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Lesser-Known Freebies From Your Public Library

Posted on March 26, 2019 by Chris Bjorklund

I was at my public library picking up a book for my book club when I noticed that the woman ahead of me was checking out a pass to the Exploratorium for her family. I asked the librarian for more information and found out that San Francisco libraries and others in the Bay Area have a “Discover & Go” pass, which offers free and discounted tickets to attractions such as the California Academy of Sciences, the Legion of Honor, the Oakland Zoo, the Lawrence Hall of Science, and the Pacific Pinball Museum. You log in with your library card and the listings include details about the conditions and how to make online reservations. The passes can be printed at home. Read more

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Posted in: Consumers, Personal Stories, Savvy Tips
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Please Give Us More Icing on the Cake!

Posted on February 26, 2019 by Chris Bjorklund

It often surprises me how little it takes to brighten someone’s day. I wish more businesses understood that sometimes even a tiny thing can perk you up or just make you smile.

For example, I was window-shopping at an outdoor mall when I came across free organic lemons outside of a storefront. The owner had more bowls of fruit at the sales counter. This small gesture wasn’t just a conversation starter—I was lured inside to see the merchandise and left with a positive feeling about the place. I didn’t buy anything that day, but I will return. Read more

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Posted in: Consumers, Customer Service, Personal Stories, Savvy Tips
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Avoid Space Wasters in Your New Kitchen (And Replace Them With Space Savers)

Posted on January 10, 2019 by Jennifer Chan

Back in 2011, Chris Bjorklund, the Savvy Consumer, wrote the original version of this article. Kitchens have changed since then, but the sentiment is timeless: for those of us who live in the Bay Area, there simply isn’t room for space wasters in the kitchen. With that, read on to learn how to replace those space wasters with space savers.

Out: Kitchen desks

In her original post, Chris mentioned that the only family member to ever use her kitchen desk was the dog. Even in 2011, laptops and cellular devices were making traditional desks obsolete. Read more

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Posted in: Home Remodeling, Home Organization, Home Improvement, Savvy Tips
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Expressing Gratitude All Year Long

Posted on November 29, 2018 by Chris Bjorklund

During the month of November and the Thanksgiving season, most of us are more focused than usual on the gift of gratitude. But given the positive impact of gratitude on others, perhaps we should think about ways to express our gratitude throughout the year.

I started reflecting on that the other day after listening to my voicemail. A local framing store manager called to let me know that my two paintings were ready to be picked up. Then, he added something extra—he said he sincerely appreciated my continued business, which meant a lot to him. Read more

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Posted in: Holiday Related, Seasonal, Consumers, Customer Service, Savvy Tips
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Straight Talk Runs Deep

Posted on October 25, 2018 by Chris Bjorklund

I was lucky enough to travel to Alaska recently on a small ship adventure. The Wilderness Discoverer cruised from Sitka to Juneau through the Inside Passage, an archipelago that was created by glaciers. With only 76 passengers and 25 crew members on board, it was an intimate experience. The activities ranged from sea kayaking and bushwhacking to snorkeling and meadow meanderings, all of which provided chances to both see Alaskan wildlife and get wet and muddy. There was even a polar plunge for some!

The Captain spoke to us every day, mostly via intercom, as did the Expedition Leader and Kitchen Steward. We received updates on the itinerary, how choppy the waters might get and why dinner would be late. Read more

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Posted in: Consumers, Customer Service, Personal Stories, Savvy Tips
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Savvy Consumer Tip: Easy Hearing Test

Posted on September 27, 2018 by Chris Bjorklund

Do you suspect you may have hearing loss? It may be time to get checked. In this video, Savvy Consumer Chris Bjorklund explains how to get an easy and inexpensive hearing test. Read more

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Posted in: Hearing Care, Savvy Tips
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Practice What You Preach

Posted on September 25, 2018 by Chris Bjorklund

Throughout my years as a consumer advocate, I’ve always encouraged people to be both patient and persistent when they have legitimate complaints. I counsel them to write letters, make phone calls, talk to supervisors and/or complain to relevant regulatory agencies. Sometimes I even advise them to publicize their cases through the media or sue in Small Claims Court (when necessary). I cheer them on when they feel like quitting or are just plain fed up by a lengthy process.

Recently, I had my own consumer issue that reminded me to practice what I preach. In October 2017, I booked a flight from San Francisco to London using frequent flier miles through my credit card company. Read more

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Posted in: Personal Stories, Savvy Tips
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