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Old 05-18-2010, 10:04 PM   #61
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Add me to those who would not reuse a sandwich bag, then again I don't normally use sandwich bags for sandwiches. More likely after I open my cheese I wrap it in glad wrap then put it inside the sandwich bag. I always worry about bacteria breeding in those little baggies.
I throw sandwich bags in with the laundry.
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Old 05-18-2010, 10:18 PM   #62
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I re-use sandwich bags all the time. Doesn't everybody?
I do. I usually use the same bag for a weeks worth of sandwiches at w*rk. I don't wash them out either.
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Old 05-19-2010, 07:27 AM   #63
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strengthens the immune system.

hell, my dog eats his own turds, and is in better shape than I am.
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Old 05-27-2010, 10:01 AM   #64
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I enjoyed the following article, although the author seems a bit towards the cheap end of the spectrum, implying that he never paid for his wife's meals while dating, and that she teases him about it:

How to Afford Anything

One provocative statement that he makes is:

Quote:
It is fraudulent to buy something with the intent to return it when you are finished using it
I am guessing he meant unethical rather than fraudulent, but I'd be curious to hear if there are actual laws that I don't know about.

I've recently had a little ethical dilemna involving returns. I had a choice between buying an expensive scanner from Amazon or Costco. Costco cost about 10% more out the door, but they have an amazing return policy where you can return at any time for any reason, and the paper-feeders on scanners like this tend to break over time. So I was considering buying from Costco and using their return policy as an extended warranty, just returning it if it breaks before say a 10 year reasonable lifetime.

In the end I decided that this use of the Costco return policy was ethical, but I decided to buy at amazon because I didn't think the extended warranty was worth 10%.

However, another use of the Costco return policy is as a guard against obsolescence; if in 10 years this scanner is no longer compatible with my operating system, I could return it for a full refund and buy the current model. At the time I decided this wasn't an ethical use, but I'm still not sure. From what I've learned Costco puts the burden for return costs on their manufacturers, so I needn't be concerned about my actions affecting Costco or their customers directly. In the end my return would lower the profitability of a corporation which had made the judgement that it was in their financial interests to accept such returns.

I am realizing more and more that I don't owe corporations any kindness of decency in the way that I do owe other human beings. Corporations are ruthless in squeezing consumers in whatever legal (or even illegal) ways they can, so I don't feel any obligation to do them favors. Actually the more I think about this the more I think I should have bought from Costco, and just return the thing in 10 years when it's no longer supported on current operating systems. The only thing that keeps me from doing that is that it's so close to my ethical boundaries that the ethical struggle ends up being a high frictional cost to such transactions.
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Old 05-27-2010, 10:18 AM   #65
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Normally I ride the bus and buy a transfer pass that's technically good for 1.5 hours. But in practice the convention is that it's okay to use the transfer much longer than that, and I often bend the rules using it for 3 or 4 hour round trips. The bus drivers never bat an eye; it's just the way things are done here.

But I recently started using the electronic toll cards, and they charge you twice for the 3 hour trips that I could previously just buy one transfer for, because there's no human involved.

I think this a case where I might just suck it up and pay the extra fares just for the convenience of not having to worry about the ethics. But maybe I'll pay cash for a transfer now and then, when I'm feeling cheap or naughty :-)
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Old 05-27-2010, 10:21 AM   #66
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The FatWalleteer crowd argued the cunning anti-Costco plan of constantly upgrading computers and flat screen tvs from Costco - just return once/year and upgrade. My opinion is that that is a rude plan. One retailer I really enjoy doing business with and the plan is to take advantage and make their return program too expensive to maintain? yuck. I note that maybe 6-12 months after I read the FatWallet discussion Costco put a 6 month return policy on computers and some other big ticket electronics. Not saying they were causal, but an interesting correlation.

Not all things not prohibited should be done.

Disclosure: we own a little Costco stock - but even before we did i was returning carts to the store from the lot and picking up the odd bit of trash at times. Costco is a great example of what retail could be.
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Old 05-27-2010, 10:29 AM   #67
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Normally I ride the bus and buy a transfer pass that's technically good for 1.5 hours. But in practice the convention is that it's okay to use the transfer much longer than that, and I often bend the rules using it for 3 or 4 hour round trips. The bus drivers never bat an eye; it's just the way things are done here.

But I recently started using the electronic toll cards, and they charge you twice for the 3 hour trips that I could previously just buy one transfer for, because there's no human involved.
The way I see it, if I pay my fare once a day that is much more often than many riders. I look harmless, so I have even had drivers make me produce my senior card when I am well past senior status.

Less phyisically or politically harmless looking people often can walk on and off without even a glance at the driver. Pay fare? Me? Hahaha! And the other riders are glad of the driver's discretion, as they do not want to become collateral damage.

So while I have a loaded card, I usually only use it for ID and take the 2 for one special for paper transfers.

I have never bought something at retail and returned it used, unless it was defective.

Ha
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Old 05-27-2010, 10:29 AM   #68
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I do. I usually use the same bag for a weeks worth of sandwiches at w*rk. I don't wash them out either.

Ah, growing your own penicillin- the ultimate LBYM tip.
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Old 05-27-2010, 10:31 AM   #69
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I'm not sure that you can return something purchased at Costco after 1 year, let alone 10. They are very reasonable on returns - best policy in town - but I don't think it goes that far. We bought a Keurig coffee maker and it croaked after a month - luckily we still had the box and brought it back for a full refund - they said they were getting a lot of them back. After a certain amount of time though (not sure what it is), they probably refer you to use the manufacturer's warranty. And what about after that expires? I can't believe they would take back an analog TV you bought in 2000 just because it's obsolete. Anyone try that??
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Old 05-27-2010, 10:43 AM   #70
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Along the lines of returning stuff a long time after you bought it, I have returned a bunch of old crap I bought for home remodels/projects to Home Depot or Lowes. You know, you buy 3 tubes of caulk and only need 2. You buy 4 boxes of nails and only need 3. 10 squares of shingles and only used 9. 3 rolls of painters tape and only used 2. etc. I imagine some of the things I return have been sitting in my shed for 1-2 years. They give me store credit. All completely unused stuff of course. Occasionally they say they can't find something in their system. I say "oh must have got it at the Other big box hardware store next door".

I have only done this a couple times, lest you think I have crossed the line from frugal to inappropriate.
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Old 05-27-2010, 10:57 AM   #71
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Assuming the caulk hasn't hardened in the tube I see nothing wrong with that and have done the same. Unused. My niece buys garments, wears them, and returns them - the store is her giant annex closet full of clean clothes. Not cool. If I have to repair a shower or something and there are an assortment of possible repair kits at the store I sometimes buy the most likely needed group and return the unused kits when I'm there next. More efficient and faster than running back and forth to the store or leaving the water shut off while I take the bad parts with me to the store to get just the right kit.

Ah! I see a pattern. If i do the return it's ok, if others do it's not!
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Old 05-27-2010, 10:58 AM   #72
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I enjoyed the following article, although the author seems a bit towards the cheap end of the spectrum, implying that he never paid for his wife's meals while dating, and that she teases him about it:

How to Afford Anything

One provocative statement that he makes is:

I am guessing he meant unethical rather than fraudulent, but I'd be curious to hear if there are actual laws that I don't know about.

I've recently had a little ethical dilemna involving returns. I had a choice between buying an expensive scanner from Amazon or Costco. Costco cost about 10% more out the door, but they have an amazing return policy where you can return at any time for any reason, and the paper-feeders on scanners like this tend to break over time. So I was considering buying from Costco and using their return policy as an extended warranty, just returning it if it breaks before say a 10 year reasonable lifetime.

In the end I decided that this use of the Costco return policy was ethical, but I decided to buy at amazon because I didn't think the extended warranty was worth 10%.

However, another use of the Costco return policy is as a guard against obsolescence; if in 10 years this scanner is no longer compatible with my operating system, I could return it for a full refund and buy the current model. At the time I decided this wasn't an ethical use, but I'm still not sure. From what I've learned Costco puts the burden for return costs on their manufacturers, so I needn't be concerned about my actions affecting Costco or their customers directly. In the end my return would lower the profitability of a corporation which had made the judgement that it was in their financial interests to accept such returns.

I am realizing more and more that I don't owe corporations any kindness of decency in the way that I do owe other human beings. Corporations are ruthless in squeezing consumers in whatever legal (or even illegal) ways they can, so I don't feel any obligation to do them favors. Actually the more I think about this the more I think I should have bought from Costco, and just return the thing in 10 years when it's no longer supported on current operating systems. The only thing that keeps me from doing that is that it's so close to my ethical boundaries that the ethical struggle ends up being a high frictional cost to such transactions.
Any decision that requires this much agonizing over ethical behavior isn't...

Sounds like you are advocating "victimless crime" - it's "only" a corporation taking the loss... If you don't support a company's policies or businesss model, don't patronize them, but actively scheming to defraud them down the road is highly immoral, even if not illegal. Imposing your own unethical business practices on what you consider their unethical business practices is somewhat ironic, don't you think?. I have never quite figured out the "evil corporation" mindset, btw. You don't have to do business with a company you don't respect, but you do have to look at yourself in the mirror- maybe why you are having "frictional" issues with this?

But, maybe that's just me.
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Old 05-27-2010, 11:03 AM   #73
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Assuming the caulk hasn't hardened in the tube I see nothing wrong with that and have done the same. Unused. My niece buys garments, wears them, and returns them - the store is her giant annex closet full of clean clothes. Not cool. If I have to repair a shower or something and there are an assortment of possible repair kits at the store I sometimes buy the most likely needed group and return the unused kits when I'm there next. More efficient and faster than running back and forth to the store or leaving the water shut off while I take the bad parts with me to the store to get just the right kit.

Ah! I see a pattern. If i do the return it's ok, if others do it's not!
I'll just find a bunch of unused stuff sitting around the shed, and throw it in a lowe's bag and take it back to the store on my next trip. I don't imagine the caulk would be hardened since it was unopened. I guess if it was something with a short shelf life or "perishable" I would likely toss it.
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Old 05-27-2010, 11:07 AM   #74
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....

But I recently started using the electronic toll cards, and they charge you twice for the 3 hour trips that I could previously just buy one transfer for, because there's no human involved.

....
This is shocking!! Especially since I believe you are within a few miles of a major tech center! You mean they haven't programmed those cards to allow a 90-minute ride including transfers? This is particularly outrageous in a city whose mayor thinks that transit should be free.

Edit: nm, I think I misunderstood you.
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Old 05-27-2010, 11:11 AM   #75
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Normally I ride the bus and buy a transfer pass that's technically good for 1.5 hours. But in practice the convention is that it's okay to use the transfer much longer than that, and I often bend the rules using it for 3 or 4 hour round trips. The bus drivers never bat an eye; it's just the way things are done here.
Whoa, I'm sure glad I don't live where you live if cheating the bus company out of a fare that you KNOW is legitimate, is "just the way things are done here".

Consider paying anyway, if you value your opinion of yourself more than the cost of a bus ride. It's a good thing to do from a spiritual point of view. If you don't value yourself more than that, nobody else will either.
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Old 05-27-2010, 11:29 AM   #76
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I'm not sure that you can return something purchased at Costco after 1 year, let alone 10. They are very reasonable on returns - best policy in town - but I don't think it goes that far. We bought a Keurig coffee maker and it croaked after a month - luckily we still had the box and brought it back for a full refund - they said they were getting a lot of them back. After a certain amount of time though (not sure what it is), they probably refer you to use the manufacturer's warranty. And what about after that expires? I can't believe they would take back an analog TV you bought in 2000 just because it's obsolete. Anyone try that??

Yes, they will pretty much take everything back when ever. With the exception of the new electronics rule (I think it is 90 days).
Costco anticipates that a certain % of people will abuse the policy but for the most part, it keeps the members coming back for more. If a person returns the product, they usually go back out in the warehouse and purchases the replacement and picks up another $200 in product while they are there.

Some unethical questionable returns:

Returning a 7 year old fridge because they were updating their kitchen and wanted a newer model.

Returning the blow up slip n slide water toy because summer was over and they don't need it till next summer.

Returning the 10 year old 'invisible' fence b/c the dog died.

The t.v. returns happened all the time. Get a newer model for less that the previous one. (Return the t.v., get a new one and get cash back).

Return the last 10% of the edible product b/c you 'didn't like it'. (I wasn't sure until I ate 90% of it)

Returning the mower at the end of the mowing season.

Returning the tennis shoes after 2 years b/c they should have lasted longer. (My kids grow out of them faster than that)

To name a few.

To be honest, I would be embarrassed to return any of the above and some of it would be too much work (moving out the fridge, removing the invisible fence, and unhooking the working t.v. to get a new one??)
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Old 05-27-2010, 02:58 PM   #77
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Costco is definitely one of the most "ethical" corporations out there, and that is a good reason not to take advantage of them.

But whenever they send me my dividend check, it's always on the back page of my bill, hoping I won't notice it and will discard it. I recently had a string of bad experiences at their tire center where they gave me runaround about honoring the tire warranty. They as a corporation are trying to nickel and dime me in ways that are not ethical.

If they were a human being, I'd probably forgive them and say lets make up and be friends. But they aren't; a corporation has no guilt, and doesn't get offended at slights. It usually has a shorter lifetime than a human so less need to build reputation. Any debts that it incurs are on paper only; there's no people to hold accountable when the company folds. Most of what makes human beings honorable is wanting to feel good about ourselves and our acts, but corporations don't have that motivation; public corporations are legally structured in such a way that it's considered malfeasance to prioritize public good over shareholder returns..

The reality is that the marketplace is already a zero sum game; any time that I save a buck that's a buck that isn't going to someone else. While it may be true that the more I return the more prices will go up for others, how is that any worse than say failing to pay state tax by purchasing on amazon.

I'd be curious to hear from someone who believes it's okay to cheat the state out of their taxes by not reporting out of state purchases (like most of us), but doesn't believe that it's okay to return an item to a retailer that happily accepts the return. The former is actually a crime, while the latter is totally by the books and completely aboveboard. Try and explain your reasoning on why you would rob the schools that need your tax dollars to pay Costco corporation shareholder bonuses :-)

But there is no getting around that it does feel cheesy to return things that aren't defective. It's also not something that I would talk about in polite society, and that's yet another reason not to do it.
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Old 05-27-2010, 03:23 PM   #78
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Well, something to think about during the "free" bus ride, I guess.
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Old 05-27-2010, 03:30 PM   #79
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Frugal: re-using ziploc bags

Cheap: re-using condoms
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Old 05-27-2010, 03:35 PM   #80
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From costco's website:

"We guarantee your satisfaction on every product we sell with a full refund."

So it seems as if you are entitled to a full refund if you are not satisfied with a product. Ethically I would say there is an implied reasonableness requirement. Ie - you eat 20% of something and realize it is nasty, spoiled, stale, etc then you can return it. 90% eaten, no dice. You use a refrigerator for a month or a few months and it is somehow deficient, you return it. You don't like stainless steel finishes in 10 years, you don't return it. Maybe if the thing is a piece of crap and falling apart after 10 years, you return it and tell them you expected more out of an expensive product like that.

But I wouldn't feel too bad about Costco getting ripped off. They could have a better defined and more limited return policy if they wanted to, or refuse to accept obviously ridiculous return requests on a case by case basis.
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