Alpha Consumer

December 2007


Do Women Work Harder?

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An E-mail with an intriguing subject line landed in my in box the other day: "Women must work harder, UVA sociology study says." If this were true, that women did, indeed, have to work harder than their male counterparts, then it would all but confirm the words of Canadian feminist Charlotte ...

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TAGS:
working women

Playing the Returns Game

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When my new Dell laptop arrived this fall, I couldn't wait to turn it on and start using it. But first I had to spend an hour on the phone with my Internet service provider because the new computer wasn't compatible with my wireless modem. Then I had to devote two Saturdays in a row on the phone ...

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TAGS:
shopping

Gift Cards: No Longer Bad Presents

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Gift cards, once disdained as a last-resort present, are now almost as ubiquitous this season as the scent of scotch pine. Shoppers are expected to spend $35 billion on gift cards over the holidays, a 25 percent increase over last year and a doubling since 2004, according to Archstone Consulting.

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TAGS:
shopping
holidays

When Packages Left on Doorsteps Disappear

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Dear Alpha Consumer,

I recently ordered a $1,300, 42-inch LCD television from Costco.com. To my surprise, FedEx dropped it off outside my door, where anyone could have taken it. Is this a normal practice, and would either company have reimbursed me if it had been stolen?

The only way to really know ...

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TAGS:
crime
shopping

What Kind of Customer Are You?

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When you sprint to an airport gate to make a connection after a delayed flight, only to find that the plane hasn't waited for you, do you want a) the gate agent to offer a sincere apology, b) the airline to admit it made a mistake and provide you alternative ways to reach your destination, or c) a ...

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TAGS:
shopping
marketing

When Dementia Leads to Debt

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Dear Alpha Consumer,

My husband, who is retired, has dementia. He responds to credit card offers in the mail and charges things to them, even though he shouldn't, because he is on limited Social Security disability income. He knows better, but his mind is weak. He always says he won't use the cards,

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TAGS:
credit
credit cards
debt