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Shopping

This time of year, most stores extend their shopping hours so that the public will have more time and not feel rushed when doing their Christmas shopping . It enables the harried shoppers to plan their shopping time at their own flexible pace and not feel that they hadn’t accomplished a lot in shopping for everybody  on their annual holiday gift list.

The stores benefit too from this since it gives the stores hope that a shopper will come back again and again to their store at their  own convenient time to buy more stuff. Good for the store’s bottom line,you know.

Take advantage of this,mon ami. It won’t last long. The next time that the store hours will be extended again is in  the  next Christmas shopping season.

Happy Shopping!

Josie

As if one would have already felt shopped-out in preparation for Christmas, here comes the retailers with an offer which is very hard to refuse—FREE SHIPPING.  When shopping online, getting a great bargain would appear to be magnified when you can get an item with less hassle and which would arrive at your doorstep or mailbox without any additional delivery/shipping costs. This would be helpful too if you’re sending the gift directly to the recipient’s address. Considering the price of gasoline nowadays and especially if one doesn’t have a car, this free shipping option is too good not to be ignored.

Finally, do not buy something just for the sake of free shipping. I mean by buying any item that you don’t really need or want at all isn’t worth it even if it comes with a free shipping incentive. It’ll just be a waste of money and you’ll just have a dose of buyer’s remorse, mon ami.

In light of this, it has been an annual U.S. event every December 17 which is almost 1 week before Christmas. Retailers look at this as an opportunity to boost their yearly revenue by enticing more online ordering, also adding extra perks like no minimum required purchase as well as online discount coupon codes as the case may be.

By the way, Canada already had its Free Shipping Day just this past December 12.

Happy shopping!

Josie

It used to be that one can get everything their heart’s desire by going through a thick sales catalogue like the Sears Wish Book for example. Nowadays in this high-tech era when everything can be found within seconds by tapping on the computer keyboard, virtual online stores are the norm nowadays.

Examples would be Amazon, Home Shopping Network,LL Bean,Lands’ End, QVC,The Shopping Channel(only in Canada), the well-known dept stores like Walmart,Sears,Saks,Neiman Marcus,JC Penney,etc. which have also on-site or physical stores .

For the avid collector or someone who just wants to acquire that rare or hard-to-find item  whether it’s a missing copy of a book in a book series of a certain author ,CD or DVD series for example, the virtual online store I think that one should try is Amazon.com(U.S.) or Amazon.ca(Canada). I swear that you can find almost everything when you go to Amazon for that virtual search ranging from kitchen,bedding,fashion,electronics,book,music to fashion accessories. And their prices are much lower than what other retailers are offering. Shipping costs are relatively much lower as well and an incentive of free shipping is there if one pays for any order(s) with a minimum purchase price of $25(excluding sales tax).

After confirming, paying  and completing your  online order by the click of a mouse, one just waits for it to arrive to you either via the postman or courier driver.

Online shopping is really here to stay and why shouldn’t it? It doesn’t really guarantee that if you go into a store branch that the item you want is really there.It’ll be a waste of your time,money and gas if that really happened. It probably is only available through their main warehouse which in turn would mean going online to hunt it down.

Just my 2 cents’ worth on this subject.

Happy shopping!

Josie

Nothing’s sacred anymore,not even in this Yuletide season. Yesterday,around 3:30 pm PST, a mass shootout occurred at the Clackamas Town Center in a suburban area near Portland,Oregon called Happy Valley. This time of year, it’s expected that the shopping mall is full of people going about their usual Christmas shopping.

Initial and conflicting reports stated that a man  entered throught the back doors of the mall’s Macy’s Dept. Store ,wearing either body armor or camouflage and even a hockey mask,carrying either a semi-automatic rifle, AK-47 or,machine gun, jogging along inside that store and going out into the adjoining mall food court. Several people had seen him and a few thought that it was just a dressup costume until he began shooting around near  the food court area multiple times, some say as much as 20 rounds, making a lot of folks realize that he was carrying a real weapon. Many people began to panic and  began running from the mall. Others(customers and mall employees) who couldn’t get out, stayed hidden inside their respective stores for their safety. Several people were believed to be shot.

Upon the first news conference, the police said that it was a lone gunman responsible and was “neutralized” meaning killed, upon further clarification from the press. Another 2 fatalities were initially transferred to a nearby hospital. It wasn’t determined yet if those people were  mall employees or customers. Same with 1 individual with serious physical ,unspecifed injury enroute to a hospital as well.

Ongoing investigations have yet to determine if it’s terrorism- related or not. Both the Oregon State police and SWAT team have already secured the entire shopping mall as a crime scene. Around 10 ambulances are already on the scene ,building up triages for the possible wounded. For sure, they’ll look into the mall security cameras for any new info that they can use in their investigation.

Police already announced that more updates will be announced in the next news conference scheduled for today at 6: 30 AM PST.

This incident reminded me of  2  similar  shootouts,one which occurred here in Toronto,Ontario,Canada just this past May at the Toronto  Eaton Centre Mall food court and the other, on Dec. 2007 at the Von Maur Dept. Store in the Westroads Mall in Omaha,Nebraska.

As I had said time and time again, gun use regulation vs. gun control discussions will be ongoing. At the rate , this year of 2012,with so many shootouts happening , something really should be done! It’s as if no one has learned from all these horrible incidents.

WAKE UP,PEOPLE!

Josie

Going out to the malls to avail of the greatest deals especially with this hyped-up start of the Christmas shopping season needs a great deal of preparation. Not only do you have to be up to date of incoming deals through flyers, online messages and even deal apps on your phone, you also have to be physically and mentally prepared for it as if you’re going to war.

I’m not exaggerating when I mean that one has to prepare as if going to war when planning a shopping trip of this magnitude. You got to be physically strong,perhaps know a little judo or karate to fend off rude shopping competitors lest you get trampled on and mentally prepared to spring into action when someone else tries to outwit you on the latest sales and be prepared for any unusual surprises along the way which would lessen your shock. Believe me,mon ami, sometimes a good sale can bring out the worst in people almost to the fringe of insanity IMO.

This type of shopping experience is  definitely not for the fainthearted.

As they say,forewarned is forearmed. Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

Keep this in mind and happy shopping!

Josie

For the faint-hearted ,crowd phobic and what-not who think that shopping inside a store isn’t their cup of tea, there’s always online shopping with free shipping to boot if possible. Let your fingers do the clicking on the keyboard at the comfort of your home or workspace if applicable.

Shopping through paper catalogues is still around but because big sales from these aren’t frequent unless it’s a big sales catalogue, online shopping is the way to go since sales are always present to a certain degree.

Cyber Monday has already been kept up here in Canada as well especially these past 3 years. It’s no longer an American shopping pasttime. Getting more bang for your buck is the main priority. As soon as you see something you want at a great price online, do not dither because if you do, it’ll be gone,sold out to the next buyer or the sale price brought back to its original retail price. Remember, you’re competing with other buyers for the same thing. The cyberworld is really small if you think about it,mon ami.

Just make sure that you go only to reputable websites because the last thing you’d want is to surrender sensitive credit card info to unscrupulous dealers. Check your computer screen for the yellow padlock, https and other security icons which tell you that a website is safe to be surfed.

Happy shopping!

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

I believe that if you’re mentally prepared to face anything and expect all the pros and cons that will come with it,then nothing should surprise anyone.

Case in point is  about how the aura of Christmas is settling in much earlier now these past few years. My 10/25/12 blog(Christmas Stuff and Mindset is Around Earlier These Days….) says it all.

Well,here in Canada, usually it’s socially permissible for the stores to start sprucing up their retail spaces with a lot of holly and cheer so to speak right after Remembrance Day(November 11). Sometimes, Christmas songs will be played by this time as well. Reason is that the folks here thought that it would be disrespectful to the war vets if we start taking Christmas so seriously just because their special day.

With the way our economy is going though, the appearance of Christmas stuff in stores even right after Labor Day for profit’s sake is our new reality now. We shouldn’t be shocked anymore with this, IMO.

At least the line was drawn in terms of when to  play Christmas songs. Anytime after Remembrance Day for sure or else, it’ll be a very serious social faux pas, mon ami.

I was in a store right after Remembrance Day and could feel the Christmas aura already. This will go on definitely until New Year’s Day.

Overall, I think it’s still a cultural norm. In the Philippines for example, they observe the longest Christmas season in the world starting September 1st and ending Three King’s Day(Within the 1st week of January of the following new year). They even play Christmas songs right at Day One and they’re a predominantly Roman Catholic country. I doubt the Catholic churches have already cried sacrilege at all these past years! Again, it’s a cultural norm as I still see it.

Anyhow, happy shopping and hopefully you’ll get your Christmas shopping list all completed early so as to have more  time to enjoy the rest of the holiday season with your family and friends. That’s what the spirit of Christmas is really all about.,mon ami.

Bonjour!

Josie