With the recent Target store  security info breach from credit/debit card use during last year’s Black Friday sales week in the U.S. and the discovery of an alleged Russian mob responsible for such a cybercrime, it’s perhaps time for the U.S. companies to adopt the European method of enforcing credit/debit card security, even if it’ll be a little costly to implement.

Here in Canada, the adoption of embedded microchip in both credit/debit cards is also used in Europe. It involves slipping the microchip side of the card to a slot in the card reader upon cashier checkout and typing in one’s PIN after which the transaction is finalized.

No more need for magnetic swiping nor written signatures. In case, you lose your card and someone picks it up, that person if he’s dishonest will not be able to use it unless the PIN was written on the card. Believe me,there are  some folks who are too lazy to use even 1% of their brain cells to memorize their PIN. If they make it a habit to memorize it,it’ll be like doing it automatically,like brushing teeth for example.

Of course,if I happen to be in the U.S.,using my Canadian credit card would involve using the magnetic strip since the U.S. card readers are only programmed for magnetic strips being swiped upon  cashier checkout.

It’s something to seriously consider to thwarting all those sophisticated card hackers. That magnetic strip behind our cards contains all our personal info.

If all security precautions are uniformly implemented worldwide,there’ll be much less security breaches.


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.


I had said it before in my previous blogs regarding mass shootings and the need for  gun control/regulations. It will happen again and so far, one area considered as a ‘soft’ target had already been ground zero for yet another mass shootout.

The soft target this time is in a shopping mall called the Westgate Mall,located in Nairobi,Kenya. This happened last Saturday and it took a while ,in fact,only yesterday I believe for the authorities to get the volatile situation under control. Considering that there were numerous and unidentified Somali men involved as the perpetuators and all  the uncertainty , chaos and sudden nature of the shootout, it was a delicate balance on trying to get the guilty parties and to save the lives of any victims,even possible hostages.

So far, several theories and discussions had come out regarding the gunmen and the trail of terror that ensued as well as the debate for more shopping mall security.

Considering that the Christmas shopping season will be upon us soon,perhaps,mall security is something worth looking into

. Frankly though, I feel that enforcing  100 % mall security will be a long stretch since physical logistics may become unrealistically obtainable.

We as the consumers need to be hypervigilant during our shopping trips and report anything suspicious to the mall security staff or call 911 if necessary.

Shopping mall shootouts had already happened here in North America . In my 12-12-12 blog, I mentioned the shootout  in the U.S.,at the Clackamas Center in Portland ,Oregon,the Westroads Mall in Omaha,Nebraska and in Canada, the Toronto Eaton Centre Mall in Toronto,Ontario.

However,bear in mind.that in all these 3 malls, it usually involved only 1 gunman in each case.

For someone like me who loves to shop, this latest mall shootout makes me realize that this is the new normal now to shop not only for great deals but also to look out for any signs of danger and to act accordingly within the realms of the law.

The pleasure of shopping has been taken to a new level now and to think that it’s not enough to be wary of pickpocketers. Now,, we have to be wary of gunmen!



On my 11-18-12 blog, I had discussed the near extinction of the Twinkie since it had halted production last year and here in Canada, Twinkies are still being produced as we speak. I also mentioned in that blog that it’s just a matter of time until a new buyer will come in and resume Twinkies production in the U.S.

Well, that reality is coming on July 15,2013  as the return of the Twinkie or in other words, the Second Coming of the Twinkie.

This means that all those online sellers of the Twinkie can just reassess their business situation. No use convincing U.S. prospective buyers to cater to your business since the Twinkie will return on July 15. These online sellers can still survive if their buyers are outside both the U.S. and Canada.

As the new punchline goes, it’s the sweetest comeback ever!



With the advent of online shopping, most merchandisers release(usually by email) upon finalizing every online order, a tracking number for the customer to trace/track their impending parcel containing their particular purchases.

I feel that it serves 3 purposes:

First, it gives the customer the name of the shipper/courier  that will send us our parcel.

Second, it gives the customer an idea as to when their parcel will arrive and will plan their day ahead of time. It eliminates the aspect of the unknown as to when the parcel will be shipped to them as well as its impending arrival. If necessary, one might need to delegate someone to sign and receive the package on your behalf. In some cases, one might have to inform the shipper/courier about this so that it can be noted under special instructions.

Third, it eliminates time and effort on the merchandiser to track the parcel for the customer.

I really consider parcel tracking numbers as a god-send in my opinion.

Just food for thought!



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!


I’m very aware that it already happened in the U.S. when all TV sets must go digital in their cable channels from the analog versions. Things take a while in Canada for that to happen but it finally did.

After initial announcements 2 years ago regarding this, my subscribing cable company is finally going to do it on Feb. 18,2013 as the ultimate deadline.  By that time, all those subscribers with tube TVs, LCD and plasma TVs have to have a digital adapter attached to it so as to continue getting streamlined cable channels but in digital form. Also, in addition to that, all those TVs aforementioned have no attached cable box , meaning no subscription to extra fancy cable package,just basic cable.

I got my  digital adapter and remote control set last month but only started to do it just now especially with the looming deadline ahead. They have already started in the Toronto area with regards to the digital switching  and it’s only a matter of time before they get to my city here. It can happen anytime this month or next month so it’s best to be prepared and not get caught off-guard in  case some of my cable TV channels suddenly disappear or get switched to other channels altogether.

I was so proud of myself(being somewhat mechanically challenged) that I was able to set up the digital adapter to my old tube-TV but the tricky part was deciphering its TV code so as to coordinate with the adapter and the TV set. Luckily, I didn’t have to go through it fully since it was clear that I needed to retain my old remote just to turn off and on my TV and use the new remote for all other cable TV functions. Reason was that my TV model was considered very old (12 yr model is considered old already?)

One thing for sure. If my old tube one day is no longer in service, the next TV will be one that I don’t have to put an adapter on. It’s similar to a pacemaker that you implant so as to regulate the heart rate. In this case, the adapter now controls the TV’s overall function.

With so many TV models out there(all flat TVs), nowadays, getting one at a good price should be an adventure unlike before when a few models were initially out and pricier too!

Just my 2 cents on this matter. Check with your local cable company regarding this if it’ll affect you too very soon.