Category Archives: Delaware County

Articles about “things” in Delaware County

Warning if you buy gift cards from Walmart!

Walmart

I’m not a fan of Walmart for a variety of reasons. There is one near my home but I only occasionally go there. Today I just wanted to pick up some gift cards for people who helped me during my recent hospital stay. Usually I buy gift cards from Giant Eagle when I’m there, but today decided to just run up to Walmart. I picked out the cards then proceeded to check-out. I inserted a credit card to pay for them. Surprisingly the credit card was denied!

Cashier said I couldn’t use a credit card to pay for gift cards – nor could I use a check. Cashier said only cash or a debit card can be used at Walmart!!!!

With the credit card transaction denied, she then rang the cards up again and I inserted my debit card. Same issue as before. The card was denied!. The supervisor came over to help with the problem. She determined that the Visa phone line was down so couldn’t activate the cards. After about half an hour, we learned the register system had deducted the money from my account but still wouldn’t allow the sale of the gift cards. The supervisor gave me cash for the amount the register had deducted from my debit account and I left – without any gift cards.

My bank is in the same shopping center so I went there to deposit the cash that the supervisor returned to me.

Next I went to the Kroger store – same center – to buy cards. There I was able to buy the gift cards with a credit card with no problem.

UPDATE: I just checked my credit card to see if the first Walmart transaction that failed was by chance also charged to my account like it did the debit card. YUP! It was charged as well. Now tomorrow I must go back and “try” to get the charge off my credit card!!#*%#@%^*!

ANOTHER UPDATE 4/7: So today I went back to Walmart to get the charge off the credit card. I went to the “Customer Service” desk where the same supervisor was working. I showed her my paperwork that showed the charge against my credit card. She said she would have to get the Assistant Manager to approve. I waited 50 MINUTES for the Assistant Manager to finally show up. She said she couldn’t issue a credit since the transaction showed as “Pending” and that it might still be cancelled. So now I must wait till the transaction no longer shows as “Pending” so I have proof that Walmart did indeed double charge me the $271! I kept my cool – sort of!!!!

ANOTHER UPDATE 4/9:I checked my credit card account this morning and the $271 charge was no longer pending but had become an actual transaction. So I went back to the store for my refund. In the interim days, the Assistant Manager had pulled off register tape for the two transactions. From it she learned the cashier had voided 3 of the cards but not the 4th. Thus the register tape showed a “Refund” of $164. But I was still charged $106. I noted that the $164 was NOT a “Pending” transaction and thus suspect. She called the Store Manager and of course, he agreed with her and wanted to wait for the “Return” to show on my account. He said it usually takes banks longer to post payments/returns than the actual charge. He would not take the charge off my credit card! So I must wait even more days to see what – if anything – is recorded to my account. What makes me so angry is this is due to Walmart’s policy and screw-ups at the register. My only fault was trying to buy Gift Cards at Walmart!

FINAL UPDATE 4/11: I checked my credit card this morning to see if a Walmart refund had been issued for $164. It had – YAY! So I printed off the paperwork and returned to the store for the final refund of $106. Neither the Assistant Manager nor the Store Manager were there, so Customer Service called another Assistant Manager. That Manager wanted to know all the details of why he was being requested before he walked to the Service desk. When he arrived I explained the saga to him. He’s only authorized to approve $100 refund! He called the Store Manager to verify that I did indeed have substantiating paperwork. The Store Manager approved the return. The Customer Service agent then gave me the refund in cash – not allowed to take it off the credit card. ???

I suggested they might want to put a sign on the Gift Card display to advise people that they can’t use a credit card for the purchase because surely I’m not the first person to inadvertently use one for a Gift Card purchase. He indicated that it had sometimes been a problem. He said that people use Gift Cards as a way to launder money. I responded that all the Managers had treated me as if I were a thief and I didn’t appreciate that. He said that a lot of Walmart customers try to scam the company so they must be careful. I guess Walmart considers its customers guilty until proven innocent! For me, Walmart Customer Service was a big FAIL!

NEXT DOOR App Works Great!

Last year a neighbor told me about an app used by other neighbors. Her two dogs had escaped their fenced yard. They made their way to the deck of another neighbor several streets away. Eventually my neighbor retrieved the “escapees” thanks to the NEXT DOOR app. So I loaded the app on my phone.

It’s a very helpful app for subdivisions to stay in touch with neighbors to alert of happenings, HOA issues, lost cats & dogs, or in some cases crime or “suspicious” characters. During the Hurricane that hit Texas last year, I heard reporters mention that people used the NEXT DOOR app to alert others to those needing rescued.

So far in my neighborhood, it’s been a lot of roaming cats in other people’s yards. City rules say cats have the same rules as dogs – not out of the yard unless on lease – but cat owners often think it’s OK to let their cat roam, kill birds, and poop in our landscape beds. A couple weeks ago a neighbor alerted us that a young golden retriever had escaped and they couldn’t catch him. It was an extremely bitter cold night with substantial snow cover. Everyone knew there was a chance the dog couldn’t survive overnight so various people got in their cars and slowly drove the streets hoping to find the pup. Half the homes are on wooded, ravine lots making many places for the dog to escape notice. It was amazing the outpouring of support as people stayed in touch with the app. The dog finally returned home the next morning but offered no explanation of what he’d been up to. BTW, the dog’s name is appropriately CHASE!

Our small city posts informative items and the police post important notices. People can also post items for sale or FREE when they want to get rid of something. It’s a great place for “handymen” or “who knows a good plumber/electrician”. My subdivision has 366 homes so we have a decent sized group, however, we can expand our posts to other surrounding areas if we choose.

It’s a great little app and so handy. Best part is it’s a FREE app! Here’s the link to NextDoor website, but to put it on your phone, go to the app store.

To-Dos For January Hibernation

I dislike winter. I dislike being cold. Sure the snow is pretty – it’s just too bad it has to be cold to produce snow. Since I’ve retired I tend to hibernate during January. I only go out if I have to. I don’t mind driving in snow since I have a Jeep, but I don’t like being cold until the heater starts blowing warm air.

Christmas decorationsThis year I need to apologize to my neighbors. My Christmas lights are still up. I put them up in early December when we had some warmer days. I kind of overdid it since I had a new 8-ft stepladder. Except for a few days, we’ve had snow on the ground since Christmas. I’m not eager to put that ladder in 4-6″ of snow to undo the lights.

Christmas LightsThis Hawthorn tree is around 20ft tall – with THORNS! I got creative in putting the lights on it with my “new ladder”. I’m not looking forward to removing the lights when the temp is 15°. I did the same thing with a slightly smaller crab apple tree in the front. In the next week the weather is to be in the 30s so maybe some of the snow will melt so I can remove the lights.

On the plus side, I checked a few indoor projects off my to-do list. I cleaned out a bunch of files and took the sensitive papers to the UPS Store for shredding. I took some old non-working appliances to Sims Recycling where they paid me $2.38 for them. I did more planning for a major project that I’ve been working on. I’ll start it “soon” and that’ll keep me busy through February. Then there’s a couple storage closets that need to be sorted with outdated STUFF thrown out.

Hopefully by then it will be SPRING!

Good Bugs vs Bad Bugs

I use minimal insecticides mainly because I’ve always had dogs and Murph is like a 4-legged mop because his legs are so short. I also don’t want to harm the good insects like bees, nor do I want to harm the birds. I prefer to let Nature take its course. Like the Assassin bug I found a couple years ago, I learned it killed the bad bugs, even though it was really ugly.

GOOD BUG!

Praying Mantis

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Over the weekend I spotted another highly desirable bug, a Praying Mantis. They’re fun to watch as they do their jerky movement and turn their strange head. Eventually it “walked” down to the green plant below where it became nearly invisible with its color match. If you check articles on Google, you’ll find that these insects are killing machines, attacking much larger critters like frogs! Amazing!

BAD BUGS!

Grubs under the lawn

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Also this past weekend I began cleaning up the brown spots I had in the yard. I thought they were due to the extreme dry weather we had. But as I began to use my thatching rake, I pulled up the sod … a sure sign of grubs. I was finding a grub for every 2 square inches. THAT’S A LOT!

I found this invasion over large parts of my back lawn. Given the time of year, I checked online for a specific insecticide that would kill them NOW. Many grub controls are preventative and must be put on in late spring. I found an article from Michigan State University that there are only 2 active ingredients that kill now. One of those took 3-4 weeks to work. The other kills in 24-hours. So I made a trip to Home Depot to buy the Bayer granules.

grub damaged lawn

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I tested the insecticide on one of the large damaged areas, soaked it with plenty of water, then watched the grubs squirm and try to bury themselves further down into the dirt. If it didn’t work, I wasn’t going to put it over other areas because of Murph. I checked the next day and the grubs were dead. I’ve since covered the area with topsoil to keep Murph from coming in contact with the granules. (The hose was circled around the spot to keep Murph off – he hates the hose!)

I’ll be repeating this process over all the other large areas where I spotted the nasty grubs. If there were just a few grubs, I wouldn’t bother with this, but if I don’t control them to some degree I’ll just have a bunch of June bugs next year with a repeat of the damaged lawn.

Alvin is stocking up for winter

Normally these little critters scamper as soon as I walk out the door. This time the little guy was defiant! I got within 2-feet to take the picture. There was a “stare down” as I snapped 3 pics with my phone before it scampered away. Guess the special Fruit & Nut seed was just too enticing that it was worth defying the “dangerous human”! 🙂

Their fat little cheeks are cute but they sure do empty the feeders in a hurry!
chipmunk staredown

Coppertina Ninebark – Buyer Beware!

powdery mildew on Coppertina Ninebark

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In May 2015 I wrote about a new landscape bed which I put in that contained 2 Coppertina Ninebark plants. The first year I really liked them. The changing copper colors were quite attractive. But as the year went on I began to notice a problem with powdery mildew. I cut out the affected leaves then sprayed with a fungicide. As time went on the fungicide seemed to have no effect, so I sprayed again when we would have several rain-free days. Still no control of the mildew.

This spring the powdery mildew came back with a vengeance. I checked Google to see if there was a known problem for this type of plant and found several articles on the subject. It seems powdery mildew and Witch’s Brooms are a genetic problem with Ninebarks although some varieties are less damaged by the disease. None of the suggestions for control were very effective. The stems where the Witch’s Broom occur soon turn black as do the leaves.

One of the two plants was smaller and less attractive since it has had more powdery mildew problems than the other one. I don’t want to have to mess with pruning off the affected leaves and black stems every couple weeks OR have to weekly spray a fungicide that really doesn’t work, so I removed the smaller plant. I’m really disappointed since the plant is or could be very attractive but this genetic issue makes them a questionable purchase. Be advised!