Archive for the ‘Consumer products’ Category

RIP to a great friend…

April 27, 2011

Before I frighten anyone, no, thank GOODNESS, none of my friends or family have passed away. However, my very loyal and close companion of the past (nearly) 3 years- my Motorola KRZR- has finally bitten the dust!! Now, I had (and still have, over an hour later) mixed feelings about this event, and I’ll tell you why. First of all, this phone is very outdated; not just in the sense of looks (who can forget the big black box phones of the 80s and 90s??), but in a technological sense. Back in January or so, I had finally bitten the bullet and gotten voicemail added to my “talk and text” plan with Koodo Mobile. I got a very friendly agent on the phone who took care of everything in about 5 minutes, and she even got me 5pm evening calling! Well, she asked the usual “And is there anything else I can do for you today?” I said yes, there was; could she fix the caller ID problem I had been having since October? When people were texting me, their names would not show up; only their phone numbers were appearing, and to be honest, I’m really bad at putting names to numbers! Anyhow, I’ll spare the gory details, but basically the woman said she could try and do a software update, but that my phone was so outdated that the technology was really too advanced for it! As well, my second-ever blog post was about a problem with my phone that started a mere 6 months after its purchase; you can read that post here.

I may complain a lot about this phone, but it’ll be hard for me to stop using it and/or give it up. This part is quite hard to explain, but when you’ve had conversations, both voice and by text, regarding love, life and including some tough things as well…if you’re emotional like me, you’ll be somewhat sad. I used this phone to make the first text contact in my most significant relationship to date, and I’ll never forget the excitement I felt as I typed his number for the first time. I still smile when I think of the various messages we exchanged  🙂  Gosh, I sure hope they let me keep the phone after I replace it, although I suppose the texts I saved on it are gone forever… 😦

The result of all of this, however, is that I get to pick out a new phone! I’m just going to get a basic, non-smartphone, as I already have an iPod Touch and a smartphone really isn’t in the cards financially at this point anyhow. I accept any and all suggestions!!!

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“Memorable” commercials- Post #3

March 23, 2011

To continue along with my theme of weird and wonderful commercials, I give you: The Hawaii Chair! It needs no introduction…

You absolutely CANNOT watch the first video without following it with how Ellen Degeneres focused on the product in an episode of her show!

Truthfully, though…who would actually buy this product based on the claims in the advertisement? I’ll tell you, if I were to walk into an office and saw the administration assistant or receptionist using one of these chairs, I would doubt the integrity of their purchasing department!  😀

Do you treat yourself?

March 17, 2011

I thought that the timing of this post was quite relevant, as I sit here at my kitchen table, typing away and eating Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream  🙂  I can feel the beginnings of a chest cough creeping up on me, so in addition to cough medicine, I thought that some gourmet goodness would help banish the yuckies. Of course, this decision was cemented by the $2.99 price tag on the ice cream; the regular price is $6.99. For a piddly 500 ml (about 17 oz; wow, that does not sound like a lot)!!! Of course, across the border in Calais, Maine, the same container of ice cream retails at about half of the Canadian price (however, that is a whole separate post!).

My definition of “treating” myself is a) buying myself some thing that I usually wouldn’t; or b) paying a price that I never usually would for a certain item. You see, I grew up in a family with an accountant as a father, and a stay-at-home mother who could have been the nutritional and financial coordinator for a large city. She was, and still is, extremely good at both stretching a dollar, making healthy, nutritious, delicious meals with what she does have, and, best of all, very rarely paying full price for name-brand items. Don’t get me wrong; we had PLENTY of treats, but they were not all manifested as food; very often, buying name-brand clothing and food coincided with a family vacation to Maine or New Hampshire, when we would stop at Marden’s.I learned my lesson when I paid nearly $100 for a pair of Adidas sneakers at a store here in Canada; 6 months later, I saw the EXACT same shoes in an outlet store in the States for $19.99!

Taking all that into account, I firmly believe in buying yourself something to cheer yourself up when you’re not quite feeling yourself, or when you need a pick-me-up. We all have those days, and if you’re a sufferer of depression like myself, there can sometimes be more bad ones than good. I’ve found that if I go online and chat to friends, Tweet, or read some of my favorite blogs, that often helps. However, if you REALLY want that full-price Ben & Jerry’s, go ahead; you have my permission!

Wedding season is upon us!

February 17, 2011

Having attended a spate of weddings in the past couple of years, I don’t believe I have any to attend this year! However, having had a cousin who was married last summer, I AM aware of the immense amount of stress and preparation that often goes into these events. Dress, venue, colors, musician, food…the list goes on and on

I was made aware of the following link via Twitter the other day- Lil’ Angel Gifts– that will take a lot of the worry out of choosing that special gift for members of your wedding party or friends or family. Jennifer is an award-winning Mompreneur and mother of an adorable special needs son, for whom her company is named. Not only does Jennifer’s site showcase her amazing talents, it also acts as a source of awareness of Angelman Syndrome, the condition her son has. It’s definitely worth a visit, and the perfect place to pick up that custom gift for your special someone!

Sham-Wowee!

October 16, 2010

A friend and I used to laugh at these ads when we’d see the print version in the store, or the infomercial version that was sometimes looping on a DVD player next to a cozy-looking pile of blue and orange rags. Could this product REALLY take care of our liquid needs, or would we have to *gasp* rely on a mop or sponge??? I’ll let you decide for yourself:

“Made in Germany; you know the Germans always make good stuff”- yup, just read any WWII book!

“You following me, camera guy?”- yeah, “camera guy” is probably saying “Is this what I went to film school for? I miss my old job shooting Jerry Springer…”

I couldn’t resist putting this one in, too: 😀 (warning: some if it might be “inappropriate” for younger viewers. There, I did my part!)

What got me thinking of this was when I was in a large, well-known Canadian hardware retailer the other day. I often like to wander the aisles, looking for items to put away for presents. I was walking through the small-appliance aisle, when who should welcome me, b right-eyed and bushy-tailed, from a shelf at my eye level:

Vince, I’ll say this: if you ever, EVER slap me, YOU will be the skinny one because I’ll squish your skinny rear to pieces! Apparently, he’s already gotten into enough trouble as it is, though. I’ll leave the poor guy alone!

Lock be a lady tonight!

August 14, 2010

I ♥ my laptop. I had my old one for a little over 3 years, and it definitely ran its course. Lucky for me, I have a good friend who is very knowledgeable when it comes to computers, and he generously offered to come along with me to pick a new one out. We were lucky and found a really great deal in the second store we went to, and I was even MORE lucky that he was able to help when, 6 weeks later, the laptop had a major “meltdown”. Thank you very much; you know who you are!  🙂

At the time I got this wonderful piece of equipment, I was a university student. I studied a LOT in the library, and it’s a real pain in the rear to have to haul your laptop with you every time you need a bathroom break or a drink from the water fountain. One of the gifts I requested for Christmas was a laptop lock, and my brother came through with a very nice one from a company called Targus The lock worked wonderfully for several months; it was very easy to set up and use. All I had to do was set the combination and apply a supplied sticker to the lock so that it wouldn’t be too lose when inserted. Well, one day in May (the 15th, to be precise. I’m odd that way), the lock stuck and would NOT come off.

To the frustration of family and friends (one friend in particular ;)), I left the lock on the laptop, thinking “I’ll get it fixed eventually”. You see, I didn’t want to be out the money for a) a locksmith to remove it, and b)the lock itself. After a few e-mails back and forth with Amanda from Targus, I got the response I wanted; they would pay for a locksmith to remove the lock AND for a replacement. Now THAT’S customer service!  (Another post in itself; I’ve heard and read a lot lately from friends who have gotten less-than -satisfactory service from various companies)

This past Wednesday, exactly 12 weeks and 4 days after the initial “problem”, I meandered my way into a local locksmith’s shop and explained my predicament. He took a look at my laptop which I had set on the counter, went and got a pair of pliers, and took the lock off. In literally 5 seconds flat. Apparently, that “supplied” sticker had become loose and the lock became jammed.

Lessons learned: listen to your friends; spilled Coke can be averted as a result. Don’t be lazy; it often takes very little time to solve seemingly insurmountable problems. Finally, keep all documents for important purchases; you never know when you’ll need them!

Do we put up with mediocrity?

January 27, 2010

A friend of mine was in the market for a new TV the other day, and I went with him to the local big box store to look for one. Naturally, being so close to Super bowl Sunday, there were quite a few advertised at both regular price and on sale.

After taking several factors into consideration, my friend decided on the set he wanted. He inquired about it to the sales associate, as the TV was of a brand he was not familiar with. From what I head, the sales associate essentially said “This is a low-cost brand and you shouldn’t expect much from its after-sale service”. He then tried to get my friend to buy a similar TV, but from a more expensive brand.

This made me think about an experience I had with my cell phone. Koodo is owned by Telus, and I went into the local Telus outlet thinking they could advise me as to a problem with my Koodo phone. The rep essentially said “You get what you pay for; Koodo is low-cost and Telus is more expensive”. My question is…shouldn’t we get service for what we pay for? If a product is defective or doesn’t work, I expect the company (not necessarily the store which sold the item) to stand behind its product, whether it’s their basic model or a high-end product. I realize that I might be paying less money initially, but should the level of after-sale service you receive have to do with how much you paid for a product that is essentially identical to a more-expensive one?

A vent about women’s clothing…

January 3, 2010

Why is it that if the average woman is 5’4″, most standard inseams are 32″? I realize that a lot of women wear boots or shoes with high heels, but many others wear flats, sneakers or other footwear without the heel. We’re lucky here in that we have several stores with “petite” clothing; however, we pay dearly for it! I much prefer shopping in the States, with its broader range of choices and lower prices, but that’s an other post all together 🙂

Another gripe of mine is the price of men’s vs. women’s jeans. Jeans are a staple in the majority of people’s wardrobes, so I figure that they are a good benchmark for prices. I went shopping with someone for jeans, and he was able to find a brand that fits him and that looks good at a cost of $8.97!!! Try finding prices like that in the ladies’ department…if we get well-fitting jeans for maybe $19.99, we’ve made out very well.

Hopefully I will have more to say on this subject in a few months…my new year starts on 10 January, and I plan on continuing what I started almost 6 years ago. Stay tuned! 🙂

“You’ve won”! Stick it there, Orville…

January 2, 2010

A couple of weeks ago, I popped a bag of Orville Redenbacher popcorn to eat while I was enjoying a well-deserved study break. I think good old Orville would be ashamed to discover what has happened to the once-exhilarating experience of instant-win prizes…

The popcorn bag had a black bar on which, after it was heated, would tell you whether or not you had won a prize. After 5 bags I was getting pretty down, but after bad #6…cha ching! I instantly “won” a 2L bottle of Fanta! The sense of joy was overwhelming…after all, my father has won 2 cruises, a nice sum of money, a barbeque, a Turkish coffee set…it was my turn! Time to head to the store to claim my prize?

Oh, no…instant win has now become “to claim your prize, go to thisisinconvenient.com, enter your winning code, your most vital information and the skill-testing question”. I normally don’t bother with things like this, but about 2 weeks after I had gotten the winning pin code, I decided to enter it on the site. I put in all my information, used a calculator to answer the question, and got the following message…”Sorry, your answer to the skill-testing question was incorrect. Please try again with another pin code”! F%$^$ you, Orville!!!

Black Friday…are YOU ready for holiday shopping???

November 27, 2009

Apparently, our neighbors to the South have a tradition called “Black Friday”. Up until a few years ago, I had never heard of this annual event; for those who aren’t aware, Black Friday is the official kickoff to the holiday shopping season in the US. It occurs the day after Thanksgiving, and is the day that stores traditionally see their profits turn from the red (bad) to the black (good) side (however, I’m neither an accountant nor an analyst so please correct me if I’m wrong here!).

Up here in the tundra, we don’t have an “official” start to the holiday shopping season. Hey, maybe I should start the tradition of “Black Tuesday”! Personally, I shop for Christmas gifts throughout the entire year.  Some people (namely, my best friend *wink*!) think I’m crazy, and I suppose I am…I started shopping for Christmas ’09 in December of’ 08…but I now have a pile of gifts stored away for people that cost me a fraction of what they would in the stores right now. I shop like I eat; I graze throughout the year instead of eating (shopping) all at once (I’m also the Queen of Analogies…).  Plus, I’m WAY less stressed and I can treat December as my entertainment shopping month; I get to laugh at the people scrambling and waiting in long lines!!!

I’d be interested in your shopping strategies; do you shop year-round? Do you pick things up as you find them, or do you wait for the November/ December sales? Don’t forget to vote!