Category Archives: Shopping

They go together

hot dogsIt’s finally come together. The big shot at the wiener company got together with the big shot at the bun factory and figured out that their consumers were tired of superfluous buns. As one of those consumers, I was excited to find these at my local Kroger store. I had my package of Oscar Meyer hot dogs and as I searched for the right buns, I found them! A package of eight buns to match my eight hot dogs. No extras! I’m pretty sure I heard angels at that moment.

Yes, I was immediately transported to George Banks’ attempt to chill out from wedding stress.

What kinds of these goofy inconsistencies do you find in your shopping?

KK

 

 

Buying School Supplies

school suppliesMy name is KK and like many of you, I love buying school supplies. There I’ve said it.

Back to school is all about bleeding the funds for lunches, uniforms, after school care and yes, school supplies. Oh, the smell of pencils and crayons! They send the brain into learning mode. Scientists should study the brain’s response to these aromas. Doesn’t buying new notebooks and pens make you want to go take a class and expand your mind? True confession — I wandered the school supply aisle just doting over the clean canvases of lined paper, the sum of all potential learning and creativity. Yes, I purchased the items in this photo — but they were on sale and I will use the paper and well, the crayons smelled so good.

And then I got to take my son with me to float along the world of highlighters, markers, and one of my favorites — organizers! Ok, so he just wanted to fill the list from school.

Join me in this time of going broke but loving the adventure a new notebook and fresh ink can take us on.

KK

 

Black Friday Gateway to the Dark Side — A repost from 2009

First of all, you need to understand that I am not a shopper.  If faced with a few free hours my first inclination is not to go to the mall.  I shop when I need or want something specific.  Even when I go, I shop, I find, I buy.  Knowing this you will naturally understand why I have never found it necessary to get up before dawn on the Friday after Thanksgiving to go buy stuff that surely I will find during my Christmas shopping ritual.  While I do approach Christmas shopping differently than normal shopping, it’s never been worth it to me to get up at some horribly early morning to shop.  I enjoy Christmas shopping for the loved ones on my list and finding the ultimate gift to fit the person.gifts

Except for this year; I’m writing this 48 hours after the experience because it has taken me that long to recover.  You see, my husband wanted a new computer for Christmas and we were considering one for Cole as well.  We shopped it online Thanksgiving night and found that a local store with low, low prices were having a doorbuster sale starting at five in the morning.  Five in the morning, did I love my husband enough to get up at four thirty and go out in the cold for the purchase?  Yes, I do.  So I printed the ad and set the alarm.

The alarm went off and I got up, brushed my teeth and washed my face grabbed the ad and left.  When I turned on the car the radio was playing Christmas music.  I thought “how cool, this could be fun.”  The neighborhood was quiet. It was an easy drive to the store with the low, low prices.  Then I turned onto the road to the store, came over the rise and there before me was a sea of cars.  I had never seen so many cars in the parking lot.  They were even parked at the gas pumps and the pharmacy drive-through.  Remember the sale was to start at five, it was four fifty-five when I pulled into the parking lot.

I parked in the back of the store, grabbed my ad to go in find the computers choose the one I came for, buy it and leave; as you can guess it didn’t turn out that way.

I walked into the store to immediately see checkout lines a mile long.  It was just then seven minutes after five how were their carts already full!  There were people everywhere hauling big screen televisions, clothing and toys.  There was a kiosk of movies that looked like a beehive swarming.  I tried to get a peek but decided to stay focused on my mission.  To look around and find my route to electronics I saw faces of people not filled with Christmas joy or the joy of buying the cool presents for those they love. Children were crying. I saw blank stares and intense glares at anyone who would get in their way.  I was in over my head.  Weaving and bobbing through the aisles, I found electronics and laptop computers.

There I was — chaos all around — staring at an empty case.  I kept looking at the ad in my hand and the case and no computers appeared.  A woman standing next to me had a computer in her arm.  I asked which model it was.  It was, in fact, the one I was looking for.  She was very helpful to tell me that those computers were being distributed down in hunting and fishing.

To get to hunting and fishing I had to navigate through toys.  When I looked down the main aisle through the forest of games and toys and parents running amuck with lists, I reaffirmed my mission and purpose and headed straight through.  On the other side, I found a cashier, a long line and a pallet of computers.  When I asked if this was the line for the computers I was told yes, but I needed a voucher. A voucher? I was pointed to a worker a few feet away who was handing out the vouchers. Great; I go ask the lady for a voucher.  She told me she didn’t have anymore. Didn’t have any more?  The sale started less than fifteen minutes ago?  How could they have been out?  I thanked the lady.  Looked at the line that I would not have a voucher to join and made my way back through the store.

I considered other shopping when I came to my senses and looked around at the crazed shoppers.  I had to leave the mayhem and craziness. I just wanted to go home.  Where were my ruby slippers?  Driving home, I kept recanting the whole experience.  I didn’t understand what all the hubbub was all about.  There was nothing fun about my experience.  To see all those people with full carts you would have thought they were giving everything away.  I really wanted to say to someone, “you know you have to pay for all that.” But I guess they knew that.

This was not the Christmas spirit, it was retail mayhem.  Inutsonut so.  This was no way to launch into a season of silent night holy night. This experience needed to be trained for, it wasn’t for the casual shopper.  Someone should have warned me.

I may have to pay a little more for that one “must-have” item.   There was nothing about that experience that helped me feel the Christmas spirit.  And I’m pretty sure anything I would have saved I would have spent with my therapist getting over my PTSD (post traumatic SHOPPING disorder).

Merry Christmas,
KK

P.S. — It’s been several years, still the thought of early morning black Friday shopping gives me a stomach ache. As long as I don’t feel any absolute need to make a specific purchase I can go out in the afternoon just for the fun of it.

Going on Vacation? Don’t forget to call the bank…

mickey on vacaLike many others, we planned a summer vacation. Being a list maker, I started the pre-trip to-do list based on our plans and how long we were going to be gone. The kennel was called, the days-off were requested, hotel rooms reserved, triple A was called for tour books and a budget established; all the things necessary for a fun few days away.

All of the items on the listed were checked off and in order to be fiscally responsible we decided to put our vacation cash in the checking account and use our debit card. About two days into our trip, my husband tried to use my debit card to purchase our tickets for a boat tour in Chicago. The charge was denied.  We called the bank.

We have to give kudos to our bank, Republic Bank & Trust, for putting us through to a service representative (live and English speaking) who was kind and understanding.  I went through and answered a half dozen security questions and took what felt like a quiz about my work history. After passing with flying colors, she informed me that by using our card to make out of town purchases, it raised security flags and since they didn’t know we were out of town, the charges were denied.

That’s what I forgot to put on my pre-trip list, call the bank!  The bank representative asked where I was and when I would return home. She then informed me that we have a $500 a day spending limit on our debit card. That wasn’t a big deal to us and our budget, but good to know. She then informed us that we can request the limit increase if necessary. We were fine with it. The bank lady kindly released our card so we could finish our vacation.

The whole ordeal cost a little time, but with the excellent customer service at the bank, and a lesson learned about banking security, we were back to having fun and had the funds to do it!

Next year’s vacation list will have “call the bank” as number one.

All the best,

KK

Rushing Retail

Fair_volleyball_wingsDecember 26th I passed a Valentine display at Wal-Mart.  It gave me a frustrated pause.  We live in this world of being never satisfied, wanting instant gratification, and rushing to the next thing.  Any chance those in retail encourage and promote this mindset?  There are entire Seasonal sections of big box stores.   These sections are the gateway to the buyer not being happy in the moment.  What’s coming up next?

It is our responsibility to control how much we let outside forces like advertising, email and other social media control our time.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about planning when it’s pertinent to my priorities and not because Hallmark thinks I need to purchase cards and candy six weeks early.  What do you do to not let these outside messages take over your time and day-planner?

All the best,

KK

Gifting

So it’s December 29th, time for true confessions.  How many of your gifts did you return or exchange?  Did any gift make it to the re-gift closet?  You know the obscure gift that you can’t return because there is no telling where it came from; probably a re-giftJ.

Let’s just establish that re-gifting is perfectly acceptable.  Why waste a perfectly good item just because it’s not useful to you?  You have to be careful though, to re-gift to the original giver of the gift can be disastrous!  Not to mention embarrassing for both.  Here are a few thoughts on re-gifting.  When you place the item in the re-gift closet put a post-it on it with who gave it to you and when.  Additionally, don’t break the seal or “factory” wrapping.  Before re-gifting, be sure to dust it off well and be sure there aren’t remnants of wrapping paper or a card stuck to it.gifts

I did not receive anything that needed returning or exchanging this year.  What is really great is that those who gave me gifts did so based on what they know and love about me.  This to me is the number one rule in choosing a gift – know your recipient.  There is as much excitement in choosing the perfect gift for someone as there is in receiving the perfect gift.  While I don’t mind when someone gives me ideas, it is also a blast to choose something that I know the recipient will love, but may not have thought to ask for it.

Many of us have everything we need.  When we have the opportunity to choose gifts for those we love, why not take a few minutes to really think about the other person.  What could you give them that they would enjoy and might not otherwise buy for themselves?  The gifts I received this year were all very thoughtful; obviously those giving me gifts thought about me and what I would like.

The art of gift giving is one that I think is fading to that which is easy – the gift card.  The gift card is good because you are thinking about the other person, but we have to be careful to not let this be our default.  Take some time.  Make your gift meaningful.

The art of packaging or wrapping gifts went down a slippery slope with the advent of the gift bag.  For some, the gift bag was their salvation and a relief in the pressure of giving a gift.  My mother makes wrapping a gift and the bow on top an art form.  She pulls the color-coordinated ribbon around the package and then ties a big pretty bow on top.  Then she spends a few more minutes making small adjustments to the bow to be sure it’s perfect.  No doubt a beautiful package shows the recipient that love and care was taken not only in choosing the gift but in preparing it for giving.

In full disclosure, I did purchase a couple of gift cards this year because I didn’t plan well and ran out of time.  This just gives me a head start on these two gifts for next year.

Happy gift-giving,

KK

Being Crafty

craft itemsA couple of weeks ago I went to a well-known craft store (the mecca of crafters in the Louisville area).  I am not a crafter, but I recognize the value of this store.  We needed a piece of black photo matting and spray adhesive for a project my son was working on.

As I walked in a whoosh of the aroma of glue sticks, paint and artificial flowers overcame me.  Having shopped in this store I knew the direct path to the photo/framing area.   A sales lady greeted me and wanted to help me quickly (20 minutes to closing).  There was little chit-chat.  She understood what I was looking for, but kept trying to sell me far more of the mat board than I wanted.  This would have saved her from having to custom cut a piece.  Nonetheless, she finally relented and understood that for my purposes, a custom piece was the best buy.  She went to make the cuts.

Prior to her exit, I asked where I could find spray adhesive.  Remember I’m a stranger in this land of craft supplies.  Her answer taught me just how much I didn’t know about where I was.   She said, “Follow this aisle at the back of the store past the craft items; it will be down the aisle on the left.”   While I listened to all of the directions, when I turned to follow the back aisle, it occurred to me that in my inexperienced mind, ALL of the aisles were craft items.  I didn’t realize there were sub-categories of craft items.  I had to wonder, are there other things I needed to know, like the language and crafting etiquette? Watch your manners…

Having only five minutes left in store hours according to the overhead speaker, I began the journey looking down EVERY aisle.  Before I got too far off the one aisle I knew would lead me back to my custom cut board, a friendly clerk asked to help and led me directly to adhesive spray and even made a suggestion.craft items 2

True confession:  going to a craft supply store makes me want to buy, take up a craft and create something.

Store was closing – whew – bought only what I needed and left.  No new hobbies.  To my friends who are crafters, you have my admiration and appreciation for your talents.

What are your hobbies?

All the best,

KK