The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

November 30, 2013

Looking Back: Pinch your pennies, especially by reading the fine print

The Daily Star

---- — Penny pinching is just that — pinching pennies. The worsening economy is something that is reflected on so many, many faces: Unhappiness, irritability and just plain “I don’t know what to do … what’s next? All is so unbelievable!!

Tempting are the advertisements for “freebies.” Try this and try that when you receive a “free” bottle of whatever. Sounds fair? But beware … always read the fine print and rereadit! That’s a real eye opener.

I’m one for the free trial method of trying a new product especially with all the fantastic promises, but beware — again, read the small print.

A “pop-up” on my computer offered a “free bottle.” Sounded like a good deal, OK — push the button and list your name and address. OK — now list your credit card number.

(OOOPs … red light just flashed on.] Why the credit card if the offer is “free”?

“$$ shipping and handling applies” so says the small print — but read the rest!

I couldn’t believe my eyes: “by accepting the free bottle you will be enrolled in our Super Saver Program, locking in the low price — you will receive 3 bottles every 90 days — andyou don’t have to worry about missing a day — your credit card will be charged etc., etc.”

Oh, happy day!!

I did my math and guess what? The so-called “freebie” led to a commitment of more than $100 every three months.

So be the “free” offers, but when you look at the whole picture: Advertising costs money!

To recoup the money spent then the bucks come from the buyer: You.

Is honesty a thing of the past? Perhaps, at times, it was never fully adhered to or maybe I never really fully appreciated the sterling quality of honesty when I saw it. Now I certainly do.

How do some folks feel when they have been taken unjust advantage of? Neighbor love is so neglected on so many levels. I am sometimes very disappointed in the human race.

Do you feel that way too? Would you?

So what can I do but to stand on the proverbial soap box — which I do from time to time — not only to warn my fellow man but to hopefully encourage the outspokenness of all by airing their concerns so that the dishonest practicer will correct their ways.


Life, years ago, seemed to be a lot slower and easily coped with. Rushing here and there now seems that no time is left for just regrouping your thoughts. It’s a real treadmill.

Especially so in the super markets. Dash down this aisle, dodging the folks with carts parked crosswise and their ears plugged into whoever is controlling the marketer.

“Excuse me,” excuse me and so to pass by.

I must relate how a very pleasant young man came to my aid when I asked him to reach up for a product on the top self. (I can’t step on the bottom self to reach anymore.) So ever so often nice things do happen.

Now comes the mental task of the check-out system. Prices are zooming and careful observance of your register tape does pay off.

We noticed two recent errors: Double scanning of products. 

Just standing in another long line for a refund was unacceptable for this oldster and so one of the managers that passed by was most helpful as we explained what had happened. 

So it’s not just picking out the products written on your shopping list, paying for them and heading for the car. Yes, supermarket shopping has become quite a chore compared to how I used to enjoy and actually look forward to new products and ideas for menus.

Did you ever notice how we older folks lean on the shopping carts? They do make good “walkers”. Our doctors want us to walk, walk, walk and it is healthier. Supermarket floors are easy to maneuver on and using the carts to balance is a plus. But to make a suggestion to all markets: It would be so appreciated to have more benches to collapse on and I certainly thank you, ahead of time, for your compliance.

Elaine W. Kniskern is a 81-year-old resident of Schenevus and a grandmother of five. She can reached at ‘Senior Scene’ columns can be found at www.