Sunday, November 27, 2011

To regift? Or not to regift?

I have been the recipient of my own gift twice in my lifetime. I'll never tell who or what (it's embarrassing when you've been caught!), but it happens. And to me, I find it humorous. Has that ever happened to you??

So, you just shopped your little heart out on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. And now we are upon the holiday shopping season in full force! But what if you received a gift, while super thoughtful and kind, just never was used? Or perhaps, isn't really something you care to keep?

I hate to admit it, but it happens. I once remember receiving something from a very special someone and thought to myself, "Really? You picked this out for me? I'll never use this." But immediately thought of someone ELSE who would enjoy it. So is it wrong to regift?
I'll simply say that it's become enough of a topic for National Regifting Day to exist on Thursday, December 15th. (I'm serious!) The idea around this day is that the 3rd Thursday of the month is often used for an office holiday party, and evidently 41% of us target coworkers for regifting.

What made me laugh even more is that MY OWN OFFICE is actually hosting a divisional holiday party this day! So, there's truth to it after all :) So maybe we should all regift with more courage and confidence (the recyclers of the world are cheering now!).

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Smart (phone) Shopping

I'll be the first to admit I can no longer live without my iPhone. Apple successfully brainwashed me into thinking my whole world must live in the palm of my hands. And in fact, when I upgraded to the new iOS5 software, I had several hours of trepidation when my contacts went suspiciously missing...but I digress...

Google, like all things Apple, are also ruling the world. And in my weekly reading on trends in fashion, shopping, etc. I came across the Google wallet concept (although a part of me remembers reading about this months ago...perhaps my "blogger" hat wasn't on at the time). In any case, let's share what this is all about:

You've seen those hand held devices some restaurants are using to allow servers to swipe a credit card in front of the consumer (to help address identity theft when a server takes your card out of your sight, perhaps copies the number, then brings it back to you). Well, in some ways, Google wallet goes one more step: Follow along...

Google made a mobile app where you can have your credit card info stored (secure? yes- but I understand your hesitation), and then at select locations where Google wallet is accepted, you simply tap your phone on the reader in the store, which then receives your credit card info to quickly pay for the item(s) of choice. Here's the trick, presently the app only supports two forms of cards: Citi Mastercard credit card or the Google prepaid card. And how do you know where you can use this little trick: check out the location search.

Ultimately, I'm thinking ahead a bit when it may support other major credit cards (I don't have a Citi MC) because imagine Black Friday shopping when all you have to do it tap a reader and be on your way...lines at the checkout vanish!

So, friends, as you venture out to do some shopping this week (don't forget Small Business Saturday!), may you also pause for a moment of gratitude for all you've been given. Even this little consumer appreciates the bigger picture-with my iPhone in hand of course. :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Layaway,,,Uh Oh

Have you noticed the onslaught of television commercials about layaway coming back? I have, and let me tell you, this is not a good sign for the current economic state, nor how people should be saving for their holiday shopping.

3 major stores, Walmart, K-mart and Sears, have all spent some serious advertising money to remind the public that you can buy all the holiday shananigans you want, (you should check out these links- it's almost impressive) but the trick about layaway is that you don't receive the item until you've made all the payments. You literally "lay" the item "away" until it's paid. Sounds smart?

Well, folks, I'm not so sure. I guess I get nervous when retailers know that the economy is so bad, that now we have to go back to paying for items in installments. No longer do we even have the credit or the cash on hand to be able to buy something. That doesn't seem to indicate economic recovery is on the rise...

And for some people, layaway may be the only feasible option to afford buying certain items for holiday gifts this year, but perhaps we should consider supporting Small Business Saturday on November 26th (oh the irony of this after we have gorged ourselves on Black Friday sales at the major retailers!).

It's one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year, so what would happen if we decided to support the small businesses instead of the megastores? I, for one, am taking the challenge :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

All Wrapped Up

Well, kids. It's getting cold. Case in point, last weekend the east coast got hammered with our first snowstorm (October 29th!) which resulted in a slew of power outages and damage across multiple states. Goodness, you know what that means...

It's COAT SEASON! Woohoo!

I'm back working a little retail for the holiday season, and I have been selling coats like crazy. Last night, I worked with these two women to find the most perfect coat. They hemmed and hawed about whether THIS was the year to finally quit spending money on coats that were "cute" but simply lacked the quality and warmth factor to sustain multiple winters. Lucky for me, I was armed with ample suggestions :)

So, if you're on the hunt for the winter coat you need, let me share a few tips:
  1. Buy quality: look for strong reinforced seaming and details that won't rip off, tear or pull
  2. Know what you wear underneath: I talk with women all the time about how they want a coat to "fit"- but realistically, they aren't considering how heavy of a top that may be worn under the coat. If you tend to wear heavy sweaters or layer a lot, buy a coat that gives you a little room in the arms and bodice.
  3. You don't have to pay a lot for a good coat, but yes, if you want a coat to last 10-15 years, you should pay a little more. Think price per wear!
  4. A few designers to look out for: Hilary Radley, Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, Guess and Laundry make a really great coat. If you are willing to spend more for one that may last longer, it's true- Burberry, Mackage, and Moncler will reign.

    How fabulous is this puffer coat? I'm obsessed :)