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Online Gift Shopping

Minutes after you finish that last piece of Thanksgiving pumpkin pie, you might feel the need to … start your holiday shopping!

Perhaps you will buy some gifts online.

Here are a few suggestions for smart online shopping:

  • Buy from reputable companies. If you are not sure about a company’s integrity, do an internet search to read what others have to say about buying from that store.
  • Know the store’s return policy specifics: time limit, shipping cost, etc.
  • Read the reviews, especially the negative ones. Look for mention of specific features you want or don’t want.
  • Look for deals — free shipping with a minimum purchase, discount for volume, etc. — but don’t forget to enter the coupon code when you check out.
  • Double and triple check that you have entered the correct shipping address if you are having your gift(s) delivered directly to your recipient(s).
  • Consider gift wrapping, gift receipt, and personal note options.
  • Opt not to save your credit card information on file with the store; enter the number each time you place an order. What you give up in convenience, you more than make up in security.
  • Save the emailed receipts in a folder you can find easily.
  • Review your credit card statements thoroughly and match them up with your receipts to be sure you are only charged for what you bought.
  • Gift cards make great presents!

In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving!

One Wrong Address

If you send an email to a group of people and one address is undeliverable, does the email still go to the rest of the group?

Yes. And No.

It depends on your specific email service.

Most email services will send the email to the deliverable addresses and notify you of the ones that are not.

However, some email services will not send the mail to anyone, if even one address is undeliverable. This can be quite unproductive, especially if the service doesn’t tell you the email didn’t get to anyone.

Here is how you can check to see what your email service will do:

  • Create an email addressed to your correct email address and also to an incorrect modification of your email address (“bellsoth,” instead of “bellsouth” for example).
  • Type “test” in the Subject line.
  • Send the email.
  • Watch your inbox for new mail.

If you get the “test” email in your inbox, your group email went to the correct addresses. You should also get an email that tells you which address was undeliverable. (This second email may take a while to get to you; some email services try to deliver the email for hours before giving up and then notifying you.)

If you did not get the “test” email in your inbox, chances are that the one incorrect address kept the email from going to anyone. Some email services will notify you of this immediately; other services are less considerate.

If you send group emails, try this test and see what happens. In any case, I recommend that you always include yourself as a recipient in your group email. If you receive it, chances are everyone did.


If you receive a gift that you want someone else to have, you might “re-gift” it.

Before you do, however, I hope you remove the card that was on the gift when you got it, and replace it with a new card from you. Can you imagine leaving the original card on the gift? Awkward!

Yet so many people forward emails to their friends and family without removing the addresses and notes from the previous recipients. Do your friends need to see (and scroll past) the names and comments of those who already received the email? No.

After you click “Forward” — but before you click “Send”– please delete the list of email addresses and comments that precede the content of the message. Then add your own personal “card” if you wish.

Your friends will appreciate it.

Your Smartphone is a Scanner

Scanning is the opposite of printing: when you print, you convert an electronic document into a hard copy; when you scan, you convert a hard copy into an electronic document. Your scanner simply takes a picture of your document.

So, can you use your phone’s camera (or your tablet’s camera) as a scanner?


  • Take a picture of a form you just filled out and email it where it needs to go.
  • Take a picture of a framed photograph, rather than take it out of the frame and put it on the scanner glass.
  • Take a picture of a newspaper or magazine article you want to share.
  • Take a picture of a written recipe — or one from a book — and file it or share it electronically.
  • Take a picture of a receipt and file it in your computer or email it to whoever will reimburse you.

Once you have the picture, you can edit it and/or email it right from your phone. Or, you can email it to yourself, pick it up in your computer, and file/edit/send from there.

Smartphone cameras take pictures in the .jpg format. If you need your scan to be a .pdf (a document format), use a program or an app designed to convert a .jpg to a .pdf, and even combine pages into a single document. Shop your app store for these.

Most likely, your flatbed scanner — with its cover that blocks light, shadow, and glare — will take a higher quality picture than your camera phone will. But, if you are not near your scanner or you can’t easily place the object on the glass, use your phone.

Try it!

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