Category — Shopping roulette

Buying dishes is half the battle

Having received a 10% off coupon from Crate & Barrel, I thought that now would be the right time to replace my 20 year old stoneware and flatware.  (Actually, the right time probably would have been three years ago, but a little thing called the recession got in the way.  So what if little stoneware chips took a journey through my intestines.)

Early this afternoon, I drove over to Crate & Barrel to find the dishes that I am likely to be eating off of for the next two decades.   I find a beautiful pattern with an artisan flair.  After selecting a service for eight, I add some companion serving pieces.

Next, I move over to flatware section.  Who knew there was so much to learn about 18/8 and 18/10 stainless steel.  Which is really a combination of nickel and chromium.  They might as well have hung a periodic table over the flatware section.  By the time, I added eight matching butter knives to the order, I knew I was venturing into table setting overkill.  (Mercifully, the pattern did not have a fish knife option.)

Clearly I was exhibiting signs of Crate & Barrel addiction.

Even with that awareness, I couldn’t stop with just dishes and flatware.   I mean, seriously.  Don’t new dishes deserve new placements and napkins?

When they brought out a trolley to transport my purchases to my car, I knew the line had been crossed.  More like obliterated.

Delabeling, washing and storing awaits.

By the time I brought this little stash home, I had chewed through three hours of my life.   And here everything sits until I clear out the old dishes from the cupboards and remove 96 price labels.

Yes, I counted.

And no, I didn’t buy the water at Crate & Barrel.  It finally saw an opportunity to escape from the trunk of my car along with the dishes. (The water hid behind the bread plates and smuggled itself out.)

Yeah, bread plates.  So sue me.

April 29, 2012   Comments Off on Buying dishes is half the battle

Coupons. My new crack.

Okay before I hear some huge cyber gasp that I’ve suddenly become an uncool extreme coupon clipping maniac, may I respectfully suggest that you chill the hell down.

I do not have time to sit there and rummage through pages and pages of newspaper coupons.  Plus, I’m not into getting ink on my fingers and the inevitable carpel tunnel from cutting all them out.

But here is what I am into.  A handful of major ass coupons that come my way that are irresistible.  May I share with you the recent influx of coupon crack that has come my way.

10% off an entire Crate & Barrel purchase.  Okay, so now I can finally justify buying new everyday stoneware and flatware.  (My current set was purchased during the Paleolithic Era.  Definitely time to replace it.)

25% of a CVS purchase.  Okay, so get this.  You know things are going to go down in a serious way when you actually reach for a shopping cart at a drug store.  As I’m throwing things in the shopping cart, I notice they’ve got a special on suntan products.  If you buy $25 worth of Neutrogena suncare, you’ll get a $10 coupon for a future purchase when you check out.  Also, last time I was there they had given me a $5 coupon on a specific brand of eyedrops.  Oh, yeah, and another $4 coupon, just ’cause they love me.

What started off as something in the $130 ish range, ended up at about $80 when it was all said and done.

The next day, a new 20% off coupon from CVS appeared in my inbox.   Clearly, CVS is my new crack dealer.

Then today, we used a $10 off of a $50 purchase from Dominick’s grocery store.  (The weird thing about that is that dairy products could not count toward the $50.  WTF?!  Apparently it’s some vendetta against cows.)

Bed, Bath & Beyond.  They always have either 20% off or $5 coupons.  And the great thing about them is that even if the coupon is expired, they will still accept it!

So, Rantopolis readers, what kind of awesome coupons have you gotten lately?  Share, please.

April 19, 2012   Comments Off on Coupons. My new crack.

The dangers of a $20 coupon

It’s not often you open your email to find a $20 coupon.  To get that much off, you are usually required to spend a couple hundred bucks.

The good news?  All I needed to spend was $40 to get $20 off!  The bad news?  It was at Ace Hardware and unfortunately, I seldom need forty bucks worth of wing nuts and spackle.  More bad news. Anything already on sale wouldn’t count.

But, hey…it’s 20 free bucks, so I figure it was worth a trip.

So, first place I look is the aisle with the paper products.  Damn!  Kleenex, which I actually needed, was already on sale.  There goes my idea of walking out with 10 boxes.  (Okay, so I’m a hoarder.  You got a problem with that?)

Next brilliant idea was a new step stool.  I walk over to the ladder section.  I then discover that Ace only stocks step stools that weigh as much as anvils.  Seriously, what is up with that.  Pass!

Then I go over to the housewares section.  Ahh…a four cup Pyrex measuring cap.  Who doesn’t need one of those?!  Into the cart it goes.

At the end of the aisle are large refill bottles of Windex.  Yup, yup.  That works.

Then I spot one of those flat rubbery things that you use to open jars with.  Throw that sucker in the cart.

By now, what’s in my cart already has exceeded twenty bucks.  But I still need another $20 in order to use the coupon.

And then I spot the solution to all of my problems.  A small crock pot for $21.99.  I think to myself, I can use this to make soups, stews and other good stuff.  Plus, it’s only going to cost me about $2.  When the hell am I ever going to be able to get a crock pot for $2?!

This was my genius of an idea yesterday.  Here is where the crock pot is today.

I may need to ebay this sucker.

Top shelf of the coat closet next to the 1970s Polaroid camera and ski headbands (last used during the Reagan Administration).  This shelf is like a possessions hospice. I believe objects go here to die.

Dear Crock Pot, we hardly knew ye.

April 8, 2012   Comments Off on The dangers of a $20 coupon

My encounter with Edward Eyeglasshands

Here’s the thing about me.  I’m kind of a time freak.  I’m always punctual and expect others to be as well.  (Here are a few of the excuses I accept, only if accompanied by a polygraph test or certified check.)

1.  I was abducted by a pterodactyl.

2.  I had to do a segment on CNN due to breaking news.

3.  I will give you a large some of money to make up for my tardiness.

Now that we’ve got that established, here’s what transpired a couple of hours ago.

Here's the one thing I like about Sarah Palin. Her Kawasaki glasses.

I took a walk a few blocks down down to Michigan Ave. to have a small adjustment made to my eyeglasses.  (For what I paid for these, they should have come over to my house and fixed them while making me dinner.)

I walk into their boutique on Oak St. from which they were purchased and was promptly directed to their second store a few blocks away in the Bloomingdale building.  Apparently repair person extraordinaire, Edward Eyeglasshands, could be found in location B.

I make my way over to the second building, and up the escalator to the fifth floor.  There, Edward’s assistant tells me that if I return in 20 minutes, my glasses will be ready for pick up.

Okay, fine.  20 minutes, is more than reasonable.  I will meander around the shops in the indoor mall killing time while Mr. Eyeglasshands lovingly (or so, I hope) makes the little adjustments.

A little while later, the alarm on my iPhone goes off signaling that the 20 minutes were up.  (I told you I was a time freak.)  I return to the store all business-y ready to snatch my glasses and head home.  The assistant looks up and says, “May I help you?”

Really?!  You just talked to me twenty minutes ago.  I thought we had a moment.  Apparently you were in a trance.

Me:  Um, yeah.  I was here 20 minutes ago.  You told me to come back in 20 minutes [time freak] to pick up my glasses, so here I am.

Her:  Oh, has it been 20 minutes?

Me:  (inaudibly)  No, it’s really only been three minutes.  I’m just fuckin’ with ya.

Yes, it’s been 20 minutes.  22 minutes actually.  I set the timer on my iPhone.

(inaudibly)  I totally know they hate people [time freaks] like me.  Sorry, but if you tell me 20 minutes, you damn well have my shit ready.

Then Edward Eyeglasshands, himself, makes an appearance.

Him:  M’am.  Could you fill out this form?

Me:  (inaudibly)  I didn’t realize this was the IRS.  Form…WTF?

Him:  We’ll call you when the glasses are ready.

Me: (inadudibly)  Oh, no…he  didn’t!!!!  I’m about to go medieval on his ass.

Sorry, but that’s not going to work for me.  Your assistant said 20 minutes.  I came back 22 minutes later and they are not ready.  So now I need to know how much longer.

Him:  Why don’t you give me another hour?

Me: (inadudibly)  Or why don’t I just beat you with my eyeglass case until blood starts spurting out of your eyeballs.

Again, that isn’t going to work.  Had I known that this was going to turn into an hour and a half project, I would have seen a movie, gone home or done something else.  You are going to have to do better than that.

Him:  Wait. Are these your glasses?

(He holds up a mangled pair of men’s Tag Hauer glasses that look like they came out of the wrong side of an encounter with the running of the bulls at Pamplona.)

Me:  No, last time I checked, I’m pretty sure I’m female.

Him:  Ohhhh…these are your glasses!  (Finally holding up the correct pair.)  Oh, these….these I can have done in 5 minutes.

Me:  Okay, now that’s more like it.  (WTF, was it absolutely necessary for me to have a brain aneurysm for you to figure out which glasses were mine?)

Him:  While I’m working on these, let me give you a few tips.  First, never put your glasses on top of your head. 

(Yeah, no problem. Never do.  I figured out when I was pretty young that my hair doesn’t need vision assistance.)

Secondly, always remove your glasses with two hands, grabbing the frame at both corners. 

(Okay, I’ll try to remember that one.  Not making any promises, though.)

Thirdly don’t tuck one of the temple pieces into your shirt.

(No problem.  I’m pretty sure that my boobs don’t need vision assistance, either.)

Him:  Okay, so here are your glasses.  And we’d like to give you some free eyeglass cleaner.  And feel free to bring back the empty bottle and we’ll refill it for you.  Oh, also, come back every three months for an adjustment.

Me: (inaudibly)  I guess his meds just kicked in.  If I stand here long enough, he might starting throwing free frames at me.

Thanks very much.  See, now I’m happy.  (And it only took 32 minutes.)

July 16, 2011   3 Comments

Rampant retail folditis disease

So listen.  I’ve had enough.

What is it with retail clerks who apparently have a brain disease which prevents them from properly folding clothes before putting them in a bag?

I know it’s not just me, sisters and brothers.  (Can I hear an amen?)

How many times have you gotten home only to find that your brand new dress or shirt had been more or less wadded up into a ball before being placed into your shopping bag?

Again, I say…what is with these people?!

Seriously.  It’s not like we are having an economic explosion right now.  Usually, there isn’t even anyone in the line behind you.

Would it kill retail people to actually take five more seconds to actually fold the item neatly.  I mean, it usually has creases in it that you could actually follow.   Kind of like a folding paint by numbers.  You would only have to burn through…say, maybe five I.Q. points to execute.

Take this pair of pants which I purchased over the weekend,  for example.

Special crotch wrinkles compliments of Ann Taylor's outlet staff. Lucky me.

Note the neatly pressed vertical creases the manufacturer created.  Also note the horizontal wrinkles that the retail staff thought it would be a great fashion accessory.

I’m middle aged.  Trust me when I tell you, I don’t need additional wrinkles anywhere on my body.

Conversely, over the weekend I watched a clerk at Macy’s lovingly wrap two boxes of women’s Jockey underwear in tissue.  I was so moved, I nearly cried.

So, here’s your warning retail peeps.  If you see me coming, do not even think of doing that pinwheel rolling folding thing with my clothes.

If there is a shred of tissue paper within a 30 mile radius of your counter I expect you to get your hands on it.  I also expect you to lovingly fold my garment along its pre-existing crease marks.  Not the ones you are about to create because you are too busy chatting with your coworker about last night’s date.

Departure from this protocol will necessitate a chat with your manager and a serious negotiation for a further discount.

Oh, and while I’m add it.  Could you please make sure your dressing rooms don’t look like a Greyhound Bus station restroom?

July 7, 2011   1 Comment

Whole Foods horder

It’s official.  I’m turning into my mother.

It became apparent when I returned from this week’s trip to Whole Foods.  I discovered that I was inadvertently building a food bunker. The third box of cereal was the tipping point.

Senility or hording? Take your pick.

How the hell did you not remember that you already had an entire cereal warehouse on the shelf already?!

Sigh. I think it’s safe to say I won’t have to buy another box of cereal until after Memorial Day.

Then I discover that cereal isn’t my only problem.  I’ve got doppelganger preserves and Kashi Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies.   (Your honor, I deserve a hall pass on the Truvia.  It was on sale.  Who can resist a duplicate box of sweet powdered plant stuff?)

While we are at it, also ignore the stash of paper towels and the six boxes of Kleenex right behind the cereal.  Everyone knows it’s against the Bible according to Costco, not to buy multiples.

And this is precisely the moment that I realized that I am turning into my mother.  On the bright side, if there is a war, I’m totally covered.  She’s got enough back up supplies in her apartment that we would easily survive an atomic blast.   The stash of bar soap alone would neutralize any radiation that would come our way.

As for food, I’m guessing we could easily outlast a half-year siege.  Those cult survivalists don’t have anything on her.  (She’d even figure out a way to bake shrapnel into a tasty treat.)

Still, I now have to become a little more vigilant.  What starts with a few extra boxes of cereal can very easily spiral down to rinsing out baggies and hanging them up with clothespins to dry before reusing.

After that, the only thing left  before hitting bottom is saving pieces of aluminum foil, string and twist-ties for reuse.

Oh, man.  My future just flashed in front of me and I’m pretty it includes a coupon caddy.

Just smother me with one of those previously-used baggies right now.

April 14, 2011   Comments Off on Whole Foods horder

Random Sunday shopping encounters

Having spent most of the day on paperwork, at 4 pm it was time to venture outdoors to deal with yet another light bulb saga. (You may recall my prior light bulb confessional. There doesn’t seem to be an end to my bad light bulb karma.)

I'm starting to think candles are the way to go.

The tale started with this burned out 75 watt flood lamp which I had put on the kitchen counter.  This is what happened when I lightly brushed against it.  So much for taking it with me.  Oh joy.  I love sweeping tiny glass shards.

To maximize my chance of finding what I need, I decide to go to Home Depot to find a replacement.  While there, I pick up a few other things.  The cashier happened to be near the exit.  The security guard who typically asks you for your receipt as you leave, was standing 10 feet away, watching me the whole time.  Since his eyes hadn’t left me, I figure it’s pretty safe to put the receipt away.  I’m in front of him in three steps, continuing my stride toward the door.  He stops me.

Miss, can I see your receipt?

Seriously?!  You’ve been watching me the whole time.  You saw the entire transaction.  You watched me pay.  The only thing that I could have possibly stolen was some air between the cash register and you.  And last time I checked, I’m pretty sure air is free.

Okay.  You can leave.  Have a nice day.

You’re an idiot (said under my breath).

Such a deal

Next up was a quick stop at Whole Foods to pick up some calcium with Vitamin D.  Now, I’m a big Whole Foods fan, but we know that shopping there takes a big chunk out of the shopping budget. There’s a reason why the place is nicknamed Whole Paycheck. Here’s what happened when I went to the pay for the bottle.

Cashier (with a stunned look on her face):  Wow!  You were able to get that huge bottle for only $14.00?!

Me: Yeah, I know right?!

Cashier (attempting to correct herself):  Oh, I’m sorry.  What I meant to say, we always offer good value here  at Whole Foods.

I burst out laughing. Huge belly laugh, in which she joined me.  Good thing it wasn’t the bottle of omega 3-6-9 flaxseed oil.  You need to sell a kidney for that.

Home Depot:  0      Whole Foods: 1

Next was a quick stop at the local CVS.  It happens to be in the middle of the bar scene in Chicago.  I walk by one of the newer establishments and find this:

Writer wannabe?

Okay, I’ve seen a lot of signs in the windows of bars and restaurants, but this was wordier than most.  For example, in the Florida Keys you often find “shoes and shirt mandatory.”  It amuses me that someone what even think of entering a bar without either, but whatever.

But, due to the length, I’m thinking that the person who wrote this must be a frustrated writer.  Somewhere in the back room, I’m guessing are a few more pages:

We expect you to be well groomed, no frayed or torn jeans, no baggy pants, caps have to be worn with the brim forward.  There will be no spitting, swearing or fighting.

Be nice to your parents, don’t cheat on your boyfriend or girlfriend, be punctual at work,  prepare your taxes honestly and tip your doorman.

Don’t wear white after Labor Day, if you step on a crack, you’ll break your mama’s back and brush your teeth after every meal.

Thanks Hemingway.

That was my weekend shopping excitement.  Would love to hear about yours.

March 27, 2011   Comments Off on Random Sunday shopping encounters