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What were your best and worst consumer experiences this week?

Which consumer happenings cheered you this week and which ones made you want to scream or weep?

Here are my best and worst consumer experiences this week:

My best: Getting a good price on florescent tubes

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The florescent lights have been out in my garage for several months. It’s a hassle to get up on the ladder and try to remember how to change them.

I checked my kitchen lights. Two of the four tubes also had burned out.

I started out with calling around to find a good price. I called Office Depot first. The staff said they were having a sale – a package of two tubes for $2. That sounded great. I jumped in my car to get there before they closed.

Changing the tubes went well. I’ll write a post about how to take out the old ones and replace them. Some people may have trouble, like me, figuring out how to change them.

I learned on the Internet that you can take your old tubes to Home Depot, and they’ll dispose of them. I took them out right away because I didn’t want the tubes to break and have to worry about cleaning up the mercury

My worst: Getting a $15 parking ticket

When I went to downtown Olympia, Wash., to do volunteer work on a political campaign, I had my first experience with the city’s new computerized payment system for parking.

I put $1 in the machine and received a ticket to put on my dash. I realized I need an additional hour, so I put in another $1 for the second hour. I placed the second ticket on the dash.

When I came out to pay for the last 30 minutes, I had a $15 ticket. Then I noticed the information on the front of the machine: “Put only one ticket at a time on the dash.”

Too bad that wasn’t clear. I’ll check the box on the ticket that says “I request a hearing to explain the circumstances.” Maybe I can get the ticket reduced.

It’s too bad that Olympia has raised the price of parking tickets. They were $5 for years.

Copyright 2010, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist

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Gary Hardin

After my 2 year cell phone contract with AT&T had come to an end, I chose to upgrade to a Blackberry Torch. They charged me an $18 "upgrade" fee.

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