Stupid and Easily Avoidable Consumer Mistakes I Made in 2017

One little dot can make all the difference. In my case, the dot is a decimal point. And when I paid a bill online last week, I, Mr. Watchdog, put the dot in the wrong place.Do you know where this is going?I woke up and saw that my checking account was overdrawn by $18,000.Did someone rob me?No, it's that pesky dot.I meant to send American Express a payment of $2,150. Instead, I sent AmEx $21,500.My bank didn't catch it. AmEx didn't complain. No robber here. Just dumb ol' me.What I learned: Remember to double-check numbers before submitting online payments. D'oh.Actually, though, that's not all. I made several consumer buying mistakes in 2017. Some are merely embarrassing; others cost me time and money. But I learned from each.Here's my confessional, and, most important, what I learned. Don't make my mistakes.Phil the Stain ManPhil did great work around my house. He stained the garage door so that it now looks like I have a wooden door. He also stained my bathroom cabinets. He promised to stain the side fence, and he planned to build shutters for the front windows. For that, I partially prepaid him.Phil is an artist, both with stain and charm. He's a delight to talk to. He works hard, too.My wife and I were captivated by his entertaining manner. We all talked while he worked. Then things went off the rails. But I ignored warning signs.He once referred to his knife as a shiv. That's a prison term. I let it pass without inquiring. I also noticed that one of my tools, channel lock pliers, was missing. When I told him, he brought a pair back, but it wasn't mine. Eventually, the pliers were returned. I let it pass.  Continue reading...

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