I’ve rented a lot of cars over the years, but I’ve never seen what I’m seeing today. Prices are high due to low inventories, and in some cases, no cars are available at any price. The strategies I’ve used in the past to save money have been upended by unanticipated consumer demand. The rental car industry sold off large numbers of vehicles during the pandemic to stay afloat, and those same companies are now having trouble ramping up with new cars due to manufacturing delays. This shortage in some popular destinations could last through the summer. Read more
For reasons I won’t go into here, my husband and I recently found ourselves in possession and taking care of five automobiles. For a while, my nickname in the family was “Fleet Manager.” One of the vehicles was sent to the East Coast by transport to our son, but that still left us with two extra used cars. We decided it was time to sell my 2015 Honda Fit and my husband’s beloved ’69 Volkswagen Beetle. (He was the original owner!) Read more
During the shelter-in-place orders, so many of us are spending more time at home than ever before. This has brought on a home improvement and decorating boom, along with another rather mixed blessing: the opportunity to uncover hidden problems. In my case, it was a slow water leak from a skylight.
For months, I’ve been ignoring some cracks and small bubbles in my bathroom ceiling near the skylight. After one of the recent rainstorms, the problem became more noticeable. I decided to poke a broom handle around the area and it was spongy. As my husband and I tore out the ceiling, we discovered mold in an area that extended several feet in all directions. Read more
I was so delighted when, after complaining to a grocery delivery service online, I received an email response within 30 minutes. I’d been unable to use a discount code on the website even though I tried three times. I placed the order anyway because I needed groceries. The customer service rep apologized in her email, acknowledged having other complaints and offered to manually apply the discount code for me.
Most consumers have higher expectations for companies that are operating during the pandemic. In fact, a recent study surveying more than 1,000 consumers in different age groups (conducted by Hiver, a customer solution company) found that people want customer service to be not only more responsive but also more empathetic. Read more
In past December newsletters, I’ve shared recipes from my family’s Christmas Eve dinner that features Swedish meatballs, the heated adult beverage Swedish glögg and Green Goddess salad dressing. Now it’s time to tell you about the bread I make every year called limpa bread.
This Scandinavian bread was originally made from fermented brewer’s wort, a byproduct of beer making. While some recipes include stout beer as a key ingredient, mine uses molasses, orange rind, fennel and cumin seeds. Limpa is traditionally served at Christmas Eve smörgåsbords. Read more
In the wake of widespread economic woes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s “season of giving” comes at an especially crucial point for those who are in need. To help you make the most of your charitable giving in this needful time, we’ve reposted (and updated) the following article from 2017. Read more
Let’s face it—this Thanksgiving is going to be really different for most of us. My family started talking about how we might safely get together for the holiday back in October. All options were discussed, ranging from everyone doing their own “thing” to having a socially distanced barbecue outside. We also thought people could stagger their visits and stay outdoors (there are only nine of us) with some overlap. We all agreed on the main thing: it’s a pandemic Thanksgiving, so everyone has to be flexible. The final plan isn’t finalized and it will most assuredly evolve until we get closer to the holiday. Read more