To make sure you’re paying the right amount on your monthly water bill, you should know how to read your water meter and compare it to the amount your utility company thinks it should charge you. As several readers pointed out previously, in some cities you can even do your own meter reading and call in the number each month. “But how do I read my water meter?” Here’s how.
do it yourself
Here’s hoping for everyone’s sake that some Warbucks type buys up Consumerist, lavishes me with gifts, and allows this great blog to continue. But even so, it never hurts to know about other online services out there. GetSatisfaction.com is a kind of crowdsourced customer service forum where anyone can post about any product or company, and where companies are encouraged to join in. Since the content is grouped around those products and companies, it’s easy to drill down to relevant topics, or to find people who can help answer that customer service question you can’t seem to get resolved. Here’s a sample page on Comcast. That’s right, my first entry as a substitute Consumerist editor today and I’ve already mentioned Comcast.
When your iPod, Zune, CueCat, HP printer, DVD player, or game console goes on the fritz, you no longer have to put it in that closet where you store all the stuff that doesn’t work but that you don’t think you should throw away. There’s now a whole world of self-help forums and repair advice websites online where you can trade tips with other owners of consumer electronics—weird things companies would never tell you, like using a piece of folded paper as a shim to get a failed hard drive working again in your iPod.
It’s your kid—you should get to decide what kinds of choking and lead poisoning hazards make up its playthings. One woman clearly didn’t need any Fisher-Price plastic toy kitchen ruining her white-on-white aesthetic, so she made her own entirely out of found corrugated cardboard, contact paper, and a few household items. And if you don’t feel you have the skills to replicate it by looking at the photographs, then she’ll sell you a copy of the plans for $7.
Let’s face it, you are probably smarter than your last Comcast technician—at least, you probably think you are.
Craft magazine has put together a round-up of safe toys that you can make for your kids. The downside is that you have to stop being lazy and learn to do something yourself. (Awful, we know.) The upside is that unless you’re buying the cloth from New Zealand, the odds of you poisoning your own child are low.