Posts tagged advice


Online Shopping – how to do it safely and get good deals


I was going to write a big post all about how to shop online safely, use search engines, use last minute bookings sites, how to check for scams, then though, nah, why not cut to the chase and just say the key points.  So here it is, Richard’s tips for effective (aka good prices) and safe (aka don’t get ripped off) shopping online.

Richard’s Online Shopping Tips:

  1. Learn how to use Google. Enuf said here, but really, do it.  This, together with my last tip (credit card) is 90%  of it.
  2. For good prices on products available at multiple places, use price comparison sites like pricespy and shopbot.  There are NZ examples,  if you are in another country, follow tip one and Google “Price comparison sites” from your local version of Google.
  3. For hotels etc, use last minute booking sites like  Gone are the days that booking early saves money, it’s the other way around now (exception: Big events when hotels will sell out – book early then!)
  4. If you are not sure about a particular web site, then Google them, and add the word “Scam” onto the end.  eg This is my Google search for scam.  You can see the 3rd and 4th links show negative comments (I know, coz I wrote them!).
  5. For overseas sites that look some unusual ordering process, or super crazy price, or funny shopping process – chances are they are scams. Also, Be wary also of country variances, the same product may not be the same in all countries, iPhones may be locked, clothing may be different sizing are just two example. Also watch for warranties and counterfeit products (this tip was updated thanks to Anton – see 1st comment on this post).
  6. Beware of claimed discounts. Do your homework on a products actually retail price before gabbing something just coz it was on sale (often the RRP prices are inflated on sites)
  7. Same goes for any claim of “better” for a product.  Check it out first (see tip one on Google).
  8. Check out places like TradeMe (kinda like NZ’s EBay) for both new and used versions of the same thing.  On TradeMe, use SafeTrader for large purchases (or do cash on pick up).
  9. Watch for shipping charges - especially from dodgy sites.  A $10 item turns in $50 quick!
  10. For sites you haven’t dealt with before check these things:
  • Do a WHOIS search on the supplier.  Legit suppliers don’t have their domain expiring in three months (amongst other things)
  • Check on web site rating sites.  (Google to find others)
  • Check out the product at consumer sites (again, Google to find others)
  • If the offer looks to good to be true, it is, end of story.

Finally, ALWAYS buy online using a credit card. That way if the goods don’t arrive, or are not what you ordered you just reverse the transaction.  There are few steps to follow to do this, but the onus is then on the supplier to prove they delivered what you ordered, not the other way around.

Black and White Version: Online shopping can be VERY convenient and get access to an extended range of products at often lower prices, but like anything beware.

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squeezy cheese

What’s wrong with the world


I try to make some big (and by big I don’t mean long, I just mean somewhat important, or thought provoking) posts every now and again. To balance this off, sometimes I go for trivial, and let’s just say if this post was a swimming pool, there wouldn’t be a deep end. So ….

What’s wrong with the world (my black and white simplified version):

  1. Squeezy cheese: This one is easy.  Cheese is already cheese, and just needs to be chopped, grated, melted or otherwise mushed up into whatever culinary use you want to put it to (or just eat it straight).  Put it in a bottle?  NEVER.  It’s even worse than cheese slices – I mean I am not sure if it’s more nutritionally sound to throw away the cheese and eat the plastic wrap from these or the other way around, but that’s a whole different story.  Anyway, squeezy cheese is BAD and WRONG, stay away.**
  2. FaceBook posts by teenagers: My initial thought here was to be specific and use the example of posting random inane crap no one but the poster cares about like 2am: Why can’t I sleep. or 10.30am The lady on the seat next to me on the bus smells. But then I thought about how they also post random song lyrics (I think it’s their version of poetry) in bid to communicate (something, I am not sure what).  Then there is their desire to post stuff to peoples wall (i.e. public view) that should be a private message.  I think this is a desire to be seen to be nice to other people in a semi-public way, but not sure, since most of the posts like this are “nice” posts.  But my pet peeve is when they post something like Cancer is bad, post this on your wall to show support for cancer suffers. Like WTF?  Sorry to burst your wee bubble but that won’t actually help anyone.  Yeah, sorry life sucks eh? (but you are a teenager, you knew they right?).  It’s almost as bad as when they try to be deep, when all it looks like they are doing is a cut and paste jobs from or something  eg In life we sometimes have challenges, but they are there to teach us a lesson. Sometimes we don’t know what this lesson is yet, but the lesson we must learn all the same. I mean come on, you’re kidding right?  Do you even KNOW what that means?  Is this the same person who just posted OMG I hate my mum coz she won’t lend me the car 10 minutes earlier? Oh, and while I am at it here is a message for teenager: i dnt gt txt spk. 4 fks sake jst ad a vowl or 2 K?
  3. How the new chipped credit cards take so long to do an Eft-Pos transaction. Really, I mean come on everything gets faster these days (OK, except for computers running windows, and iPhones running iOS4, but that’s a different story).  It used to take 3 seconds, how it takes like 7, sometimes 10 seconds.  Sheez, hurry up already.  I am waiting.

**: I was gonna say instant mashed potato is wrong.  Coz it is.  Coz potato is already potato, so it’s like, well instant.  I guess it’s not pre-mashed.  So OK, that makes it pre-mashed potato.  Anyway, instant mashed potato is wrong for the same reason instant coffee is wrong.  And if you don’t get that then you deserve a life of instant coffee, instant mashed potato topped with squeezy cheese (and no that wasn’t a compliment).  (The one exception is that you are allowed to use instant mashed potato when camping/hiking.  But instant coffee is NEVER allowed, even then.).

Black and White Version: There is a lot wrong with the world, squeezy cheese, teenagers FaceBook posts and chipped credit cards aren’t helping.

PS: In case you missed it, most of this post is written in humour.  Except for the bit about squeezy cheese, that’s for real. :-)

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