Monthly Archives: June 2013

Jump to the front of the line at the cell phone store

After stopping by a local store last week, I told my husband we should quit our jobs and go into the cell phone business. The place was packed, and people were waiting in line for assistance Since cell phone transactions can be quite complicated, I could tell it might be a long wait. A visit to another store a few days later revealed a similar scene.

That’s why I was thrilled to discover a service offered by AT&T Wireless corporate stores. You can make an appointment online for assistance at your local AT&T-owned store. When scheduling mine, I found numerous times to choose from. After selecting one, I received both an email and text confirmation. Then, the day of the appointment, I received email and text reminders of my meeting.

When I arrived at the store, I discovered what “appointment” means in AT&T’s dictionary. It means you go to the front of the line, bypassing customers who walked into the store without a service appointment. So, even though I had an appointment, I still had to wait a few minutes. In the store, AT&T has a display screen that reminds me of an airline “standby” list. The screen displays the first names of people with appointments on one screen, followed by a list of walk-in customers on another screen. When a service representative is available, she calls the next customer on the appointment list, and walk-in customers are served later.

Keep in mind not all stores bearing an AT&T logo are company-owned stores. Many of these are “authorized retailers,” but they won’t help you troubleshoot account issues to the level that a corporate store will. They also probably don’t accept appointments. Go to and choose “Find a Store” to locate your nearest AT&T-owned retail location, then use the “Make appointment” link to set up a time.

Verizon Wireless also allows customers to make appointments when they start at its Store Locator Web page, as does Sprint on its Make An Appointment page.

Have you tried making a cell phone store appointment? What was your experience?

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Filed under Customer service, Shopping tips

Best Buy changes its rewards program

There’s good news for those of you who shop frequently at Best Buy. The company announced this week that your Reward Zone points will no longer expire at the end of each calendar year.

In a previous post, I pointed out that Best Buy’s expiration policy could mean that your points would expire a few days after you earned them. Now, the company says as long as you have activity in your account once every 12 months, your points will never expire.

Kudos to Best Buy for making this positive change! The company also announced that:

  • Purchases made on your Reward Zone credit card with a promotional financing offer will no longer qualify for Reward Zone points.
  • Purchases made with promotional financing will continue to count toward the program’s Premier Silver status level.

To learn more about Best Buy Reward Zone, visit this Web page.

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Filed under Customer service, Rewards programs

Quadruple fuel points at Kroger through June 22

Now’s the time to stock up on gift cards for summer birthdays, Father’s Day and yourself. Through June 22, Kroger is offering quadruple fuel points on gift card purchases when you use your Kroger Plus card.

Your total points earned will be four times the card’s value. So, a $25 gift card earns you 100 fuel points, and those 100 points entitle you to 10 cents off each gallon of gas you purchase in a single fill-up at a Kroger fuel center. A $100 gift card would net you a 40-cent fuel discount.

There are some important exclusions to keep in mind. You’ll find details in this previous post, along with the reason I stock up on gift cards for myself during these types of promotions.

Available cards at my local Kroger store include Target, Home Depot, Barnes & Noble, Subway, Best Buy, Petsmart and many more. Check out the full list online.

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Filed under Rewards programs, Sales and promo codes, Saving money, Shopping tips

What to do when you forget your Kroger Plus card

Readers who shop at Kroger no doubt know the value of having a “Kroger Plus” card. It entitles you to discounts on food and merchandise throughout Kroger grocery stores, and it also allows you to earn points you can use for discounts at Kroger fuel centers. Especially valuable are the double fuel points every day on gift cards — read my previous post for details on how to get the most out of this offering.

With all these advantages, you can imagine how bummed I was to get to the checkout line recently and realize I did not have my Kroger Plus card with me. If you forget your Kroger Plus card, you have two options:

1. Use the credit card keypad to enter the telephone number associated with your card — this will allow your card to be applied to your purchase

2. Pay the nondiscounted price for the items and return later with your card and your receipt

I chose the second option because I could not seem to recall which of the many phone numbers I’ve had was linked to my card. I presented my card and receipt at the customer service desk the following day and explained the situation. The clerk promptly refunded the $34.82 I would have saved with my card. I asked if this meant the fuel points linked to the purchase were now on my card, too, but the clerk said that required a separate procedure. He offered to call the Kroger Plus customer service center and take care of this for me, but you can also do this yourself if you are in a rush or the clerk is too busy to help. Be sure to point out any gift card purchases that were part of your transaction so the points are calculated properly.


Filed under Customer service, Saving money, Shopping tips