Category: Shopping

Boxing Day Rehab


Over the years I’ve become quite the shopaholic. I have a penchant for finding great deals and never pay full price for anything I buy.

But after mulling over my credit card statements and finding it increasingly difficult to make a Christmas list for myself (since I have everything I “need”), I decided to take it easy on the Boxing Day shopping this year.

When I was you get I used to round up a few of my friends and we’d wake up at sunrise to head to brave the shopping mall crowds. But with the increasing popularity of online shopping, and the barrage of deals that are available through merchants even before the 26th of December, it’s become much easier to shop from home.

Not only is it more convenient to shop from the comfort of your home, you avoid the crowds, are able to get more sleep, and you’re able to multitask so to speak via several open browser windows. This year all I purchased for Boxing Day was a couple of DVDs and an electric can opener for my mother from Best Buy. But it took me 5 minutes to do (not including the 17 minute checkout wait time as the site was bogged down with other online shoppers, but at least my browser didn’t crash), and my purchases will be shipped straight to my door (free shipping).

Now I understand that shopping online may have some disadvantages: purchasing clothing and shoes can be a pain if you’re not sure of the sizing. But many stores (eg. Old Navy, The Bay) have an excellent return/exchange policy. When I had to return some clothes to the aforementioned stores, all I had to do was go into the store and show the cashier my shipping receipt and I got a full refund.

What I’ve found about Boxing Day “deals” recently, is that they don’t really compare to the discounts that I’d see in previous years. Sure there are still some great deals (more than 50% off in some cases), but with the addition on Black Friday to the Canadian market in recent years, Boxing Day doesn’t seem to add up much.

In attempts to compete with their American counterparts and keep consumers in our side of the border, a lot of Canadian-based retailers offer Black Friday/Cyber Monday discounts the weekend of American Thanksgiving. This year I scored a lot of great deals on items and actually bought more that weekend (The Body Shop and Adidas had a huge sale), than I did on Boxing Day (in which most online sales began December 24th at 8pm).

That being said, now that my credit cards have gotten a workout, they need to go back in hibernation for the next little while.

Guess Who’s Back (and with a Schticky)


Vince Offer, better known as the man who brought you the ShamWow and the Slap Chop (and later arrested for allegedly punching a prostitute), is back with a new infomercial. It’s the Schticky, a sheetless, reusable lint roller.

Got to love the usual one-liners and double entendres, like “Problem with that shedding pussy? Pick up cat hair from clothes!” There’s even an homage to his 1999 arrest in the recent infomercial.

I guess anyone can make a comeback…

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Germy Garments: Make sure you wash and wear


Over my holiday break I decided to make use of the post boxing-day sales and headed over to the local shopping mall. I noticed that Victoria’s Secret was having a really good sale, so I walked in and started rummaging through their nice selection of bras that they had organized in various bins near the front of the store.

The store was pretty busy. While looking to see whether my size was was hidden in one of the other bins, I heard a loud sneeze from beside me. I look over and there’s this woman cupping a bra in her hands. Then I heard the windup for yet another sneeze emitting from said lady. I used my peripherals and witnessed her sneeze directly into the bra she was holding.

Oh, but wait… she wasn’t done. Three loud, sinus clogged, sneezes later she continued to sneeze into the bra she was holding, as if the 34B was a hanker-chief and the cups were collecting her germ-ridden sternutations.

I watched in horror as she completed her sneeze-fit and placed the bra back in the bin.

Needless to say, if I didn’t already wash my intimates before I wear them, I’d be making damn sure that I do so now. Makes me shudder to think that just the previous week I was in the Victoria’s Secret fitting room trying on bras before I bought them. Especially for ladies, make sure you wash your intimates before you wear them the first time.

And if a sneeze-filled bra wasn’t a scary thought, I just came upon a report that was published a few years ago by Good Morning America discussing how exactly clean new clothes are when you buy them. Washing new clothes or running them though a hot dryer was one of the suggestions to get rid of possible bacteria.

Think about the type of people (like Sneezy McSneezerson up there) that may be trying on the same clothes off the rack before you purchase the same item. Keep that hand sanitizer handy, shoppers!

10 Boxing Day Shopping Tips


Sometimes it feels as if you really do need a pair of boxing gloves when you’re out tackling the crowds on Boxing Day: a shopper’s dream holiday in many of the major cities here in Canada.

I’ve taken on the annual Boxing Day shopping tradition for years now, even before it became legal in Toronto for stores to open their doors on this official statuatory holiday. Over the years my shopping decisions have been honed, and I have come up with some strategies that have made Boxing Day shopping a lot less stressful for me.

  1. Be the Early Bird
    • This is the first and most crucial tip. If you don’t want to be battling for parking spots, stuck in traffic, or feeling like a fish swimming upstream, you need to wake up early in time to get all the benefits. You need to also keep in mind that some stores run out of stock of those door-crasher items fairly quickly. I guarantee you as soon as 10am start to roll around, the line-ups outside the stores start forming to prevent overcrowding in the store. Malls in major Ontario cities usually open by 8am on Boxing Day; big-box stores like Futureshop as early as 6am. So in order to plan your day out right, try to be there at least 30 minutes before store opening.
  2. Make Your List and Check it Twice
    • Check out bargain-hunting websites like for early flyer leaks. If you’re able to get a gander at a flyer from a store you would like to visit on Boxing Day, go through it and find the things that you need (but most likely just want) to buy. Compare your list with items from other stores so that you’re able to get the best price possible. Then plan out which stores you need to visit based on this list and priority of the item. Try your best to research your purchases beforehand–just because something is cheap, doesn’t mean that it’s worth your money. Think quality and check out reviews on the item, sites like or will be a big help as long as you know the model number of the item you’re planning to buy.
  3. Wear the right clothing.
    • Ladies, I am telling you this for a reason. You do not want to be stuck in a mall for 4+ hours wearing 3″ stiletto heels–wear some comfortable flats or runners. And please don’t dress up to go shopping like you’re going out clubbing, because you’re going to be uncomfortable wearing those jeans that are a size-too-small just so that they can show your “assets”. You need to be comfortable. Wear some thick leggings, a tank top and a light sweater. This will make trying on clothing in the change rooms (or even out of the change rooms) so much easier.
    • And remember: You’re going to be in an area crowded with people. This means lots of body heat. Even though it may be -10 outside, try to leave the jacket in the car, or in the mall’s coat check (it’s going to be heavy carrying 10lbs of down feather around).
  4. Bring Cash and Stay on Budget
    • I know it is so much more easier to swipe that plastic, but having cash means quicker transactions (some stores offer “cash-only” lines for check-out), and you don’t have to wait for people who forget their PINs or could’ve sworn they deposited that cheque last week. Cash will also help you stay on budget, because once you’re out, your’re out. Just make sure you keep it secure among the crowds.
  5. Take Public Transit
    • I know taking the crowded and oh-so-reliable TTC with bags of purchased goods doesn’t seem too appealing, but at least this way you don’t have to worry about drive-stalking people in the Yorkdale parking lot, hoping that they’re headed to their car to leave (only to find out they’re dropping off their bags and ready for round two of shopping). Finding a parking spot (especially at Yorkdale) is a nightmare… not to mention the road range you have to deal with during those moments. Sometimes it’s best to save yourself the hassle.
  6. Don’t go alone
    • Boxing Day shopping with friends is so much more convenient and fun. When you’re out shopping with friends, one can hold a spot for you in that super-long line up while you pick up some last minute things, the other can text you about an unadvertised sale that’s happening in another store on the other end of the mall, another can make sure your staying on budget and not buying more than you can afford, and best of all: you all can relax and unwind for a late lunch after all the shopping is done. If there’s more than two of you going (e.g. an even number like 4), I would say split up and the pairs can meet up at a pre-determined place and time later (you cover more ground this way). And if just the two of you, stick together as much as possible so that you don’t get lost in the crowds.
  7. Watch Your Bag
    • Keeping in mind all the crowds to need to make sure that your valuables are secure. One of the easiest ways to do this (esp. for ladies) is making sure that you’re carrying the right purse: an over-the-shoulder or sling bag will be your best friend. You’re hands will be free to rummage through the racks, and be close at hand from others. Men, be careful how far out that wallet sticks from your back pocket.
  8. Review the Return Policy
    • Most likely you will purchase something on Boxing Day that was more of an impulse buy. When you come to your senses a few days later (and realize you didn’t need that second Slap Chop), make sure that you’re able to return it back to the store of purchase for a full refund. Just ask the cashier as you’re checking out. Most likley returns are processed a few days after the 26th to combat the lineups, so just keep that receipt on hand. One my favourite places to shop for their great return policy is The Bay. They have made such a great turnaround with their marketing and sales in the past few years, that it’s my go-to store on Boxing Day. Their return policy is 90 days with your receipt (tags attached) as long as you made your purchase with their HBC credit card (30 days otherwise).
  9. Shop Online
    • Not only is shopping online a time-saver, you don’t have to worry about carrying all those items around (especially if it’s a 40′ plasma TV), because they’ll be shipped right to your door (usually for free). For the past few years I’ve been buying my electronics and movies online because many big-box stores offer their Boxing Day pricing starting on Christmas Eve online. I managed to scoop up a couple of Blu-rays I really wanted–er, needed, and they should be delivered free to my door within the next few days. This way I don’t have to worry about standing in those long lines at the electronics store and wading through the crowds on Boxing Day. Just make sure you have a good Internet connection.
  10. Take Time to Relax
    • When I go out Boxing Day shopping, it’s usually a 5-6 hour event including wait time, and if I have to venture to a different shopping complex the same day. After all that shopping, grab a cup of coffee, soak those tired feet, snack on those holiday leftovers and revel in all those holiday purchases before your bank statement comes in. You deserve a break.

Move over Gabriel Grey… I’m the next watchmaker


Wall ClockOkay, perhaps I’m not that precise, but I did fix a clock today! I’m so proud of myself. Today was the Kitchen Stuff Plus Outlet on Orfus Road had one of their summer sidewalk sales. I got up bright and early (well at least for me) at 9am, but by the time I got there around 10:30 the place was swarmed with frantic customers eager to find a good deal.

I managed to score a stainless steel wall clock and a Chef’n salt grinder for $5; a large collapsible storage box, two awesome non-skid mixing bowls with lids, a white/stainless steel toothbrush holder, an OXO soap squirting dish sponge for $10; a pig-shaped scrubby holder with a scrubby for $2; and a slim sliding fine grater and a stainless steel kitchen utensil holder together for $5. Not a bad deal if I do say so myself. Especially considering that those utensil holders are usually $10-20, and the OXO kitchen gadgets run between $5-20 each.

Of course when I got home I realized that there was a piece missing from the grater: the little thingie that mandolin slicers usually have to push down the food. No biggie, I still got an cool grater that comes with a storage container. The worst was realizing that the wall clock I purchased didn’t work. When I put the battery in the second had was moving, but on the same second and not revolving around the clock! I’m thinking great… now what I’m I going to do with two broken clocks (including the one I had before to replace this one with). So I mustered up the courage and patience and took the whole thing apart.  I mean it worked when I bought my travel mug from the last Kitchen Stuff Plus sidewalk sale (the screw in the lid just needed to be tightened in order to get the open/close mechanism to work), so I thought why not?

Now I had no idea what I was doing. Sure I broke a couple of the plastic latches when I was trying to figure out how to get the darn clock open so I can take a look at the gears, but that’s what tape’s for! After pulling out the gears, resetting them, looking at the power source, five times, I gave up. I figured I’d put a battery in and check to see if by some great force that it would start working properly… and it did! It’s now hanging on my living room wall tick-tocking away. :)

Ironically, when I put batteries back into my old clock which stopped working, it started working again… :|