When A Bargain Isn’t A Bargain


People love their bargains and we’re no exception.

We’ve used sites like Amazon Local and Groupon to snag some fantastic deals in the past and all of them were handled the way we expected them to be. And the deals are usually comprised of the same formula: get $[retail amount] of merchandise/services/food for $[discounted amount]. Easy.

Past deals I’ve bought have included $40 worth of Restaurant.com credits for $10, $30 towards the purchase of Dodgers tickets for $7, and $5 for a $10 Amazon Gift Card. No doubt they were fantastic deals. You pay a discounted price and get more in return. It’s not a difficult concept.

Then there was today.

Ann had purchased the following deal on some new discount site I’d never heard of called Double Take Deals. Look closely and tell me if it follows the same formula as the rest.

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She figured hey, it’s nearing Christmas and this would be as good a time as any to refresh our decorations and at a bargain price. I mean, this seemed like a great offer so that’s why she bought it:

With this DoubleTake Deal, get festive with $50 of Christmas decorations including wreaths, greens, ornaments, figurines and more for only $25.

So if I read this right, we would get $50 worth of merchandise and only pay $25 for it. Am I right? It’s not that convoluted, is it?

After looking this Barcana place up online (and laughing at what seemed to be a Geocities-hosted website), we headed down there and looked around for a bit. It was our first time there and admittedly, they do have a great selection of decorations, so much so that we had trouble deciding what to buy. In the end, we decided that the tree would have a candy theme this year so we stocked up on candy-related decorations and placed them in the basket.

Once finished, we waited in line to pay and were pretty excited with all the stuff we had found. Ann started off by handing the cashier her Double Take Deals voucher which she would apply once she was done ringing everything up. Our total was $64.30 which, once our $50 was applied, would mean we owed only $14.30. Hey, we made out alright.

“So your new total is $39.30,” the cashier said.

Ann looked puzzled. She glanced over at me and I started to think, “That’s way too much.” Ann then asked her if the discount had been applied.

She went on to explain that the discount had been applied – all $25 of it, which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Why would I spend $25 on a voucher that I’m going to use myself to only get $25 credit in the store? Isn’t the point of getting such deals is to, well, get more for less? Otherwise, it’s like we just bought $25 in Disney Dollars. This is not how it works.

As we continued to try and explain things to the cashier, she defended her position. Another one even intervened, condescending attitude and all, and spoke to us like we had just fallen off of the turnip truck. This is not how it works.

Here’s a copy of our receipt:

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As you can see, the “check” amount is the applied Double Take Deals amount or the amount we paid for the deal. But as the deal stated on the website:

With this DoubleTake Deal, get festive with $50 of Christmas decorations including wreaths, greens, ornaments, figurines and more for only $25.

After not arguing with the Cashier with an Attitude (there’s no sense fighting with someone like that), I spoke with a man who appeared that he might know what he was doing. He said it was their first time doing this sort of offer and that Double Take Deals had the wording all wrong. I didn’t understand this since it seems as clear as day to me: get $50 for $25. Even the screenshot about reads “Savings 50%.”

So what did they not word properly? The only thing that I could think of is that we’d get $25 off with a minimum $50 purchase which this offer does not state either on the website or voucher nor is that a savings of 50%. This is not how it works.

We feel conned and totally ripped-off by what transpired. Our only recourse is to contact Double Take Deals on Monday and see what they have to say about the matter. I’ve already tweeted my dissatisfaction to them but being their Twitter account was last update in August 2012, I doubt I’ll get a reply.

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If nothing gets done, then we’re out a hypothetical $25 and will never use them again. But even if they do resolve it and we get the extra $25 to spend at Barcana, it will be our last trip there. I have no time for cashiers talking to me as if I don’t understand what’s going on and talking to us like we were idiots. In this day and age of social media you’d think that people would be a little more courteous, otherwise those they were rude to might blog, tweet, Facebook, leave reviews on Fouraquare, etc.

Someone apparently hasn’t learned this lesson and what a huge disappointment this has been. Stay tuned for an update should anything change.

UPDATE 12/2/13: After a few days of emails between Ann and Double Take Deals, Ann was contacted by someone at Barcana who indeed told us that the deal was not done right. She has promised to make things right by issuing a $25 gift certificate.

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In Response to Chad Stafko’s “Get Over It” Diatribe


A few days ago, Chad Stafko wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal entitled “OK, You’re A Runner. Get Over It” and since then, runners from all over the world have chimed in on what Stafko had to say, much less wonder what the act of running had to do with WSJ.

If you don’t want to read the article, he basically doesn’t get why runners insist on “patting themselves on the back” by showing the world what they’ve done. This can be in the form of wearing a shirt from a recently run event or, in some cases, a 13.1 or 26.2 sticker on their car. He only quotes those two because 70.3 or 140.6 probably would have blown his mind.

But that’s the extent of belittling I’ll do here. In fact I probably shouldn’t have even gone that far because running is something not everybody “gets” and Stafko definitely falls into that category despite how many running friends he says he has.

I’ll quote one part of his article, prove my point, and the game will be over. It really will be that simple.

Why would someone want to get up at 5 a.m. and run 10 miles adorned with fluorescent tape to avoid being struck by someone who has the good sense to use a car for a 10-mile journey?

Easy. Because I can guarantee that this dad (2004)…

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…had a better chance of dying from something health-related than this dad (2013)…

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…who now runs events with his son and will continue to do so until he drops dead.

(By the way, those are indeed the same two people in both pictures: me and my son.)

He will also continue to be the person Stafko despises in the article: he’ll wear shirts from events, put [insert appropriate distance here] stickers on his car, wake up on any given Sunday at 5 a.m. to go for a 10-mile run, and even wear medals the entire day after competing in an event.

And it will be done with pride.

Running any distance is indeed an accomplishment and therefore, I believe is worth bragging about. Running has also changed, and possibly saved or extended, my life.

Game over, Chad.

And no, I won’t get over it.

Sunday Breakfast


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It’s the little things in life that make you happy.

Loafing Around


Believe it or not, there was once a time when memories had to remain just that. If you saw something that was beyond words and had no way to document it then a memory was all you got.

If you were really lucky (or strange for that matter), you might have had a camera handy to capture the moment and share with a few friends and family.

That’s exactly what happened to me and Ann back in the late ‘90s. We were out and about one day when I saw something out of the corner of my eye. I had to double-check to make sure and when I did, I was pretty excited: it was the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile.

Now remember the time. Then consider the fact that I didn’t even have a mobile phone yet and even if I did, it would have been a Motorola Tracfone capable of only making calls since cameras on phones would be years away.

So what did I do? I found the nearest grocery store, ran inside and bought a disposable camera – link added for the curious – so that I could take some pictures for posterity. We went back to the Wienermobile and took some shots of it and we still have them somewhere, but exactly where is beyond me.

Fast-forward to 2012 when we saw the Wienermobile down the street from us. Instead of wishing we had a camera or scrambling to find a store where we could buy a disposable camera, we just whipped out our phones and took all the shots we wanted. Then, of course, we shared them with the world within seconds.

We’ve come a long way for sure and I’m truly happy about that.

This was especially true today when I saw something that I didn’t think I’d get the chance to see. I was in Mission Viejo helping my buddy with some things at his restaurant when I came across this truck parked behind the Ralphs grocery store in the same shopping center.

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I didn’t think much of it and figured it was just there resting for some reason. When I pulled away I looked to the left and lo and behold, there it was! The Tillamook Cheese Baby Loaf VW van!

Of course by now I had to stop and take pictures of it.

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First of all, VW vans are cool. I learned to drive a stick on one of these things albeit a full-size one. Second, shrinking one down to a pocket-size car that Anthony could probably drive makes it even more appealing.

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Of course, I had to get my picture with it so that I could send it to Ann and Anthony.

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Once I sent her this picture, Ann asked me to go and see if they had some coupons. I went in the store and talked to the reps for a little bit, and ended up with more than coupons.

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I left with coupons, a silly mask, and some buttons. I also tried some of the cheese and yes, it’s delicious. We will definitely use the coupons very soon.

And in my researching of the Baby Loaf’s tour, I discovered that it had already visited my town back on October 27 so I was glad I was able to see it here by total chance. I had no idea it was going to be here today.

So there you have my fun for the day and I’m glad I was able to share it with you without much difficulty. If this were 1995, the disposable camera would probably sit around the house another week before I got the film inside of it processed.

Thank goodness for advancements in technology.

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