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Consumer

One Life: The Cost of Extreme Consumerism

by Luke Landes

When the doors opened early for Black Friday sales at a Wal-Mart store on Long Island, the frenzied shoppers stormed in, determined to be the first to grab the bargains before they were depleted. The maniacs trampled the unfortunate Wal-Mart worker whose job was to open the door. The shoppers continued to run in, ignoring ... Continue reading this article…

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Does Penny-Pinching Encourage Economic Decline?

by Luke Landes

About the author: This is a guest post by Carson Brackney, writer for Personal Finance Analyst. Personal Finance Analyst is an online community of bloggers dedicated to taking the mystery out of money and helping you to live a happier, more successful life with the money you have. In the wake of 9/11, President Bush ... Continue reading this article…

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The Battle Royale: You Versus Yourself

by Luke Landes

About the author: Matt Wallaert is a behavioral psychologist and the Lead Scientist at Thrive, a free financial advisory website that helps people organize their finances and plan for the future with personalized feedback from its behavioral advisory engine. Twenty six and addicted to buying suits at Goodwill and geeking out on psychology, he lives ... Continue reading this article…

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Repost: Misconceptions About the Transition to Digital Television

by Luke Landes

I originally posted this article in January 2008. As February 17, 2009 draws closer, I am still dismayed by the misinformation being spread by television manufacturers, cable operators, retail salespeople, and coworkers. Please pass this information to anyone who has the wrong idea about the switch to digital-only over-the-air broadcasts. Whenever the subject turns to ... Continue reading this article…

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Changed My Verizon Wireless Plan: Same Features for $30 Less

by Luke Landes

Earlier this year, I upgraded my only phone — I have no need for a land line — to a BlackBerry 8830 on Verizon Wireless. Now I receive my important email (in addition to some junk mail) where ever I happen to be. I accepted the fact that I would be paying for this service. ... Continue reading this article…

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Twitter Poll: Will You Be Spending More or Less Than Last Year on Gifts?

by Luke Landes

Every so often, I present a question to Twitter to get a feel for opinions and ideas of Consumerism Commentary fans, readers, and friends. Yesterday, I asked whether you plan on spending more or less this holiday season than you did last year on gifts and other holiday expenses. With a troubling economy that doesn’t ... Continue reading this article…

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Gas Stations Charging Credit Users More Than Cash Users

by Luke Landes

Clark Schinger owns a gas station. Like an increasing number of gas station owners, he is charging his customers who use credit cards a surcharge for every gas purchase. Effectively, there are two tiers of prices: one for customers who use credit cards and one for those who use cash. This is apparently not against ... Continue reading this article…

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Thieves Smashed Into My Car and Stole $700 Worth of Stuff

by Luke Landes

While staying in Queens, New York a week ago, I discovered on Sunday that my car had been broken into. Some time between Friday night and Sunday morning, someone broke the front passenger side window and pulled out my car radio and a few other items I had left hidden in the car. In addition ... Continue reading this article…

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Is Finding $6,000 in Saved Expenses Better Than a Raise?

by Luke Landes

As I mentioned earlier, Consumer Reports makes it sound easy for the average family to find $500 a month in saved expenses. Scott Burns calls this the “power of attentive spending.” Pay attention to the little details and you can end the year with $6,000 more in your pocket than you would have otherwise. The ... Continue reading this article…

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Can You Eliminate $500 of Your Expenses Each Month?

by Luke Landes

I may have fallen back into old habits. Several years ago, when I was refreshing my life and beginning to control my finances, I made deep cuts into my expenses. I took on three roommates, paying only $325 a month for my portion of rent. I didn’t own a car and relied on mass transit ... Continue reading this article…

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This Tee-Shirt Was Brought to You By Pepsi (And This Mustache by Just For Men)

by Luke Landes

Why is it that everyone wants me to advertise for them for free, particularly when it is related to sports? At almost every baseball game attend, I can receive “free” gifts. Last year, in return for buying a ticket to one particular game, I received a bucket hat with my team’s logo. Just several hours ... Continue reading this article…

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Get Out of FreeCreditReport.com’s “Triple Advantage”

by Luke Landes

FreeCreditReport.com is the heavily advertised company that offers “free” credit reports (if you sign up for a trial offer for their monitoring service with a monthly fee. They have huge billboards at Shea Stadium, where I will be tomorrow to see the (currently) first-placed Mets. Keep in mind that the place to get truly free ... Continue reading this article…

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TIAA-CREF Computer System: Still the Default Excuse

by Luke Landes

In January 2006, thousands of TIAA-CREF customers experienced service problems with the financial services firm when attempting to transfer funds, withdraw funds, or receive distributions. The company publicly blamed its problems on a tough transition from one computer system to another. This was the reason for my missing contribution that occurred during this period. Since ... Continue reading this article…

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Reusable Bags at the Grocery Store

by Luke Landes

I produce a lot of garbage, and I’m not talking about just my writing. Here’s one reason: Even though the grocery store is only about a block or two away from my apartment, I tend to take large shopping trips infrequently rather than smaller trips more frequently. Here are the problems with this approach. I’ve ... Continue reading this article…

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List of New Jersey Gas Stations in Violation, Part 3

by Luke Landes

Here is the third part of the list of gas stations in New Jersey that are ripping off customers. For more information, see this first part and the second part. The first part also contains a map of every gas station fined for violation of a variety of regulations. This list begins with Morris County.

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List of New Jersey Gas Stations in Violation, Part 2

by Luke Landes

Here is the second part of the list of gas stations in New Jersey that are ripping off customers. For more information, see this first part. The first part also contains a map of every gas station fined for violation of a variety of regulations. This list begins with Essex County.

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Getting Ripped Off for New Jersey Gasoline: Inaccurately Calibrated Pumps

by Luke Landes

If you buy gasoline in New Jersey, you may want to avoid the gas stations listed in this article. The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs has fined 350 stations out of 1,025 total inspected during a recent three-day operation across the entire state. Most of the stations fined were guilty of innacurate pump calibration, ... Continue reading this article…

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Purchased a Hoover SteamVac to Deep Clean My Carpets

by Luke Landes

When I first moved into my apartment a year ago, my carpets looked brand new. Even though I vacuum regularly, months of shoe and sneaker traffic, feline hairballs, and who knows what else has diminished the look of the most lived-in portion of the dwelling. In my old apartment, I didn’t care much for the ... Continue reading this article…

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Waste of Money: Excessive Oil Changes (Every 3,000 Miles?)

by Luke Landes

When I graduated college almost ten years ago and was moving out of the dorms on campus, my father picked me up in his graduation gift to me, a “new” (to me) 1988 Toyota Celica. From this point on, it was my responsibility to care for and maintain the car, but I didn’t really know ... Continue reading this article…

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Payment Method Discrimination Strikes Again at the Gas Station

by Luke Landes

Last June, I noticed that a few gas stations in my area were charging different prices for gas depending on whether your method of payment was cash or credit. My biggest problem was that this wasn’t advertised on the large signs attracting drivers to the station. The station later changed its signs, though the cash ... Continue reading this article…

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