The Chronic Consumer

I buy things — all the time!

Time for shades!

Now that were into Daylight Savings Time, summer is just around the corner. Part of gearing up for summer means making sure you have a good pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful UV light. My husband broke his last year, so he needs some new ones. I was looking around and saw this pair of ray ban RB3030 on sale for a decent price. My husband likes this style and even I think he would look good in them. Maybe I’ll buy these sunglasses soon and surprise him sometime!

Newan’s Own Ranch Dressing

I love ranch dressing, and had heard many good things about the Newman’s Own brand. As you might know, this is a line of food products started by the late actor Paul Newman, with 100 percent of proceeds going to charity. The brand has been around for many, many years, but I had never tried anything from them before.

For some reason, I decided to grab a bottle of Newman’s Own Ranch instead of my usual Hidden Valley the last time I needed to replenish my supply. I had high hopes for Newman’s Own, but actually ended up not liking it too much. I can’t really put my finger on what it is that bothers me about this dressing. It’s as though it tastes too creamy or something like that. It has a bit of a strange aftertaste that is definitely noticeable compared to Hidden Valley.

Anyway, the dressing is still edible and I plan to use the whole bottle. I like the fact that all of my money is going to charity, but that’s not really enough to make me want to buy Newman’s Own Ranch again. I’m open to trying other products from that company, but I think I’ll stick to Hidden Valley when it comes to ranch dressing!

Common Financial Scams

Consumer Reports has published another article about common financial and retail scams that people need to be aware of. It’s important to read up on this stuff from time to time as con artists are always changing their methods in an effort to stay a step ahead of the game. Sure, most of this sounds like common sense to people who are computer and Internet savvy, but I know a lot of older folks that would fall for these ruses.

Anyway, just be aware of what’s happening out there!

Retail Self-Service

Here’s an interesting article from the Chicago Tribune about how automated vending machines and such are replacing human workers in retail environments. Vending machines aren’t just for sodas and chips anymore. Now, you can buy everything from gold coins to iPods from a machine instead of having to deal with a human.

I like the idea of automating some processes, but I can’t see myself buying an expensive piece of electronic equipment from a machine without first being thoroughly familiar with the manufacturer and the the product in question. So an iPod would be okay because I’m relatively certain of Apple’s quality, but if t was something I had no experience with? Forget it!

Smoking Cessation

I think today is Ash Wednesday, which means it’s the first day of Lent. (Sorry if that’s wrong, but I’m not exactly a religious person!) Anyway, I know a lot of people “give something up” for 40 days during this season. Back when I was in high school, I remember friends abstaining from things like chocolate chip cookies, french fries, and Coke. Now, I’m more likely to hear of adults trying to give up something like smoking. One of my co-workers mentioned this last week, and I made a passing comment about switching to an electronic cigarette. He could buy the device along with some menthol flavored nicotine liquid cartridges and get his “fix” without inhaling all that damaging smoke into his body. He could even downgrade to flavors with 0 nicotine once he was ready to do so.

I know how thrilled I was when I finally quit smoking. It was such a liberating feeling to not have my day dictated by smoke breaks! I just hope Bob can get over his habit like I did.

Costco cheaper than Amazon

A New York Times writer named Ron Lieber recently did a comparison between Costco and Amazon on a basket of common household items such as diapers, laundry detergent, razor blades, batteries, and more. According to his experiment, purchasing the items at Costco cost $208, while purchasing the same items in the same quantities through Amazon cost $251. The difference can mostly be attributed to shipping charges, particularly for heavy items such as laundry soap.

Interestingly, Lieber points out that trips to Costco can end up costing more anyway because you will be tempted to make more impulse purchases when you’re at a physical store versus shopping online. That makes sense, and then when you add in the gas and time you spend driving to and from Costco, walking through the mammoth warehouse to pick up your items, and then standing in line, the difference between the two stores shrinks a bit more.

I personally prefer shopping online, and know that I have to pay for the convenience. But honestly, I cannot stand pushing through the crowds that are always, ALWAYS at Costco.

Street Hockey Goal

I’m trying to get my son interested in floor/street hockey right now. That’s something I grew up playing, and I know I always had a blast doing it, so I at least want my son to try. It’s better than having him sit in front of the TV playing video games all day long!

Anyway, I’m currently trying to buy some equipment, including this nice Mylec goal that I saw online. The thing is about $80, which isn’t bad considering how sturdy it is. I wonder if I should just buy a couple of sticks and a puck first and let my son shoot at the garage door before spending this much cash on something he might get tired of in two days. Oh, well — if he doesn’t take to hockey, I guess I can just shoot the puck around by myself!

Tomahawk Logo Tee

It’s been ages since I’ve purchased any Blackhawks gear (nothing this season, anyway), so I was browsing through the Wrigleyville Sports website to see what’s available. I saw this Tomahawk Logo tee, which I think is very cool! I’d love to get it, but it’s $30, which is quite steep for a t-shirt. I mean, that’s Abercrombie and Hollister territory, ya know? I’m kind of tired of paying so much money on pro sports gear, so I’m going to hold off on this for a while. I’ll add the item to my Wish List, but I doubt I’ll make a move on it unless it goes on sale!