Well, I guess it's time for the Annual Stupidsheet Shopping Review.
It went fairly well this year. I have definitely confirmed that it pays to shop around, and not just for a few pennies. I priced an item at 3 different sites. Macy's had it for $70 plus shipping, the manufacturer's own site had it for $59.99 plus shipping, and Walmart.com had it for $49.99 including shipping. That's pretty significant in my world.
Other online pleasantries were offered by ToysRUs.com. 10 points from us. Good job with the site, the inventory, and the shipping. Same for Target.com.
We're still sort of keeping our back turned on Amazon.com for their performance last year. Elephants and Stupids don't forget.
We had a pleasant surprise in the form of Freehold Raceway Mall in NJ. The parking was definitely at a premium, but because of the amount of people who showed up to shop, there are definitely plenty of actual parking lots.
Now that I'm one of those handicapped guys, I can joke about that. Having a handicapped permit in NY and NJ is a joke, for sure. I think 90% of the driving population of those 2 states is handicapped, at least as far as parking is concerned. So, I parked a few miles away and walked.
The mall itself is handicapped-friendly overall. Access is good, moving about the levels is easy. I'm not wheelchair-bound, so I can't rate it from that point of view, but I'd give the mall itself a gold star.
Stores that could use some revamping: As I said, the mall itself is very accomodating. However, some of the stores themselves could use some work. JCPenney is a nightmare for us less-than-able-bodied folks. They have very few checkouts, and in my case, involved a lot of walking through tight, messy aisles. and they're not easily visible. Penney's could take a look and maybe add a few cash registers. Also, Penney's merchandise is organized and marked pretty poorly. There was a section of Docker's pants marked down at various prices, one of which was $29.99, down from $60. But the pants were all mixed up, so the ones that were marked down to $49.99 were mixed up with the 29.99. And they let the customers go back to do the price verification. Nice. Not my favorite experience.
Winner of the "Are You Kidding Me?" Award. The Disney Store looked like Walmart. That's not a compliment. I never thought I would associate the words "what a shame" with anything Disney. This store was flat-out terrible. A mess, poorly stocked, and light on the sales staff. Who would think that the good Disney folks would ever allow something like that to bear the Disney label.
Awesome! Sears. Clean stores, well-stocked shelves, friendly, helpful staff. I was surprised, seeing how they merged with K-Mart. But it was a pleasant surprise.
Not too sure... Border's Books. Again, very large stores, not easy to navigate. One set of registers meant that we had to go up and down between levels to pick the books up, then hike to pay for them. Otherwise, ok rating. They could use a little more selection in the "Cooking" category though.
The laugh of the day The genuises at GAP Stores have decided that some of us will have no choice but to purchase online. They simply don't stock our sizes, and simply won't, in the stores themselves. Yes, 40/34, among others, is from this day forward an "Internet Size". From this day forward Gap is no longer my jeans supplier. DO NOT TELL ME THAT YOU'RE MAKING MY CHOICES FOR ME WHEN IT'S MY MONEY COMING OVER THE COUNTER. bye GAP.
Cool store Hollister. Quick, efficient staff, lots of merchandise.
Ooh, and one more "Bye Bye": I went to the UPS Store in Howell, NJ. As I got to the door, I read the hours and it clearly said "Saturday 8 to 4:30 PM" It was closed. At 3 PM. Nice job. I found an alternate shipping company. Buh bye UPS.
But overall, the results this year were a lot better than last year. Amazon-free, Sears-Wishbook free, and we still managed to get it done! How about that!