That’s A Tasty Snack!

I’ve been making my shopping lists on ZipList.  It comes in really handy, because I can type the list out on my computer and automagically flies over to the app on my phone.  But every time I make a list, I crack up a little because the program sorts your items into the areas of the store it thinks you’ll find the product.  Let’s look at my current Target list, shall we?

ziplist

I was also a little worried about that Worcestershire sauce up there, because when I was typing it in, the drop down list said “Personal Items: Worcestershire Sauce”.  I mean, yeah, I’m the only one in the house that uses it, but I don’t think that word means what they think it means.  Just sayin’.  Thankfully once it was on the list, it ended up in the proper category.

BTW, in case you were wondering, I checked it with duffel spelled correctly, and it still puts it in snacks.

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Thanksgiving Shopping

Okay.  I’ve given this some thought.  Here’s why I think retailers shouldn’t be open on Thanksgiving:

Retail employees get very few things to look forward to in life.  Most of them don’t get paid vacations, some of them may have to work every day of the week just to get hours.  There are generally three days out of the year that retail employees don’t have to work: Thanksgiving, Easter, Christmas.  That’s it.  Three days that retail employees know they get to breathe a sigh of relief.

That said, there are many occupations in this world where people don’t even get that.  But people need emergency rooms.  People don’t need a TV set.

On the flip side, there are many people who neither want nor need to celebrate Thanksgiving, Easter, or Christmas.  I’ve worked on Easter.  If someone asked me to work on Thanksgiving or Christmas, I’d probably say okay too, so long as I could work it around my celebration schedule.  I don’t need the entire day to celebrate.

So here’s the thing.  No one should be forced to work a holiday.  If a retailer wants to be open, they can be.  I honestly have no problem with that.  I don’t think they should be, as it doesn’t seem worth it to me, but if that’s what they want, then so be it.  But the employers need to make do with the employees that actually want to work that day.  Only one employee wants to work?  So be it.  Customers are going to have to wait in line?  That’s unfortunate.  Maybe they should be at home.  They should also be handsomely rewarded–double time, not just time-and-a-half.  This would likely up the number of people interested.  This should be extended to any holiday where people generally get together with their family: 4th of July, New Years Eve/New Years Day (for the evening of the former and the morning of the latter), Memorial Day, Labor Day.

When push comes to shove, people don’t need to shop on those days.  I understand why retailers are open: everyone else is off of work and has seemingly nothing but time.  And if a retailer is suffering, being open on holidays isn’t going to get them out of the red.  Being open on holidays isn’t a solution, it’s simply a matter of greed: on the retailers’ and the consumers’ parts.  It’s not necessary, but, really, it’s not the end of the world.

My trip to Aldi in 1000 words or fewer

Photo from Aldi.us

So, I went to Aldi today very nearly terrified (also perhaps because of other relatively terrifying things I need to do today all compounding).  I found it okay, which was a plus, and since I’d often watched people outside the Aldi next to my bowling alley, I had a pretty good idea how to handle the shopping cart thing.  I was not prepared for entering the store, however.

My first thought was, “Holy crap, this place is tiny, I’ll never find what I need here.”  It wasn’t until I drove home that it occurred to me why Aldi is so small compared to your average grocery store.  Think, for just a moment, how many brands of potato chips there are out in the world.  Your average grocery story probably stocks at least 4 different brands of ONE kind of chip.  Multiply that by every single type of item in the store, and you’ve got yourself some major real estate.  Aldi keeps it simple by having one brand… Maybe two if they happen to be carrying a national brand at the moment (when I walked in there were Pringles right inside the door, and I also saw Aldi’s house brand a few feet away).

There are, essentially, only four aisles in the Aldi I went to.  I imagine it’s similar at every other Aldi store, since they utilize pre-fab architecture most retailers have today.  The aisles are stacked with cases of items–think Sam’s Club, but on a much smaller scale.  There is sort of a logic to the layout, but it isn’t the same as most groceries.  For me this made it hard to find stuff.  However, now that I have an idea for it, I’m confident that I will now be wandering back and forth, not because I don’t know where things are, but because I forgot to look for something when I went past it, which is exactly what I do at every other store I shop at.

I’m happy to say that I had 16 items on my list and I was able to purchase all but two of them.  The reason I couldn’t purchase those two is because they were brand-specific: Act Total Care mouthwash and Gillette Fusion blades for the Hippy.  This was easily solved by a quick stop to CVS.

I’m not exactly sure how much I saved–I haven’t, and likely won’t, sat down to do the math.  My 14 items came to just under $28.  Maybe those same items would have been pushing $40 at Cub, but I’m not sure.  If I find a receipt lying around, I’ll try to compare.  One thing I know for sure is that The Hippy’s razor blades cost more than my shopping trip.  Good thing I only have to buy those every few months (and good thing I get to take stuff like that out of what I owe for rent and utilities…)

Ultimately, I do think I will keep going back.  Especially if I notice a big difference in my grocery bills.  The real test will be when it comes time to buy meat, so perhaps I will report back.

Will Power

My first day back at work was incredibly painful.  I really enjoyed not working.  Or, rather, not working “for the man.”  Trust me, my vacation was filled with lots of hard work.

But that wasn’t the problem.  Being away from work meant being away from fabric.  And sales.  And what the hell everythingisonsaleandIwanttobuyitall.  *breathe*  Quilting cottons are 50% off and that never happens.  Clearance is also 50% off.

And I can’t buy anything.  Meh!  My sewing rooms makes me want to cry.  I’m not exaggerating.  I actually get teary-eyed when I think about tackling that mess.  The Hippy actually said to me, “If you start crying again, you’re fired.”  Seeing me so pathetic, a friendly coworker offered to bring her gay friend (her words) to whip my craft room into shape.  And I need it.

Good news: We have pants clothes hangers coming into work.  Which will be nice, because it will make more room in my drawers for all the skirts I’m going to make 😀

We haven’t had a good poll in awhile:

Do you handmade?

I’m inspired by my poll: only one voter said that none of the gifts they give are handmade.  In an effort to make it a little more exciting to buy handmade gifts, I want to tell you all about an awesome movement going on over at Etsy.  It’s a win-win-win situation.  One person gets an awesome gift, one person gets a sale, and one person (you) gets to feel warm and fuzzy.  Throw another win in for Etsy, since they get their commission fees.

It’s called a Sneak Attack.  It was started (I do believe) by PhippsArt as a way to promote people will zero or very few sales.  Every weekday, someone sponsors a sneak attack.  They set the time and promote the “attack” in the Etc. section of the Etsy Forum.  Only the sponsor and PhippsArt knows who the lucky shop will be that day until it’s announced.  Announcements are made on The Handmade Movement site.  You can also find this week’s schedule and all past Sneak Attacks on the site.  Just take a look at those stats!

I’ve participated in one Sneak Attack so far, and it would be lovely to participate in more.  Unfortunately, right now my checkbook is telling me to stop spending money.  So unless I receive a lot of sales, I have a moratorium on spending money on non-essentials.

Now… Go buy handmade!

The importance of buying local

Last night on my local news of choice (I don’t watch the news, actually, but if I did, it would be WCCO), they did a feature on buying local.  Their question was whether or not it’s “green” to buy locally.  The greenness is under debate, but what is absolutely certain is that it’s incredible for the local economy.

What was great about the video was seeing my favorite store, I Like You, featured heavily.   Our very own Sarah is seen talking about her shop while people look around at all the wares.

If you haven’t yet, click here to watch the video.