Why Block Ad Blockers?

I browse with Google Chrome.  On my laptop and desktop computers, I always install ad blocking software.  I’d install it on my mobile version if I could do so without having to root the device.  It always amuses me when I come across a site that will block ad blockers.  The site refuses entry when it detects that you are running ad blocking software.  Instead of loading the requested content, you get a page refusing you entry until you disable to ad blocking software.  Or disable it for their site, anyway.

The Case For Blocking Ad Blockers

Many sites exist only by selling advertising.  I get that.  Without placing ads that generate revenues, the site couldn’t exist.  So the case for ad blockers is easy: More revenue.  Without revenue, the site wouldn’t exist, so it makes sense to maximize ad value, right?

It’s not that simple.

The Flawed Strategy of Blocking Ad Blockers

A site that refuses to allow users running ad blocking software wants every viewer to see ads.  They are basically asking for 100% conversion.  This never happens.

This would be like a retail store turning away any customer who walked through the door and said they were ‘just looking’.  Would a retail store ever do that?  Of course not.  So, it’s completely flawed that a site insists the same thing, isn’t it?

What kills me even more about the sites that I typically see is that they’re all news site.  A few sites that I’ve seen that block ad blockers are CNBC, Forbes, and Business Insider.  These are all sites that report on the news in some fashion.

Here’s the thing.  When it comes to the news, none of these are running truly unique content.  If I click in to try to read a news article and it doesn’t let me, I’ll just type in the keywords and will be on a site that will let me read their content, ad blocker and all, in no time at all.

I’m Not A Freeloader, Really

Some might suggest that I’m taking advantage of the system by running ad blocking software.  To that I say: Baloney.  I’m exposed to advertising throughout the day.  I get it on TV, on the radio, through Facebook, billboard, and for some sites that somehow manage to write code that the blockers haven’t picked up yet.  I’d maybe feel a touch guilty if I managed to get rid of all advertising from my existence, but that’s never going to happen.   There are places that get their share of my advertising pie, they just aren’t getting their piece.

I guess the owners of the sites in question don’t feel guilty about keeping me out, so I don’t feel guilty about not kowtowing to their very short sighted demand.

Readers, do you use ad blocking software on your browser?  What do you do when you come across a site that won’t let you in?  Have you ever made an exception and whitelisted a site?  Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Airline Nightmare: You Can Be Right But Still Be Completely Wrong

The airline industry has really been under fire.  My 7-year old commented that the recent misstep has been the “fifth bad story” that he’s seen recently.  This latest airline nightmare had Delta kick a family off their flight because they wouldn’t give up the seat their infant was using.

Here’s the thing: They were actually right.  But then they turned into being completely wrong.

Where Delta Was Right

Delta had overbooked a flight, which seems to be the source of so many problems.  In looking things over, they found that one ticketed passenger wasn’t on the plane.  As it turns out, they had booked another ticket on another flight and already left.

But, the family still planned on using the seat.  They had an 18-month old that they wanted to have sit in the seat

Image courtesy of morguefile via dantada

(with their carrier).  Now, children that young are allowed to sit on parents laps, which I’m guessing is what they did on the way down.

This was a flight back from Hawaii.  I was on one of those once, and they’re long.  I know that I couldn’t take a child on my lap for that long.  I’m sure that the parents learned that a wiggly kid on a long flight is no fun for anyone.

So, they figured that they’d use the seat that they’d originally purchased for their oldest child.  Delta told them they’d have to give the seat up, and the argument started.  And of course it’s all caught on camera.  Everything is these days on a plane, I guess.

While the family had a point in that they paid for the seat, the airline was technically correct in trying to reclaim the seat.  The ticket was purchased under the older child’s name. That’s who was supposed to sit in the seat.  If the family planned on changing that, they needed to change the reservation.  They didn’t do that.

So the airline was technically in their rights to claim that seat back.  The entire reason they do overboarding is understanding that some people will not get on the plane.  The person whose name was on the ticket did not get on the plane.

Yet They Went Wrong….So, So Wrong

However, Delta took the situation and made it completely wrong, as anyone who has seen the video already knows.

They got angry with the family while on camera.  These days with the animosity against the airlines, that’s just crazy to do.  It’s like pouring gas on a fire.

They doubled down by telling the family that the parents could go to jail.  And if that isn’t bad enough, Delta told the parents that their kids could be placed into foster care.

Yeah, I don’t care how right they were about the ticket reservations, but they blew it.  In the court of public opinion, an airline telling parents that they could go to jail and lose their kids over a plane seat is an automatic fail.

What A Way To Blow Their Goodwill

Here’s the part that killed me.  They completely blew the goodwill that they’d earned just a few weeks back.  See, after the incident a few weeks back where a doctor was dragged kicking and screaming off a United flight, Delta came out huge winners.  They announced that they’d pay up to $10,000 to those bumped, way above the regulated maxiumum.  This was a huge PR win.

And they blew it, in spectacular fashion.

The airline industry is in a bad place right now.  It amazes me that they continue to shoot themselves in the foot over and over again.  Every time one of these incidents happen, you have people say “I’ll never fly <airline name> again.”  Assuming that people stick to their guns, there’s going to be a point where people are going to run out of airlines to boycott.

Maybe the behavior of these airlines will be the revival of the good old fashioned road trip!

Readers, what do you think about the airline PR nightmare?  Will it blow over or will they make actual changes to curb the tide of negative publicity?  Let me know what you think in the comments below.  Thanks for reading.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Avoid Walmart Site To Store Around The Holidays

Amazon has pretty much set the bar for online shopping, especially if you’re a Prime member.  Click, order, and a couple of days later, you have a box with your items.  It works great.  So great that other retailers have had no choice but to offer online ordering.  Walmart Site to Store is one such offering, where you can order from the retail giant and pick up at a nearby store.

You’d think that a company the size of Walmart, one of the biggest in the world, would have this process down.  However, as our recent experience shows, thinking this is kind of, well, wrong.

Christmas Gift: New Bikes For The Kids

Both of our kids learned to ride bikes without training wheels this last summer.  Our youngest, age 5, actually caught on first, which then pushed our oldest, age 7, to get it down.  Our daughter was riding a bike that we bought secondhand, and she loved it, but by the end of summer it was apparent that she was too small.  This wasn’t a big deal as we only paid $15 for the bike (and we can probably turn around and sell it for that).

We actually, toward the end of summer, went out and bought her a new bike in a bigger size.  Instead of giving it to her, we actually kept it aside, hoping that we could line up new bikes at the same time.

See, we knew our son’s bike was also too small for him, but we didn’t want to get him a new bike until he learned to ride without training wheels.  The size of bike he was moving up to didn’t even come standard with training wheels!

Once he learned, it was toward the end of summer.  We hatched a plan that we would let them ride it out for the rest of the year on their current bikes.  Then, we would give them new bikes for Christmas.  This seemed like a great plan so we hid our daughter’s bike in the basement.

Ordering Another Bike From Walmart Site To Store

As we got Christmas gifts together, we started looking around for bikes.  We drifted toward buying one from Walmart. We’ve looked at getting them more expensive bikes from a bike shop, but have steered away from them. At their current age, they’re going through them rather quickly, so the more expensive bikes seem more appropriate in a few years.

We looked around at Walmart, for a couple of reasons.  They had a good variety.  We found one that looked nice and had good reviews.  Plus, we had a gift card that my wife had gotten a while back at a charity auction.

This all added up to a purchase that looked like it made sense.

We ordered the bike in early December, with an estimated arrival date to the store about a week before Christmas.  This was perfect.  One reason that we did Site to Store is because they will assemble the bike for you.  The bike we had stashed away for my daughter had also been selected this way for this reason.  That worked out great for us.

All together, this should have given us plenty of time for the store to get the bike, assemble the bike, and for us to pick it up.

But, you’re hear reading, so of course you know it didn’t turn out that way.

The First Delay

The initial estimated date came and went.  At this point, we still had a few days before Christmas but a late arrival date would be workable.  This would just mean that I’d have to assemble the bike myself.  I really didn’t want to, but since just about every Christmas since we started having kids has involved me putting together something big, I knew I could make it work.

Well, that didn’t happen either.

The Second Delay

After the date passed, they updated the estimated date.  The new date was December 27th.  They were going to miss Christmas!

Thankfully, this wasn’t the end of the world.  See, we live in Michigan and it’s winter.  This means that it gets dark by 5pm and it’s either really snowy, really cold, or both.  All these factors together and kids just aren’t riding bikes now.  They probably won’t be for at least a few months.

So, we figured that we could just tell them that they were getting another present and surprise them when it came in.

Great plan, right?

The Third Delay

Image from MorgueFile courtesy DuBoix

After we got the new arrival date, we made even more progress.  Or so we thought.  They provided real time tracking data!  Which is just like Amazon!  We could see exactly where in the country it was, and watched it move closer and closer until on the 27th it actually arrived at the store!

Success, right?

Wrong.

The status changed to “Processing In Store – Not Ready For Pickup.” And it stayed at that status.  And stayed and stayed and stayed.

I called a couple of days after and had them pull up the order.  They told me that they were running behind on getting everything ‘sorted out’ and asked that I please be patient.  The lady said that I should probably be getting my pickup notification “within a day or two.”

But a day or two passed, actually five more, and no notification.

Finally, A Bike

I looked again at the tracking info and found something more interesting.  The bike had been shipped to the store via FedEx from another store.  So, I called back and spoke to the same woman and explained that it didn’t come in out of their regular delivery, but via FedEx.  She looked around and she still couldn’t find our bike.

BUT, she did find that they actually had the bike in stock.  So, she was able to pull the bike, and as it happened, the assembler was there and got it all put together.  They assured me that the bike they found was not mine.  I guess they have ways of tracking.  I’m not sure I actually believe them!  LOL.

In any case, within an hour after that call I finally did get an e-mail and the next day I went in and picked up my bike.  The same lady that had helped me on the phone was there to get it, so her and I laughed that we had finally gotten this done.  I have to say, for as crazy as an experience as it was, she was extremely helpful.  Quite honestly, without her help, I probably would have never gotten the bike and would have ended up cancelling the order.

Two Happy Kids

We did end up presenting the bikes to the kids on the very last day of their holiday break, so we felt that it worked out in the end.  They were happy and I know that in the end, their enjoyment and their smiles will make the painful memory of getting the bike fade away.  But we did learn a couple of lessons.  First, don’t order something before the holidays using Site to Store that you actually need before the holidays.  Second, nobody beats Amazon at shipping.  Nobody.

Readers, did you have any close or missed calls with getting your stuff?  Let me know how everything went for you in the comments below.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Terrible Costco Coupons Equals No Costco Trips This Month

December, it seems, is the holy grail of food months. Buying food, groceries, etc.  What better month to count on than December, right? So, if that’s the case, it’s really amazing that Costco is trying to shoot themselves in the foot with a terrible coupon insert.  The Costco Coupons book that we eagerly look forward to was a total dud..

As a result, we haven’t gone to Costco. Those two things go hand in hand, as it turns out.

Our Costco Coupons Habits

We have been Costco members since before we got married.  That means it’s been over ten years now.  Wow, does time ever fly!

During that time, Costco has always sent out a monthly coupon book.  For three weeks out of every month, members can enjoy savings on a handful of items. It’s always been a good mix of general merchandise, electronics, and food.  Until this month.  This month, Costco pretty much eliminated the food category.

We have about 12-15 regular items that we’ll buy with the coupons when they go on sale.  Actually, it’s probably a few more than that, because there are usually some that only go on sale around the holidays.  We look forward to those.

Except none of them were in the book this year.  Not a single one!

In fact they only had three food coupons in total.

Comparison Shopping

We are lucky to be in an area where we have both Costco and Sam’s Club in pretty equal fashion.  Where there’s one, mb-money201308chances are there’s the other within a mile.

We’ve always been loyal to Costco, but we heard a while back that Sam’s Club started offering coupons to members.  This piqued our interest.  We also saw that Sam’s had some pretty good sign up deals from time to time.  There were deals where you could buy a discounted membership (for the first year), plus receive additional free items and coupons.

These deals seem to happen a few times a year, and it honestly might be time to consider if Costco does not return to offering desirable coupons on everyday items.

Is Costco Going Too High End?

One of the things that I’ve noticed, and this latest coupon fiasco seems to affirm, is that they’re going after higher end consumers.  I’ve had my suspicions even on the food side, as they’ve gone increasingly to higher priced organic options.   I’m not sure that they think they make enough money from people who go in and buy coffee, spaghetti sauce, and the like.

Their latest coupon book, which eschews all of those things, instead has TVs, computers, and other gadgets.  It’s all high priced.  Maybe they’re only interested in selling those items.

If so, fine, but we’ll be out.  It’s not that we’re claiming poverty.  It’s that we buy everyday items because of the value and the occasional big ticket items.  It seems like they want their shoppers to do the reverse.

Winter Will Tell The Tale

We have the Costco Visa card and we have a good chunk of rewards money lined up.  The way that their rewards works is that you get a payout once per year, and it happens to be in February.  If you cancel your membership (along which cancels your card) anytime in between, you forfeit your earnings.

That’s not going to happen.

However, if we get our payout in February, and things have not improved on the coupon side of things, that might be time to make a clean break.

As it so happens, Sam’s Club also has a rewards credit card that offers similar category discounts.  Line that up with a cheaper membership and better coupons, and it might not be long before we’re noting ourselves as former Costco members.

I hope that doesn’t happen, but the clock is ticking.

Readers, what do you think of Costco?  Have you noticed a gradual shift away from lower priced items in their targeted strategy?  How does that fit in with you?  Any Sam’s Club members out there that can give some insight on how things are on the other side of the fence?  Please let me know in the comments below.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.