Archive for the ‘Shopping and Saving’ Category

Contest/Poll…PEI’s Ugliest Souvenir!

September 9, 2011

If any of you saw my Tweets from the past few days, you might have noticed that I posted a few pics of PEI “souvenirs” from my Labour Day weekend trip (for those not familiar, Prince Edward Island is Canada’s smallest province, and also home to my family’s summer cottage :)). My mother and I perused some area gift shops for a few hours (two of which I used to work at!), and had some fun mocking the truly ugly cr@p that some of them STILL peddle!

I wanted to give the chance to all of my readers to mock these wonderful pieces equally! Therefore, here are the 7 candidates in the order in which I saw them…

I’d love to hear my readers’ opinions on these special pieces- poll to follow! I’ll even award a prize (yet-to-be-determined) to the person who responds with the best comment  🙂

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!

Drugs…they’re not all bad, but they sure cost an arm and a leg…

February 16, 2011

This is a pretty good representation of how I was feeling when my family doctor recommended that I start taking Effexor for my newly diagnosed depression. I’m one of those people who delighted in NEVER being sick; I’d buy a bottle of cough medicine or a pack of throat lozenges, and they’d frequently expire before I finished using them. Honestly, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you the last prescription I had filled for myself at a pharmacy before this one.

Luckily, at the time, I had a very good health insurance plan that covered 75% of the cost of my prescriptions. I balked at the cost of the medications, but once I saw the “insurance pays” versus the “patient pays” price, I calmed down a bit! Fast forward to this winter, when a) I started a new job without health benefits, and b)my doctor tripled my medication dosage…well, I was NOT feeling so happy.

Now, before I go on, I will say that I know I am very, VERY lucky compared to some. My doctor advised that I go to a large chain store’s pharmacy to get my medications versus getting them from smaller establishments, which is saving me a fair amount of money each month. However, I recently moved into my apartment on my own, and I also have rent, power, insurance, and groceries to pay for. Medication definitely puts a strain on my budget; however, without it, things are not good in the mood department (to say the least!).

I’m not one to complain without offering a solution, so here is mine; there should be a universal drug plan based on level of income, regardless of place of employment, if the employer does not offer one. I’m certainly not opposed to paying for my drugs, but since they’re necessary for me to lead a normal life, I don’t think that I should have to pay full price for them when I’m just starting out in the working world.

“Memorable” commercials- Post #1

November 12, 2010

Similar to my music video posts, I’ll occasionally be posting some videos of interesting, good, or just plain BAD commercials that I’ve come across over the years. They may be from the 80s, 90s, or today…enjoy!

First up:

If THIS doesn’t make you want to go right out and buy one, I’m not sure what will! I want the skull and crossbones print…I’m SURE my college-age brother would be all over it, just like the kid in the commercial!

Hot Topic: Tipping

February 18, 2010

Spurred on by this article, I got to thinking about tipping.

I have mixed views on this practice, as I’ve been on both sides of the issue. My first job was as a busgirl at a large, busy restaurant during the summer in a tourist area. I earned the grand sum of $4.75 an hour to clear off tables, collect trash, refill ketchup dispensers, clean washrooms, water plants…you get the idea. Since it was a buffet restaurant without wait staff, people generally did not tip (and I wouldn’t expect them to; I know I wouldn’t if I went to that sort of place). However, I got to know which tables to go clear off first, because the drivers/tour guides of those big bus tours always left a dollar or two on the table 🙂  I saved my “tips” in a jar, and by the end of the summer I believe I collected around $80- $90.

I’ve also eaten in a LOT of restaurants all around the world, from Hong Kong to Warsaw. I’ve gotten stellar service that I remember to this day (the waitress at the Hard Rock Cafe in Orlando back in 2001 who divulged the “secret” of the Heinz glass ketchup bottle), and some really bad service (the guy at the Hard Rock Cafe in Montreal who told us as he saw us leaving the table after our meal, “You DO know tips aren’t included?” We promptly went back and took our tip right off the table). I firmly believe that a tip is a small amount of money that tells a server “Hey, you did a great job today”. I do NOT agree with many practices employed by eateries, such as instituting a mandatory “tip”, usually 15-20%. You can be sure that if I did not receive adequate service, I would be requesting the amount be removed from my bill. The article included above stated that a staff member informed people that the surcharges were to cover extra waitstaff, marketing costs, and janitorial staff; costs I believe that a) the owner/management should have snticipated ahead of time, and b) should not be passed onto the customer.

In short, I don’t believe in price-gouging, whether it be in the form of a mandatory tip or increased prices during a major event. I believe that a server has to earn his/her tip, and if they don’t earn it in my opinion, they aren’t going to get it. I’d love to hear what others think about this issue  🙂

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! 🙂

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!