BLACKLISTED BY WALMART: A man has been blacklisted by Walmart for pursuing that company’s price-matching policy too aggressively:
Cantrell was on one of his twice-daily visits to the San Tan Valley Walmart — “I just love Walmart and that’s why I go,” he told KNXV — when a store employee rejected his ad match.
Cantrell complained to store management and was on his way out when the employee decided to phone the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office to report that he was being intimidated.
“I was upset, but never once did I say anything to the gentleman,” Cantrell insists.
Returning to the store four days later, Cantrell encountered three deputies who promptly handcuffed him before handing him a court summons and a notice informing him he was banned from Walmart for life.
Some thoughts on this:
- If you haven’t already, take a look at the “Blacklisted” thread on FatWallet. It’s phenomenally entertaining.
- Some people treat customer-facing employees with a strong sense of entitlement, and some employees get very tired of said customers. The dude was going to Walmart twice a day–was he the happy, cheerful kind of obsessive, or the argumentative, entitled type?
- On a related note, social skills can be very helpful in chasing deals. There’s a term from the hacking world, social engineering, which has some applicability.
- All of you reading this are the good kind of obsessive, right?
HOW TO USE THE FUEL REWARDS NETWORK TO TRIM GIFT CARD PURCHASE EXPENSES: The Fuel Rewards Network doesn’t get much press, but it can be useful. The Points Ninja explains one use:
Anyone who regularly engages in Manufactured Spending should be fully aware of the actual cost of their spending. For example, if you buy $1000 in Visa gift cards at Winn-Dixie, you’ll pay $11.90 in purchase fees. If you then liquidate through purchasing money orders, the you’ll likely pay another $0.70 in purchase fees. That brings your actual cost for spending $1,011.90 to $12.60. So, with a single miles card you’re paying 1.26 CPM. With a 2% cashback card, you’re making .74% profit. With the 2.2% Barclay Arrival card, your profit (in the form of travel credits) goes up to .94%.
However, for the rest of December, there’s a way to juice that return. Fuel Rewards has partnered with Mastercard and is paying a bonus of 3 CPG for every $100 spent at Winn-Dixie (or any other FRN partner store) when you link your Mastercard to your FRN account. I didn’t expect that it would work, but in the spirit of scientific inquiry I made a test purchase with my Barclay Arrival card (which is a Mastercard) after linking it to my FRN account. The purchase quickly showed up in my FRN “dashboard”, but did not show any fuel rewards earned. However, to my surprise, my account now shows that I earned 30 CPG for the $1,011.90 purchase:
WHY DOES AN AMBULANCE COST SO MUCH?: Some interesting reading from Priceonomics:
A major factor behind high charges is that insurance reimbursements often do not reflect provider costs, leaving a small margin for ambulance companies. In 2010, the average Medicare payment was just 2% more than the average provider cost per transport. For many providers, the payment was less than the average cost per transport, meaning that the provider actually lost money transporting Medicare patients to the hospital. Insurance reimbursements, which are often based on Medicare fee schedules, may be even less. According to Robert E. O’Connor, chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, in-network reimbursements often cover just 50 percent of the cost or a percentage of the Medicare reimbursement rate.
Since margins are thin for Medicare and in-network patients, ambulance providers often avoid negotiating contracts with insurance companies or charge out-of-network individuals significantly higher rates in order to compensate. “We try to participate, but sometimes plans come at us with rates that aren’t fair,” emergency physician Michael Gerardi told the Washington Post.
HOW I GOT OUT OF DEBT: Ryan from ReCraigslist tells his story. Rather than walk away from his debts, he decided to buckle down, start a business, and do things the right way. Congratulations, Ryan! For those of you who aren’t familiar with his blog, he makes a living buying and selling stuff on Craigslist, mostly washers and dryers. Nothing like hard work and a nice market niche!