PhotoSome toothpastes can affect sensitive gums more than others. Toothpaste is designed to be abrasive, to clean teeth and gums, so it's perhaps not surprising that some toothpastes with extra cleansing ingredients can cause problems for some people.

“I decided to purchase Aquafresh Iso Whitening Deep Penetrating toothpaste over my Sensodyne Iso whitening because it was $3.00 cheaper. Big mistake,” Caroline, of Clifton Springs, N.Y., told “I have been using it for three weeks now. My gums are sore and now my gums are turning white around the tooth area. I am also noticing some white spots on my gums. It is an obvious result of this toothpaste. They need to stop manufacturing and selling this product till they can address these issues.”

If it affected every consumer the way it does Caroline, obviously it would be withdrawn. The problem occurs when some consumers are overly sensitive -- or even allergic -- to a particular ingredient. It only affects them.  Caroline should definitely discuss the problem with her dentist and, in the meantime, go back to her old toothpaste, even if it is more expensive.

Been there, seen that

Newton, of Newport Beach, California, has a bone to pick with television and cable networks.

“Put yourself in the shoes of the TV consumer, which you are,” Newton said. “For some reason, it seems, that TV stations have adopted a programming strategy of repeats, repeats, and repeats. It’s not just a matter of repeating programs they have scheduled in the past, it’s obvious they repeat movies, for example, over and over and over on the same day. It seems to me that as a consumer, I am paying for the same product I have already paid for. In fact, it seems that I pay for the product many times over. Doesn’t this seem almost like fraud?”

 Well, Newton makes an interesting point. It does seem like there isn't much new programming when you turn on the tube, but networks, after all, have to fill 24 hours a day. From their perspective, they would probably argue that you are paying for the connection that delivers the multitude of channels, not individual programs. And of course, when it comes to over the air networks, you aren't really paying for that.

Waiting for medication

Businesses that provide health care benefits, including prescription medicine, look for every possible way to save money. Some exclusively use mail in pharmacies like Medco, meaning there can be a delay in getting a prescription filled. Phyllis, of Oklahoma City, Okla., thinks its too much of a delay.

“The refused to send my prescription after the doctor faxed it to them,” Phyllis said. “They waited 12 days to notify me of any problems. I have to monitor every prescription to see that they don't screw it up in some way.”

A local pharmacy is usually faster for the consumer. Employees that feel strongly about it should let their managers know their preference.

Too much information

Kirk, of Houston, Tex., reports an interesting encounter with AT&T and the response of his credit card company, Chase. Kirk said he began the online process of purchasing a $30 international phone card on the AT&T site. Later, he said he received a call from an AT&T representative.

“The representative asked for the last four digits of my Social Security number to confirm my credit card,” Kirk told “I told him that I would not give him that information to purchase a phone card. He said he could verify my card if we conferenced in Chase, my card issuer.”

Reluctantly, Kirk agreed and was soon on the three-way line with someone from Chase.

“The AT&T representative started asking various questions to verify I was the card holder,” Kirk said. “The Chase representative stopped the AT&T rep and said we will not give out any of the information on our card holder that you are requesting. Furthermore, she said as a merchant you do not need any of that information, only name, address, credit card number and phone number. Chase then directed me to not continue with this transaction as she felt it was unscrupulous.”

Kirk said he called AT&T to complain and relay the information from Chase, but was told that was AT&T policy. Still, it's gratifying to see Chase looking out for the privacy of one of their customers.