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economics

I had mentioned in a previous blog dated Nov. 12,2012 about the start of Black Friday sales in Canada.

Well, Canadian Black Friday sales are still going on as of today due to the need for smart economics on the part of Canadian retailers to ensure  that they can lure as much Canucks as they can from going to the US to spend their dollars for Christmas shopping.

In addition, since last year,the US has  slowly started opening most of their stores right on their Thanksgiving Day for Christmas shopping. I call it the  US Thanksgiving Day Sales.

In spite of protests from many folks,whether shoppers or retail employees about the audacity of opening the stores on their Thanksgiving Day and stating that it deprives them of spending time with loved ones in the comforts of home, well, tell that to the retailers and bargain hunting shoppers involved in this new shopping era.

One silver lining I see here is for the consumer to burn out their calories after gorging on their Thanksgiving feast by going to the stores for some serious shopping. They’ll need that extra fuel to muscle through the crowds. Better than a sleep coma and packing on the pounds,in my opinion.

In both Canada and the USA, the need to attain retail profit so as to stay in business has already become a necessary evil and the new normal. The consumer on the other hand wants to get as much out of their money as they can in light of today’s inflation.

One isn’t forced to shop if they don’t want to and even if one gets a great bargain, I still believe that one needs to use his head so as not to get the spending out of control. One needs to know how much one can spend and not spend just for the sake of a sale.

The needs versus wants come into play here prior to any purchase. It’s good to buy something as a treat or reward but it should also be controlled. Same with buying necessities(ex. groceries,toiletries,etc). Some essentials have expiration dates,you know. No use hoarding them if they become stale,worn-out,etc.

Happy shopping anyways in this jovial and festive season but do so with both your mind and heart in check.

Josie

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On my 9-13-12 blog , I mentioned about the last Canadian penny being minted on May 2012. Well, now the act of rounding up change when Canadian pennies are hardly in circulation has already started since Feb. 4,2013 .At this same time too, the Government of Canada has stopped distributing pennies.

Cashless or electronic transactions(credit cards,debit cards,etc) will not be affected. All the stores here in town have already posted how the rounding would be as based on federal guidelines:

Here’s an example of a simple dollar transaction with some cents involved in the rounding process:

ROUNDING DOWN:  $1.01 or $1.02    $1.00         ROUNDING UP: $1.03 OR $1.04    $1.05

$1.06 or $1.07    $1.05                                     $1.08 OR $1.09   $1.10

As for transactions ending in either 0 or 5, no rounding out made.

It’s a way of getting used to it, I guess but personally, I will miss the penny.

A penny for my thoughts indeed!

Josie

My local Zellers dept store(a Canadian mainstay) is closing its doors for good on March 14. As a result, it’s now on liquidation status with sale prices at an initial maximum of 60% off. Everything has to go, even the store fixings!
I had been there a few times since the start of the new year and it gets more interesting as certain depts gradually look more spacious as its respective store items get bought up. It then makes me wonder if by the time the store posts 90% off sale prices if there’s anything left to be sold at all. Most likely, you’ll only get slim pickings ‘coz all the good items would be gone by then.

My dictum in shopping during a closing-out sale is to buy what I need at discounted prices. Don’t buy something that you don’t need or want just because it’s on sale. Don’t think that the item that you want to buy would still stick around on the last liquidation sales week.

Be ready with the mindset that once you purchase a liquidation sale item that there’s no return nor exchange possible afterwards.

With that in mind, happy shopping!

BTW, my local Zellers will soon be converted to a Target store and will be open in December this year.

Josie

On 9/19/12, I wrote a blog about my views on this just concluded NHL lockout which spanned  a total 113 days,basically after the last Stanley Cup win in June 2012.

I’m quite glad that the lockout is now over but I’m quite sad and disgusted that all the collateral businesses tied to the NHL(National Hockey League) had been impacted economically from all this impasse. We’re talking hockey memorabilia stores,restaurants,hotels, sports bars,even the employees of all the arenas where all these hockey games are held. Spin-off economies are important for these places especially during the winter months when things slow down a bit after the Yuletide season.

As to how the coming days will go, it will depend on how the disinfranchised fans will feel if they’re still up to watching the NHL games again.

I strongly believe that the die-hard fans will go back to watching the games. Here in Canada, hockey is considered as a national sport and the Canucks will definitely watch again. As to the American hockey fans, I’m pretty sure that a certain percentage will support the league again but it still remains to be seen as to the actual percentage that will come out since in the U.S., there are a lot of alternative sports events to watch and hockey isn’t their national sport.

Whichever, better late than never and as the old adage goes,”Let the games begin!”

Now let us drop the puck!

Josie

The Canadian shopping scene is becoming more Americanized especially these past 2 years in my opinion. Proof is their coinciding with Black Friday sales in the United States. In my previous blogs, I had discussed about early Christmas mindset and shopping, even about the US Black Friday and now Black Thursday deals. Well, here in Canada, we don’t yet see the stampeding crowds grabbing the last sale item or the long overnight queues outside the stores. Black Friday in Canada is mainly about a barrage of sales not only on Black Friday but for the rest of the 3 day weekend in sync with the US Thanksgiving weekend. Some even make it a 4 day weekend to coincide with Black Thursday in the US.

With the recent increase of exemption limits of duty-free products that a Canuck can bring back from abroad,Canadian retailers are forced to compete with their American counterparts to try to keep the price-conscious Canucks from going down south of the border to spend their money to bolster the US economy instead of the Canadian economy.

But some experts think that all this Black Friday hype in Canada will eventually fizzle down. With the influx of some American retail stores already setting up shop here in Canada,bringing with them the same promotions and strategies that they show in the U.S., the need to go down south will die down to a degree.

Seriously, I doubt it and it remains to be seen how price regulation in Canada will continue. Even if an American store sets up shop here, if they’re going to be bound by  Canadian tax regulation similar to the Canadian stores, then it’ll still be expensive to shop at that American store which opened on Canadian soil.

Therefore,Canadian retail and taxation need to be evaluated further for any possible reform if they want to be at par with their American counterparts.

Today’s reality is that the Canuck will always look for the best deal whether here or outside Canada. Saving a few extra dollars will always take top priority as much as possible.

By the way, since today’s Saturday, it’s also known as Small Business Saturday wherein during this start of the Christmas shopping season, we’re being encouraged to support small and independently-owned stores(known as “mom and pop’ stores) by patronizing their business so as to boost the local economy. It emphasizes the need for small business owners to survive in this crucial time and not only the big box stores.

Happy shopping!

Josie

It all started last year by Walmart on US Thanksgiving Night. It opened its doors to the public at 10 pm to start the annual X’mas shopping season than on the usual Black Friday. It started as  a trial run to see how the public responded at the risk of stoking the ire of folks who treasure the sanctity of observing Thanksgiving Day.

Many Walmart employees had to modify their Thanksgiving  plans with family and friends so as to report to work while the rest of the populace had to decide whether to linger over their festive meal and personal time with family and friends or to leave their homes early so as to be among the first to get the greatest Thanksgiving bargains that they can on that auspicious night.

Well, it was a huge success for Walmart and it’s back again, together this time with other stores like Kmart,Sears,Target,the Gap and Toys-R-Us. In fact, days earlier, there were already long lines of people around these stores before today and even had plans to cook and eat their Thanksgiving meals right on the lineup. All for a great deal! My, oh, my! Such tenacity but I guess if one can and wants to do it, then so be it. To each his own. It’s a free country.

This is part of the new normal now–Black Thursday and is probably here to stay. Reason for its existence was for the retailer to grab early  the clientele from online retailers like Amazon,etc. but for sure, Amazon,et.al will find a way to outwit Walmart et al altogether. Talk about Ebenezer Scrooge not wanting to waste a day to make a profit!

It’s still a win-win for   the consumers since they’ll be bombarded with great sales prices considering the current worldwide economy right now.

Here in Canada,there’ll be Black Friday sales too but only because Canadian retailers don’t want us Canucks to go south for early X’mas shopping. Hmmm…there’s always online shopping with free shipping to boot. With the price of gas nowadays, it’s very important to take note of this.

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends as well as happy shopping too!

Josie

Twinkies, known as the”Golden Sponge Cake with Creamy Filling” was invented in 1930  by James Alexander Dewar, a baker for the Continental Baking Company. This iconic American snack cake got its name from a St. Louis billboard–“Twinkle Toe Shoes”.

I wonder what Mr. Dewar would think if he knew that years later, his baking invention would cause an uproar these past few days as well as panic buying,hoarding and even scalping at eBay .

Twinkie’s manufacturer Hostess Foods,Inc. which is also the maker of Wonder Bread,Ho-Hos,etc, had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in  January 2012, claiming that majority of their clientele have switched to healthy snacks. On Nov. 2012, it announced ceasing production of all Hostess Foods products especially after a current bakers’ strike at their plant had occurred due to grievances over pay and job benefit cuts.

In my opinion, I hope that another company would buy out Hostess Foods,Inc. so that the production of Twinkies and its counterparts would enjoy production longevity as well as continuing happiness for its American consumer fans. We can sometimes be emotionally attached to certain foods , you know, mon  ami especially if it evokes great memories.

To the  American Twinkies fan base, please take note….

Here in Canada, Twinkies are still being produced by  Vachon,Inc.,a subsidiary of Saputo Incorporated(a Montreal based company known for dairy especially cheese products). Vachon,Inc. owns the Canadian rights from Hostess Foods,therefore it isn’t affected by the impending closure of the U.S. plant.

So if you or any of your friends get a chance to drop by Canada, aside from getting a bottle of maple syrup, you might just also buy a box of Twinkies too.

I don’t know if there’s an actual Canadian online shopping website particularly for Twinkies purchases but I wouldn’t doubt if something would eventually come up by an enterprising soul in light of what has been happening with Hostess Foods–USA. The only other shopping website that I know is eBay.ca here in Canada but since it involves bidding, expect inflated pricing.

Bonjour!

Josie