Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Spirit of Christmas...Bartering!

One of my Christmas gifts was a $50 gift certificate for Best Buy. Now normally, this would be perfect. I would rush to Best Buy to get the good discounted stuff that folks have returned, and is marked down. However, this year I really wanted a Lowe's gift certificate. I have some house projects that I'd like to do and the $50 would go a long way towards that. The word didn't get to Santa in time though...

I had heard about a site where you could trade gift certificates, so I decided to check it out. I registered and entered my Best Buy information. I saw that someone had a Lowe's cert, for the same amount, and had "Best Buy" on their wish list. Cool! This should be easy!

I offered them a trade this morning, but have not yet heard back.

As a side note on this - I think I am the only one on the planet working this week. I went out for a quick shopping trip over lunch today and verified this fact. the Lowe's cert guy is probably off work and won't reply until next week. Sigh.

I did however, get a trade offer of a $50 Red Lobster cert just now. Heavy sigh. I had to chuckle at some poor schmuck getting a Red Lobster gift certificate for Christmas. Ah, the gift of bad seafood. Hee-hee.

Hope you all had a Merry Christmas, are having a Happy Hannukkah, are having an enjoyable Kwanza, or are delighting in your favorite Pagan holiday. Enjoy!

UPDATE: Today (Thursday) I received a trade offer for a 1800-Wine cert. While tempting, I need to stay focused on Lowe's and the house projects. Doesn't anyone NOT like Lowe's. C'mon people!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Civic Duty

If you have any inflatable, moving or light-up Christmas decorations that can be turned off, deflated or stopped, please read the letter below and perform your civic duty, dammit!

Rest assured that if you do not, parents within a 15-mile radius are cursing you.

From: Goofy's Husband []
Sent: Tuesday, December 20, 2005 11:05 AM
To: Neighbor, Friendly
Subject: Help a brother out...


I must inform you of your civic duty. Once you commit to buying and inflating Christmas decorations in your front yard you must be consistent and have it inflated every night. Otherwise I must deal with the wrath of Goofy Junior when I keep telling him the Christmas Bear is sleeping...again ;-)

Our neighbor across the street has an inflatable Santa and I can’t tell you how sad I am to see the look of disappointment in Junior’s face when Santa is collapsed on the front lawn like a drunken hobo.


Goofy's Husband
Toiler for The Man
The Man Corp.
(555) 555-5555

Friday, December 16, 2005

I'm a Cheap Ho Too!

I'm coming to the realization that I'm a cheap bitch. First the free shipping obsession, now the gift card at-a-discount obsession.

First off, DAMN you Pesky Apostrophe for leading me to these sites! Whew, now I feel better.

I clicked on a link for CardAvenue. Then SwapAGift. I found lots of folks that had gift cards they didn't want, that are willing to sell at a discount or trade their cards for other ones.

From a seller's perspective, no longer do you have to keep that $50 Wal-mart card that Granny thought you might like. You can trade it for a Best Buy card, or sell it to someone for $45.

From a buyer's perspective (mine!), you can get a $500 Target gift card for $450. That's like getting $50 for FREE!

There's a small $3.99 fee to list a card on the site. There's no fee to buy a card from the site.

I feel an obsession coming on....everyone stand back.

Friday, December 09, 2005

I'm a Ho...

a Free Shipping Ho, that is.

The first step to recovery is admission that you have a problem. I have a problem. I cannot resist the lure of "free shipping". I will do anything for free shipping.

Evidenced the other day as I was doing some holiday shopping on They offer "Super Saver Shipping" (read as: FREE!) for orders over $25. Since I had about five items each to buy for two nieces, this should have been no problemo. However....

The "Super Saver Shipping" only applied to items that sells themselves. The key word being "themselves". For example, when you buy a toy from, the supplier is actually Toys R Us, not Amazon. Thus, no free shipping for that item. Drat!

Also, when you buy something as "used" from, that does not apply for the free shipping. Double Drat!

So, I found myself needing one purchase of $12.59 to qualify for the free shipping. I decided to buy one more book (horse-related, naturally...these are my horse-crazy nieces, after all). Guess how much the book was? $12.35! A frigging 24 cents short! Not even a quarter short. I added it to my order and the damn site actually told me, "you need .24 to qualify for Super Saver Shipping". Oh, bite my jingle bells! Just give me the quarter, for crying out loud!

So, what did I do?

Did I just place the damn order and get on with my life? No way, Jose.

I asked Loving Husband, "Do you need anything from" Surprisingly, he didn't need anything. When he finally thought of several things, they were (of course!) not qualified for the fucking free shipping. Triple Drat!

"Does Goofy Junior need anything from" Of course not. Junior has more "stuff" than the entire household combined, thanks to Junior-centric Gramma and Grampa.

I spend ONE HOUR of my precious life, trying to spend 24 cents. And having a hard time doing it!

Finally Loving Husband came up with the perfect plan. "How about a sticker book?"

"A sticker book!!!" Hallelujah! It was $1.25.

The final tally? I saved $5.29 in shipping.

I told you...I'm a Free Shipping Ho.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Killing a Business

One of my goals this past two weeks has been killing a business. Lest you think I'm cruel and heartless, the business was begging to be killed. The business in question was a jewelry-making business. A friend and I created the business two years ago. We took a jewelry making class, thought it was fun, then a few friends saw our creations and asked to buy them. What a rush! Hmmm....we thought. We could make some money and support our jewelry habit. How cool is that?

Well, at first it was very cool. We happily made jewelry and sold a few pieces to friends and family. Then we got our first store! Well, not OUR store...a store that was willing to put our jewelry on display and split the profits. "We are in the big time now," we thought. Then we got another store, and another, and another. It seemed that all we had to do was bring some jewelry in to show and ask about splitting profits. We could have gotten four more stores if we had just asked.

However around this time we realized that we needed to PRODUCE. Not happily create jewelry when we felt inspired. PRODUCE. A much different feeling, let me tell you. Around this same time my partner decided that she didn't like the pressure of having to PRODUCE when the stores needed inventory. She wanted to create jewelry when the urge struck her. And I whole-heartedly agreed! But I couldn't kill the business. I just couldn't do it. So my partner bowed out and I continued on.

Fast forward to about a month ago, when I did the accounting for the business for the year. Oh, all the revenue that had come in! It had added up. Wee! But, wait a minute...there was also the expenses. They had added up too. In my eagerness to PRODUCE, I had stocked up on beads, findings, wire, tags, tools, etc., etc.

When the two columns were summed and compared, I was BREAKING EVEN. Not making a dime. Basically doing the business for fun. And it wasn't much fun. There was a lot of deadlines and stress about HAVING to make jewelry, even when I wasn't in the mood. Plus, being me, I had several other projects in the hopper that were new! and fun! and needed my attention.

I asked Loving Husband his opinion. He was brief and to the point. "Simplify and prioritize," he said. He's a smart man sometimes, I have to admit.

So I came to the difficult decision. I must kill the business.

The first store removed itself. The owner had decided that her location sucked and was closing, moving and reopening in March. I pulled the inventory out and sighed with relief. That was easy.

The second store was easy too. I hadn't dropped off any new inventory in about 4 months. My contact there said she wouldn't be upset if I pulled out the jewelry case and revamped it. I asked if she would be upset if I didn't bring it back. She said "no". I considered it done.

The third store was a bit more difficult. They gave me some trouble. "Oh no!" they said, "Don't take your jewelry out. Make some more and it will sell. It's Christmas time, you know." I was obstinate. Well, I left and came back and then was obstinate. "I'm quitting the jewelry business!" I declared. They finally acquiesed and let me leave. On the way out, they tempted me again. "You know our other jewelry provider is quitting too. We won't have anyone's jewelry to sell." "I'm quitting!" I said, yet again. And so it was done.

The fourth store still has bundles of inventory. They will not be calling me for a while. They should get through Christmas and then some before I have to break the bad news to them. I'm going to leave them dumb and happy for the meantime, and break the news later.

It's hard work, killing a business. Almost as much work as starting one.