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Merchandise for just one penny? Be wary

Who doesn’t love to get a good deal? Some find online penny auctions to be a fun way to try to get big ticket items cheaply.

How does a penny auction work?

In a penny auction, items are posted by the site owner and you pay to bid for them. Unlike a traditional auction, where only the winning bidder pays anything, penny auctions require you to pay before — and as you play, win or lose.

Look for bogus bidders: bots and shills.

Some unscrupulous auction sites use bid bots, which are computer programs that automatically bid on behalf of the website. You may be seconds away from winning an auction when another user places a bid. That keeps the clock ticking, and forces you into a bidding war to stay in first place.

Winning the auction doesn’t mean you’ve won the auction item: It means you’ve won the right to buy the item at the final price.

The pitfalls of penny auctions are that they may offer deals, but they also can present problems. For example:

• Time lags in delivery and discrepancy in the quality of the item.

• Misleading terms. Terms like “bonus bids” might suggest that bids are free. In a penny auction, you pay for every bid.

• Hidden costs. Read each penny auction site’s “Terms of Use” before you sign in or register.

• Insecure payment options. Consider using a credit card. That way if something goes awry, like you don’t get your merchandise or it’s not what you expected, you can dispute the charge with your credit card issuer.

• Reputation rules. Avoid doing business with sellers you can’t identify. Look for a phone number and call it to confirm that you can contact the seller in case you have questions.

Report problems with online auctions.

If you have problems during an online auction transaction, try to work them out directly with the website operator. If that doesn’t work, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

(This information is from the AARP ElderWatch program, a program with the Colorado Attorney General.)

Thanks

We held our first spaghetti fund-raiser event on Feb. 9 and, while attendance was low, the meal was fantastic! A very special thank you to Dennis Driscoll for providing just the right piano music, to special volunteer friends, the Community Center and our awesome staff. Thank you to all who were able to show their support by attending or leaving a donation; we raised just over $500. On behalf of the seniors who will benefit from your contributions, thank you.

Special events

Benefits of medical marijuana. Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 12:30 p.m. join Bill Delany of Good Earth Meds and hear stories of success with such diseases as cancer, Parkinson’s and Crohn’s by local patients. Veterans are especially invited to attend. Learn about VA policies and medical marijuana, pain management and PTSD. Question and answer session to follow. Registration preferred if you plan to join in for lunch.

Introduce a senior friend (age 60-plus) to the Senior Center. Feb. 21, 22 or 24, you and your friend will receive a free meal.

Cardiovascular and diabetes screening information. Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 12:30 p.m. Jackisch Drug is an education grant site through the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy. Fourth-year pharmacy students provide cholesterol, blood pressure screenings and education/counseling services at no cost to the patient. Learn how you can participate in this program, Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 12:30.

At your service

Lonely? Need to hang out with us? Not driving anymore? Car in the shop? Get to where you need to go; door-to-door bus service available Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday to seniors age 60-plus. Suggested donation is $2 per day. Call for details, 264-2167.

Delivered to your door

Are you homebound, recovering from surgery or an illness? Let us do the cooking. Enjoy Senior Center meals delivered to your door. Our hot meal home-delivery program is available to those closer to town four days per week, with frozen meals for Thursdays and weekends. Those living farther out of town may be eligible for the frozen meal program. Meals are available to people age 60-plus for a suggested donation of $3 per meal. Give us a call at 264-2167 for further information. Donations are greatly appreciated.

Weekly activities at The Den

Friday, Feb. 17 — 9 a.m. Geezers; 10 a.m. Stitchin’ in the Kitchen; 12:30 p.m. Gym Walk.

Monday, Feb. 20 — 12:30 p.m. closed for President’s Day.

Tuesday, Feb. 21 — 11 a.m. Alzheimer’s Support Group; 11:30 a.m. introduce a senior friend and get a free meal; 12:30 p.m. Gym Walk; 1 p.m. Meditation for Healing.

Wednesday, Feb. 22 — 11 a.m. blood pressure checks; 11:30 a.m. introduce a senior friend and get a free meal; 12:30 p.m. benefits of medical marijuana.

Thursday, Feb. 23 — Closed for administrative day.

Friday, Feb. 24 – 9 a.m. Geezers; 10 a.m. Stitchin’ in the Kitchen; 10:30 a.m. Book Club; 11:30 a.m. introduce a senior friend and get a free meal; 12:30 p.m. Gym Walk.

This week’s menu

Suggested donation for older adults age 60-plus is $3, guests $6, kids 12 and under $3. Our meal program is partially funded through the Older Americans Act via the San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging, United Way, Archuleta County, Town of Pagosa Springs and other donations and grants. These funds help support the cost of the meal which is approximately $11.51. Please note our menu is subject to change. The salad bar opens at 11:30 a.m. with lunch served from noon to 12:30 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 17 — Beef stew, fruit salad, biscuit.

Monday, Feb. 20 — Closed for President’s Day.

Tuesday, Feb. 21 — Pork chop with gravy, buttered beets, wild rice, raisin nut cup, bran muffin, Mandarin oranges.

Wednesday, Feb. 22 — Lasagna, tossed salad, green beans, apricots, whole wheat roll.

Thursday, Feb. 23 — Closed for administrative day.

Friday, Feb. 24 — Senior Choice Menu: Chicken fried steak, country gravy, garlic mashed potatoes, cauliflower/broccoli, tossed salad with garbanzo beans, citrus cake.

Arboles meal program

Lunches are served in Arboles on the first and third Thursdays of each month, weather permitting, in the basement of the Catholic Church. Reservations are required the Monday preceding. The suggested donation is $3 for age 60-plus. Call 264-2167 for more information or to make a reservation.

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