Tomyamaguchi’s Weblog

Just another weblog

How I spent my day at Macworld

When I left to attend Macworld on Saturday, I had a fair amount of cash in my wallet. When I returned that evening, I had not spent of a penny of it.

Yes, my ticket to the expo was free. I took advantage of an offer that came by e-mail last summer. After filling out the registration online, I printed out the barcode on a piece of paper, and, being the cheapskate that I am, used the blank side of a previously printed page. This process is familiar to me, having used it to buy train tickets on Amtrak’s website. Scanning the printed barcode at my station’s kiosk, I received my paper ticket on the spot to board the train.

For this trip, I rode my bicycle to the North Berkeley BART station and found parking in one of the vacant bike lockers. I inserted my prepaid card into the slot of the locker. The amount on the card had been loaded online by transferring funds from my credit union account. Locker rental cost three cents per hour. I selected more hours than I needed, knowing the unused time would be refunded to me when I returned. Then I pulled my card out of the slot, and the locker door swung open, allowing me to place my bike and other personal possessions inside. After closing the door securely, I headed off for my excursion to the city.

When I entered the BART station, I waved my Clipper Card over the circle at the entry gate, which opened with in an OK message, allowing me to pass. The Clipper Card also is loaded with funds transferred from my checking account. After passing the card at the exit gate in downtown San Francisco, I walked south a few blocks to Moscone Center.

Strolling along the various booths, I picked up information about products I am considering buying in the future, probably online. After all, I am a cheapskate. Then I found one reasonably priced gadget that I decided to buy on the spot; a small microphone that fits on my iPod Touch for recording voice notes. This is something I have wanted for my iPod ever since I bought it.

My preferred credit card is my Visa provided by my credit union, since it is easy to transfer money online from my checking account to pay off the Visa. However, Bank of America has been noticing that I have not been using the MasterCard they gave me, so they keep making sweeter offers to encourage me to drag their card out of my wallet. The latest is a $50 certificate if I make $250 in purchases before March 31. I offered the MasterCard for the microphone purchase, which was cheerfully accepted.

When not strolling the aisles of vendors, I sat at the main stage, listening to the various presentations on Apple products. Then it was time to head home on BART, again paying with Clipper. Back at North Berkeley BART, I reinserted my BikeLink card into the locker’s slot. The door swung open, and I retrieved my vehicle for the ride home.

I did not give these cash-free transactions much thought until I heard a report from Haiti on NPR. “Mobile Money” is helping Haitians buy groceries with their cell phones. This is one of the few pieces of good news to come out of Haiti since the devastating earthquake hit over a year ago. Read how the phone company Voila is working with Mercy Corps to provide food assistance to the Haitians of Saint Marc.

“Paper or plastic?” When it comes to bagging my purchases, I always answer “neither,” since I remember to bring my own. When it comes to paying for those items, plastic seems fine. At least, this plastic is reusable.

January 31, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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