Consumer products, Shopping and Saving

A vent about women’s clothing…

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! 🙂

Consumer products, Customer Service, Primal Scream

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

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, 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!!!

Consumer products, Shopping and Saving

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

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!

Consumer products, Customer Service

Shell Canada…take a look at your franchises!

I am not one to complain, at least formally. I have been working with people in at least some capacity for thirteen years now, and I’ve been a conscious consumer for about twenty-two, so I have an idea about how companies should treat their customers. However, I have yet to write a letter of complaint to a company.

Events during the summer may change that, however. Twice this past summer, I went to fill up my car at a west-side Saint John Shell at approximately 9:30 am. Both times, in contrast to the posted opening time of 9:00 am, the door to the gas station was locked and there was not a soul in sight. The pumps do NOT have the “pay-at-the-pump” option, so that was out of the question. Both times this occurred, there were fellow motorists waiting to fill up their respective vehicles, and on one occasion a woman mentioned that this was not the first time she had encountered this problem at this particular station.

I am in the process of finding someone to whom to address my concerns. My father has worked his whole life in the business world, so I’ve grown up listening to how a business should and should NOT be run. I am going to suggest that this particular Shell franchisee 1) Look for new employees who will show up for work on time, and 2) Raise their wages $0.50-$1.00/hour to compete with other locations.

All I want is my Air Miles, but the Esso down the street has gotten my business a couple times, and they give out Aeroplan Points. Hmmm…

Consumer products


I didn’t have a cell phone until early June of last year, when I finally joined the information age 🙂 I absolutely despise contracts for cell phones; I don’t like being locked into something when I know my financial and personal circumstances could change.

My brothers both convinced me to go with Koodo instead of a pay-as-you-go phone. The phone worked perfectly until December 17th; the light-up screen refuses to go off of the “Koodo” logo (black on a white background) when the phone is closed. I still have the receipt and packaging for the phone, but the guy at Future Shop, where I bought the phone, told me that to get it fixed I’d have to send it back to Koodo. They’d decide whether or not the problem was caused by a flaw or by me, and then proceed accordingly. Naturally, I would be left without a phone, and they charge $15.00 to give you a replacement phone for the duration that yours was getting fixed.  Too much trouble, in my opinion. I staunchly refuse to spend money on something that isn’t my fault. There were other problems with the phone, such as the screen randomly going white, flashing, and then going to the opening screen. I’d be typing a text and loose it when the phone “restarted”…

Another issue I had was the lack of their 1-800 number being printed on their bills. Of course, “refer to our website” was prominently printed all over the bill, but when you’re staying somewhere without Internet access, this doesn’t do much good! Luckily, I had written down the number and was able to resolve the problem. I noticed that my latest bill had their toll-free number printed on it, so I guess that is progress…

Koodo: 1. Me: 0.