“No Refunds”? This Thrifty Yankee Says Otherwise!

Have you noticed that since Covid hit many businesses are implementing a “no returns/refund” policy? A local grocer that’s part of a major international chain implemented a no returns and no refund policy for their curbside pickup service “due to CDC guidelines.” What? Just stop. The CDC never said nor do they have the authority to tell a business they can’t process a refund if you receive rotten fruit or spoiled meat. Of course it shouldn’t be expected that you would return gross or dangerous food you’ve handled back to the store. No way would I give them my business unless it was the only option. Fortunately Whole Foods delivery has a fantastic refund policy. As an example this morning some of my eggs were broken. Instant refund.

There are times when it’s unreasonable to expect a refund such as for vintage items purchased online or at yard sales. You can’t blame a seller for the 8 track they just sold you getting eaten by your 8 track player. 

This post is about the thousands of masks in the online marketplace that explicitly state a no-returns or refund policy. I challenged that policy when Wayne received a defective mask. Here’s what happened.

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Sunny Day Gardening and Yard Work

We had a great day today outside enjoying life at home. Wayne got the raised garden beds ready for the tomatoes and mowed while I pruned and trimmed the hedges and shrubs. We had the kind of glorious weather every Mainer dreams about all winter.

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Be Someone’s Jackpot

It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to be another creature’s jackpot. Chipmunks have a very rough life fraught with constant danger and often, enmity from humans. Desi, a new friend this season who was one of the chipmunk babies from last fall all grown up almost got killed by my neighbor’s dog this morning. She lives in her yard but comes to visit. I was outside waiting for her and I heard growling, then the sound of the dog slamming into the fence and rustling leaves. I’ve heard this before and usually I see a squirrel running for its life over the fence. Today it was sweet little Desi only she made her escape through a small space underneath it.

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Pandemic Flower Power, Parties, Pizza

May hasn’t been very gracious. Saturday temps were in the 30s with blustery winds, snow and rain. Sunday was sunny but still cold.

When the going gets tough, the tough get groovy. I decided that I wouldn’t let the boorish behavior of some clouds and weather patterns get us down. I threw two parties for two, the first of which was late Saturday afternoon right before the Lawrence Welk Show on PBS.

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Thrifty Gardening: Repurposing Old Things

For the first time since mid-March I went to a store. I knew it would be different, but it was exceptionally unpleasant even though it was a plant nursery. The locally owned nursery from which we usually buy our vegetable plants and offers home delivery or curbside pickup didn’t have the two tomato varieties that are our favorites–Lemon Boys and Beefsteaks, so I went to Lowe’s. Although the nursery is mostly outdoors they forced people to first walk through the store instead of directly entering. The woman at the register was not distancing from me and they aren’t set up so that you still have to use the gross stylus pen to approve the purchase, something that has grossed me out long before the pandemic. A chipmunk popped out from nowhere as I was paying so that helped me feel more at peace. Also it was very windy so my nose began to run underneath my mask!

OK, enough whining. Here are a few ways I’m reusing some old things laying around for gardening tasks!

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Something Pretty: Save Money, Reduce Waste

This is just a quick post to share how much I like using Swedish “Dish Cloths” in place of paper towels which are hard to find now in some places due to pandemic shortages. However I just checked and you can still get these cute dish cloths online. I bought all ten of these for just under $12. I don’t use them to dry dishes as the name implies but do use them daily to wipe down my counters with homemade spray cleaner made from water, vinegar and orange oil. They are machine washable, too!

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Making (Hair) Do: The “Quarantine Coif”

Wayne, an essential worker, still leaves home Monday through Friday while I only venture off our property to walk around the neighborhood. Like everywhere else barber and salon visits are out. According to headlines, home hair coloring and grooming supplies are selling out. I’ve read many comments about how awful it is that one can’t cover up their gray hair. It’s not an issue for me because as I’ve shared before, I’m going gray because I like it! Last week I decided to share some of my eclectic taste in vinyl on Instagram and included a selfie (above) in which my salt and pepper colors are very evident. Hmm I also see my crows feet in that pic, too. No Botox for me, either, now or ever. Anyway, I privately received some remarks about my hair!

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Making Do: Frugal Substitutions for Toilet Paper

Have you seen that crazy talk on the ‘net about using corn cobs in place of TP? Other than farmers, who has corn cobs laying around?! Leaves sounds more reasonable, albeit not dried ones. I can’t say I know that for a fact because Wayne is a party pooper. (I apologize in advance for the unfortunate and unintended puns in this post).

Here’s how it went. We were sitting in our three season sunroom yesterday afternoon which was glorious. The sunlight brought the sunroom temp up to seventy even though it was still in the 40s outside. The local indie oldies a.m. station was playing on the vintage radio. We sat on our rocking chairs and I asked his thoughts about leaves in lieu of TP if it came down to that. Then I had a great idea on how to find out!  I can’t believe he didn’t want to play along with my novel quarantine game.

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Moving Forward, Leaving My Book Behind, Good Things to Come

Thank you to all who took the time to comment on my last two posts. Your participation is important for me to be motivated to keep writing here.

I have some sad news about my book, The Thrifty Yankee’s Guide to Frugal Living. It’s only 1/3 finished (managing the pain after my fall on the ice and endocrine disorder issues/testing further delayed my writing) and I won’t resume until after coronavirus is history.  I know you’re thinking, wait, what do you mean? We need to learn how to live with less now more than ever! We need Yankee thrift!

Yes, that’s true and not to worry, I will continue to share my frugal living tips here in this new landscape. However what I’ve written so far in my book applies to a different world. Examples? Talking about eating out less where now we can’t at all; a whole section on how to yard sale like a pro where I share my hard-earned secrets when in reality for the foreseeable future (a year or more?) buying second-hand in crowded spaces won’t be happening. Those are just a couple of examples, but really the issue is that the overall approach would come across as tone-deaf now. This represents a loss of income I had planned on for this summer but this sort of thing is happening for so many of us. (By the way  L.L.Bean which is normally open 24/7, even during the big ice storm of ’98 had to install locks because they, too are closed.)

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Vintage Linens Add Charm, Can Save Money

In 2018 I shared that we only use cloth napkins. Many of you know that I have a huge collection of vintage kitchen linens from estate sales, most of which have never been used (then or now). Some I thought were too special to ever use, others I really like but decided that I would sell them. Well, I changed my mind and won’t be selling any of them! I’d much rather use and enjoy them, but there’s a MAJOR hindrance…

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