Diamond Certified Blog

Tag Archives: savvy consumer

Battling Water Conservation Fatigue

A good water-saving measure is to replace your lawn with drought-resistant plants, like these decorative artichokes recently installed by Reilly Designs, a Diamond Certified company.

A good water-saving measure is to replace your lawn with drought-resistant plants, like these decorative artichokes recently installed by Reilly Designs, a Diamond Certified company.

For more information on water conservation, visit our drought resource page here.

We’ve been encouraged to cut back on our water use for many months now, yet we’re still not conserving enough. So now the governor is ordering mandatory water use reductions with the specifics yet to be worked out by the individual water agencies.

Why have we been so slow to make changes in our water consumption habits? They say, “Replace your lawn with drought-resistant plants. Take shorter showers. Only do full loads of laundry. Get a rebate for a water-efficient toilet.” At some point, you wonder if we won’t change our behavior until our water bills skyrocket. The truth might be that most of us (myself included) are suffering from water conservation fatigue. Continue reading “Battling Water Conservation Fatigue” »

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Posted in Consumers, Customer Service, Personal Stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

My Husband and The Butcher

Consumer news, butcher

Recommendations from the butcher made for a delicious dinner. Photo: Chris Bjorklund, 2015

When my husband Patrick goes grocery shopping, the first place he heads for is the meat counter. He likes talking to butchers (any butcher), asking questions about which cut to buy and getting tips on how to prepare a particular dish. Many of them love food and love to cook.

On one of his recent shopping trips, he needed extra assistance because he didn’t know his way around the store. Continue reading “My Husband and The Butcher” »

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Posted in Consumers, Customer Service, Personal Stories | Tags: ,

Meet the Team: Chris Bjorklund


Chris Bjorklund, also known as “The Savvy Consumer,” is a consumer specialist and consultant for the Diamond Certified Program. Photo: American Ratings Corporation (2015)

Over the course of a career spanning more than four decades, Chris Bjorklund has handled consumer affairs from a number of different angles: nonprofit, as Director of Consumer Education with the Better Business Bureau; government, as an investigator for the Consumer Fraud Unit of the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office; and media, working behind the scenes at KPIX-TV and as a consumer reporter for KGO Radio. Through it all, Chris says her purpose has remained the same. “My entire career has been about advocating for consumers, empowering them and educating them about their rights. And after 40 years, that’s still my mission.”

Today, as a consumer specialist and consultant for the Diamond Certified Program (where she’s known as “The Savvy Consumer”), Chris says she enjoys the positive turn her career has taken. Continue reading “Meet the Team: Chris Bjorklund” »

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Posted in Personal Stories, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , ,

Raw Honesty: What Consumers Want in Pricing

ImageForFeb newsletterBLOG.pngA few weeks ago, when I called an appliance repair service to fix a problem with my refrigerator, the technician was extremely clear about the cost of his services. The minimum for a house call was $89, and after that, he billed in 15-minute increments for his labor. He would not be charging for his travel time. However, the parts were extra, and at that point he didn’t know if any would be needed to fix a freezer with a layer of ice building up underneath the ice cube trays. I appreciated his direct approach and transparency. Upon arrival, he quickly diagnosed the problem and made the tricky repair. The total bill of $170 didn’t surprise me, and I was thrilled to have the fridge working in time for the holidays. Continue reading “Raw Honesty: What Consumers Want in Pricing” »

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Posted in Consumer News, Consumers, Customer Service, Personal Stories | Tags: , , , , ,

A Satisfying Shoe Shopping Experience

Two things I dislike are shopping for shoes and pushy salespeople. However, on my last shoe shopping trip, I found the right kind of salesperson who transformed the entire experience.

Why great customer service matters

At Brown’s Shoe Fit Company in Durango, Colorado, Chris Bjorklund had a great experience with a salesman named John.

While I was looking at the shoes on sale in a store in Durango, Colorado, a salesman asked me if he could help. After I said I didn’t need any assistance, he started chatting about the beautiful day and asked me where I was from. When I told him I was from Northern California, he asked about the recent earthquake in Napa County. He was genuinely curious and engaged with me in a sincere way. When other customers came in, he found ways to connect with them, too.

When I finally started trying on shoes, he was patient and knowledgeable. If a shoe didn’t fit right and wasn’t comfortable, he would say, “You don’t want to buy a pair of shoes you don’t absolutely love.” I must have been in that store for nearly an hour (and tried on at least 10 pairs of shoes) before deciding on a pair of low-cut brown leather boots. In the meantime, I learned that John, the 23-year-old salesman, loved most outdoor sports and was majoring in social work with the hope of eventually working in prisons.

The most surprising thing of all, however, occurred at the cash register when I stepped up to pay. John was hand-polishing my new boots before sending me home with them! Has that ever happened to you in a shoe store?

As a direct result of my positive customer service experience at this particular store, my husband and I returned a week later and he bought two more pairs of shoes! Outstanding service attracts repeat customers.


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Posted in Consumers, Customer Service | Tags: , , , , , ,

The Risks of Radon

Major health organizations agree that radon causes many preventable lung cancer deaths every year. Radon is an odorless radioactive gas that comes from the uranium in rock, water and soil, and it’s especially dangerous for people who smoke. It can be found in every part of the United States and in any type of building, but elevated radon levels in your home are the greatest concern.

Radon levels can vary from home to home. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the best way to tell if your home has a radon problem is to perform a short-term test. Low-cost, do-it-yourself radon test kits are available at hardware stores or through mail order. Short-term tests last anywhere from two to 90 days, depending on the device you’re using. The EPA’s website (www.epa.gov) has a “Citizen’s Guide to Radon” that will answer most of your questions about radon.

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Posted in Consumers, Savvy Tips | Tags: ,

Keeping You and Yours Safe

Chris Bjorklund, The Savvy ConsumerWe hear about so many consumer product recalls on the news that it’s easy to tune them out. But defective products injure and kill thousands of people every year, which is why the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) was created in 1972. The CPSC’s job is to protect the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death caused by thousands of consumer products under its jurisdiction. The agency is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that can injure children or pose fire, electrical, chemical or mechanical hazards. It also works with manufacturers to recall defective products and redesign them to make them safer.

The CPSC now has a searchable product database (www.saferproducts.gov) where you can learn of recalls before buying products. You can also easily report an accident or product defect by using the online report form or calling the CPSC at (800) 638-2772.

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Posted in Consumer News, Consumers | Tags: , ,

The Worst Unlicensed Contractors in California

Picture a previously convicted unlicensed contractor who pled guilty to six felony charges, including elder abuse, grand theft and diversion of construction funds. Does this sound like someone you’d want to hire to work on your home? Of course not…but the man described above currently has an active arrest warrant for failure to appear in court, which means he’s still at large and could potentially prey on vulnerable, unsuspecting homeowners.

The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is helping consumers avoid the worst unlicensed contractors in California by posting their pictures, physical descriptions and criminal records on its website (www.cslb.ca.gov/generalinformation/newsroom/mostwanted). If you see any of these people on the street or have information on their whereabouts, the CSLB requests that you call your local police of sheriff’s department.

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Posted in Consumer News, Consumers, Home improvement, Savvy Tips | Tags: , , ,