The Chronic Consumer

I buy things — all the time!

Favorite Department Stores

harrods.jpg Although I do much of my shopping online these days because of the better prices that are available, I still visit malls and department stores quite a bit. Some of these stores are more fun to shop at than others, so I wanted to take a few moments to list my five favorites here (along with some of the reasons that I like them so much):

1. Nordstrom — They have a massive shoe department, a live piano player, and all the hottest brands. What’s not to love?

2. Carson Pirie Scott — They have a good selection of brand-name products that are actually affordable, so I end up buying a lot of stuff from here (particularly shoes and watches).

3. Kohl’s — I don’t think I’ve ever been to Kohl’s when they weren’t having a sale! This is a great place to buy kids clothing since it’s so cheap, and their Sonoma clothing line is a lot nicer/longer-lasting than the similarly priced Faded Glory brand from Wal-Mart.

4. Harrods — Ok, so I’ve only been there once, but it was still an amazing experience. They had the biggest food court I’ve ever seen, and every floor was filled with incredible merchandise that I loved to look at. Plus, I just loved using their luxurious restrooms. What other department stores can boast of solid gold bathroom faucets?

5. Marshall Field’s/Macy’s — Things haven’t quite been the same since the name change, but I still like shopping here well enough. At least the Frango Mints have survived.

X-Files on Sale!

I was browsing through Amazon.com earlier today trying to figure out which DVD box sets to purchase next. I was thinking I’d get the first three seasons of House, and then maybe grab an old ’80s series like Family Ties or The Facts of Life.

But then I saw that The X-Files: The Ultimate Collection is on sale for just $164.99 — which is a mind-boggling 50% off the regular Amazon price — and I knew I couldn’t pass it up. So I went ahead and took the plunge.

This set comes with every single X-Files episode ever made, plus the theatrical film (Fight the Future) and loads of extras/bonus features. There are 61 discs in all (wow!) and they come in a pretty cool collector’s box.

At a regular price of $329.98, there was no way I could ever justify buying the set. Now that it’s just half that, there was no way I could just let it go.

Anyway, as usual, I have no idea how Amazon.com’s pricing policy works, so who knows how long this deal will last. If you’re an X-Files fan and you’ve got the cash, you’ve got to buy this set ASAP!!!

Shopping for Lingerie

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It’s time to replenish my undergarment supply, so I visited a few different websites today to see what kinds of styles are popular now. At one site I went to, I noticed a page for corsets and decided to check it out. I mean, no one has worn a corset since Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind, right?

Wrong. Today’s corsets are much sexier than anything Scarlett ever got her hands on, but they apparently serve the same purpose: to make you look slimmer through the tummy and waist.

Hmm… I could definitely use something like that, so maybe I’ll throw one into my order!

Heinz 57 Sauce

heinz57.jpg I’m not the kind of person who can eat plain steaks. I have to have some kind of marinade or sauce on them, and would even go so far as to use ketchup if nothing else is available. My preference, however, is for Heinz 57 Sauce, which I like far more than A1 or other steak sauce brands.

I like the fact that Heinz 57 Sauce is thick and has a rich flavor. I cannot stand those watery, runny sauces that hardly add any taste at all. If I’m going to put something on my steak, I want the taste to be noticeable, know what I mean?

I’ve also been known to add a bit of Heinz 57 to my baked potato or dip my fries in there. Yes, the taste can get overpowering after a while, but as long as I don’t drench my food in it, Heinz 57 is great.

The only problem is that this stuff is pretty expensive. It’s nearly $5.00 for a 10oz. bottle, which is more than other brands charge. But I guess it’s worth it, since I can’t really eat steaks any other way now!

Super Sounds 3D Viewer

supersounds.jpg I bought one of those View-Master 3D Slide Viewers for my son a few months ago, and in my November 11 review of the product, I told you that he didn’t much care for the toy. He was amused by it for a few wekks, but after that, it was relegated to the bottom of his toy chest, and he hasn’t really touched it since.

Apparently, my mom missed that review, since she bought my son a similar toy for his birthday last month. She went with a slightly different version, though: the Super Sounds model that has the ability to play sound effects, music, and character voices.

The Super Sounds viewer comes with a demo reel with a few different pictures to give you a taste of what kind of other slides are available. For example, it had a dinosaur, Sponge Bob Squarepants, and a couple of other characters. This demo reel had a soundtrack as well, so it was possible to hear a few different sound effects along the way.

The Super Sounds viewer is supposed to play special reels that come with their own audio cartridges, but I guess my mom didn’t read the packaging too closely because she ended up buying extra reels that were intended for the regular 3D viewer. So while it’s still possible to see the pictures on the reels, it’s not as much fun without a soundtrack. Worse yet, the demo reel soundtrack plays while viewing standard reels, which is very jarring and discordant. (That’s obviously not the fault of the manufacturer; I’m just telling you of our own experiences.)

Anyway, I haven’t bothered to buy any actual Super Sounds reels and audio cartridges yet (mostly because my son hasn’t even asked), but I will likely do so soon. I just checked on Amazon.com and it looks like these are available for between $8-$9 each, and come with 3 picture reels (21 images in all) plus the soundtrack. That’s not a bad deal.

Overall, I think the Super Sounds 3D Viewer is a cute toy, and the soundtrack certainly spices up the viewing. Nevertheless, I still feel that this kind of thing is a bit simplistic for kids these days. I wish that wasn’t the case, but unfortunately, it is.

Canine Arthritis Products

My 12-year-old miniature Dachshund has been suffering from canine arthritis for about three months now. This started out as a problem with his hind legs, which really slowed him down and limited his mobility. The vet prescribed some meds for a while, and also recommended that I start feeding my dog special food meant for elderly canines.

But I soon realized that the medications and new food were just the tip of the iceberg as far as canine arthritis products were concerned. I discovered a bunch of other great items that would help my dog do many of the things that were becoming impossible thanks to his arthritis.

For example, there are special pet ramps and stair lifts that make getting into the car, on the couch, or up the stairs a lot easier; there are elevated feeding bowls that make mealtimes less stressful on the joints; and there are disposable diapers for those times when my dog is not able to make it to the backyard quickly enough.

I’ve got to say that it’s sad to see my little buddy age like this, but at least I know I’m doing everything I can to make him comfortable.

Odd Couple

If you’ve ever shopped at Amazon.com, then you probably notice how they try to push you into buying extra stuff by recommending an accessory or something at a discount price. For example, if you look at an iPod page, you’re likely to see a “Better Together” suggestion for a protective case. If you look at Season One of a TV show on DVD, the “Better Together” suggestion will likely be for Season Two.

However, sometimes the recommended add-ons make no sense at all. Today, I was looking at Cherry-flavored Vaseline Lip Therapy, and saw that the companion product suggested by Amazon.com was… corned beef!

How they made this connection, I’ll never know!! Take a look:

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Updated Wish List

Although I haven’t received official word yet, I’m 99% sure that my husband and I will qualify for one of those rebate checks that the government is planning to send out as part of a nationwide stimulus package.

That money would be very welcome right now, as there are plenty of things that we’d like to buy but simply can’t afford at this point. Assuming we do get a couple of checks, here’s what our Wish List would look like:

  • A new Sony VAIO TZ series notebook in pink (that would be sooo cool!)
  • A portable DVD player to replace the one that recently broke
  • A 2nd Gen iPod Nano (8GB)
  • A memory foam mattress so I can finally get a good night’s sleep
  • A family vacation to Disney World in Orlando
  • A new bedroom set for my son

I know that this stuff costs way more than the $1,200 we’re likely to receive, so obviously we can only get one or two of the smaller items from this list. But still… it’s just nice to dream about going on a big spending binge like this!