — Raven’s Nest. Lots of tranquil places to walk and explore. Not crowded. Everybody very congenial and chilled out! No lines so to speak. Nobody trying to rush you, everybody being ultra-polite. Lots of kids. Fun place.

Panning for minerals is a big hit and Teischan had already had that planned. It was well worth the $13. As with York there was a deer petting zoo and they had pheasants, some of the same, as York. So a bit déjà vu. Teischan was very happy, and so were we. We were there for over 5.5 hours. Another nice day — not as hot as Monday.

Definitely recommend it. Prices are good too. I think entrance for the 3 of us, and I bought the tickets, online, with a 10% discount, the day before, was $39. Good value. They, unlike York, take credit cards everywhere. I guess that is because we were in New Hampshire as opposed to Maine.

Yes, fun, fun, fun. Glad we went. Teischan is taking all the credit, and she is right.




“York’s Wild Kingdom”, Maine — Largest Zoo Hereabouts — August 2015.

.Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail
.

.
.
.
.
by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
++++ Search on ‘Maine’ & ‘zoo’ for other posts  >>>>

**** Refer to ‘Acadia’ master index page at TOP ↑ ↑


Click on any & all pictures to ENLARGE.

Attribution is MUST.







There was about 3 or 4 years in a row, starting c. 2007, when we used to go to “York’s Wild Kingdom” on an annual basis, usually on my birthday and at least once treating a bunch of local kids from Alton (NH) to a day at the zoo. Then other things like Whale Watches and Acadia entered the picture. Though she has been multiple times, and we have iconic pictures to prove it, Teischan couldn’t remember ever going to “York Zoo”. When Devanee is at Camp Teischan gets to go on two trips of her choosing to compensate. I rattled off a list of possibilities and one she picked was the zoo in Maine. So on Monday, August 17, 2015 we left early and got there sharp at 10 am just as they opened the gates.

It was a hot day and we knew that in advance. We were, however, surprised that it wasn’t packed. It was moderately busy but you could tell that it wasn’t crowded. That was good. Other than the ferris wheel with its cumbersome loading routine there was hardly any lines for anything. It was good in that respect. The heat, and I think it got up to 90°F at some point, also meant that the ‘Duck Pond’ — with its famous paddle boats — had a pungent “eau de duck poop” smell, but that was to be expected.

Exactly 3 months earlier I had taken Teischan to the Philadelphia Zoo. York’s Wild Kingdom is NOT Philadelphia Zoo.

The York Zoo is quaint and cute with its petting deer and the amusement park, but it is also old, dated and in someways very infuriating. Yes, it is very Maine and Downeast. None of the food places take credit cards. That is crazy. It has to be to avoid taxes! Places that don’t take credit cards when they should drive me nuts.

As a zoo it is a funny ol’ mixture. It has lions and two tigers and a fair smattering of other animals. The old elephant that used to be there a few years ago is gone. The enclosures are from the 1950s. Definitely not a modern zoo. That bothers me. BUT IT IS GOOD FOR KIDS. They love the petting zoo parts — goats, deer, sheep …

The rides are old and limited. The Ferris Wheel is an antique and they have to balance the weight of the riders which can be quite amusing in Maine. Teischan and I got called up ahead because they needed some ‘non-heavy’ riders. Funny.

It was OK. The heat didn’t help. But Teischan had fun. I tried the baseball batting cage — a first for me. It was interesting. I connected about 50% of the time. Took a load of pictures. I will try and share as we go along.



Unstinted Kudos & HUGE THANK YOU To Bank Of America.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

..
.
by
Anura Guruge


bofathankyou


Over the last 16 days, ever since my disastrous, nightmarish move to DirecTV, I have just felt abused, raped and degraded by DirecTV and TDS Telecom (who handle my DISH billing) — though to be fair during that same period I had service from DISH (yes, DISH), Google (on one of our 3 Nexus 7 pads) and Direct Sat (who refunded me my whole payment) that exceed expectations.

But, I had still been feeling battered and bruised — and mentally exhausted.

A wonderful company with great values. I love interacting with Fidelity. It is the ONLY phone call I enjoy making and even look forward to!

This morning as month end approaches I had to do some financial transactions. I first called up Fidelity. I had been saving this call till today. Dealing with Fidelity is ALWAYS a pleasure. They are so nice. So helpful. So pleasant. I am not a phone person. Never have been. But, I enjoy calling Fidelity. So, I called them up. As ever, piece of cake. Smooth as can be. No hassle. No aggravation. Just pure unadulterated ‘service with a smile’. I like Fidelity.

Then I called up Bank of America. I often see folks, especially on CraigsList (Boston & NH), ranting, foaming at the mouth, about BofA. I have been with them for a long time. I really have never had any problems with them. I have always found that they do their very best to help you out. I have multiple credit cards with them and we have a checking out with them — since they were the only bank in the U.S. that was able to accept, electronically, my very small pension from the U.K.! I enjoy dealing with BofA too — except that with them I also get to interact with them in person if I visit one of their local branches in Concord, Manchester or Rochester.

So this morning I called them. As nice as they can be. Answered all my questions. Then out of the blue, this rep says something along the lines of: ‘You have been a good customer for a long time. You have an excellent record with your credit cards. Let us do YOU A FAVOR and help you out even more …‘. No, I am not stupid enough to tell you the details. But, I was staggered and it takes a lot to stagger me. This was way beyond anything I had expected. It was like winning the lottery! Wow. I am impressed, and humbled. There was absolutely no reason that BofA had to do what they did. I had not asked for anything. I was just going through some numbers.

Suffice to say I am delighted. Yes, it was a big, unexpected favor. Of late I am totally jaundiced. I expect nothing from people. As I pointed out the other day, of late I can empathize with this squirrel and TDS and DirecTV have a lot to do with that sentiment. So, this was really great. Made my day. Actually it has made my year!

Amazon (U.S): I Cancel All My ‘Awaiting Shipping Orders’, In A Huff, And Decide To Take My Business Somewhere Else!

Dec2013x125

..
.
by
Anura Guruge


I have regularly sung the praises of Amazon on this blog — example 1 & example 2.

Over the last decade or so I have had a very involved, intricate and intertwined relationship with Amazon. In 2011 I ditched lulu.com (with whom I had been since 2003), AuthorHouse (through whom I published my first pope book) and Lightning Source (through whom I published my second pope book) and started using Amazon’s CreateSpace as my exclusive book publisher. I have published 4 books with them. I only publish my eBooks in Amazon’s Kindle format — and as some of you know I published 3 Kindle eBook in 10 days during the papal sede vacante. I have 3 Amazon credit cards, the latest with 0% APR on all transactions for a year. I am an Amazon Associate (and have been for years) and have an Amazon author page. Over the last 7 years or so Amazon had become my automatic, Pavlovian first port of call for all online shopping. Since I do all of my Christmas and birthday shopping on Amazon, not to mention all the books I buy in a given year, I have to confess that I do over a $1,000 of shopping with Amazon a year! But, Amazon has been good to us. We have never had any issues with returns, billing or charges. Returns with them have been a joy. Publishing with them, whether via CreateSpace or Kindle, has been relatively pain free.

But of late I had noticed a little wrinkle. At first it didn’t bother me. This week, however, it came to a head and today I cancelled about $89 worth of ‘awaiting shipping’ items — yes, in a huff.

I know how Amazon works. If an item is available directly from Amazon I ALWAYS order it from Amazon as opposed to somebody selling through Amazon. (Yes, that also entitles me to the Free Super-Saver shipping). PLUS the deal is that if it is being sold and shipped by Amazon — they have it in stock and will ship pronto. And yes I also make sure that it is in stock BEFORE I order.

It is Teischan’s birthday March 22, as is the case every year. Suffice to say with the pope’s resignation my life had been crazy as of February 11. Though I had already got her her main present, a Windows 8 laptop, I hadn’t got around to ordering the ‘small’ presents, mainly Lego and craft stuff. [I buy all my laptops, refurbished from TigerDirect. I have had great luck. This one was beyond a steal. It was a giveaway. Just happened to catch it. Had just been posted. Only had one.] On Tuesday, March 12, 10 days ahead, with the conclave just about to start, I had a few minutes. Jumped on and ordered 3 Lego kits and a bunch of craft kits. As I was ordering Amazon kept on telling me that I could have them by March 20. Perfect. Had free Free Super-Saver shipping on all of it. Amazon automatically charged the order to my 0% APR credit card. Doesn’t get easier than that.

That same day I had David Nix, a Belmont computer expert, come by to take my main PC apart and tighten all the fans — it has 7 fans. David found that one of the back fans wasn’t working. Yes, I could have ordered from TigerDirect. Yes, I have a TigerDirectt Preferred Account that also gives me 0% APR credit! [What can I say.] But, I went with Amazon. I ordered 3 fans, to be on the safe side and two (spare) cables. Again I was told that they would be available by March 19 – 20. So much so that David penciled it in to come here next Wednesday to install the fan.

On Thursday, i.e., 2 days later, I checked the orders. Only 2 items had shipped — one item from each order. All the others were ‘Awaiting Shipment’ with no ship date. I checked again last night. Ditto. Nothing had changed.

Googled ‘it’ this morning. I am not the only one who had noticed this. Seems it is a scam. It is BECAUSE I had asked for ‘Free Super-Saver shipping’! Well Amazon, screw YOU. I cancelled the orders.

I will go buy the Lego kits at a brick-and-mortar. I will order the computer stuff from TigerDirect. I will buy my books from BAM!

So there. It is a shame. I like Amazon. I wish they hadn’t pulled this little stunt with me. Live and learn.