Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Taking the (Re)bate

First, a bit of info about rebates for energy-efficient appliances. For those who bought Energy Star washing machines in NJ last year, the deadline for applying for a $50 rebate is Jan. 31. If you have a refrigerator that still works but that you want to recycle, there's an ongoing service that will pick it up for free and later send you $50 from the NJ Clean Energy program. Other rebates available for energy star products are here.

Rebates are made for people who are either very organized or completely scatterbrained. Organized people will quickly send in the forms and remember to inspect subsequent mail for the check. Disorganized people will immediately lose the rebate form and forgot about it altogether, yet continue congratulating themselves on having gotten a great deal on the product.

For those of us inbetween, rebates can be vexing. As part of my "Don't Try This at Home" Home Living series, here are clear, easy-to-follow instructions for how to send in those pesky rebate forms:
  1. Place form in the "Get around to at some point" container on your desk. Mine's ceramic and looks pretty nice when periodically excavated from the surrounding pile of papers and accumulated dust.
  2. Periodically check deadline on form. Register surprise that the deadline has not been missed.
  3. After a sufficient number of weeks/months have passed, begin search for receipt to go with rebate form. 
  4. Assume it is buried in with other papers on desk. 
  5. Clean desk, but find no receipt. 
  6. Commence with mild mental self-flagellation for not being more organized.
  7. With two days to spare before the deadline, remember there's a file named "Washer/Dryer" in the file cabinet.
  8. Find receipt in the file.
  9. Congratulate self on tricking self into cleaning desk. 
  10. Intimidated by rebate form, delay filling out one more day.
  11. Decide that $50 for a half hour spent getting form filled out and in mail box (optimistic projection) is worth it.
  12. Be gladdened that massive washing machine doesn't need to be turned upside down to find serial number required on form. 
  13. Make copies of receipt and completed form.
  14. Note that NJ Clean Energy Program reserves the right to go broke prior to the rebate deadline. Remember who is governor of New Jersey.
  15. Place in envelope with address and stamp, and seal. 
  16. As soon as envelope is sealed, realize that the copy of the rebate form is in envelope, not the original. 
  17. Consider reopening envelope to put in original form, so they won't have an excuse not to send rebate.
  18. Decide to send anyway, and hope for the best, and that the NJ Clean Energy Program is still funded. 

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