Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I bought a dehumidifier a couple of weeks ago. Due to unexpected events in the community I didn't get around to unboxing and plugging it in until last weekend.

I got it at Sears. The salesman was pretty helpful and useful. A fit, confident, well tanned man over 6 feet tall. It was around 11 AM on a Saturday morning and it was still pretty quiet in that area. He's a big ticket salesman so I wasn't expecting much of his or anyone's attention. But with no one else around he was pretty helpful. It was a Danby marked down to $240 to $200 then with a $20 scratch and win at the register. He'd told a coworker while I was checking out he'd sold a 12 foot pool the day before. He probably made more commission off that pool than the entire purchase price of my item. But I hope he did get at least a little bit off the dehumidifier.

The unit is running pretty well so far. I was surprised at the features on a low end $200 machine. It has a few controls I'm getting used to how to operate it. My new place on the 1st floor is noticeably damp and it has been running pretty much since I plugged it in. Last night I ran it during the night for the first time but it was a bit glitchy as it stopped and restarted around the target humidity a couple of times which I didn't care for. I might set it to run more aggressively during the day and leave it off at night. I'll see what happens.

It's been a pretty good purchase so far. As usual Sears is great for this type of thing.

Friday, August 13, 2010

TD visa limit increase

I got a periodic call from TD at work this week. They follow up a lot whenever you do anything in a branch or on the web site. My most recent activity was an address change to my new place off their website. It went fine.

So as usual the rep was going over products; suggesting I could switch my GM card to a travel plan or some cashback card or whatever. She also mentioned I could move my savings into some other products. I politely declined.

But while she was on the phone I remembered I had been meaning to ask for a limit increase on my GM card. The rules in Canada are different now. In the past the bank would just increase the card limit on their own once in a while. Which was convenient. Anyway now the rules are the customer has to seek and consent to a credit limit increase.

So I took the opportunity to ask for a limit increase. I thought it might go through they were calling to seek new business from me. I asked for $1000 more. After a few moments I guess the big mainframe computer said OK and now my limit on the card is up to $2500 from the previous $1500. Even after being approved the rep still had to ask and I had to consent to the limit increase.

So that's about right. It's kind of moot at the moment since I have no balance on that card or any credit card. But for whatever reason I like having it there. That should be good enough for now. Maybe around this time next year I'll seek another increase, see what happens between now and then.

Friday, August 06, 2010


For a vacation week it's been pretty busy. I was up every day before 7, and before 6 a couple of times.

I moved this week. Moving day was Thursday. It took Monday-Wednesday to pack. I took some breaks but it was a lot of work.

The move itself was pretty fast. I went with Munden's Moving based on the recommendation of a co-worker who had them a few years ago. It was a good pick. They arrived right at 8 AM. It was three movers and a 5 ton truck. The guys were a good size, not Andre the giant huge but big. They were 1-3 inches taller than me, and broad shouldered. They had presence with their size.

They were strong. I was packing some of the boxes and I felt a bit bad they would be heavy. But the movers were taking 3-4 2 cube boxes at a time they were very strong men. The move went well and they were done in two hours. It ended up costing less than I was expecting to spent. So I'm glad I went with Munden's.

I finished up at the old place today. I got back most of the damage deposit after doing some cleanup. I lost $100 off the damage deposit because I didn't bother to steam clean or pull out the fridge or stove. It was too much cost and work to do those tasks. For the time I did spend going back there cleaning I made around $50 an hour for my time spent so I'm glad to be getting some of the damage deposit back. The damage deposit is a nice bonus, a refund on spent money from three years ago.

Still lots to do at the new place. It's nice to be in a bigger place and it's pretty good so far. I was at the last place three years. Lots of changes from three years ago so who knows what will happen here. I hope it turns out to be a good place.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

strange incentives in the rental business

I got my new apartment today. Met up with the super, signed the lease, wrote August rent cheque, got the keys. I've been busy this week with packing and numerous other details around the move.

The new place looks pretty good. The super put in a new floor in the bedroom. That's nice getting a new floor. It does remind me though of how upside down the incentives are in the rental business.

In renting, the worst, least profitable customers are treated the best; while the best and most profitable customers get the least consideration. New renters who have never done business with the landlord are far more likely to get new appliances, new flooring, repairs done, new carpet or a lease incentive such as 1 month free rent.

It's so strange because brand new tenants tend to be the least profitable. So the worst, least profitable customers are treated the best by the landlord typically.

Consider something like this. On January 1 in a building with 110 units. 100 are people who've all been there several years trouble free. 10 are brand new, just moving in. So existing people outnumber the new by a rate of 10:1.

Now in the next year, which group of people is more likely to generate one or more of these conditions.

- miss a rent payment
- an incident where the police are called to the building
- not be living there 1 year from now

Despite being outnumbered 10:1 the new people are in my opinion and observation more likely than the established tenants to be involved in these types of negative issues. Strangely they are generally treated better than the existing tenants.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Sears card

I now have a Sears card.

I didn't set out yesterday to get a new credit card. I was at Sears looking for a belt. I've needed a black belt for some time. I saw one I liked, two sided black and reddish brown. It was $30 with a 25% sale discount.

When I got to the cashier the clerk told me the discount is if you pay with your Sears card. I wasn't upset, I hadn't read the sale sign carefully. I just shrugged and paid cash. As I was leaving I mentioned I should get a card for these types of specials.

The clerk told me I could get a card right there at the customer service desk in just a few minutes. I figured if I could save $7.50 for a few minutes of my time that was a good investment. So I did the application which was very fast and virtually nothing to fill out. A few moments later it came back and I had a new card.

The clerk refunded the original cash purchase. When I re-bought the belt I got the $7.50 discount. Plus apparently there's a $10 discount on your initial Sears card purchase. So instead of paying around $34 for the belt I ended up spending $15. That was pretty good for just a few minutes of my time.

I was a bit surprised at the credit limit. I was expecting to get around $500 or $1000 perhaps. It instead came in at $4000. Either Sears thinks well of me or they are reckless and a bunch of fools. The $4K limit is more than my Visa and MasterCard limits combined. I don't anticipate I'll use it but I guess it's nice that it's there.

Although I've been meaning to ask Visa at least for a limit increase. I think the rules are different now they cannot auto increase credit limits; customers have to ask for an increase. Which is annoying and a hassle. I have to call them to register my upcoming address change so maybe I'll ask then.

Now I have to go through some steps to set up this new card with my President's Choice financial and epost. And of course pay the $15. It's a bit strange I never really thought I'd ever have a Sears card.