With President Obama and Congress threatening to tag-spank credit card issuers, Slate is left wondering why the government doesn’t just issue its own credit card. Before you scream “SOCIALISM!,” consider the government’s heavy involvement in the banking sector, not just through the recent bailouts, but through long-standing institutions like Fannie and Sallie Mae, and Freddie Mac. Credit-worthy borrowers in Germany, France, and India all have access to low-interest, no-fee credit cards issued by their central banks. Would you ever be interested in an Obama-backed credit card?
Yes, it’s ok to lend cash to needy friends, but only if you have a clear understanding of your gift and its effects. Money undeniably alters relationships, and giving can greatly complicate, if not entirely undermine, a valued friendship. Yet, money is also one of the most direct ways to provide help. The Times provided several questions to consider before making a gift…
Gateway claims that the Patriot Act is holding up delivery of the part needed to fix Redwoodflyer’s laptop, which has been broken since October. Seems believable to us!
Jason writes in with an ethics question that’s been bothering him for the past seven years: should he have helped a cancer-stricken patient who lost her family in the 9/11 attacks qualify for COBRA coverage? Sure, it sounds like a no-brainer, but it gives us a chance to see the sort of conflicts that gnaw at customer service representatives. Do they follow the rules and keep their jobs, or do the right thing and help the customer? Consider his conundrum, inside…
Finally, you can nosh on delicious almonds safe in the knowledge that they’re pasteurized and salmonella free. A federal judge this week tossed out a lawsuit aimed at blocking new rules from the Department of Agriculture requiring growers to pasteurize their almonds. Growers are now whining that U.S. consumers area about to get hooked on raw yet dangerously delicious European almonds.
In case anyone forgot how the global economy came to teeter on the brink of collapse, CNN recently needed to help a reader figure out the difference between “living within your means” and “living below your means.” Let’s see if we can’t constructively add to the conversation…
Reselling your kid’s used clothing could soon violate federal law. Come February 10, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act will prevent retailers from selling children’s products that haven’t been certified as lead free. Old hand-me-downs, of course, haven’t been certified for anything more than running around the yard. Parents are worried, petitions are being drawn up, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission isn’t doing much to clarify the law.
If you’re picking up your prescriptions close to closing time at Target’s pharmacy, you might want to make sure you don’t have any questions after closing time. Reader Kathy says she realized that she had a question about her son’s prescription immediately after picking up the prescription, but when she turned around to ask it — she was too late.
A list of online tech help sites. [New York Times]
You know, the coming switch to digital TV isn’t exactly rocket science, but we’re betting plenty of people are still going to end up feeling confused and angry come February of next year.
Sorry PotBelly Sandwich Works customers, you can’t order the Chicken Salad Sandwich unless you qualify for a mortgage. Ashley’s husband thought his usual lunchtime meal cost $4.23, but, as his wife discovered when trying to pay their credit card bill, the sandwich actually costs $858,432.06.
Jon was freaked out when flying on Jetblue and his flight came in close proximity to another aircraft. He wonders if he should, and how he might, report such an incident. His story, and advice we got from an Air Force pilot, inside…
Ever wonder why bananas are the cheapest fruit in the supermarket? It makes no sense. They’re grown thousands of miles away by steely imperialist multinational corporations, and spoil within two weeks. A Times Op-Ed argues that bananas are on their way out, and may disappear entirely from store shelves in the next twenty years.
Companies are slowly learning that those infuriating automated phone trees aren’t the answer to their customer service problems. Some experts even claim that automated systems anger customers. The New York Times decided to trace the history of the hated trees, while wondering if things will ever change.
The IRS has a new and improved stimulus payment FAQ up and running on their website, so if you have additional questions you should check it out. Of note, the IRS has now definitively said that those who owe back taxes, or have delinquent child support payments or student loans will have their payments offset.
eHarmony won’t let Morgan’s mom join until she proves that she’s really divorced. She tried to join last year, but was rejected because she was only separated for seven years, and not divorced. Now that her divorce is final, she wants to register without spending another hour filling out eHarmony’s “scientifically proven” matching questionnaire.
Travel guru Peter Greenberg shares three useful and unexpected questions that can make a huge difference when booking a hotel room. Inside, learn how to avoid digs next to the inevitable construction and instead score the room with a shower strong enough to clean a stinky elephant.