Shopping blog postings

Shopping Postings

Earliest: December 13, 2003Latest: December 8, 2019Total: 67
October 12, 2007

Vanilla VISA

If your planning to give Vanilla VISA gift cards this Christmas, watch out! There's a little catch you should know about.

First the cards cost $3.95 to get. So a $50 gift card will cost you $53.95. Not too bad, but if they are a tech user aren't you better off getting a BestBuy, Apple or Circuit City card? IF they like clothes, you could give them a LLBean, Nordstroms, or Timberland gift card. You'll save $3.95, and they still will have the $50 gift card to spend.

The second catch, and this is a biggie, after a year, Vanilla VISA will charge $1.50 a month if you still have a balance on the card. Make sure that you educate whoever that you give the card to that they use it up right away! If you have one from last Christmas, goto Vanilla VISA website right now and check the balance. If you have anything left over, you could always goto the gas station and fill up. Note: You won't be able to pay at the pump, go inside and tell them how much you have left.

So, with the two "catches" above, are you really better off using a VISA gift card? Why not just give them cash? A $50 bill will generate the same reaction as getting a $50 gift card.

May 30, 2007

Getting a Refund from AOL

If you call to cancel your AOL account, the "member representative" will not offer you a refund for the current month. This is very bad customer service! So instead of customers leaving som what happy, they are even angrier than before.

According to this page, the following explains how AOL charges its members:

AOL reserves the right to change our fees or billing methods at any time and AOL will provide notice of any such change at least thirty days in advance in the same manner described above for changes to the Member Agreement. AOL also has the right to collect applicable taxes and impose premium surcharges for some areas of the service and these surcharges may apply even during your free trial. The answers to many common billing questions can be found by going to Keyword: Help, then selecting Accounts & Billing, going to Keyword: Billing, or by contacting an AOL customer service representative at 1-800-827-6364. If you don't like the changes in fees or billing methods, you may cancel your membership at any time, but AOL will not refund any remaining portion of the monthly fee when you cancel your membership. If you have joined AOL as a trial member, you should understand that your free trial time must be used within one month of your initial sign-on and to avoid being charged a membership fee, you must cancel your account before the end of that first month.

If you are not satisfied with the AOL membership representative response, do what I did, write a letter to AOL! I wrote them a nice business letter complaining about their service and demanded a refund. This is the address that I sent my letter, I also sent a copy of the letter to my credit card company:

22070 Broderick Dr
Sterling, VA 20166

Make sure that you request a refund in your letter! Don't just vent about the customer service!

December 21, 2006

Christmas Season

Its the Christmas Season..

In the Boston Area, its all about the Malls... Northshore Mall, Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Square One Shopping Centre, Emerald Square, Burlington Mall, South Shore Plaza, Holyoke Mall at Ingleside, Independence Mall, Natick Mall, Shopper's World and the Cape Cod Mall.

There are some New England stores that are tradditional stores customers like to visit every year: Bob's Stores, Building 19, Christmas Tree Shops, Concord's Hand Design, LL Bean, Ocean State Job Lot, Paper Store, Spags, Zeb's Country Store, Yankee Candle, and the Vermont Country Store.

Here are some of my favorite shopping areas of New England:

Cape Cod Mall

This is a fun mall to find parking spot the day after Thanksgiving. Note: The Hyannis Police department tend to write up alot of tickets to people that park illegally near the Best Buy entrance and Barnes and Noble entrance.

This is a fun mall with a lot of stores. The movie theater at the mall is one of the best in the area.

The food court at the Cape Cod Mall isn't all that desirable. There aren't that many seats and the selection isn't that great. You should check out Cooke's Seafood down the street.

Cambridge Side Galleria

This mall features some of my favorite stores: the Apple Store, Best Buy, Borders, Starbucks, and Yankee Candle. When I worked nearby, I would stop in and enjoy the food court selection. My favorite lunch spot was Panda Express' Lemon Chicken, they have since moved.

LL Bean

The Freeport, Maine store a long drive from Metro Boston, but its well worth the trip. There are plenty of outlet stores near the LL Bean store, include the LL Bean Outlet store, and you could easily finish your entire Christmas shopping in one trip.

Christmas Tree Shops

My favorite are in Orleans and Hyannis. The Orleans store is small and usually has a lot of good items that sellout in the other Christmas Tree Shops. The Hyannis store is nice because they have a large selection.

Vermont Country Store

Its been years since I visited the store in Vermont, but I still remember the store. The online version is pretty good, it really shows what makes them a unique store to visit. Check out the Candy selection!

October 25, 2006

One Day Deals!

There are three sites that I visit every weekday morning:

Each of these sites offer some type of one day discount. The Woot offers anything imaginable, where as the other sites offer specific software deals for MacUsers.

Speaking of Macintosh Software, there's three programs that I think every Macintosh user should have.
  • SideNote - Freeware Notetaking tool, always available.
  • Growl - Displays Popup information, such as when email arrived or file download completed.
  • TextMate - Best Text Tool!
October 25, 2006



This morning I ordered some more CShells storage containers from I first ordered from them back in 2000, and again in 2001 and 2003. Its one of the few small vendors that I have place multiple orders.

CShells are great for long term storage, and I think they are the best solution for keeping CDs and DVDs in laptop bags. Its so easy to slip one in the bag and not have to worry about something falling into it, which usually happens when I use the paper sleeves.

If you use CD/DVD Paper Sleeves, or the Tyvek versions you should look into CShells. Its a better solution because the disks are well protected from whatever elements that you may run into.

Another advantage of CShells is that you can see the entire Disc label. Using a CD/DVD Paper Sleeve you only see part of the label.

December 20, 2004

Yankee Candle

One of the most popular candles this season is the Balsam and Cedar which is made by the Yankee Candle company.

I purchased the 14.5 oz candle a couple of weeks ago at the Cambridge Side Galleria. The candle really does produce a great Christmas Tree smell.

If you are looking for this candle, you won't find it at the Burlington Mall, Chestnut Hill mall or even at the Cambridge Side Galleria. The only place that has this candle is a little store in downtown Concord called: Concord Hand Designs.

Concord Hand Designs
33 Main Street
Concord, MA 01742
Phone: 978-371-2300

December 1, 2004

Christmas in New England

On Thanksgiving Day weather forecasters predicted that today would be another snow day, however it just another rainy day in New England.

Tomorrow Downtown Concord Mass will be closed between 6pm -8pm for the Tree Lighting and Holiday Open house. Expect traffic delays on Route 62.

November 26, 2004

Christmas Shopping

I went to the Cape Cod Mall today, and saw lots of people shopping some of the big deals that were offered by many stores.

I didn't have any problem finding a parking space since I parked over by Sears and had a short walk to the entrance. Areas around Best Buy and the front of the mall were pretty much crowded.

Best Buy had long lines, with about a half hour waiting time. They did have some good deals on hard drives, $30 for a 120GB after a couple of rebates. Almost all the other deals that they offered could be found online.

I heard on the news this morning that the busiest day of the year is the Saturday before Christmas. So I suspect that almost all the deals that were offered today will be repeated again in a few weeks.

August 14, 2004

Christmas in August

Massachusetts residents flocked to the stores today to take advantage of the Tax Holiday. I visited several stores, Staples, Microcenter, Apple Store at the Cambridgeside Galleria and CompUSA. All the stores were crowded with people purchasing high ticket items.

One of the reasons that alot of people did shopping was because a major storm is supposed to hit tomorrow. I observed people purchasing the following:

  • iPod (I waited in line for 20 minutes to get mine)
  • TVs
  • Laptop Computers
  • DVD Players
  • DVD Burners
  • Hard Drives (This seemed to be VERY popular)
  • School Supplies The Massachusetts tax holiday rules were simple, anything under $2,500 was tax free. (With some exceptions for cars, gas bills, etc...)
August 2, 2004

LLBean in the Summer

Yesterday I drove up to LLBean in Freeport Maine. This is the first time that I can remember being in the store in a warm month. The last time I was there it was at least 40 degrees outside.

If you travel from the Boston area to LLBean via I-95, here's an interesting landmark to looks for: A graveyard by the side of the road. Its unique because the whole road has nothing but trees on both sides of the road. But if you look carefully, shortly after you pass, 'Now entering Kennebunkport,' you should see an old graveyard on the right.

The best time to visit the area on Sunday is sometime after 4pm. There were plenty of parking spaces, and most of the outlets are open till 6pm on Sundays. (LLBean is open 24 hours a day.)