RONNI BENNETT at "TIME GOES BY"
......send positive thoughts her way as she undergoes surgery Tuesday June 20th.We Elderbloggers have benefited from her guidance, encouragement and support as she continues to write about "what it's really like to get old" -- in addition to all the other information she provides.
THANKS RONNI! I LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR RETURN TO BLOGGING SOON.
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GIFT CARD SAGA has also been on my mind recently..........
Once upon a time …. this mother decided to surprise her daughter who was busy with working -- making plans to transport home her daughter following University graduation, plus her four years of accumulated belongings -- keeping their home in pristine “show” condition for prospective buyers until sold -- just to describe her primary preoccupations. The home’s kitchen counter had been cleared of the older microwave so that quick clean cooking convenience was gone.
Who knew how long enduring the home selling process would be necessary. Wouldn’t being able to use gift cards to some favorite eating establishments, or tickets to a movie theater be nice, if you needed to exit the abode to allow an open house or a showing…..or after unloading the car when home from University? If I was on the opposite coast where they live, I’d be treating both of my “girls” to ease the stress. Mother’s Day was approaching, so the gift could be especially timely, or could be saved for the weeks ahead I reasoned. Once the house was sold there would be more packing, moving to the new residence with no less free time for either gals than before.
So, I purchased gift cards I especially wanted to insert in a morale-boosting humorous greeting card -- commiserating with the harried state of their lives. I could picture in my mind their laughing faces when the funny card and contents arrived. Off to the post office – wisely deciding to insure the envelope’s contents – learning the card would arrive Saturday before Mother’s Day. Perfect! Won’t they be pleasantly surprised! Better alert them to be certain to retrieve their mail that day from the curbside mailbox.
The surprise was mine – the suspense, then the disappointment theirs – the card did not arrive Saturday, the following Monday or any day thereafter. Tracking on the computer reveals the envelope was never scanned after the initial scan at my post office, so showed to be always in transit, but not where. A couple trips to my post office elicits clerk instructions to “wait a little longer”, after they check their computer verifying what I had told them.
Eventually, I phone a couple of the gift card businesses who report their cards had not been used. Another check with the post office clerk – to be told I could file an insurance claim no sooner than 21 days after mailing. So, after that deadline, back to the post office where this time I was told the clerk couldn’t help me when I requested an insurance claim form -- that I had to file a claim on the Internet.
When I’m told I must use the Internet, my hackles are raised as I wonder what the statistics say are the number of people without Internet usage – how do they submit a form ? (I miss blogger Schmidley Scribblings , retired government statistician, who could shed some educated insight on the viability of this statistical research)…. but here’s what Pew researchers said in May 2016 – 13% of adults don’t use the Internet.
I said, “What if I don’t have a computer?” I eventually request to speak to the Supervisor who finally decides to print a copy of the form for me, then admonishes I must submit on the Internet. I say, “Do you mean in order to submit it, I have to take it somewhere and pay to use their computer?” She sorta shrugs, after a pause, reluctantly saying, “Bring it in” as she turns away, hurriedly closing the door to the inner sanctum behind her. I simply wanted to find out what people without Internet connection do.
Following that encounter, carrying my forms and receipts back and forth to the post office, I discover that my insurance receipt was now missing. I check the car, areas where I was in the house, for the receipt, to no avail. I thought, maybe the postal officials will accept all the other documentation I have as adequate. Much to my surprise and relief, several days later I found the receipt hidden under the edge of my recliner.
A week or so later, when completing the USPS insurance claim form, I note instructions on the back provide directions for mailing-- fortunate for the population I was concerned about which includes a considerable number of our older population. I know we’ll all eventually be “connected” but there should be some provision for those who aren’t in the meantime – and having to do so, they shouldn’t be made to feel “lesser than” for asking. Also, computers die – power goes out – what then?
Reminds me -- I love it when I phone my provider’s tech support number and get a recording instructing me to solve my problem on the internet -- “I can’t – I’ve lost the Internet connection! That’s why I’m calling!!”
My final effort before mailing involves a trip to an office supply store to use their copy machine. This results in a quite unbelievable complication – even sounds like “the dog ate my homework” excuse. That disappearing, then reappearing insurance receipt went to extremes this time. Placing all the paperwork on the top of the copy machine while I select purchase receipts to copy, suddenly the insurance receipt flutters away – downward -- landing on edge -- slipping into a hairline wide separation between the wall and the eight inch high baseboard – lingering briefly with one corner protruding before sliding away into some mysterious dimension before I could retrieve it.
Two different store clerks came to explore some possible rescue, but squinty-eye peering into the abyss through that sliver-of-an-opening evidences no sign of the white paper receipt. Copying the rest of my documents, I am reconciled to sending what I have, in the hopes the postal service authorities will find the data sufficient to refund my gift cards value.
The good news is I had been able to arrange for the largest card amounts to be reimbursed. I earlier phoned each of the four businesses to verify a second time the cards had not been redeemed, then requested they be voided and the amount be reissued in some manner so I wouldn’t have to bother with the insurance. Two businesses, a restaurant and a coffee house), accommodated my request, but I had them send ecards as replacements.
The movie theater had no mechanism for handling such a process for the card purchased at my supermarket – though that’s where the others had been bought and activated also. The other card from a popular universal pizza company has a disclaimer in the small print I was told -- “cards lost, stolen, damaged, destroyed or used without your permission will not be replaced nor their funds".
So, the latter two smaller amounts, plus my postage are what I will be expecting the USPS to reimburse. What I have learned will influence the type card purchases I might make in the future – also, whether or not I would want to send any of these cards through the mail which, as I knew is just like putting cash in the envelope.
I wonder about others experiences with gift cards, if they ever mail them, and if any delivery, redemption or replacement issues?