Getting Back to Normal?

Posted on August 25, 2020 by Chris Bjorklund

I’m happy to be writing for the Diamond Certified Consumer Report again after a short hiatus. Since March, so much has happened to all of us (I was in a scary car accident, my husband had foot surgery and I broke my leg to boot!) that I don’t really know what getting back to “normal” means right now. But let me share a few observations.

Most of us are beginning to resume some activities, albeit with many adaptations. I’ve continued having groceries delivered, but now I make brief forays into stores that have best practices. Read more

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Posted in: Safety, Consumers, Personal Stories, Savvy Tips
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Kids and Choking Hazards

Posted on February 18, 2020 by Chris Bjorklund

kids playing with blocks

I’ve been babysitting a one-year-old and a three-year-old on a regular basis this year, so I’m constantly on the lookout for choking hazards. You’re probably familiar with the obvious ones like hot dogs, seeded grapes and marshmallows, but I was surprised when the children started coughing and choking on apple slices, french fries, and beans. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you can prevent choking by making sure your little ones sit up while eating and not giving them food while they’re in the car or stroller. Kids are still developing their swallowing skills up until they’re 24 months old, so keep this in mind when introducing solid foods. Read more

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Posted in: Safety, Consumers, Health Tips, Home Tips, Savvy Tips
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A Glimpse Into the World of Con Artists, Swindlers and Fakers

Posted on February 18, 2020 by Chris Bjorklund

 

My latest obsession is listening to podcasts about criminals who have defrauded, scammed and deceived others. Consumer investigative journalism is now more accessible than ever in this medium. All the shows I’m digging into are free through podcasting apps and streaming services like Spotify.

“Swindled” is my current favorite. It’s an independently produced true crime podcast about all sorts of money-making schemes, white collar crime and corporate greed. The anonymous host calls himself “A Concerned Citizen.” His goal is to shine a light on stories that you may have heard about in the news but didn’t really know all the sordid details. In an interview, Read more

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What Do You Procrastinate About?

Posted on January 28, 2020 by Chris Bjorklund

I was sitting around with a group of girlfriends at the end of last year and the conversation got around to all the things we meant to do in 2019 but didn’t. It was interesting to hear how differently we all prioritize tasks and projects and keep putting some things off for months and even years. The discussion got me thinking about how I could be more productive in the coming year. So, I made a list of random things I’m working on in 2020 or that I recently completed. My list might get you thinking about yours. Read more

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Holidays, Distractions and Managing Your Receipts

Posted on November 19, 2019 by Chris Bjorklund

At the end of a recent road trip, my husband and I turned in our rental car without taking a close look at the final bill. Yes, we were distracted because we were running late and didn’t want to miss our flight. The attendant handed me a printed receipt and I stuffed it into my handbag.

A couple of days later, I cleaned out my purse and read the receipt more carefully. I found an unexpected $50 charge on top of the expected $50 drop-off fee. I had extended my rental by a few days and remembered being quoted a different total. Fortunately, the rental car agency responded quickly, reviewed the records and agreed they had made a mistake. Read more

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Is Lost Luggage a Lost Cause?

Posted on October 24, 2019 by Chris Bjorklund

Have you ever lost your luggage at an airport? I’m not talking about leaving it on the plane or not finding it on the baggage claim carousel. Have you ever left a bag in the airport’s economy parking lot? If so, there’s a good chance you’ll see it again, but it won’t be easy. So, how do you start tracking it down?

Fortunately, this happens to jet-lagged travelers pretty frequently, so airports have a process for bags that are accidentally left behind. (I speak from very recent experience!) The best thing you can do is go back to the airport parking lot or the terminal (if you can) and start talking to people who work there. Read more

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In Search of Truth in Advertising

Posted on September 26, 2019 by Chris Bjorklund

I’ve been a label reader for all of my adult life, and I continue to be amazed at the exaggerated (and sometimes deceptive) claims that food manufacturers make. Take vanilla ice cream, for example. When carefully reading labels, you’ll discover that not all vanilla flavoring comes from vanilla beans. Some “vanilla” comes from wood pulp or a coal tar derivative and is listed as a “natural flavor.” A class action lawsuit has been filed against four brands for this practice. Read more

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