Blogging

Fun Friday: 25 Random Things About Me

It's going around the blogosphere and Facebook and since it's Friday and I'm zonked, I thought I'd go for it. For those of you who know me on Facebook, I've changed a few of these…

1. I own about ten cashmere sweaters and love and wear them all.
2. I never had a nightmare until after my father died. Now I do fairly regularly… and I hate it.
3. If I had one power, I wish I could help everyone I meet see their potential, myself included . Sounds corny but I honestly think people don’t understand what they are capable of doing. I feel like shaking people sometimes and saying “You are not stuck in your life!”
4. My thesis research looked at long chained fatty acids indicative of plant life in a sediment core from a lake in Russia. Believe it or not, this doesn't always come up in conversation.
5. If I could afford it, I’d have a massage and a therapy session every week.
6. I am so right handed I can barely drink a glass of water with my left hand.
7. I love vintage jewelry. Among my favorites are my great grandmother’s rhinestone earrings and my grandmother’s engagement ring.
8. My “Frenchness” is a key part of who I am, and the second I pull into the city limits of my hometown, my accent comes right back.
9. Being pleasant has gotten me further in my life then I ever thought possible, far more then any other quality or qualifications I have.
10. I have long ago embraced my imperfection and market it to people as endearing.
11. If I meet you and learn your birthday, I will look you up in my birthday “personology” dictionary and see if we’re going to get along.
12. People feel really comfortable talking to me and tell me a lot of secrets… then I forget them. That’s probably why they tell me!
13. My host mother in France taught me to cook Mediterranean cuisine, and I am ever grateful because it’s my favorite thing to make!
14. Sushi is my favorite thing to eat and I can eat a lot of it if the opportunity presents itself.
15. I have now reached a point in my life where there are some things I’d redo if I could…large parts of the last year included…
16. but since I can’t I won’t dwell on them…or will I?
17. I got a dog four days after I got my first full time job, and I’ve never regretted it. I knew I was a dog person.
18. As liberated as I am, I wish someone would want to marry me. I’d be fun to marry, right?
19. Someday, I hope to work from home, which is why I’m spending a lot of time and energy building this online business now.
20. I really like quotations and have them posted all around my apartment, sometimes in unexpected places.
21. If I was naturally skinny, I’d eat ice cream all day and never work out.
22. I may love technology but I keep my notes and my journals the old fashioned way.
23. My blog is about money/personal finance because when I took my latest job, I took a $8000 salary cut and had to learn to do without. I’m still learning!
24. I want to be famous.
25. My favorite color is hot pink.

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

MSN Money Welcome!

My blog friend J. asked some of us to send in random and crazy jobs we had.  And then it gets picked up by MSN Money! Wohoo!

So if you've clicked my link off of J's post, welcome to Breaking Even and I do hope you decide to stay awhile.

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Would You Accept Free Stuff In Exchange For Giving A Review?

I have a new client who is a local restaurant owner and while we were meeting today, he offered me a free sandwich. At first, I was going to turn him down and politely drink my coffee but sitting there for over an hour and smelling all the good smells, I broke down.

"The Italian Job" is a restaurant favorite that has got high quality salami, roasted red peppers, fresh baked bread trucked in from a Boston bakery…I know enough with the temptation, right? I said yes to a sandwich that was both free and looked fantastic.

And you know what? It was fantastic. It may be among the best sandwiches I've ever had in my life.

This got me thinking about doing something to get something free and how common this actually is. Zagats sends you a free guide for a review, bloggers get paid for posts (not me but some bloggers do it for extra income), and publishers and record companies send out free stuff to the press to review all the time.

Now I'm not getting paid to say I like this sandwich, but was getting a free sandwich going to taint my review? I'd like to think that I'm impartial, as I have said unfavorable things about some books that have been sent to me to review on this blog. Hmm…

What do you think: If you walked by a restaurant and they were offering a free sandwich for a review, would you take it? And when you did write the review, would you feel like you had to say something good about it since it was a "free"?

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Best Buy Update: Money Back For Being A Squeaky Wheel

I'm really a non-confrontational person. I don't like to use this blog to push a particular agenda (you know, besides be financially responsible and happy). And this is the last time (hopefully) I'll blog about my Best Buy fiasco.

After posing my blog about Best Buy (and peppering it with key words so search engines would pick it up), I got a reply from Gina, who works for Best Buy as some kind of internet relations person. She asked me to email her some information, which I did. This afternoon, my credit card was reimbursed for the game I didn't buy.

It was definitely some vindication but at the same time, I realized I wasn't upset about $31 so much as standing at customer service being accused of stealing. I felt my face getting red as I could see the girl didn't believe me. I think about the throngs of Christmas shoppers standing behind me, probably thinking I was trying to pull one over the girl waiting on me. I thought of how not wanting to yell or otherwise make a big deal got me no attention while an obnoxious blog post did. Mel who was with me during the questioned purchase even blogged about it.

It makes me wonder: if I didn't have a high search engine ranking and a blog, what could I have done? The standard routes (calling the store, then corporate, explaining in person to custmoer service, asking they review video) had gotten me no where. I think of those people who could find themselves in this exact same situation who couldn't stick it to the company. And that stinks.

All the more reason to buy locally and check reciepts carefully. And if that doesn't work, use the power of the internet to get the word out. I found it certainly worth being the squeaky wheel if only to have my dignity and my $30 back.

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Best Buy Update: Terrible Customer Service

Here's a followup to the Best Buy fiasco yesterday.

On my lunch break, I called the Best Buy store in Bangor Maine (where the transaction occured) and got no answer, then the corporate headquarters of Best Buy to resolve my issue. Apparently, I have to go into the store to resolve this dispute.

That's right, people. I paid Best Buy to mess up my computer to the point now where I can't plug in the original power cord. In addition, I am a theif, and a bad one. I should have at least "stolen" something I could actually use since I don't even own a Nintento gaming system.

Am I going to drive an hour in each direction? No. Should I have to? Definitely not. But this doesn't end here. 

I'm going to contact my credit card company and report fradulent charges, since I never recieved the merchandise. Friends have told me that nine times out of ten, your credit card company will go to bat for you. I am also filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau about this.

I also ask you to share your bad customer service experiences. If someone did you wrong, I'd love to boycott them with you.

In the meantime, I'd like to go on record as saying please do not go to Best Buy for your tech needs. I certainly won't again.

More stories of Best Buy terrible customer service…
Still more stories of Best Buy terrible custormer service…

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Why I Won’t Ever Shop At Best Buy Again

Panic set in this morning as I began to work with my friend Mel on an online project. As we were beginning, my laptop died. It seemed to be an issue with the power cord so we decided to go to Best Buy and pick one up while I had access to a computer store. (I was visiting Mel in the Big City for the weekend.)

I was shocked to see that the charger I needed for my computer cost $150. Since my computer is a tool they use everyday (and I'm apparently not smart enough to just have an extra power cord), I bit the bullet. Spending that money stressed me out but it had to happen.

To make sure that I had the solution in hand before driving over an hour away from the store, I visited some friends and plugged the new charger into the computer. It charged, we socialized. As I got ready to go I noticed that where the power cord made contact with the computer, there had been some melting. Oh, and I couldn't pull the cord out of the computer.

I bought the whole thing back to Best Buy in hopes that they could help me out. The customer service agent commiserated with me about the uselessness of the power cord and took my computer out back behind the partition where the geeks hide out, probably discussing ridiculous customers like myself.

The customer service agent came back with the solution; basically they did not have what I needed in stock. So they refunded me $120.

When asked what happened to the other $30, they told me that I had to return the computer game I also purchased before they could give me my money back. (Full disclosure I do not play computer games and do not even own a gaming system of any kind.) I explained to the customer service person that I hadn't bought the item. I did offer to get my friend Mel on the phone who as a witness could vouch for my story. Sure, if I would have examined the receipt I would've seen that charge but since I thought the product cost $150 to begin with, the amount matched my expectation.

They talked to the cashier, who apparently remembers me buying a computer game (!?!). By this point, I was frustrated that my computer may be broken due to melting faulty power cord in addition to being furious about essentially being called a liar.

Tomorrow, I'm going to call the store and ask to speak to a manager. In the meantime, I thought I would take my complaint to the blogosphere. Has this ever happened to anyone else? Is there any way that this transaction could be the cashier scamming me?

Apparently in this world, the old adage the customer is always right is no longer true. I was happy that I didn't get mean to customer service but upset to know that nicely walking away may have cost me $30. For the moment, Best Buy has not heard the last of me and I will never buy one of their products again. And it's too bad for them; I was going to buy a new computer after Christmas.

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.
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