Browsing Tag: shopping


    Common Supermarket Trick

    April 3, 2011

    I took this photo last time I was out at the store doing some grocery shopping. It’s not obvious, so let me explain.

    On the upper shelf, you can buy one 40 oz. jar of peanut butter for $4.08. On the shelf below it, you can buy a wrapped two-pack of 40 oz. peanut butter for $8.62. Same size, same brand, exact same product.


    When I was in high school, I spent about a year working at a local supermarket. We had a similar trick with Tastykakes, everyone’s favorite snack desserts.

    We sold Tastykakes for 44 cents each, or two for 98 cents. I couldn’t believe how many people bought two at a time…..


    Best Buy = Clueless, But My Office Upgrade Survived

    December 28, 2010

    Three weeks ago today, on December 7th, I bought a new TV at Best Buy for my office. The one I bought is an LG brand, 32LE5400. It had all the things I wanted:

    • 1080p
    • 120 hz refresh rate
    • built-in Internet connectability
    • right size for my office
    • right brand — either Samsung or LG

    It was also

    • the top-rated 32-inch TV in the most recent issue of Consumer Reports
    • regularly $900, but on sale for $600 — about $200-$400 less than comparable models, and since I had $240 in Best Buy gift cards, my out-of-pocket cost was $360
    • the max resolution that my Mac Mini can support, allowing me to use it as a computer monitor, too

    The one thing it wasn’t was in stock. I didn’t want the shelf display model, so I placed a special order and Best Buy said a new one wouldn’t be in until December 27th. And that’s where the story gets interesting…. Continue Reading…


    Official: Thanksgiving is Dead

    November 22, 2010

    turkey-knifeFrom the Wall Street Journal today:

    “… an increasing number of stores are getting a jump on the Friday shopping hordes by opening on Thanksgiving. Some retailers say they are offering a convenience for shoppers who want to beat the madding crowds.”

    It was just about a year ago that I wrote this:

    Black Friday is Killing Thanksgiving

    That shows some Black Friday ads where the stores were opening at midnight Thursday night/Friday morning — as close as you could get to Thanksgiving without actually being Thanksgiving. I said this:

    “Thanksgiving — the holiday itself — is becoming an afterthought. Black Friday is killing it, and quick.”

    Well, now the WSJ says Sears is gonna open from 7:00 am to Noon on Thanksgiving. KMart will be open from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm. Old Navy, Gap, and Banana Republic will also have stores open on Thanksgiving. And there are others, too.

    And my promise is this: The McGee family won’t spend a dime at any of them between now and the end of 2010. Obviously not a big deal to anyone’s bottom line, but sometimes you gotta put your money where your mouth is.

    (photo courtesy NathanF via Creative Commons)


    December: The Craziest Month of All

    December 8, 2009

    boxesEvery year around this time, I wonder what the mailman is thinking. And the UPS delivery guy/gal. And the FedEx person, too. Because every year at this time, our house has to be one of the busiest stops on their routes. This picture, for example, is just a sample of what was delivered to our house today. Two more boxes came after I took this shot.

    We had four deliveries in all. Just today. I’m expecting more tomorrow, and some later in the week. We had deliveries on three separate days last week.

    Does the mailman think we’re shopaholics? Does he think we’re bad parents that spoil our kids and buy them everything they want? Does he think we have no self-control?

    None of the above is true! But we have two darn good reasons that there are so many deliveries and packages arriving in December:

    1. In addition to Christmas, both of our kids have birthdays in December.
    2. The kids’ grandparents ask us to do their shopping for them, and then they send money to cover whatever gifts we bought the kids on their behalf. We shop for my parents, Cari’s mom, and Cari’s step-mom.

    So not only do we have triple the amount of gift-giving occasions to shop for this month, but we also do the shopping of four times the number of family members. That’s like … what? … 1,200% more gift-buying that we have to do than the normal family that has just one holiday and shops only for their own gift-giving? (Something like that. My math is rusty.)

    Maybe one of these days I’ll put a sign on the front door explaining this so that the delivery people can understand why they’re constantly bringing gifts to the house in December. It’s the craziest month of the year around here.


    Black Friday is Killing Thanksgiving

    November 27, 2009

    It used to be that Black Friday sales started at 7:00 am the day after Thanksgiving. Then stores started opening at 6:00 am. Then it was 5:00 am for a few years, and then some started opening at 4:00 am in the last year or two.

    This year, some stores at the Columbia Center Mall opened at 3:00 am. But no one beat Toys-R-Us, which opened the minute that Thanksgiving was over.


    How’d you like to be one of the employees there? You probably had to show up for work 4-5 hours early to start setting up for the crowd. So much for Thanksgiving evening with the family.

    What’s next? Stores opening at 11 pm Thanksgiving night? 9 pm?

    Meanwhile, I noticed a lot of online retailers didn’t even bother waiting for Black Friday. They were pimping big “Thanksgiving Day-only” sales online, maybe hoping to get shoppers to spend a lot of money in a turkey-induced haze.

    Thanksgiving — the holiday itself — is becoming an afterthought. Black Friday is killing it, and quick.

    But we did our best to celebrate it this year. Our good friend Tassoula came to visit and enjoy a great Cari-cooked meal with us. Dee-licious!

    Thanksgiving Dinner

    Hope you had a great Thanksgiving, too!


    Oooooh. ‘The Kingdom’ on Blu-Ray

    March 11, 2009

    Longtime readers (AKA, my family) will remember me raving about The Kingdom last year — it’s one of my all-time favorite movies. Cari even watched it a couple weeks ago and also loved it. So there. 🙂

    Anyhoo … got an Amazon alert today about a huge Blu-Ray DVD sale they have going on, and whaddya know? They have The Kingdom for only $14.49 – nice! There’s also Iron Man, LOST Season 4, Ratatouille, and lots of others. This is way tempting.

    amazon sale