Here is something I find exasperating. As you may know, bloggers are required by some sort of law to tell you whenever they're talking about something they've been paid (in cash or in product) to talk about. That's not the part I find exasperating, though I DO find it irritating that, for example, businesses are not held to the same requirements and can put "1 cup Brandname sugar" on their recipes all day long without disclosing their relationship to Brandname, and magazines can talk about how extremely awesome a product is without disclosing that they were given it for free, and so on. It's not that I mind the rule (I DEFINITELY want to know if a blogger has been paid to tell me about how awesome something is), it's that I mind the unfair/uneven application of it.
ANYWAY. Moving on to my point. There are MANY RULES for this disclosure stuff, and they are CONFUSING AND ALSO STRICT, but the gist is that if I've been given ANYTHING or benefited in ANY WAY from writing about something, I have to TELL YOU SO.
So! In theory, this should work great for things I'm NOT being compensated to talk about: I write about it, I don't mention compensation, and you know that no compensation has occurred. HOWEVER: because of the blogging rules, the general blogging public is being extra-careful and doing the "disclose when there IS NOTHING to disclose" policy: i.e., saying "I wasn't compensated in any way and I bought my own stuff with my own money" when such is the case---which means that THAT has become the default, and that NOT saying that specifically seems to imply that the reader needs to wonder about compensation.
SIGH. This clutters the place UP. And it makes it seem sleazy, too, like a salesperson saying, "Hey, I would sell this product FOR FREE, just because this product is SO AWESOME I feel an almost RELIGIOUS FERVOR for spreading the news of its existence!"
All this is to say that I am about to talk about something AWESOME, and I have not been compensated IN ANY WAY---which you SHOULD have known by the fact that I wasn't saying I'd been compensated, but instead you get THIS crap.
SO. I recently got a Target RedCard (LINKED FOR HELPFULNESS NOT FOR COMPENSATION) (SIGH!!), which means everything I buy at Target is automatically 5% off. I'd wondered how that would WORK, since I don't slide the card until AFTER it rings up a total so how does it know to take 5% off? And this is how: the clerk says, "That's $100," and I slide my card, and the total changes to $95 automatically and then charges THAT amount. Awesome. It was also easy to apply: it asked me a few questions (SS#, address, income) on that little screen you have to sign on, and then I was done. My mom told me afterward that what she did was apply at Customer Service, so she wouldn't hold up the line.
But I've had that card for a couple of weeks, and this NEXT part is what made me rush to Inform The Internet: they sent me a thingie that says I can have 1% of what I spend sent automatically to any school I choose (er, of participating schools) (duh). And I thought, "Hey, why not? Free money. For schools." So I went to http://www.target.com/tcoe, I chose one of my kids' schools, I entered my name and card number, and DONE.
The unexpectedly cool part is that you can see how many other cardholders are having THEIR 1% sent to each school you're considering, AND how much money has gone to the school, AND how much has accumulated since their last payment. So in our case, in which our children are spread over three schools, I could look at each of the three and choose the one with the fewest cardholders already donating money to it.
...I'm not succeeding in making this sound as fun/cool as it actually was, which is probably why I am NOT being compensated to talk it up. There were even daycares and preschools on the list! And this COSTS ME NOTHING. And yet I am giving money to SCHOOLS! Automatically! So I never have to think about it again, unless I want to change schools, and yet money will continue going to the school!
This is one of those things that gives me this huge IMAGINE WHAT COULD BE DONE feeling: imagine if everyone with a RedCard signed up---whether they had kids in school or not. It's not as if it costs the cardholder anything except that couple of minutes it takes to choose a school and type in a name. And 1% isn't much, even if you shop at Target the way I shop at Target, but it ADDS UP, and there's NO REASON NOT TO, and it BENEFITS THE COMMUNITY, and *pant pant*
I'm feeling especially passionate on this issue because our school system has been asked to cut their budget this year by a huge amount of money, the kind of amount that's causing them to wonder if they should choose MUSIC to cut or ART, or maybe THREE teachers should be laid off, and OMG PEOPLE JUST SIGN UP SO TARGET WILL GIVE A SCHOOL THE 1%!! It doesn't even have to be a LOCAL school: if you have a niece in school in another state, you can have the money go THERE. Or if you want to give to your old hometown elementary school, or WHATEVER.
In other news:
Life-improving products, part 4 - (Continued from part 1, part 2, and part 3.) Stearns Youth Life Vest (photo from Amazon.com). I’d been too scared to take the kids to any body of water oth...