Category Archives: Sundry

Interesting perhaps, but not worthy of a separate category.

Need A Best Buy Email Address? This Might Work For You

If you think Best Buy doesn’t offer customer service by email, you’re wrong. But the company doesn’t make it easy for you. I solved my problem with the company after I finally located a Best Buy email address that works.

At least it worked for me. I’ll tell you how I reached them — and maybe it will work for you too.

My Best Buy Complaint

My problem with Best Buy was very straightforward, but it took six weeks to resolve — and I resolved it by email.

In November 2012, I ordered a $10 MetroPCS By-The-Minute plan card. I’ve ordered these from the company several times since this kind of card was previously unavailable locally. And because I have so much built-up credit on my cell phone, I don’t need the $20 card that’s available at Walmart. (You can now get the $10 card at some MetroPCS corporate stores.)

What was my complaint? I ordered the card and didn’t get it.

You don’t get an actual card, but your supposed to get a code by email within a few minutes — and I didn’t get it. It should be a simple matter to look up the code on the Best Buy website or click a button to ask that the code be resent, but those options aren’t available. Once a code is lost in space, it’s gone forever.

Frustrated that there was no email address for Best Buy listed on their site, I called the 800 number. The representative said this kind of issue is handled by a special department, but his attempts to transfer me failed because that department didn’t answer.

There was nothing more he could do for me. My time explaining the problem and waiting on hold was wasted.

Toward A Best Buy Email Address

I searched the Internet for an email addresses for Best Buy and found a couple. They didn’t work.

So I took another approach. I explained my complaint on the Best Buy Facebook page. (To do that yourself, “like” Best Buy at www.facebook.com/bestbuy— then write on their wall. It won’t do any good to write on your own wall.)

To my surprise, someone from the company responded almost immediately — telling me to email them with the details. What email address did they give me? This is what you’ve been waiting for:

facebook@bestbuy.com

I got no immediately response, but after a couple of weeks someone answered. The representative asked for my order information and confirmed that I still hadn’t gotten the code. She also offered a $15 gift card as compensation for my trouble.

I explained that their failure actually cost me an addition $10 since I had to go to Walmart and buy a $20 card when I only needed a $10 card, but that argument wasn’t successful in getting me any additional compensation. She requested a mailing address — not an email address — for the $15 gift card, perhaps because she doesn’t trust the company’s email system either.

It was another couple of weeks after I responded to the Best Buy representative I reached through facebook@bestbuy.com before I got a confirmation and a notice that the charge on my credit card has been reversed. Several days later, I finally got the gift card in the mail.

It took more than six weeks to resolve my Best Buy complaint by email, but since the telephone customer service representative couldn’t help me and didn’t offer any alternatives, what choice did I have but to look for another solution?

Final Thoughts

If this approach hadn’t worked, I planned to contest the charge with my credit card company and let their reps handle Best Buy for me.

By the way, I used the $15 card to buy my January phone card, and I got the code in my email within a few minutes. So there’s hope if you have a problem with Best Buy, but don’t expect a quick resolution or to be able to handle the situation with one simple email as you can with so many other company.

Why doesn’t Best Buy publish an email address? Maybe someone from the company will see this post and respond. But I doubt it. The company doesn’t seem to be Internet savvy.

Still, I’ll post a link on their Facebook page.

Making Rice In A Crock-Pot: The Slow Cooker Rice Recipe You’ll Want To Try

I don’t have a rice cooker. I just don’t like the idea of a single-purpose machine cluttering up my home. Besides, I’ve always made instant rice, and I can handle that simple task in the microwave in five minutes. Who needs any other kind of rice?

Then, I discovered that jasmine rice tastes so much better than that instant stuff — and has a much better texture too.

When I learned that you can make perfect rice in a Crock-Pot in just a couple of hours, I was sold on the idea. You see, I often make pork or beef roast in my slow cooker — and it’s the best way to make pinto beans or black-eyed peas. But I don’t use the machine nearly as often as I should.

Based on some recipes I found online and tweaked to work even more perfectly, here’s how to make rice in a Crock-Pot:

Easiest-Ever Slow Cooker Rice

2 cups jasmine rice
3 1/3 cups water

Add rice and water to the slow cooker and stir. Cook one and a half hours on high, stirring at least once or twice during the cooking time.

Rice should be fluffy and just done when the cooking time is complete, but it will become stickier as it sits in the slow cooker (off or on warm) waiting for serving time.

Note that stirring when you first add the rice and water to the Crock-Pot and stirring at least once along the way are crucial to the success of this recipe. Also note that I don’t add any salt. Once you’ve experienced rice without salt, you’ll develop a whole new appreciation for the taste of it.

This will probably be exactly like the steamed rice you find at your neighborhood Chinese buffet — and better in taste and texture than you’ll get fr

om most rice cookers.

You can make any other kind of long-grain rice the same way. Brown rice will work too, although you might need to increase the cooking time.

The rice from this recipe is perfect for making fried rice. Just heat some sesame oil in a skillet, then add the rice along with some garlic powder and ginger powder and season with soy sauce. Add leftover or frozen mixed veggies, any cooked meats you have sitting around and even a scrambled egg if you want. (Reheat the meats and veggies in the same skillet before cooking the rice if you want, and scramble an egg in advance in the skillet too.) Nothing makes a better quick-and-easy lunch than some leftovers turned into a flavorful fried rice.

Extra slow cooker rice can be frozen and reheated in the microwave. Just add a couple of tablespoons of water to the bowl or container when reheating so the rice will steam back to life.

Who knew making rice in a slow cooker was so easy? If I’d known this years ago, I would have never bothered with that instant stuff.

Recycled Books In Denton, Texas Hangs On, But…

I was about to say that bookstores around here are dropping like flies, but I don’t see many flies anymore — and there aren’t many bookstores left to drop in the Dallas /Fort Worth area.

Surely the largest and most well-known of the remaining independent bookstores in Texas is Recycled Books, housed in a large light purple semi-historic building on the courthouse square in Denton, Texas. Despite the failure of many independent bookstores in recent years, it hangs on.

But why? I can’t imagine that the store could be profitable, and it’s hard to see how the dilapidated building can hold together under the weight of all those books for much longer.

I visited Recycled Books on September 4 for the first time in at least a year. Or maybe it’s been a couple of years since I stepped through that old glass door. Time flies when you’re out in the fresh air rather than in a stale old bookstore.

A few things have changed in the multi-floor, multi-room space since I was there last, but the general vibe is still the same: old-fashioned, quaint, tired and somehow still a bit inspiring.

Since I made my living selling books online for several years and still move a few volumes when I can find some worth selling, bookstores have a special place in my heart. I used to spend lots of time in Half Price Books locations around the state, and I watched as they changed from quaint and fun to corporate-chic and soulless. That chain is based here in the Metroplex and has been a part of my life for at least two decades, but it’s declining as a place of interest for me.

I can see that Recycled Books is declining too. The first thing that caught my attention was the stench when I walked in the front door. It used to smell old and used, but now it smells mol

dy, damp and unsanitary.

As I looked around the place, I noticed that a particularly nice little room at the back of the shop with a window that looked out over the town had been closed off. Was the weight of the books too much for it? Did the leaky roof finally cave in? Did the owners need the space for something else? I didn’t ask, but it was a disappointment to see a part of the store unavailable.

In the huge basement, the stench was unbearable. I managed only a brief walk through this subterranean dump ground before I had to move back into the relatively cleaner air upstairs. While I was down there, however, I noticed that many metal shelves had been added since I was down there last, making it more difficult to navigate and a bit less interesting to explore. Is the store still selling books or has it turned to only collecting them?

I also noticed that some doorways seems to sag or twist more than when I last visited, and some floors squeaked in new places and slanted more than I remember. I concluded that the old girl isn’t just showing her age, she’s falling down. I wondered if it was even safe to be in there anymore. What will have to happen before the building is condemned?

Still, though, the dedication of the store’s owners and the idea of an archive for antiquated printed information is a bit inspiring. Like libraries, bookstores aren’t really necessary anymore, but I admire those who maintain them against the odds.

I’m inspired by people who take deliberate and definite actions guided by their souls rather than by common sense. The willingness of some people to go against common sense is responsible for some of the world’s most remarkable — if ultimately pointless — creations.

Effective Complaining, Creative Complaining: The Whole Jar Of Mushrooms

Complaining to a company about a substandard product or an unpleasant situation can be very effective. In many cases, the company will more than make up for its lapses with coupons, discounts, free items and many other kinds of compensation.

I don’t complain to a company or organization often, but when I do, I almost always get results. The purpose of this post is to tell you an interesting story about creative complaining that someone told me, but first let me tell you how effective my own complaining has been.

Effective Complaining

Off the top of my head, I can think of several situations about which I complained and for which I received compensation. I’ll tell you about three of them.

When I complained by email to a local museum a couple of months ago that I was turned away from viewing their galleries for free because the desk clerk didn’t know the museum was supposed to be free at that time, I received a free lunch, free admission to the galleries and free admission to one of their events — for all three of us who were turned away.

When I complained several years ago to a company that their breakfast cookies weren’t available at a local store as their website said they were, the company sent me a sampler box containing several varieties of their cookies. (And because I liked some of them, I ordered from the company several times.)

Perhaps even longer ago I complained to the corporate office of a fast-food restaurant in Plano because I received a chicken sandwich with only half a piece of chicken in it. The company was switching to smaller pieces for its sandwiches, and the manager at that location thought cutting down some of the old ones was a good way to use them up. I got a gift card for my trouble, and I like to think the manager got a blemish on his record for being so cheap.

There have been others, but I neither want to brag about how much I complain nor embarrass or promote the companies that have been most receptive to my complaints.

Watch Out For A Whole Jar Of Mushrooms

Being creative with the way you complain can increase effectiveness.

A postal clerk I used to see frequently told me about a snail-mail letter — she was a postal clerk, after all — that she sent to a major maker of spaghetti sauce.

I can’t remember her exact wording, of course, but I remember enough to give you a good idea of what she said to them. Here’s my re-creation of the letter she sent the company:

Dear sirs:

I’m not writing to complain, but I wanted to let you know to expect a complaint from another customer soon.

I bought a jar of your spaghetti sauce with mushrooms last week and at first thought it contained no mushrooms. After I dumped it into a bowl and went through it, I found that it did, in fact, contain two mushroom slices.

There were so many mushrooms missing from my jar that I want you to be watching for a complaint from a customer who got a whole jar of mushrooms. Someone must have gotten mine.

Sincerely…

Within a couple of weeks, she had an envelope full of high-value coupons from the company and an apology.

She was creative, and it was effective.

I’m rarely creative with my complaining, but I’m always firm and direct. That’s effective too.

Remember When Sidewalk.com Was Microsoft Sidewalk? It Meant $1,500 To Me

Do you remember a website from some years ago called Microsoft Sidewalk? It was located at sidewalk.com and aimed at competing with local newsweeklies. The site hoped to gain a foothold in the local search market, providing details about local events in cities around the United States.

Microsoft acquired the name in 1996, and by all accounts the company had high hopes for the success of the project.

I’m just wonder if you remember it because it meant a lot to me. In fact it meant $1,500 to me. Here’s the thing though: None of my work ever appeared on the site.

My brief association with Microsoft Sidewalk worked out fine for me, however, because it gave me a reason to snoop around quite a few libraries, movie theatres and other locations around Fort Worth. And they paid me the $1,500 despite never using my work.

How did I get involved?

The woman who was in charge of assigning Fort Worth community venue blurbs lived in Dallas, and she saw some of my work in The Texas Triangle, a now-defunct gay and lesbian newspaper founded by the late Kay Longcope. (Kay was important to me because she gave me my first freelance writing gig, then she and her editors as well as the man who bought the paper from her all continued to use my work for years.)

Since I had a website even then, the editor for Microsoft Sidewalk looked me up, contacted me and asked me to cover some things for her. She actually wanted me to cover some gay bars, I think, but I don’t go to bars, so I turned those assignments down. Instead, I took all the miscellaneous, boring locations around town that no one else wanted to bother with.

Microsoft was offering more money per piece for these quick blurbs than I was getting for thoroughly researched journalistic pieces at the time. In fact, for making several stops around a town I love exploring anyway, I thought $1,500 was a good deal.

I gladly accepted the offer, wrote the pieces, got my check and then saw the announcement that Microsoft Sidewalk was being sold to Citysearch. The 1999 sale of the project meant the site was completely redeveloped and my content never saw the light of day.

Oh well.

I can’t remember what I wrote about any of the places I reviewed, but I can’t imagine that I said anything very stimulating about the little library across the street from the old Seminary South mall or the dollar move theater on Granbury Road where a church now holds its services.

I got my $1,500 though, and I wish I could get some gigs like that again. It’s fun to get paid for exploring.

By the way, if you stop by sidewalk.com today, you’ll find something there. It’s not my content, and its not anything Citysearch put there either. The site has remained mostly dormant for a decade or so, and the content that’s there now isn’t likely to get anyone’s attention.

How much, I wonder, is the current owner is paying for interesting content about uninteresting places?

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Political Vandalism At The Bookstore

Since visiting used bookstores is part of one of my job, I don’t like to be bothered, interrupted or detained when I’m at a bookstore. And I certainly don’t like a middle-aged woman stopping me from entering a store so she can gleefully confessing a crime to me.

This is the story of an ordinary-looking woman who is either so politically motivated that she has lost her common sense or more likely so generally lacking in sense that she didn’t know that committing a crime is usually something people don’t admit.

On Monday, March 26, 2012 — a day perfect for walking in a park with someone you love — a frizzy-haired woman who looked like she could have been an elementary school teacher vandalized a car in the parking lot of a Half Price Books store and then confessed to me.

It’s a shame for her that I was the one person there who was least interested in what she had to say.

The Story

“You wanna know something mean I just did,” the woman said.

I didn’t answer.

“One of the people from the store,” she started, gesturing to the far part of the parking lot where the employees park. Then she paused.

She was holding the door into the bookstore open for me, but she was blocking the entry with her body.

“One of the people from the store,” she continued very slowly, “has a Barack Obama sticker on their car.”

She paused again, still blocking the door. I still didn’t say anything.

“I covered it over with a ‘Vote Republican’ sticker.”

That’s vandalism, I thought, but she moved inside the store and I continued inside too. I didn’t say a word, and she didn’t approach me again.

Why would someone admit to committing an act of vandalism to a person who might not approve of vandalism and might not even approve of her political statement?

The Silliness Of It

I’m completely apolitical. I don’t care about politics in the least.

I have identified as a Democrat at some times in the past, but I don’t participate in the political process at all anymore. My turn away from anything related to politics is part of my effort to simplify my life and make it more intelligent. Politics are just silliness, so I don’t participate.

If I had to form an opinion about President Obama, I suppose I think that he doesn’t live up to anyone’s expectations. But I don’t think I could bring myself to vote for a Republican. I don’t think I could bring myself to vote at all.

And I certainly couldn’t bring myself to vandalize someone else’s property to make a statement of any kind.

But why did the woman think I would approve of her act of vandalism against a store employee? She must have thought I was either a criminal or a Republican. Which was it? Is there a difference?

I didn’t report her to the police or to the store employees. I didn’t see which car she meant, and the incident may have happened only in her mind.

In my mind, I wonder why she was out alone. I know that Republicans are allowed to travel unescorted and vandals often work alone, but the woman who blocked the door to admit a crime to me seemed to have other issues as well.

Still Here: One Key To Online Success Is Realizing Potential

When Ari Herzog mentioned on his blog that he was accepting guest posts, I typed this up right away. It was the first thing that came to mind. Ari’s commenters seem to like it, and I hope you do too. I intended it to promote my simple living blog So Much More Life.

I don’t know Ari very well, but I know we have something in common: We’re still here.

No matter whether your reason for participating online is to make money from website ads, promote your products and services, satisfy your own need for expression or simply keep your name in front of people who could be useful one day, one of the keys to success online is establishing a presence and nurturing it.

That means staying with the blog you start, showing up on social media when you have something to say and taking steps every day to expand the size, reach and value of your message and online properties.

A Few Steps From Massive Success

For most of my life, I’ve been only a few steps removed from massive success. My first true love was freelance journalism, and I quickly reached the top of my niche, but I didn’t really capitalize on what I achieved.

Then, I tried working in an office for a couple of years, and I was able to jump from a dead-end department to a position working with a well-respected departmental director. But I quit because I didn’t think office work was for me.

I first placed websites online to promote myself and my services so many years ago that they were designed in Microsoft FrontPage. WordPress didn’t exist then, and neither did blogging. Those sites had Google Adsense ads on them, and the ads made a little money. Why didn’t I see then that by expanding my online presence and the reach of my message, I could increase my income too? I was only a few steps from realizing some potential then.

Are you only a few steps from realizing your built-in potential for massive success?

Taking A Few Steps

I’ve been blogging seriously at So Much More Life since December 2009, and people come there every day to read about simple, deliberate living. I’m not exactly a minimalist, but I explore the minimalist lifestyle from both an outsider and an insider point of view. People seem to like what I write.

What’s even better, people click on the ads there, and I make a little money. A couple of people have even been impressed enough with my writing at So Much More Life that they now pay me to write their blog posts for them.

Even better than that, my modest success with my blog has encouraged me to place other websites online aimed specifically at making money, and they’re starting to bring in a little cash too.

To put things more simply, I’m starting to realize some of my potential rather than letting it build up and then escape as I have all my life. Still better than all of that, I like the way my life is going now. I’m not a massive success, but I’m not turning my back on good opportunities anymore either.

But This Is Really About You

This post tells a little about my story. It says something about how I’m not missing as many opportunities as I once did, and it tells how I’m benefiting from staying put, showing up and taking the next step.

You might benefit more from a post about you, however. What should you do? What steps should you take?

I think the answer is simple: Do the work that’s in front of you today, and take every opportunity to take steps that move you toward your goals. Soon, you’ll be making more money, increasing your presence and expanding your reach.

You may soon find that you’re a massive success.

Of course, all of this talk about massive success is a bit grandiose considering I’m nowhere near where I’d like to be regarding income or personal potential.

Still, I’m closer than I was yesterday. Are you?

Gip Plaster blogs at So Much More Life about simple, minimalist living. More importantly, he’s taking steps every day to realize his potential — something he hasn’t always done. Visit his blog to see what he’s talking about this week, then consider hiring him for your next writing project. If you reach out to him, he’ll take the next step.

Is “Rototiller” A Trademark? And Why I Care

Is the term “Rototiller” trademarked? It’s the kind of question a writer like me finds myself asking. I’ll tell you why I needed to know — then I’ll tell you the answer.

The Weirdness Of A Writer’s Life

One of the writing agencies for which I sometimes work allows writers to pick up open orders, join writing teams and also accept direct orders from clients. I almost never manage to snag any of the orders that are offered to one of the four teams that have accepted me, but earlier this week, I caught a few quick and simple orders from one of the teams.

One of the requests was simple enough: a few hundred words about rototilling.

But I can’t do that, can I? If Rototiller is a trademarked term, then rototilling isn’t a real word. This agency requires Associated Press style (which I studied in journalism school), but no stylebook approves of repeatedly using a fake verb based on the improper use of trademarked noun.

So I’ll skip the assignment, I thought. But I need the work, and there was nothing else to do at that moment.

I took the job after I discovered that my concerns were unfounded.

You see, writers are concerned with little details like whether a word is the right one to use. It matters to us. Using a trademark as a generic noun isn’t acceptable. Neither is making fake verbs from them. Words like aspirin and escalator were one trademarks, but their owners didn’t protect them and they fell into general usage.

The writing magazines that I read as a teenager contained ads from Kimberly-Clark Corp., a company that makes paper products. The most frequent ad went like this: “To all the writers, editors, copyeditors and proofreaders who use the trademark Kleenex followed by the words ‘facial tissue’, Kimberly-Clark says bless you.”

The company ran those ads to prove, if they ever needed to, that they tried to protect their trademark. The word Kleenex was and is in danger of falling into general usage, canceling out the rights of its trademark holder. And that’s fine with me actually. I’m long past any interest in intellectual property rights.

No novelist will ever write: “She cried so long she went through an entire box of Kleenex brand facial tissue.” But lawyers would like those hypothetical novelists better if they would.

In any case, using trademarks in writing is a no-no I know.

But Is Rototiller A Trademark?

The answer is no.

As it turns out, Rototiller doesn’t deserve the capital letter I’m placing at it’s beginning. The word rototiller is a perfectly acceptable term for any brand of rotary cultivator.

Truthfully, I’d rather write “rotary cultivator” or “rotary tiller”, but I can legally, ethically and confidently write about rototillers and rototilling (and watch my word processing software place a squiggly red line under every occurrence) if that’s what’s needed.

So why isn’t it a trademark? Was it ever?

The idea of rotary cultivation started to get attention in the United States in the 1920s. By the early 1930s, C.W. Kelsey had established The Rototiller Co., a New York enterprise aimed at importing European cultivators and selling them to Americans. Originally called “earth grinders” by some people, Kelsey trademarked the name Rototiller to refer to the rotary tilling machines he imported.

Rocky American soils damaged the sensitive European machines, and Kelsey soon started making his own rotary tillers. Several models were available, and other companies started making similar products.

Eventually, the trademark on the term Rototiller expired, leaving other makers free to call their machines by the name Kelsey established.

And they did.

That’s the short version of the story about how rototillers lost their trademark and their capital letter at the front.

Rotary cultivation may forever be known as rototilling. You may not care one way or the other what the process is called, and you may not even think much about the topic. That’s okay.

There is a subsection of humanity known by the term “writer”, and we worry about words so you need not bother with them yourself.

The Christmas Birthday Bloggers Club

Rejoice! For today is born in a rural area outside Fort Worth, Texas a blog post that collects Christmas-birthday bloggers in one location for the benefit of the world.

It may not matter much to you, but I always think it’s interesting when I find a person whose birthday is on Christmas day. As you may or may not know, that’s my birthday.

I tell people I was born on the same day as Jesus and Barbara Mandrell, but we’re not the only ones who claim December 25th as our birthday. The scientist Isaac Newton shares the same birth date as me, although his was in 1642 and mine was in 1972.

Other names you might recognize that belong to Christmas babies include Red Cross founder Clara Barton, singer Dido (just one year before me), actresses CCH Pounder and Sissy Spacek, singer Jimmy Buffett and science fiction pioneer Rod Serling.

Humphrey Bogart shares the same birthday too, kid.

In my vast search of the Internet’s many compelling blogs, however, I’ve only located two other bloggers who were born on Christmas. I’ve always known I was special, but I can’t believe that there aren’t more people who belong in this Christmas Birthday Bloggers Club that I’m officially starting right now.

I admit that locating other bloggers with Christmas birthdays hasn’t exactly been my life’s passion, but I think this topic is worth at least this one blog post, don’t you?

Here’s a little information about the two bloggers I’ve located so far who were born on Christmas day:

Matt Madeiro
www.threenewleaves.com

I’ve followed Matt’s blog for a long time. I suppose I found him because he came to comment on my blog after one of my guest posts on someone else’s blog, but I don’t really remember. That may not be right at all.

In any case, Matt writes about three leaves of his life: losing weight, moving more and being happier — things he rightly believes we can achieve through living simple lives.

Dia Thabet
www.2achieveyourgoals.com

I’ve followed Dia’s blog for a long time too. In fact, he must have been one of the first bloggers I discovered when I started blogging, but I can’t remember for sure how I located him either.

Dia is a personal development coach and consultant who helps people achieve whatever they want. He has more than a decade of involvement in personal development topics including the law of attraction, positive thinking, time management and relationships.

And, then, of course, there’s me:
Gip Plaster
www.somuchmorelife.com

I write here at Gip’s Front Yard, but I also write at So Much More Life about simple, minimalist living.

I suggest that living a simple, deliberate life means eliminate the things from your life that separate you from the best possible version of yourself. Once you’ve done that, add in things only if they bring you closer to your ideal. Living a simple, deliberate life really is that simple.

Do you know other bloggers who were born on Christmas day? If you do, please share them with me and I’ll add them to this page.

Behold…

Oh, never mind.

Is The High Maltose Corn Syrup In Fiber One Bars Just As Bad As HFCS?

The question is simple enough, and although the answer involves some complex science, so is the answer: Is the high maltose corn syrup found in many candies, bars (including Fiber One bars), baked good and beer as bad for you as the high fructose corn syrup found in soft drinks and a huge variety of processed foods?

Yes.

Corn syrups are used in processed food because they act as preservatives and are cheaper than using real sugar to sweeten a product. Consumption of HFCS has increased rapidly since the 1980s as it has been included in more foods.

The Problem With High Fructose Corn Syrup

There are three big problems with HFCS, one of the most commonly used corn syrups.

First, this additive has been attacked by health advocates for being a major contributor to the obesity problem, particularly in the United States. That’s largely because it so common that it’s hard to avoid. Whether this particular syrup is worse for you than another is a debatable point, however, since all sugars contribute equally to weigh gain.

Second, the body metabolizes this sweetener in a way that makes it enter the bloodstream quicker than regular sugar, and that makes it potentially harmful for diabetics and others with difficulty tolerating sugars.

Third, high fructose corn syrup is actually sweeter, according to some people, and repeatedly consuming it supposedly increasing consumers’ appetites for sweetness. In other words, HFCS is so sweet that it may make those who eat it want even more sweets.

But What About High Maltose Corn Syrup?

People are particularly concerned about the use of high maltose corn syrup in Fiber One bars because these bars are sometimes viewed as health foods. That’s a mistaken judgment, however. While the fiber in Fiber One products has obvious beneficial effects, these bars are otherwise the same as candy.

The corn syrup in Fiber One bars is a sugar that contributes to weight gain and should therefore be avoided by those trying to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

High maltose corn syrup is made when an enzyme or acid breaks cornstarch down into a syrup that contains at least 35 percent maltose. The exact formula varies by maker.

Some believe this syrup is being used more frequently because it confuses consumers. When they see a label that shows HMCS instead of HFCS, they may assume a company has switched sweeteners to make the product healthier.

HMCS is actually a better manufacturing choice for some baked goods and bars, however, because it has different characteristics that HFCS.

High maltose corn syrup is a good choice for hard candy and is less likely to become sticky that its better known cousin. It also freezes at a lower point, making it a frequent additive in frozen desserts.

While there are fewer studies of this syrup than of HFCS, there is no evidence to suggest that it a better choice than any other sugar.

The Bottom Line

High fructose corn syrup has been discussed so much in the media that many consumers now have a negative reaction to it. High maltose corn syrup does not yet elicit an unfavorable response from consumers, so some manufacturers may use it instead of HFCS to confuse consumers. Others may simply use it because it is a better choice for their products.

Many fiber products contain sugar because fiber is difficult to stomach without it. Consumers have to choose if they are willing to accept consuming large quantities of processed sugar to make their fiber more palatable or if they prefer to get fiber from fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and other healthy sources.

For people trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy lifestyle, one processed sugar is essential the same as another, no matter the name. While there are complicated differences in how some processed sugars are digested, none belong in a healthy diet.