Jan 17 2013

Talking Chain Stores & Big Boxes

Published by under The Shopping Blog

Let’s talk about chain stores & big box stores. Let’s begin with a bunch of questions for thought about the location of chains & big boxes. Chain establishments are sometimes inevitable. We all know that. We see that as we travel the country (and world). And most of us cannot avoid chains completely. (If you [...]

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Nov 30 2012

Hamilton Beach Single Serve Scoop Coffee Maker

Published by under Uncategorized

YouTube Preview Image

I don’t exactly know when or where it began, but somewhere along the lines, I started loving coffee. In high school, I could barely stand the smell of the freshly ground coffee beans that my mother would blend the night before an early morning departure for work. However, it was my freshman year of college at a school in New York City where I finally caved, (how could I resist while passing dozens upon dozens of opportunities to try it in a city that is certainly familiar with the product). I made the journey from mochas, to sugar and cream, to just milk, to black, and here I am now. Being a college student, I find it rather wasteful to brew an entire pot for myself only, so I’ve chosen the Hamilton Beach Single Serve Scoop Coffee Maker.

I do not own one of these currently, but I am certainly interested in purchasing one at some point down the road. Last year, however, I was able to use my roommates, and I fell in love with the product. This coffee maker uses 14-ounce scoops to hold ground beans and brew a single serving equivalent to either a travel mug size or a regular ceramic mug size, (depending on your preference). It brews the cup within ninety seconds, and it comes out hot, (not lukewarm). The product comes included with a mesh filter that eliminates the need for any paper filters. The coffee tastes delicious and keeps its flavor. Two added perks are that it’s quiet as it’s brewing and it automatically shuts off after each use. This product was awarded the “2012 Good Housekeeping Very Innovative Products (VIP) Award” by Good Housekeeping Research Institute. It can be purchased on Amazon.com for $59.00, Walmart for $49.96, Sears for $59.99, and Overstock.com for $25.95.

Currently, my roommates and I use a Keurig for all of our coffee needs. I, personally, am not as fond of the taste or quality of the coffee brewed by the product. The K-cups seem wasteful to me, and the coffee comes out tasting rather stale. Even the bolder blends that I purchase taste more like a regular, sub-par cups of coffee. With the Single Serve Scoop Coffee Maker, I am able to have more freedom as to what coffee I use. Sometimes the Keurig comes out only slightly hot, and it takes no time at all to become cool. The Scoop Coffee Maker seems to retain the heat for longer. It certainly costs less up front and in the long run, I believe. Keurigs are sold for as much as $160.00 and as little as $99.95.

Overall, I’d say that while no single serve coffee maker is going to provide the best quality, the Hamilton Beach Single Serve Scoop Coffee Maker certainly does a fantastic job. It is an inexpensive and higher quality alternative to the popularized Keurig machines, and it is a convenient and simple solution for a single college student to get their daily coffee fix.

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Nov 29 2012

NIV Study Bible

Published by under The Shopping Blog

When I was trying to figure out what to present on, and what I feel is important to me, as well as being beneficial to all.  I figured it out, but I know the controversy that revolves around this particular item that I hold dearly because it has saved my life.  I present to you the Holy Bible, and to be more specific the NIV Study Bible (New International Version) version Bible.  Now I will not say that the NIV version is the most accurate to the original translation, but it’s the version that I have come to appreciate the most.  The reason why I prefer the NIV Study Bible is because it is easier to read, the commentaries, and the maps.

According to Christian Business Association, the NIV has become the most popular translation in history, which was originally published in the 1970s.  “The initial vision for the project was provided by a single individual- an engineer working with General Electric in Seattle by the name of Howard Long.”  Long was originally a King James Version carrier, but realize the translation of the King James is written in Old English, so it can be more difficult to comprehend.  For 10 years King advocated the vision he had, and then finally in 1965 a group of Biblical Scholar came together in Palos Heights, Illinois and agreed to create a Bible that can be easier to comprehend.

The NIV Bible can be purchased in any bookstore, online, and any store that sales book (Wal-Mart and Target).  Lifeway Christian Bookstore and Family Christian store has the biggest selection; with editions available for children, teenagers, young adults, gender specific and even big print for those that have weak eye sight.  The can find the NIV Bible as low as $1.99 (online) up to over $100, it just depends on your preference.  The NIV is also available on CD, MP3, and there are apps available for smart phones.  You can even go on-line and find it for free.  You can also find free apps for your smart phones and tablet devices.

As I mention before, I chose the NIV Study Bible, because of the impact that it has had in my life, and I feel that it can have the same impact on anyone else that reads it.  Plus, when you hear about all the controversy that revolves around the Bible, you can pick it up yourself or look it up online and decide for yourself.

http://youtu.be/1IAhDGYlpqY[/youtube]

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Nov 29 2012

NIV Study Bible

Published by under The Shopping Blog

When I was trying to figure out what to present on, and what I feel is important to me, as well as being beneficial to all.  I figured it out, but I know the controversy that revolves around this particular item that I hold dearly because it has saved my life.  I present to you the Holy Bible, and to be more specific the NIV Study Bible (New International Version) version Bible.  Now I will not say that the NIV version is the most accurate to the original translation, but it’s the version that I have come to appreciate the most.  The reason why I prefer the NIV Study Bible is because it is easier to read, the commentaries, and the maps.

According to Christian Business Association, the NIV has become the most popular translation in history, which was originally published in the 1970s.  “The initial vision for the project was provided by a single individual- an engineer working with General Electric in Seattle by the name of Howard Long.”  Long was originally a King James Version carrier, but realize the translation of the King James is written in Old English, so it can be more difficult to comprehend.  For 10 years King advocated the vision he had, and then finally in 1965 a group of Biblical Scholar came together in Palos Heights, Illinois and agreed to create a Bible that can be easier to comprehend.

The NIV Bible can be purchased in any bookstore, online, and any store that sales book (Wal-Mart and Target).  Lifeway Christian Bookstore and Family Christian store has the biggest selection; with editions available for children, teenagers, young adults, gender specific and even big print for those that have weak eye sight.  The can find the NIV Bible as low as $1.99 (online) up to over $100, it just depends on your preference.  The NIV is also available on CD, MP3, and there are apps available for smart phones.  You can even go on-line and find it for free.  You can also find free apps for your smart phones and tablet devices.

As I mention before, I chose the NIV Study Bible, because of the impact that it has had in my life, and I feel that it can have the same impact on anyone else that reads it.  Plus, when you hear about all the controversy that revolves around the Bible, you can pick it up yourself or look it up online and decide for yourself.

http://youtu.be/1IAhDGYlpqY[/youtube]

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Nov 29 2012

Feeling Pale? Find the Glow

Published by under The Shopping Blog

If you are anything like me, you lost your summer glow around the second month of school, and by now any trace of a summer tan is completely gone. I get extremely pale in the winter and my mom has even compared me to, “that girl from Twilight.” It does not bother me all the time, but for certain events or when I begin to really notice how white I am, I look for solutions. For events like prom and homecoming dances I used to buy a week membership at a tanning salon, but that got costly quickly and is very bad for your skin. I have gotten burned a few times and it is absolutely miserable.  I tried a designer tanning lotion, but it left me looking orange, streaky and broke. Eventually, a friend recommended, “Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer.” It works like lotion and gradually tans your skin overtime.  I went to CVS to buy my first bottle two years ago and it was around eight dollars. Since then I have purchased this product during the winter and use it after showers and until people say, “you look tan.” I stop applying the lotion at that point because I do not want it to be noticeable I just want the glow. Jergens can be purchased from CVS, Wal-Mart, and Target and online for around eight dollars. The cheapest option appears to be Walgreen’s for 6.99.  The only downside is the smell. It does not actually smell bad like other lotions have been said too, but it does have a recognizable scent.  I think that it fades throughout the day and is strongest when first applied. I think that this is a great product if you are looking for a little color during these darker months!

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Nov 29 2012

Feeling Pale? Find the Glow

Published by under The Shopping Blog

If you are anything like me, you lost your summer glow around the second month of school, and by now any trace of a summer tan is completely gone. I get extremely pale in the winter and my mom has even compared me to, “that girl from Twilight.” It does not bother me all the time, but for certain events or when I begin to really notice how white I am, I look for solutions. For events like prom and homecoming dances I used to buy a week membership at a tanning salon, but that got costly quickly and is very bad for your skin. I have gotten burned a few times and it is absolutely miserable.  I tried a designer tanning lotion, but it left me looking orange, streaky and broke. Eventually, a friend recommended, “Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer.” It works like lotion and gradually tans your skin overtime.  I went to CVS to buy my first bottle two years ago and it was around eight dollars. Since then I have purchased this product during the winter and use it after showers and until people say, “you look tan.” I stop applying the lotion at that point because I do not want it to be noticeable I just want the glow. Jergens can be purchased from CVS, Wal-Mart, and Target and online for around eight dollars. The cheapest option appears to be Walgreen’s for 6.99.  The only downside is the smell. It does not actually smell bad like other lotions have been said too, but it does have a recognizable scent.  I think that it fades throughout the day and is strongest when first applied. I think that this is a great product if you are looking for a little color during these darker months!

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Nov 28 2012

SmartWool Socks

Published by under The Shopping Blog

It is that time of year when the days become shorter, nights are longer, and the temperature drops drastically with the winter weather. A commodity that I have found to be very useful is the SmartWool Hiking Medium Crew cut sock.  It is a sock that is made out mainly wool, with some spandex and elastic for comfort.  The sock for me is both very comfortable and keeps my feet very warm throughout the day.  I prefer the medium crew cut because I like to wear boots, and the socks come up and cover the bottom half of my leg.

SmartWool is a company that is based out of Colorado, situated in the heart of the Rocky Mountains.  There mission statement states that the company produces products so that the buyer can have a more comfortable and longer experience outdoors during the colder months of the year.  SmartWool strives to bring the best product to table, that is why they use wool from Merino sheep that live in New Zealand. The wool provided by these sheep passes the IWTO (International Wool Textile Organization) for superior wool, both in pure white color and strength of the fibers.  SmartWool has many products for both women and men, but the socks are one of the most comfortable things I own.  SmartWool pre-washes all of their socks before they are put out into the market.  This guarantees the customer will have a clean sock at the time of purchase.

The SmartWool website directly sells their socks to the customer.  They are listed as: “This all-purpose three-season outdoor sock was designed for rugged day hikes or moderate backpacking.  Arch brace holds the sock in place and adds additional support.  Flat-knit toe seam keeps you comfortable”  The price is 18.95 and you can pick from gray, sage, navy, or dark brown.  They are offered in three sizes, M, L, and XL.

On the Gander Mountain website the same sock is listed for 17.99, almost a dollar cheaper than the SmartWool website.  You can buy the same sizes on this website, but you can not buy the sage color.  These socks are advertised as “Backpacker Magazine’s Editor’s Choice Award” and “Resists odor-causing bacteria”.  This is a good advertising scheme because wool does have a tendency to become foul smelling.

On the Cabela’s website the sock is available for 18.99, which is almost the same price as the SmartWool website.  You can still get the sock in all three sizes, but you can not get them in sage or gray.  Cabela’s does give a different description about the sock, “a hydrophobic interior and hydrophyllic surface that transfer and repel moisture away from the skin…let the fabric regulate your temperature, whether it’s hot or cold.”  I can tell you this, if you wear these socks in the summer, the wool does not keep them cool.

In conclusion, if your feet are cold during the winter months then you should buy some SmartWool socks.  You can wear them under your boots when you go out, and use them as slippers when you return home.  For a modest $20 you can have a pair of socks that are made in the USA, keep your feet warm, and are stylish.  And if you do not like your socks you may return them for your money back, that is the SmartWool guarantee.  (Regular wear and tear does not apply)

 

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Nov 28 2012

SmartWool Socks

Published by under The Shopping Blog

It is that time of year when the days become shorter, nights are longer, and the temperature drops drastically with the winter weather. A commodity that I have found to be very useful is the SmartWool Hiking Medium Crew cut sock.  It is a sock that is made out mainly wool, with some spandex and elastic for comfort.  The sock for me is both very comfortable and keeps my feet very warm throughout the day.  I prefer the medium crew cut because I like to wear boots, and the socks come up and cover the bottom half of my leg.

SmartWool is a company that is based out of Colorado, situated in the heart of the Rocky Mountains.  There mission statement states that the company produces products so that the buyer can have a more comfortable and longer experience outdoors during the colder months of the year.  SmartWool strives to bring the best product to table, that is why they use wool from Merino sheep that live in New Zealand. The wool provided by these sheep passes the IWTO (International Wool Textile Organization) for superior wool, both in pure white color and strength of the fibers.  SmartWool has many products for both women and men, but the socks are one of the most comfortable things I own.  SmartWool pre-washes all of their socks before they are put out into the market.  This guarantees the customer will have a clean sock at the time of purchase.

The SmartWool website directly sells their socks to the customer.  They are listed as: “This all-purpose three-season outdoor sock was designed for rugged day hikes or moderate backpacking.  Arch brace holds the sock in place and adds additional support.  Flat-knit toe seam keeps you comfortable”  The price is 18.95 and you can pick from gray, sage, navy, or dark brown.  They are offered in three sizes, M, L, and XL.

On the Gander Mountain website the same sock is listed for 17.99, almost a dollar cheaper than the SmartWool website.  You can buy the same sizes on this website, but you can not buy the sage color.  These socks are advertised as “Backpacker Magazine’s Editor’s Choice Award” and “Resists odor-causing bacteria”.  This is a good advertising scheme because wool does have a tendency to become foul smelling.

On the Cabela’s website the sock is available for 18.99, which is almost the same price as the SmartWool website.  You can still get the sock in all three sizes, but you can not get them in sage or gray.  Cabela’s does give a different description about the sock, “a hydrophobic interior and hydrophyllic surface that transfer and repel moisture away from the skin…let the fabric regulate your temperature, whether it’s hot or cold.”  I can tell you this, if you wear these socks in the summer, the wool does not keep them cool.

In conclusion, if your feet are cold during the winter months then you should buy some SmartWool socks.  You can wear them under your boots when you go out, and use them as slippers when you return home.  For a modest $20 you can have a pair of socks that are made in the USA, keep your feet warm, and are stylish.  And if you do not like your socks you may return them for your money back, that is the SmartWool guarantee.  (Regular wear and tear does not apply)

 

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Nov 27 2012

Bringing our Readings Together This Semester

Published by under Uncategorized

There was a lot of news in the past few days–in part because of the beginning of the holiday shopping season–that are relevant to our class discussions and readings.  See the links below:

Practice of Reciprocity

Wal-Mart and Fire in Bangladesh

Wal-Mart and Workers

Facebook and Privacy

 Small Business Saturday on Facebook and Small Business Administration’s Website on Small Business Saturday

This was from last year, but I thought that it might be thought provoking in regards to Plentitude:

Compassionate Consumerism

I have assigned Duane Elgin’s work in the past at the end of the semester, which has had a similar response as our discussion of Plentitude.  See the following:

Duane Elgin

 

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Nov 20 2012

Jingle bells, jingle bells, shopping all the day.

Published by under Uncategorized

I visited the Spotsylvania Town Center, known colloquially as the Spotsy Mall, on November 16th at about 9:30 AM. My first stop was Starbucks, and the absolute first thing I noticed was the mall walkers, ladies who were speed-walking the inner corridors of the mall for exercise in a safe, air-conditioned environment. Made me wish I’d worn my workout gear! I grabbed some breakfast and spent a good while just observing Starbucks; at the early hour, most shops were closed except for food service locations like Wendy’s and the aforementioned coffee hub. The customers in the shop were mostly women with small children (and a few males, but mostly mothers) and older couples who looked to be about retiree age. There were almost no people my age or of middle-age, as it was a school and work day (Friday). There was a mix of races and genders that seemed about appropriate; there were a few more women than men, but I’m not surprised—women are more infamous for shopping, and childcare, so I expected to see a number of stay-at-home moms out for a day with their kids at the stores, and that’s actually sort of what was reflected in the mall itself. In fact, the mall seemed to have that same theory in mind, and there were a number of child friendly areas, such as a bank of electric ride toys, a playground type area, and a Santa photo op. The weather was pretty chilly, less than 50 degrees as far as I could tell, so it’s interesting to think that maybe parents bring their kids to the mall to grab a bite and play instead of taking them out where it might be colder and more uncomfortable on a playground. Also, mall security and cameras might contribute to a feeling of safety for parents of young children. Anyways, the mall is accessible to these parents and all customers by means of driving—clearly popular, due to the massive and extensive parking lots that ringed the entire complex—and the Fredericksburg bus system, or the Fred. You can also take a cab, but walking is pretty much out because the shopping complex is on that main road. I’m sure that some manage it, but I wouldn’t risk it myself. As far as I could tell, retail goods were delivered by truck on those same roads, and employees travelled in the same manner as customers. I am curious, however, as to whether or not they get separate parking.
One thing I noticed about the stores I visited, whether they were aimed at teens (like Hot Topic) or adults, like Costco, is that all of the stores in the mall were set up similarly. Clearance racks were shoved all the way in the back, whereas the window displays or fronts of the storefronts were filled with beautiful, attractive goods. Everywhere, sales signs shimmered, making it seem like the world could be yours for a low, low cost. However, once you saw the initial sales, you got drawn into the store, towards more and more expensive items. This was particularly noticeable in a dress shop that I didn’t catch the name of; I was drawn in by dresses promised to be under ten dollars—not ordinary dresses, but beautiful prom-like gowns. As I perused them, I moved further and further into the store until suddenly the price tags were showing not 10 dollars anymore, but 50, 100, and then 450 dollars. They really got me, and it only occurred to me to notice because I was trying to notice stuff like that; if I were just a regular customer, I don’t think I would have noticed the advertising technique and selling pattern at work there. Another consistency was that in all of the shops—no matter how cheap, like the little kiosks selling toys or games or expensive, like the diamond jewelry stores—whenever you passed by or entered, you were immediately greeted or welcomed by one or two clerks. A great deal of personal attention was paid to the consumer, making them feel special and taken care of. Interaction with the consumers seemed to be highly encouraged; I remember from a brief summer stint working in a mall restaurant, we were always, always told to wave and smile at and greet customers walking by, because you never knew when you could snag a sale.
I’d never visited this mall before, but I’ve been to Costco multiple times with my dad, and it really shocked me how identical the locations are. Malls, and Costcos too, are built around the cookie-cutter premise; find something that works and then repeat ad infinitum in every location possible, never mind what kind of small business you have to shove out of the way. It’s a real shame.
By the way, all stores have this thing where they play Christmas music in November. It’s actually pretty horrible. I have to say, I hate malls; the competing stores with their fragrances and colors, sights and sounds, the music and the smell of food, children running and crying, people on cell phones pushing and shoving… the atmosphere is always far too stimulating to me, and has too many variables that set me on edge. I never feel comfortable in that kind of atmosphere, because it’s built on this big, wide, open floor plan to maximize space for customers. However, it feels very cramped, because every square inch is stuffed with either goods for sale, ads and sales for those products, or the people buying them. It’s way overstimulating and I always end up feeling claustrophobic.
That’s a reminder that the mall, though it purports to be a public space, really isn’t meant for everyone. It’s meant for people who are there to buy, and people who are trying to sell—whether that means shoving samples in your face, or calling to you from every side like it’s some kind of street fair. And yet, the mall has the authority as a private collection of shops; if they want to kick you out, they can, and it’s not like a public park where you have a right to just hang out there. It’s not a casual atmosphere, no matter what the little lounge areas try to pretend. It’s a market—a harsh and fast-paced one. After this class, I’ll definitely never forget that when I enter the local town center.

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