Black Friday Shopping and Deals

Probably because I've been pre-occupied with replacing what was stolen in my "home invasion" two weeks ago, I've spent untold hours lately checking out the latest electronics and prices at a wide array of online retailers and stores.

I have my favorites. {More...]

EBay was my favorite for years. It's seller feedback system is excellent, allowing you to buy with confidence. When a seller has feedback from thousands of users with a 99 or 100% rating, and you can read the customer feedback ratings individually, there's little reason to fear getting ripped off. But you have to add in the cost of shipping on EBay, which varies from seller to seller, to make sure the discount isn't offset by the shipping price. "NIB" (new in box")and "not refurbished" are essential for me and not offered by all sellers.

Now I think Amazon is the site with the greatest selection and lowest pricing on the newest electronics. Their Black Friday page is here.

The latest model is often the difference between sellers. Places like Costco do have very low prices, but the items often are not the latest model. For the latest models, I check the manufacturer's website and then search Google for the model numbers of the one I'm interested in. Amazon almost always has it. Amazon Prime offers the added benefit of free two day shipping on many items, including televisions and computers, and many of their third party sellers offer it as well. Another advantage of Amazon and Ebay is there usually is no sales tax. Saving shipping and sales tax can be a big deal.

A third party seller I like to buy from through Amazon is OneCall. Their prices are really low and they usually offer free shipping. The stuff comes fast via FedEx Ground and professionally packaged. The manufacturer's computer sites often have great deals. Sony, Dell, Lenovo and HP are examples. Friday, Apple is promising special deals on their Macbooks and iPods. I'll have the link up in the shopping section when it goes live.

Sometimes you don't need the newest model. Or, you want to pay by Paypal rather than by credit card. I like PayPal because the seller doesn't get access to your credit card number. Buy.Com has low prices and takes Paypal.

In the clothing department, nobody beats Zappos for shoes (free shipping and low prices and almost every brand you can think of) and Bare Necessities is trustworthy, efficient and has a huge selection, if not great discounts.

My usual philosophy is "you get what you pay for" but with a lot of these online sellers, you often get more.

I "window shop" online for days before making my final choice. Prices fluctuate daily. To remember the models of the ones I like, and the good deals I've found, I store them in my Amazon wish list. That avoids repetitive searches and saves a lot of time. I'm down to three items left to replace from the robbery, my iPod, my Macbook and my Flip Video, and since I'm not able to buy those right now, I have the links stored and plenty of time to keep checking prices.

Most of my favorite sellers are in the shopping links section on the lower right side on TalkLeft's home page. These are sites I've purchased from often and found to have excellent deals. There are hundreds of sellers offering affiliate deals, where if you buy through the link on our sites, we get a few bucks, but I only include those I'd buy from myself. If you are going to buy from one of these sellers, I hope you'll use our link.

Any other shopping mavens out there? Who are your favorite and most trusted online sellers? And if you could get one material gift this year, what would it be?

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    We haven't gone Guitar Hero (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 12:53:29 PM EST
    but Target I'm seeing now has the "World Tour" bundle for Wii for $69.99.  How can you beat that?  So looks like I'm going to have to stop acting too good for Guitar Hero.  Very sorry to hear about your break in.  I have nice German Shepherds and family living in Colo Sprgs to visit if you ever want one.

    Jeralyn, beauty/skincare, here's a must... (none / 0) (#70)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 04:17:04 PM EST
    And if you could get one material gift this year, what would it be?

    A realistic gift: a life time supply of Skinceuticals CE Ferulic. It's light and temperature sensitive so store it in a cool, dark place.

    I do freelance research and skincare products is one of my subjects. Imo, this CE Ferulic is the best skin rejuvenation product on the market. I've read the research papers and it checks out. My dermatologist Dr. Francesco Fusco, of the Wexler Clinic in New York, concurs; which is no small thing, given that Wexler has her own skincare line and no stake in Skinceuticals.

    The good news, you can compare prices and shop for it at Amazon.


    it looks great (none / 0) (#77)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 06:15:39 PM EST
    I'll check it out. I've been using Jurlique (from Australia) for a few years -- I love their herbal recovery gel -- and this Vitamin C oil from the Golden Door, but the Skinceuticals looks really good. Thanks for the tip.

    J, thanks for sharing what those in (none / 0) (#85)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 07:37:43 PM EST
    the business would call your "skincare regimen". I know of Jurlique products but haven't done any research on them.

    As you may know, the most effective, clinically-proven skin rejuvinator is Retin A (aka Tretinoin) cream, for anybody who wants to go the prescription route. It's most benefical at a concentration of 0.1% or higher. At a concentration of 0.025% and 0.05% it has demonstrable, but not maximal, benefits. Like most products that accelerate skin cell renewal, Retin A is irritating for those with sensitive skin; and it increases sun-sensitivity.

    Obagi skin care has a line of Obagi Nu-Derm products that are specifically designed to be used in conjunction with Retin A. The clinical trials are not exaggerated: over a 3 month period it will gradually slough the old face right off and replace it with a bright new one. However, the interim process, itself, isn't pretty.

    My skin has become too fussy for the Retin A regimen, so I've switched to CE Ferulic, which also accelerates cell turnover and has the added bonus of significantly decreasing sun sensitivy . Their clinical trials are bona fide, however, I haven't seen any head-to-head comparisons between CE Ferulic and Retin A.


    this is going to be a tight Christmas. (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 12:53:46 PM EST
    however, we are going to visit the wife's family for 3 weeks... since i'm non-renewed as of May, i'm trying to keep family spending down.

    We'll have a good Christmas, just without many presents. I have to do some home repairs, and those aren't cheap.

    My son wants everything this year... time to get him involved in church, or some type organization that's not quite so egoistic...

    Good luck with your shopping, Jeralyn, and I hope the trauma fades soon. It's a violation, and those hurt.

    Thank you for a real life update (none / 0) (#9)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:01:25 PM EST
    Because Bush has us in two wars we don't currently have that renewal problem here at chez MT.  Your post brings grief though.  My country is in economic crisis and I can't afford to have college instructors not employed.  I can't afford two wars either, I can't even afford one....but here we are and Merry Fricken Christmas Dubya!!!!!

    Grim. What next? (none / 0) (#28)
    by oculus on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:22:02 PM EST
    I ordered a Hamilton Beach (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by oculus on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:03:01 PM EST
    slow cooker through Amazon.  [Brothers coming for Christmas; must relearn lapsed cooking skills.]  It arrived today.  What I forgot:  one of the on-line reviewers mentioned how heavy the box is!

    I bought a great deal of Arabia Ruska stoneware[discontinued pattern] on e bay.  Only dealt with one pissy seller.  The rating and rebuttal stuff gets really nasty.  That seller was eventually dropped though.  Another seller, in Sweden, as I recall, had a long series of reasons why the item I ordered hadn't arrived.  After awhile I kind of felt sorry for her.  

    ... slow cooker I have, it rocks.

    Cooks just a tad hot, but otherwise, perfect.

    Even better, though, is the Breville Electric Wok I got through Amazon around a year ago. My best food implement purchase ever.


    A ringing endorsement for sure. (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by oculus on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:10:22 PM EST
    But I don't want to get too carried away.  The bros. will only be here a week!

    Arabia (none / 0) (#26)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:21:29 PM EST
    I remember Arabia, its made in Finland. Their Faenza pattern was my first set of matched dishes ever in 1975. I still have the  vegetable bowl, but it no longer matches anything else as I gave the dishes away years ago. Great quality.

    Yes, Arabia. I had very (none / 0) (#30)
    by oculus on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:24:18 PM EST
    few pieces left the last time the bros. came for Christmas.  Hence my e bay buying spree.  A friend asked:  have you been to Crate and Barrel lately?  I really like unglazed stoneware.  Beautiful, if frivolously expensive.  When you were in Ann Arbor, was the Scandanavian import shop still on University?  That is where I fell in love w/Arabia Ruska.

    I bought a used set of Crate&Barrel (none / 0) (#39)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:33:15 PM EST
    Epoch Blueline that was suffering from divorce.  I love how it functions.  I used the cereal bowls this year to force paperwhites in for Christmas.

    I'm not much for china (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by Fabian on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 04:12:15 PM EST
    but I was in San Jose, we went to their little China and walked into a ceramics shop.  I asked my fiance if we could register there for our wedding.  Ceramics from Japan, all manner of style from rustic to elegant.  The only problem would have been deciding which one to pick.

    Artisan level quality tempts me like nothing else.


    Fine bone china is amazing... (5.00 / 2) (#71)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 04:22:28 PM EST
    It is very lightweight, somewhat translucent and appears to be fragile - although it's harder to chip than other things that are heavier and look more sturdy.

    My wonderful husband carted me (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 05:23:00 PM EST
    around Korea during their world ceramic expo.  We had to visit a couple of different towns because of the size of it.  The expo had to be broken up.  It was very hard to decide, but after days I finally chose an artisan and bought a full set of gorgeous Korean style.  I'm always afraid I'll break something but not so far.

    A world ceramics expo! (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by Fabian on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 05:56:49 PM EST
    There are some benefits to the military life!

    A few when Cowboys don't run things ;) (5.00 / 2) (#80)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 06:23:41 PM EST
    You should see my house. Pottery (5.00 / 2) (#87)
    by oculus on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 07:58:50 PM EST
    everywhere.  Have to watch where you walk.  Love it.

    I bought a boat load of Russel Wright (none / 0) (#86)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 07:52:33 PM EST
    dishes on ebay and I swear they're counterfeit. I bet there are present-day potters cranking out this 'vintage' stuff. I know the original Russel Wright ware wasn't technically overrefined. But this stuff from ebay is warped, has numerous glaze drips, glaze skips; and the stamp is much deeper than normal.

    Anybody else run into anything like this?


    I'll get my usual aliquot of (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by scribe on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:11:51 PM EST
    clothes and stuff for Christmas.  Christmas at scribe's place is going to be sparse this year, but my family tries to keep things sane with an informal, unspoken agreements to limit spending to somewhere in the $30 to $50 range per person.

    Business has been bad, clients aren't paying and all that goes with that.  I'll be happy to keep the lights on, let alone be stringing colored lights.

    But, I think I'm not alone.  One of the local radio stations has already gone over to a heavy rotation of Christmas music (about 40 percent of the cuts) and has been working up to that since the beginning of November, with a Santa-giving-away-cash-daily promotion since before Halloween.  I think the retailers are really antsy this year and their advertising, combined with this unprecedented pre-Thanksgiving blast of seasonal music tells me all I need to know about how they anticipate the sales to turn out.

    Aliquot (none / 0) (#50)
    by squeaky on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 02:04:52 PM EST
    Nice word, had not seen it before.

    I've used it before (none / 0) (#54)
    by scribe on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 02:25:25 PM EST
    here, but only when appropriate.

    These days, ebay is a cesspool (none / 0) (#1)
    by andgarden on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 12:47:19 PM EST
    and you're unfortunately about as likely to get ripped off as to get a deal.

    Amazon I love, and for electronics, I've often had great success with J & R. They're based in NY, but they ship everywhere, and fast. They also often beat everyone else and throw in great extras.

    As for when to buy. . .personally I'd wait until February. That's when all of them new models come out, and prices tend to go down.

    I'm getting the Cannon Power Shot S5 (none / 0) (#2)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 12:49:05 PM EST
    from Amazon for Christmas.  It is a great price and a great camera.

    Why this particular camera? (none / 0) (#17)
    by oculus on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:08:35 PM EST
    [I'm probably the last person on earth still using a film camera.]

    I have a digital camera (none / 0) (#25)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:19:28 PM EST
    that my husband actually paid more money for about six years ago.  My biggest complaint is that it has one heck of a pause before it snaps the photo.  People get tired of smiling that long and it is IMPOSSIBLE for me to take good photos of my dogs when they are doing a suspended gait.  I'm miserable with it anymore.  I look at it and groan.  I also enjoy photos of family, miss my old 38mm.  The photos were much better, just had to wait for processing.  This camera is not a reflex digital camera, it is one step below that and you don't have to be a professional to use it properly either.  I really need to be able to take those gaiting shots, particularly with my new litter of pups.  Anybody who is interested in a breeding or show prospect will want photos of them moving and without a camera I can get those with I'm sunk.

    oops mean 35mm (none / 0) (#27)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:21:29 PM EST
    wonder where I got 38?  Must be a home break in thought or something.

    A friend described taking photos of (none / 0) (#34)
    by oculus on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:29:04 PM EST
    a bike obstacle course type race with her new digital camera, a Nikon, I think.  It has a "sports" setting, so she got lots of mid-stride detail as the guys slung those bikes over their shoulders to go around or over an obstacle.  

    My Nikon has the sports setting (none / 0) (#38)
    by nycstray on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:33:08 PM EST
    I use it for animals in motion :) Canon prob has the same or similar setting.

    I will Check That OUT! (none / 0) (#41)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:34:43 PM EST
    I'm committed to nothing yet

    And batteries (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by BarnBabe on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 02:45:30 PM EST
    Believe it or not, batteries can cause delay in the picture sometimes. I found that out in my digital camera that had rechareable batteries. I also found out if photos are blurry with a digital camera, you might have a dirty lens and cleaning it fixes the problem. And, finally, I was having trouble with a video camera and took it to a photo shop. The guy took a pencil with an eraser and erased on the contacts and the camera was fixed. I was expecting the worse.There can be simple things on a camera that make it slow but when mine gets slow, the batteries are the culprit.

    During a Saturday lawn sale I ran across a 35MM with 2 lenses, flash, other accessories and 10 rolls of film for $40. My niece, who loves photography gets that along with her wooly socks she adores. I know the lady well so I know it is a good camera.


    For reasonable money, (none / 0) (#44)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:43:57 PM EST
    look into digital consumer video cameras. They shoot, at minimum, 30 frames/second. And then you can pick out which particular frame shows your dog's gait the best. Or your customers could just watch the video itself...

    I'm limited on how much computer tech (none / 0) (#52)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 02:16:21 PM EST
    my mind can get around.  The more software involved the more lost I usually get. You sound like you have done this.  What are your suggestions?

    Well, the concept is pretty simple. (none / 0) (#55)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 02:26:36 PM EST
    Most consumer DV cameras shoot 30 pictures (frames) every second, though some shoot much higher rates.

    Plug the camera into your computer and download your video. Then choose the individual frame (picture) that you like the best and send that to your customer.

    Or you can just upload the video itself to your website or YouTube or some other video host, and your customers can see the dogs in full motion.

    My guess is that although it may seem daunting now, once you've done it a few times you'll be amazed at how easy it actually is. And fun!


    I totally forgot. I used it for sports also! (none / 0) (#53)
    by nycstray on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 02:18:08 PM EST
    lol!~ Got some nice shots at a Yankee game and a Mets game. I'm hoping to get some good snow play shots of my dog this year. You can also burst shoot, which also helps for animals in motion.

    I still prefer a film camera for my (none / 0) (#88)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 08:03:37 PM EST
    'serious' work. I have a Pentax 6x7, aka a 35mm on steroids. Forgive the macho commentary at the link.

    This model was widely used by contemporary fashion photographers like Bruce Weber. I was over the moon the day I got mine.


    Uh, *the new models (none / 0) (#4)
    by andgarden on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 12:50:43 PM EST
    Haven't some prices just dropped (none / 0) (#8)
    by nycstray on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:01:17 PM EST
    because of new models? Last year I bought a new camera because there was a price drop that made the upgrade (from what I had) more than reasonable. I honestly wasn't planning on upgrading until I saw the price, lol!~

    Maybe because people stopped buying (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by andgarden on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:02:45 PM EST
    but the conventional wisdom is that if you want a good deal, you wait until the dead of winter.

    I'll keep that in mind (none / 0) (#66)
    by nycstray on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 04:10:12 PM EST
    I may want to replace my small late 20+yo TV before spring training with a flat screen {grin}

    I'm so used to shopping for certain items after new/upgrades come out, I haven't paid attention to retail trends. :)


    good site for deals (none / 0) (#3)
    by kempis on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 12:49:06 PM EST
    My plans for post-Christmas: a flat screen tv. My first. A smallish one because it's going into my tiny living room.

    I'm so excited about this!

    Amazon is a long time fave of mine, and I've been shopping eBay for forever. Used to even sell on there - and Amazon, for that matter - so both hold somewhat special places in my cold, ruthless heart. !. I would have had no income for about a year without them.

    I think there are going to be some (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:04:48 PM EST
    great deals on flat screens.  My husband was looking last night and found some giant 50 inch thing that was priced for what he paid for his smaller one.  I told him, "See, you should have waited".  He claims that waiting would have killed him.

    Exactly (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by The Poster Formerly Known as cookiebear on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:09:35 PM EST
    I've been plotting this for weeks now. I can't wait! It's going to be perfect in my tiny, newly painted, etc. living room, and I won't have to go bankrupt buying it (whichever one I decide on).

    What TV are you buying? (none / 0) (#81)
    by caseyOR on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 06:24:30 PM EST
    I was all set to just buy the digital converter box and forget HD (no cable or satellite). Then I watched a football game on a friend's HD flat screen. Now, I really want one. My apartment is a small studio. So, a small, maybe 26 inch TV, is all I need.

    Have you decided what brand/model you're getting? Any suggestions? All help gratefully accepted.


    Check out the Sharp Aquos line (none / 0) (#82)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 06:44:41 PM EST
    Model  LC--D64U -- really slim with a small footprint and great picture that doesn't need fiddling out of the box.

    Even with a small studio, I would get at least a 32" and a 37" is probably better. If you are getting 32 or smaller, you may want to get the 720 vs. 1080 and save even more. The 32 inch 1080p model is LC32D64U and the 37 inch is LC37D64U, etc.

    If you don't need the latest and greatest models, Costco is good and you can buy online even if you aren't a member for a little more, or you can join online. But Amazon will probably be cheaper.

    Google the model you are thinking of. You'll find all sorts of online forums where people discuss each model to death and their experiences with it. Also check out online reviews.

    Also check where the speakers are. I read that if the speakers are "hidden" for aesthetics, the sound won't be as good unless you hook up external speakers.

    And check and double check the model numbers -- each company makes lots of different models and some aren't very good. For example, Sharp makes Sharp and Sharp Aquos. It's the Aquos models that are good. Everyone will be putting cheap prices on the discontinued and lower quality models. Check the specs for cntrast ratio, response time, etc.


    Thanks for the info, J (none / 0) (#83)
    by caseyOR on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 06:50:38 PM EST
    Checking speaker location hadn't even occurred to me. I'll been searching the toobz for the next few weeks. It seems prices will only go down between now and the Feb. digital deadline.

    It does hurt (5.00 / 2) (#63)
    by ruffian on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 03:52:31 PM EST
    I got my flat panel almost 3 years ago after I moved to Florida - it was my "I'm staying inside watching movies all summer" gift to myself. Now I just have to flip fast through the prices on web sites and in the paper, or I'll cry. The same TV now goes for about a quarter of what I paid for it. But, like your husband, at the time I could not have waited another month!

    BTW, if anyone is shopping, I got the Panasonic Viera plasma, and have been thrilled with it for almost 3 years now.  Not a single problem, and the picture is beautiful. If you like to watch a lot of old black and white movies like I do, this is the TV you want - it has wonderful definition on the grey scale.


    I'm sorry (none / 0) (#91)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 11:20:45 PM EST
    My husband refused to look at the set that Jeralyn linked to.  He is just not going to think about it.

    I did exhaustive searches (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:06:05 PM EST
    on flat screen tvs when I bought my first in March, which got stolen two weeks ago. I replaced it already, but today I saw it in a larger 42" model for an incredible price and am trying to refrain myself from buying it. I really need to get a MacBook first. But, check them out in all the sizes, they are really good. They are slimmer and have a smaller footprint than most and the adjustments are just right out of the box.

    omg, that's perfect! (none / 0) (#22)
    by The Poster Formerly Known as cookiebear on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:13:46 PM EST
    Nice tv!

    A month ago, (none / 0) (#43)
    by ChiTownDenny on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:42:10 PM EST
    Best Buy had a Panasonic 42" flat screen for $575.  Picked it up.  So far, so good.

    OOPS. $775. (none / 0) (#45)
    by ChiTownDenny on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:44:22 PM EST
    J, have you checked your local pawn shops? (none / 0) (#14)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:06:10 PM EST
    Your thief has got to sell your stuff somewhere...

    The law prevents pawn shops (none / 0) (#24)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:17:44 PM EST
    from selling items for 30 days so they wouldn't be on display yet. There are also hundreds of of pawn shops here. I'm not sure I'd know where to start.  

    In California, the police do this (none / 0) (#31)
    by oculus on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:25:02 PM EST
    or are supposed to do this for you by computer.

    the police put the serial numbers of stolen items (none / 0) (#33)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:28:04 PM EST
    into a national registry, but if the pawn shop owner doesn't check it or doesn't care, I don't see how it's going to be recovered.

    My daughter's place in Europe was (none / 0) (#40)
    by oculus on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:34:00 PM EST
    burgled:  two Macs, and a "mobile."  A friend suggested they track down the notices in laundromats and on line of laptops for sale.  But they declined to self-enforce.  

    In CA, state law requires pawn shops to comply, but I don't know how much enforcement takes place.


    Anyway, I'd just start visiting the shops local-ish to you. Probably not a huge probability of finding your own stuff. But you might find some other stuff that you can't do without...

    Start looking around pawn shops (none / 0) (#72)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 04:28:41 PM EST
    close to your home; not to be creepy but, your burglar probably doesn't live all that far away from your neighborhood. If he steals locally, he'll probably pawn locally as well. That's some of what I learned from having been burgled 4 times.

    It's easier to track fairly unique (none / 0) (#56)
    by Fabian on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 02:39:32 PM EST
    items.  I got my stolen bike back because it wasn't a common brand AND because I looked in the most likely place.  I lived near the OSU campus, so I just went there and looked at the bike racks.  

    f'n brilliant. (none / 0) (#58)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 02:49:47 PM EST
    I was, er, motivated. (none / 0) (#60)
    by Fabian on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 03:00:16 PM EST
    I was even more "motivated" when I found out the poor student who bought my bike had bought it from the shop I had gone to in order to warn them to look out for my stolen bike.  I did that even before I filled out the police report.  The bike shop was a block away, the police station was two blocks away.

    I was tempted to go storming into the bike shop when I found out, but the police did not think that was a good idea.  One guilty plea for possession of stolen property for the guy who sold to the owner of the store.  One store shut down because the owner bought the bike at his residence and not the store.  The owner had a reputation for a long time.  Not sure if he had previous problems with the law.


    I started watching the Amazon deals a couple weeks (none / 0) (#15)
    by nycstray on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:07:02 PM EST
    I have 2 birthdays to buy for before Christmas. Pretty much knew what I was getting them, so just kept checking for sales and one day or Gold Box deals. Worked out nicely {grin}

    I'll also be watching the sales to pick up a couple items for my kitchen. Love new kitchen toys! One thing I want is a good solid citrus juicer for the citrus I ordered to get me through the winter :)

    I typically avoid black friday (none / 0) (#19)
    by CST on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:10:04 PM EST
    Like the plague.  But online it might not be so bad.

    Just remember everyone - NO GIFT CARDS!!!

    I expect a lot of retailers to go bottom-up after Christmas, and if they do, they don't have to honor gift cards.

    Snopes has a list of store closings (none / 0) (#23)
    by nycstray on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:15:13 PM EST
    I think Amazon gift cards (none / 0) (#29)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:23:09 PM EST
    are safe. In fact, I just ordered some with reward points from a credit card since I'm nervous the credit card bank could go out of business and I'd lose the points.

    Amex ones are good also (none / 0) (#35)
    by nycstray on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:29:06 PM EST
    You can pretty much use them anywhere you can use Amex. One of my clients gives them for a local mall that has nothing but expensive stores. We take them in and exchange them for Amex cards.

    Cyber Monday for me... (none / 0) (#64)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 04:06:58 PM EST
    ...no getting up at the crack of dawn, fighting for a parking space or dealing with crazy people.  Just me, the credit card and my laptop.

    Plus, sometimes even lower prices than Black Friday, you can easily ship things to people and did I mention not dealing with crazed people?

    Of course, no hands-on experience for the tactile and/or hard-to-fit among us.


    I thought I'd never buy from Amazon again (none / 0) (#32)
    by cpa1 on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:27:22 PM EST
    ..after Amazon advertised on Ann Coulter's web page.  But, I have bought so many things there lately and everytime it has been the cheapest.  I also didn't think I'd watch ABC anymore after that hit job they did on Bill Clinton but from Monday to thursday at 10:00 PM that's where I've been every night.

    I have a DeWalt Drill/Circular Saw/Light combo and the charger died the other day.  I went to Home Depot and it was $59 or $69 for the plain vanila version that I had, not the new one that charges their nano batteries too or the other that charges from your car.  Amazon had it for $18 no shipping.  

    We got a gift card to William Sonoma and my wife wanted a 9 inch spring form pan.  It was $40.  Amazon had the same Kaiser pan for $24 with no shipping and they have a Cuisinart spring form pan for about $12 with no shipping.

    I got my gps there, I got my Nikon D300 there (which I returned with no problems), I got Quickbooks Premiere there for $250 when it listed for $400 and wasn't sold anywhere for under $300, there were books in digital photographer that I was going to get at Barnes and Nobles but Amazon had it for 1/2 the price.  I almost bought a gas grill there that was $400 less than anywhere but I received the one I wanted as a gift.

    So, always check amazon because they are cheap and returning is no big deal.  When I returned my camera they even gave me the shipping back.

    As far as Ebay, I got toner for my multifuntion copier there and I don't think the quality is right.  For all I know it may be the wrong toner even though the colors are right.  It was about $150 on ebay vs $550 for genuine Brother toner cartridges but I only paid $600 for the entire printer.  I was going to be a rosetta stone program for french on Craig's list but the guy never returned my email.  So, look for those user ratings on Ebay because there are lots of swindlers out there.

    if you get swindled on ebay and (none / 0) (#37)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:32:00 PM EST
    paid with paypal, there's buyer protection where Paypal returns your money. It happened to me a few years ago with an ipod. Look for the logo though, it might not be on all products. And yes, don't buy from anyone with only a few user ratings.

    One other scam to watch out for: make sure the ebay seller has the item in stock. Sometimes sellers offer to sell something planning on buying it with your money after you make the purchase, thinking they can get it cheaper. They may never get it and even if they do, you'll wait a long time because the have to buy and receive the item before they can send it to you.


    For ebay, Square Trade sellers are usually safer (none / 0) (#73)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 04:30:34 PM EST
    I have used Paypal for transactions too (none / 0) (#92)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 11:25:21 PM EST
    when I've shipped puppies for this reason. Sadly, sometimes people purchase a dog that must be shipped to them and then when the animal gets there it isn't the same pup they have been looking at photos of for usually weeks.  Paypal helps those who are trusting me to be able to be a little more trusting.

    No sales tax? Better check (none / 0) (#46)
    by ding7777 on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:46:15 PM EST
    Maybe not at the time of purchase, but in Pennsylvania we have to pay a "use tax"  on taxable items that were purchased on line without the sales tax. (PA's use tax equals is he same percentages as its sales tax)

    Doesn't Colorado have a "use tax"?

    same is true in NC (none / 0) (#93)
    by TimNCGuy on Fri Nov 28, 2008 at 08:25:03 AM EST
    You aer supposed to claim any items purchased online for which you didn't pay sales tax on your annual income tax form here in NC.

    Actually, I don't mind.  It only seems fair that local in-state retailers should not be put at a price disadvantage by online retailers.


    Any good ideas fo 50th wedding (none / 0) (#47)
    by Lil on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 01:56:25 PM EST
    present. It's my parents' anniversary. We don't usually make a big deal of anniversarys but I wanted to get them a little something for their 50th , but I'm completely stummped.

    have you been to gifts.com? (none / 0) (#48)
    by addy on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 02:02:16 PM EST
    They have some neat ways of finding gifts. You can shop by personality (they have a personality quiz) and it pulls up gifts for that type. I also like that it adds suggestions on the left of a gift you are checking out in about the same price range. They can really pull up some unusual stuff.
    Also, Zazzle.com has a way to make acrylic statues of any picture you want. So you can upload a picture you took on your own camera and they will make an acrylic standing statue for you out of it. Kinda cute.

    A colleague and her husband were (none / 0) (#51)
    by oculus on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 02:15:52 PM EST
    given a tour of Italy for their anniversary gift. Lots of kids to chip in though.  

    Travel gift certificates. (none / 0) (#74)
    by Angel on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 05:05:42 PM EST
    She might also like (none / 0) (#49)
    by slr51 on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 02:02:34 PM EST
    a GPS unit that works with the laptop. Some folks who have trouble seeing the stand alone GPS screens find the much larger map on the pc screen very helpful.

    The one we have used is from Delorme

    Don't do the e-stuff usually. (none / 0) (#59)
    by Fabian on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 02:51:16 PM EST
    We have to decide what to do about the February change over to digital TV.  New TV?  About February, there should be deals galore!  

    I'm beginning to really appreciate things that last.  Our dishwasher is dead at a mere seven years.  The repairman said it was usually 8-10 years.  I am not happy and I'm not replacing it unless I can find something much, much more long lived.

    My TV solved the digital issue (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by nycstray on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 03:11:05 PM EST
    it decided after 20ish years it needed to go ~POOF!~. Now I just need to upgrade my cable box and apparently my picture will be even more brilliant than it is, according to my friend who's 20ish TV went ~POOF!~ a month before mine, lol!~

    I have a small TV in the kitchen that's in it's late 20s. They sure used to make things that lasted.


    get cable (none / 0) (#78)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 06:20:21 PM EST
    then you can use your old tv, no adapters or anything. There's public service announcements on tv every hour it seems about it.

    If you are going to get a new tv, you can get really cheap deals on the ones that are 720 resolution instead of 1080p.  Find the model you like and google it every day until you see a really great price you can't pass up.


    Refurbished housewares on Amazon (none / 0) (#62)
    by ruffian on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 03:36:05 PM EST
    are a good deal also. I got a nice KitchenAid espresso machine last year for about half off retail. Looks and works like new, and had full warranty, which is nice. I know I got some other refurbished product on Amazon at some point too, but can't remember what it was. A

    Also the Apple Store at apple.com offers refurbished iPods and computers at a discount.  

    Of course with both places selection of refurbished goods are limited.

    I got a refurbished Griddler on Amazon (none / 0) (#65)
    by nycstray on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 04:07:33 PM EST
    still going strong a year and a half later and it gets heavy use. Nice thing about Amazon is reviews on refurbished. I was looking at a refurbished juicer, but from the reviews, seems like it's better to buy that particular one new.

    I ended up buying my mom a non-refurbished Griddler, she loves hers as much as I love mine :)


    HOME INVASION? (none / 0) (#68)
    by Alegre on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 04:15:35 PM EST
    Was your computer / laptop stolen?  Crap.

    Coincidence maybe, but you're not the only blogger that's happened to Jerilyn.

    Drop me a note?

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

    yup, the story is (none / 0) (#79)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 06:22:30 PM EST
    here. I'll send you an email.

    Man That Sucks Jerilyn (none / 0) (#94)
    by Alegre on Fri Nov 28, 2008 at 09:25:19 PM EST
    I'm really sorry to hear that.  Yeah send me a note and I'll fill you in.



    Oops! (none / 0) (#95)
    by Alegre on Fri Nov 28, 2008 at 09:26:23 PM EST
    Sorry - just realized typo.

    Hope you at least had a good turkey day :)


    Latest and greatest are over-ratest. (none / 0) (#84)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 07:00:06 PM EST
    Items that are 6 months old or more are frequently a much better value.

    And Costco is better to me than everyone else because they have a THREE MONTH return policy on electronics (no restocking and no questions asked). They're also a very blue company where Amazon absolutely isn't.  And for me, they're local, corporate headquarters about 10 minutes from my house.

    We're thinking about getting the Aquos 65" at Costco's black Friday sale.  Our 8 year old high definition rear projection is better than any LCD we've seen, but it does't do 1080P, so we can't get true blue-ray quality with our blue-ray DVDs.

    ShopStyle.com has amazing search capacity features. They list merchandise from every major department store, individual apparel companies, and hundreds of online retailers - foreign and domestic.

    Jeralyn, maybe you shouldn't say you're (none / 0) (#90)
    by thereyougo on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 11:13:19 PM EST
    replacing the items stolen just in case the thieves are trolling your website.

    true, but now I have a (none / 0) (#96)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Nov 29, 2008 at 01:17:48 AM EST
    burglar alarm system that's on even when I'm home and I'm still in close contact with the detectives on the case. I also just bought insurance, even though as I suspected, once you read the fine print on the policy, and they are all the same, the exclusions and limits make it meaningless for electronics unless you significantly bump up the coverage.)

    There's no way I can replace all the things they took, I've only done a few items. But again, you are right, and I'm operating under the assumption they will be back. I think if they do return, they'll be caught this time.