Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day Linkfest

I had a lovely yoga class this morning, then Peanut and I had a not-very-romantic mystery shop lunch at a chain restaurant, and spent the rest of the day running errands together. Right now he's making dinner for us and we'll watch old sci fi movies. These are my favorite times with my favorite person.

I also did a little bit of Rite Aid couponing--picked up some necessities with a $5 off $20 coupon and some manufacturer's coupons. Nothing fancy, but it's a start.

On to the links!

This very interesting report talks about what it takes to be middle-class in New York. I'm not clear what their metrics are for this--the size of housing, the independence of transportation (own car vs. public), the cost of food and entertainment--but Peanut and I wind up being almost, but not quite, middle class in Queens.

Do I feel middle class? I would guess so. We have two fairly nice apartments between us. We go out to eat more than we should but we can afford to go out to eat. We have Internet but not cable (by choice). We can travel home for holidays or other trips. We can afford necessary medical care and have enough to save. We don't have a whole lot of expendable cash, and we're focused on paying down student loan debt.

Awesome--two for one Broadway tickets! Blue Man Group and lots of other great shows are available--I'm totally taking advantage of this when Peanut's Mom comes to visit next month.

Another site to print coupons.

A great post of the online presence you should cultivate for yourself: This is really good advice, and I'm going to start creating mine. My boss's boss wants my division to have a Facebook page, and I've been tapped as an administrator on the page. This means my personal Facebook page needs to be super-professional, a little more so than I already kept it. I've been thinking about buying my personal URL as well as a URL for this blog. I'm already pretty concerned with privacy, but I think there are ways for me to handle having some information out there while being safe. I definitely want my career to go in the direction of online technology, so I need to demonstrate that I'm savvy. Peanut has an online reel but I could do the same thing.

If your lease is up for renewal soon and you're afraid your rent will be jacked up (and you don't have a reasonable landlord like I do) try this letter to get your rent reduced. Remember, you have to be prepared to move anyway, but it never hurts to ask nicely.

Now here's an interesting discussion. Apples and Telephones asks Illegal/OK?

* Downloading movies (torrenting - not paying)
* Downloading music (limewire or equivalent - not paying)
* Take extra packages of sauce/ketchup/salt, etc from fast food outlets to use at home
* Taking extra packaged/disposable utensils from fast food outlets
* Stealing metal cutlery from restaurants
* Taking pint glasses from pubs
* Keeping the free mini wine bottles/cola cans from airplanes to drink at home
* Looping past people on the street handing free things out to stock up
* Taking extra pens/pencils/stationary from the office to use at home
* Using the office printer/fax/scanner at the office for personal use
* Taking bathroom supplies from restaurants/fast food outlets/the office for home use (toilet paper, soap, etc)
* Taking all the toiletries provided in a hotel bathroom for use at home
* Buying things 'for donation' and not paying/paying very little (think votive candles at churches, poppies for Rememberance Day)
* Not correcting a cashier/salesperson when they forget to ring in an item/ring it in at a lower price
* Switching price tags on items to avoid paying the full price
* Using a student card to get a discount when you are no longer a student
* Taking extra ziplock bags from the airport booth (for your carry-on liquids) to use at home
* Paying for once movie and skipping from theatre to theatre watching movies all day on one ticket
* Working 'under-the-table' for cash.
* Lying to your supervisors about extra hours worked to make extra cash (lying about overtime, etc)
* Stealing sattelite T.V.
* Hacking (or plain ol' accessing) a neighbors unsecured wireless to do your internettin'.
* Dumpster diving for used items.
* Hitting the front of the local thrift stores before the store opens to loot through the donations people have left overnight (that the store hasn't claimed yet).
* Using 'free trial software' for the period specified (let's say 30 days), then uninstalling it and reinstalling it, or hacking it to work permanently.
* Shaking a vending machine until a candy bar falls free, for free.
* Buying an item in a vending maching from the same slot as a stuck item, so you get 2 for 1.

I don't think some of these things are a problem at all. Providing unsecured WiFi? That's like leaving cash on a park bench while you go to the bathroom. Stupid, preventable, and if you do it, it's your own fault if someone takes it. Now HACKING into my neighbor's WiFi, like guessing their password? No, absolutely not. I've used unsecured WiFi in lots of places, although I take care to protect my own computer.

Grabbing furniture left out on the sidewalk for myself? Totally fine (although I think dumpster diving in "off limits" areas is certainly questionable.

A big problem with today's culture is that we feel that digital content is not quite as "real" and therefore we shouldn't have to pay "real money" to use it/access it/have it. Especially with DRM--why should I pay for content that I can only use on one machine, or a few machines, or which might be taken away from me at a moment's notice? If I paid for it and truly owned it, I would be more comfortable purchasing it.

In terms of some of the other things...well, when I worked in fast food, we would toss any condiment packets or napkins that customers took and then returned or left on the tables (fear of contamination of some sort?) so I do take extras home with me, but I don't take extras with the intent of stocking up my pantry.

How do you feel about these things?


  1. Anyone who deliberately takes extra supplies from fast food condiment bins or restaurant bathrooms is either in pretty dire straits or has a weird compulsion. The hotel minis, however, are fair game!

    I correct cashiers if I think their mistake will get them in trouble. If a scanner didn't pick up a tag and she thought it did, I'll take it. If she gives me change for $20 but I gave her $10, I'll hand over the mistaken $10 (just did that last week).

    I don't think using the fax/printer at work for personal use should ever be classified as "stealing". The alternative (going to Kinko's) is an unnecessary money- and time-suck.

  2. I agree--particularly the fax, especially when I'm using it to send something to a 1-800 number and not even printing a sent report.


Thanks for commenting!