Just asking…

Have you had to deal with a credit card that has been compromised?

To restate: has someone hacked your account and logged expenses that weren’t yours?

I’ve had a succession of these irritable moments, when I received a text message and a phone call that a rat was apparently at work.

My Hawaiian Airlines Master Card, I was told, likely was compromised. Bless the watcher/whistleblower, who flagged one charge and was right.  A sum – not mine – was logged  from Florida and thank Lord someone sniffed this foul play.

But three times, over two years? Humbug, yeah?

This incident required the termination of the victimized card and  a new replacement card; the result is that sites where I have automatic charges had to be informed and this card was immediately halted.

A replacement with a new number arrived via express mail, so now it’s business as usual.

But applause, to the scrutinizers, for sniffing out a crook. They are unsung heroes.


Just asking…

Have you noticed the surge in cost of vellum or cover stock, a staple in paper crafts?

As a card-maker hobbyist, I’ve been using the vellum paper for decades. It’s got more body and stiffness than the everyday document “typewriter paper,” what you commonly use in your copier.

Back in the day, a ream (250 sheets, 67 lbs.) cost under $5 a ream, then periodically became more expensive over the past four decades.

Springhill cover stock paper.

It was more than three years ago, prior to the start of the COVID pandemic, that I bought my last ream of plain white vellum paper. If you’re a hobbyist, you know that these cover stock paper comes in a range of colors, from pastel pink and blue, to yellow and green, and even tonier hues of orchid or peach.

Prices have been gradually escalating, like everything else, to $16 and $18 a ream…the last time I purchased several reams.

But ouch! When I visited Fisher’s the other day, the price tag was more than doubled, to $30-plus for a ream for the Springhill brand, the one I usually bought. For red, and dark colors like purple and garden green, I had to purchase another brand at Office Depot that was always costlier.

At Fisher, I located another brand, Hammermill, for under $19, so purchased that.

But I wanted to find out what comparison costs were at Office Depot and not surprisingly, the price tags were over $30 for cover stock and even standard copier paper.

It might be cheaper to shop at Amazon, which sells the Springhill product for $16.34.

Besides card-making, I need the vellum paper to create mounting labels for the holiday pins I make.

Just wondered if anyone else has encountered the soaring cost of paper.


Just asking:

Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day, by surprising your spouse or significant other, with a gift?

The same question might apply to your birthdays.

Sure, a sweet gift is not  unwelcome.

But when you’ve been married for more than five decades, to give or not to give is not an issue.

We’ll go out for dinner on these milestone occasions, but an actual gift is not longer part of our lives.

 Some time ago, my wife and I decided that saving on ungifting meant we’d be able to splurge on vacations and trips. But the pandemic put a lid on our travels – we had a pair of one-night staycations in the past three years,  one in Hilo, one in Waikiki – so we’re aiming for a trip to New York sometime this year.

If and when that happens, it will be a mutual gift we’ll be happy to spend on.

What say you?


Just asking…

Whenever you shop, do you prefer self-check to whisk out of the store, or are you a traditionalist and favor the customary sales clerk handling your purchase?

Many stores are embracing and enlarging self-check; many folks prefer this method quickly exit the store.

What’s your choice? Traditional cashier check-out, or self-check?

The elderly — me included — prefer waiting in the shortest line for the usual clerk check-out. In many instances, you get know one or two of ‘em at the cash register – regularity and constancy make you engage in fun small talk with your cashier, swapping views of the humid weather, the election, or approaching holidays.

A shopper at self-check means one less hire.

But on the mainland, key brands stores have eliminated cashiers for wholly self-check. My worry: each vacant check-out stand means someone no longer is on the payroll. And is honesty the prevailing notion among self-checkers? Will this do-it-yourself method encourage “shoplifting” with a possible alibi that the scanner didn’t scan? And does the store have a means to flag the unscanned item?

You’ve seen the expansion of self-check, at Costco, Longs, Target, Walmart, Safeway and more. It’s the future. And the future is now. Aides are visible for queries, but essentially, you take stuff out of your shopping cart and scan purchases as the cashier. Have you seen that overfilled cart at Costco? Does a self-scanner have the smarts to include each item – and will there be delays at the exit door, when checkers suspect a non-scanned item?

So if you willingly do the work to scan your goods, do you expect a small a discount off your bill? Is this what retail has come to?

I know one person who no longer goes to a merchant without a live cashier. Can’t blame her; she has to do the work, with no perk.

What’s your take on self-check or cashier? Share your views.


Just asking…

It’s never a perfect world, but when the Blaisdell Concert Hall is renovated – timetable not yet confirmed – shouldn’t it include either an escalator and/or elevator, so the disabled or wobbly seniors can secure balcony seats without having to struggle up and down stairs?

These amenities should have been in the original plans of the Neal Blaisdell Center.

And wouldn’t it be wonderful if an on-site restaurant be in the mix of participating vendors?

Clearly, the Concert Hall should retain  the dual lobby and up-front lavatory facilities, for convenience.

An improved sound system for the house would enhance performances, too

Anything to add to the wish list for the concert hall?