It Pays to Complain…Sometimes

It’s like the old saying goes, if you don’t ask you don’t get. I recently had called Proctor and Gamble to complain about one of their products. I began to notice that some of the items in my dishwasher we’re changing color.  My aluminum measuring spoons and garlic press were turning black.  My hard plastic ladles and spatulas were getting white splotches on them.  I’ve had these items for several years and have been dropping them in the dishwasher from the very beginning and everything was fine.   Continue reading


phpMyAdmin 2048 kb upload limit

Just downloaded the latest backup of this site and when I tried to create the SQL database in phpMyAdmin, by importing the database, I got an error message, file too large, limit 2048 kb.

This got me worried as my site expands the database size will increase and thus I cannot create a backup on my localhost.

After some research I found you have to increase the file size in php.ini. This is how:-

  • Make sure you have the latest version of phpMyAdmin.
  • Click on phpMyAdmin as below and click on php.ini


This should open the php.ini file in notepad ( Windows)

  • Now scroll down until you reach “File upload” section in the php.ini file, as below and increase the file size

Save file and proceed to phpMyAdmin and  import your SQL file and this should work.

Shopping Surveys

Yesterday while shopping in one of my favorite stores, a man with a clipboard came up to me and asked if  I would mind taking a short survey.  I had a choice, a brief 2 minute survey or a 5 minute one that pays me an instant $5 cash incentive.

Now $5 is not a vast sum by any means.  However, since I stopped in for two inexpensive items, the $5 was more than 55% of my purchases.  So I decided to go for the 5 minute survey.  The man did ask my age and a zip code — but never took down my name or phone number.  At the end he handed me $5 in cash!

These surveys are popping up more and more. El Pollo Loco will offer you $1 off your next order if you take a brief phone survey.  If you shop at Rite Aid, you may notice on the bottom of your receipt a “How Are We Doing” phone survey.  The incentive is a chance to win $10,000! But please note, you will have to give them your name, address and/or phone number. That could get you on their mailing list.  I’ve taken one of these survey — so far, they haven’t sent me anything or called me.  Unfortunately, they never called me to tell me I won $10,000 either.

Speaking of giving up more information,  I do recommend a bit of caution.  If you’re not careful about what information you’re giving out, you could end up on the mother of all mailing lists — or worse.  Make sure the person taking the survey is affiliated with the retailer or center they are representing.  I also would never take a phone survey from a “cold caller” that calls we up, rather than have me call them.

So next time you see a person with a clipboard come up to you inside your local mall or shopping center, don’t be afraid to check it out.  Given the right conditions it could be worth your while.


FYI:  On CNBC this week there is going to be a show “Supermarket Inc. a $500 Billion money machine” all about what information supermarkets collect on you and what they do with it.  If you miss it you may be able to see it online.  Check you local cable listings.

Start researching your retirement Medicare.

Last night we went to a local seminar about Medicare. This was given by our local senior center. Check your local city for these senior centers in your area as they have information on all your local senior activity’s.  Do not forget a lot of breakfast dinners offer senior discounts, but you have to ask?

Now I thought Medicare would be simple but after this seminar I found there are at present  4 parts, A, B, C, and D

  • A  — This is basically covers your Hospitalization cost with some copay.
  • B —  This is basically for Doctor and out patient fees, with some copay. This part cost you a monthly fee.
  • C —  This is what they call Medicare Advantage. Further info to follow.
  • D —  This is the prescription drug, with some copay.

I suggest you contact for information and study it well as there seems to be a lot of gotcha!  Part  A seems to be free if you have paid a certain amount into the system  I found that in part B you have to pay a monthly fee which is deducted from your Social Security. Now if you live abroad and do not sign up for part B to save the monthly fee. When and if you return and sign up your fee is raised by 10% per year for every year you did not sign up. This new rate is now your rate set going forward not including cost of living raises.

We decided not to put in what the fees are in this post as things change and it would be best for you to find out from Medicare directly what your cost will be.

So we suggest you really start to read and study your Medicare system because one simple mistake will cost you for life.

If you are having problems with medicare then you can contact HICAP in California.

HICAP (Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program) provides free and objective information and counseling about Medicare. Volunteer counselors can help you understand your specific rights and health care options. HICAP also offers free educational presentations to groups of Medicare beneficiaries, their families and/or providers on a variety of Medicare and other health insurance related topics.

You can find a similar organization by contacting your States insurance department

Good luck 2BRetired.

Foodsaver V2240 arrived.


The vacuum Foodsaver V2240 finally arrived and we were eager to try the unit to check if it worked OK.  From a lot of reviews either these machine worked or they have problem.  This particular machine had good reviews so we had our fingers crossed.

As I stated before on our Freezer post for some reason there has not been any decent local sales on chicken. So just to try the unit we bought a large packet of chicken wing from out local supermarket.

Reading the manual it apparently helps to pre-freeze the chicken wings for an hour or so. This helps to stop chicken juice from entering the vacuum system. So in the future we will partially pre-freeze meat before we vacuum.

We placed the wings into the plastic bag and followed the instructions placing the open end into the vacuum system. Pressed the button and after a few minutes the vacuum motor stopped and the bag was sealed.  It was amazing how all the air had been sucked out of the bag and the wings became a solid lump.  Put the bag into the freezer and was very happy so far with this unit. We then vacuumed the rest of the wings.

We purchased the unit via I found an interest thing about prices on Amazon, they change, not so much on books but on other products.  When we purchased this unit  it cost $80 when we went back to check on tracking,  the unit new price was now $199?

So if you find what you want on Amazon at a good price buy then and there as it may change if you wait and go back to order later.

Our latest retirement project is a small Freezer

After seeing great sales on chicken and frozen pizza and not having a place to store it we decided on buying a small freezer. We looked a thrift stores and the price comparison with a new one with at least a year warranty and a used one with unknown origin was no brainier.  A new freezer was the only option. After pricing units in our area the cheapest we could find locally was at Sears. It was a small 5 cubic foot unit suitable for 2 people and would fit in the back of my small SUV.

When I went to pick it up,  2 employees of Sears help load the unit into the back of my vehicle.  Being a tight fit I told them to lay it flat as it would fit laying on its side. They told me that if I laid it on its side once I unpack it I would have to wait 24 hours before plugging it in. After unpacking the unit. The manual I found inside the freezer with full instruction on how to unpacked the unit?

After further research I found laying a freezer on its side was a problem if you plugged it in right  away, this was correct. The manual said 2 hours and  a service technician said the older units needed 24 hours, so to be safe I waited 24.

Now we are ready for the sales and low and behold there has not been any.

While we are waiting for the sales we also bought a vacuum bag system. So that we can marinate the chicken before we vacuum pack it and keep it in the freezer ready for BBQ. More on how the vacuum system works when it arrives.

AT&T our rampage.

A few months back we get a e-mail from AT&T about going paperless billing. Sign up and get $10 rebate, which turns out to be a debit card for $10. So trying to be green I thought why not and signed up. Never heard back or got the rebate. At the time I decided for the $10 rebate it was not worth my time and aggravation to follow up. I do not know what came over me as I have argued over 10 cents on a grocery bill at the supermarket?

Yesterday we got our AT&T bill and it was $4  more than last month, seeing that we did not use the phone that month it should have been the same as previous months. Now after going paperless I signed into my account and tried to to find my latest bill and previous bills and yes they had raise my monthly service before tax from approx. $8 to $12 a nearly 50% increase without notifying us. We made the call, after screaming at the computer that never understands what we say finally got a representative. The representative tell us that AT&T raised its basic rate Jan 1st. When asked why we were not informed I was pointed to a page on a bill 2 months previous that rates would increase. I questioned why go paperless when unless you figure out what page they hide information at least on a paper bill  you can scan quickly to see if things are changing.

When I brought up, that now I am going to look into going to a cable internet access and cancel AT&T telephone/internet and use something like a Magicjack and Google voice instead,  a supervisor came on the line who now found my paperless application and said the debit card would be in the mail as long as I did not cancel service for at least 6 to 8 weeks?

Please leave comments on your dealings with AT&T.