Tag Archives: shopping

I Hate Home Depot

(Home Depot rebates ARE A SCAM. I will never buy any big-ticket items from them again.)

Home Depot owes me a $60 rebate. My boyfriend and I bought our good friend a dishwasher for her birthday in August, and chose to spend a little more that we had originally intended to because of the rebate offer. So I got her a $399 dishwasher, plus spent $60 on delivery, and another $50 or so on parts. The dishwasher had a $60 rebate if you ordered delivery, so I paid, filled out the rebate forms online and thought I’d be receiving my rebate shortly.

Yea, right. Rebates are designed to screw you out of your money. They make you jump through so many hoops, eventually it’s just not worth your time to pursue the matter further.

This sort of bullshit really works me up, though. I’ve been corresponding back and forth with a woman in the customer service department and getting nowhere fast. My last e-mail with “Bianca” informed me that I need to e-mail them a JPG attachment of my receipt to prove that I, indeed, paid for delivery along with my purchase.

So I took a screenshot of the e-mailed receipts Home Depot mailed to me as I bought the dishwasher and confirmation on my rebate submission. I have a feeling that’s not what they’re looking for, though. The bad news is that since the dishwasher was delivered to my friend, any sort of hard copy receipt that came with it is either lost or gone. I never saw it. But I paid for it. On my credit card. And Home Depot e-mailed me confirmations left and right about all these things. Then they e-mailed me saying I don’t qualify for the rebate because I didn’t pay for the delivery. Fuck that. I paid for delivery. And a whole bunch of other crap.

Moral of the story – rebates are evil, Home Depot’s customer service department blows, and I’m going to keep blogging on how much Home Depot sucks until I get my rebate.

Beauty Trends, a Sephora Gift Certificate, and $200


After three years of avoiding makeup-superstore Sephora to spend my $40 gift certificate, I finally gave in and decided to splurge. The show I directed opened on Friday night and I had failed to find a blue sweater to match the dress I bought, so in desperation I headed over to Sephora for my final touches.

I meant to just spend about $40 on a new foundation. Not that I really needed a new foundation, but the colors I had for summer were looking silly on my now-pale skin (it’s ghostly, really) and I needed something a bit lighter.

Here’s the rub – the day before I go to Sephora I wrote some content for my job about spring and summer beauty trends. I’ve been avoiding following the trends for a while, given that I have a bunch of makeup and I usually just buy what I think looks good on ME and not what the trends are. But I got really, really into the beauty trends for this spring/summer. Neon pink lipstick? Why, I don’t own any neon pink lipstick, I thought. I also did some research on the best mascaras and despite knowing that the drug store brands are just fine I found myself longing for some Christian Dior Diorshow Blackout. All 20 some-odd dollars of it.

Well, I spent about 2 hours of “oohs” and “ahhs” in Sephora, browsing through the aisles, trying on makeup, and trying my darndest to avoid the sales people who kept asking “are you doing ok?” (Funny, when I finally needed help, a salesperson was nowhere to be found!)

Going to Sephora to buy “just a few” pieces of makeup is really a bad idea for anyone attempting to be somewhat frugal. After all was said and done I spent $200 – only $40 of that was covered by the gift certificate I went into spend. (Yea, yea, I know that’s the point of gift certificates.)

But, on a positive note, I love my new makeup. I’m still not going to be a trend whore, so I’ll wear it for years – until it gets really gross.

Then again, does that justify spending $25 on Dior lipstick? And then spending $10 on nearly-the-same-shade neon pink Sephora-brand lipstick that I now use to blend with the $25 Dior lipstick?

You all probably think I’m absolutely crazy, spending this much on makeup.

But I can’t be the only one – otherwise Sephora would go out of business. But that place sure is always busy. Maybe everyone else goes in and has some self-restraint. But I go in once a year or every two years and splurge. It makes me feel good. I like looking pretty, and the older I get, the less pretty I feel. It’s really sad that makeup – ie, face paint – helps me feel like I’m decent looking, but I’d rather spend a lot of money on makeup than my hair cuts. I mean, as I said in my last entry, I spend $60 on a cut, but I only do it twice a year. Some people are spending $60 every 6 weeks for their HAIR. So I end up spending that money on makeup. And I just love painting my face!

I worry about getting even older. Now, at 24, at least I don’t have massive amounts of wrinkles. But what about when I turn 30… or 40? Old women buy a lot of expensive, often misleading beauty products in a quest to look younger. Eeks.

For now, though, I’m happy with my purchases. My Lorac Cheek Stamp (it’s blush that’s like a stamp, which kind of works and kind of doesn’t, but it’s never been so fun to use blush), my Diorshow mascara, my $4 Sephora lipliner (if you want cheap good-quality lipliner, go into Sephora and buy their brand, it’s really nice, just don’t look at anything else), my $25 Dior lipstick, my $10 Sephora lipstick, my $40 Laura Mercier foundation stick (which may or may not be in the right color for me, foundations always look weird on my pale-ass skin), my $30 Laura Mercier foundation primer (oil free, of course), and the $20 eyebrow pencil in a color that’s actually right for my eyebrows (as opposed to the 10 $6 eyebrow pencils I’ve bought at drugstores over the years that are the wrong color for my brows!). I think that’s all I got. Does that add up to $200?

I guess it does, with taxes and all.

Geez, makeup is expensive. But I must admit, I feel happiest after buying new face paint.

I spent ONLY $12.91 at Target.

Someone, anyone, give me a gold star.

I walked around the entire store as always, even though I went in to buy a notebook, a sponge and tape. I picked up a few items and then forced myself to put them back down as I wandered around. Holding the item is half of the excitement of shopping. I don’t actually have to buy it.

I kept telling myself “no” (in my head, of course) and I made it out of the store with exactly what I had intended to buy (well, I bought a special soap-holding sponge scrubber thing, but I still did a good job.)

A for effort. A- for end result.

You Lose Some, You Win Some…

I’ve been “playing” this weird Bluefly.com sweepstakes game that involves… well, I’m not even sure what it involves really, but the point is that you can win “shopping sprees” on the site or the grande prize of a trip to the Project Runway finale. I admit, my initial interest in the contest was the main prize, but the thought of winning one of the smaller prizes intrigued me.

So I played the game. I clicked on the silly banner link they e-mailed to me every day for the past month (well, almost) and that took me to a flash game that made absolutely no sense and pretty much was a waste of my time. Well, today, I clicked on the link and… I didn’t even get to the “game”… I just saw a screen that said “Congratulations, You Won a $100 Bluefly Shopping Spree.”

According to the contest rules, I won “second prize.” Over the entire period of the contest, “NINETY (90) SECOND PRIZES (two (2) per day)” would be awarded. Not too shabby, and a nice ending to a rough day…

Awesome, I thought, but what’s the catch? (There’s ALWAYS a catch, right?)

It turns out there isn’t a catch, or at least I didn’t let myself fall for it. The majority of items on the site are well over the $100 I won, and it’s easy to want to buy multiple items because the shipping is “$7.65 for an order” of as many things as you want to buy. It seems this contest was rigged to give out this “prize” right after the Christmas shopping frenzy ended. Why not use this as a way to try to get shoppers to buy more of the items on the site?

Surely, I was tempted. After browsing through the site for a month I’m practically on a first-name basis with all the left-over designer items waiting the day when they will be adopted by fashion-forward savings feens. So it was tough to force myself to add just one item to my shopping cart and click purchase.

I settled on a fairly basic black cashmere shirt…

It’s cute, right? A little interesting poof on the sleeve so I felt like I was getting something a little unique for my “prize” money, but without buying something that I’m never going to wear just because I had the extra cash to spend. I really hate shopping online for clothes because it takes me hours to find things that fit in the store, and it’s a crap shoot at guessing what sizes in each designers specific measurements will fit my… uh… Rubenesque figure.

In the end, I spent an extra $26 that I didn’t expect to be spending this evening. On one hand, that’s kind of a dumb move, because I just spent $125 on Christmas gifts. But… it does feel good to get a $275 cashmere shirt for $26 (that’s including shipping). Here’s to hoping the shirt actually fits when it shows up!

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Successful Shoe Return; Job Stress; Understanding Economics

Please pat me on the back. I walked into Macy’s to return my non-functioning shoes that I purchased for $45 last month (the heel of the right shoe somehow deflated each time I put any weight on it) and by some miracle of miracle’s I managed to walk out of the store, return receipt in hand, without making another purchase.

(Although I admit, I did eye the earring display by the door and have dirty thoughts about buying half of the items shimmering in my view).

Now, before you get too pat-happy, prepare to punch me. Five minutes or so after my accomplishment, I walked into Borders and spent $36 on two books. I felt like the books were worthy purchases though. Sure, I could go to a library to get books for free, but on the rare occasion I manage to motivate myself to read anything, I’m the type that loves to take notes in the columns. The librarians don’t really think my notes add value to the books, so it’s best for me to purchase them up front.

My goal over the next few months is to actually start reading. I have terrible ADD and I rarely pick up a book and make it through from start to finish. I’ve given up on fiction almost entirely, but non-fiction is worth my time and painful attempts to focus.

Since I’m on this personal finance kick and slightly depressed/confused/bewildered about how Wall Street works, I decided to invest in some economics for dummies-type books.

So I bought:

1) Economics: Making Sense of the Modern Economy (by “The Economist”)
2) Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations: A Story of Economic Discovery, by David Warsh

I like buying “smart people” books. My shelves are filled with them. Do I read them? No. But I do need to figure out this economy thing. It’s one subject that I’m embarrassed I know next-to-nothing about. As a business reporter, I owe my readers (and myself) a bit of a fast education on the topic.

Speaking of my profession, I won’t go into detail (since I want to remain anonymous), but I’m a bit stressed out about my new job. The job is awesome for so many reasons – flexibility, salary, the people I get to work with and meet, and above all, the ability to learn something (or a bunch of things) new every day. How could I ask for more? I know I’m so lucky to have landed in such a great position given my age, my experience, and perhaps even my potential.

Well, that’s the problem. I really want to do a good job, but it’s not like I can just complete all my projects early, take on additional projects, and seem like a great worker. Ultimately my success is dependent more on quality than quantity of my output, though quantity is important as well.

The sad thing is that even when I try to be careful with my reporting, I have a tendency to make little mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes once in a while, but I seem to do it all the time. I’m looking into going to see a psychiatrist because I’m thinking perhaps if I get on some drugs for my ADD I’ll be less likely to miss my errors. But all that mental health care costs a fortune, even if my insurance covers some of it. Then again, if it’ll help me keep my job, it’s worth it, right?

In any case, I’m confused about the whole career situation. More than anything I’m frustrated with myself for not kicking ass at my job. I don’t want to let my anxiety hold me back from success. Then there’s also the question of whether I’m smart enough to be in a position that obviously requires a high level of intellect and ability to collect, analyze and re-hash complicated information.

My boss recently criticized me for my lack of voice in my work. He said he hired me because I told him that I’m a blogger. But my writing for work has been so boring and dry. It’s lacking any sort of personality, I guess. I wonder what he’d think of this blog or any of the other blogs that I keep that are chalk full of personality. It’s a lot easier to have a voice when I’m writing about things I’m intimately familiar with, but the topics I write about are not things that are easy to understand or to explain. Maybe someday I’ll get to the point where I can write short, edgy posts with tons of voice that people would actually want to read. Until that day, I better get “good enough” so I can keep my job… and keep improving.

I’ve Been a Bad, Bad Girl

This is why it is a bad idea to live next door to a mall:

9am: Wake up, realize I have no clean clothes to wear to a work event in the afternoon.
10am: Ponder doing laundry, but fail to find clothes (that aren’t dry-clean only) that would be appropriate for said event.
11:20am: set off to the mall to find one outfit ($100 max) to purchase for work.
12:30pm: return home with $370 in clothing purchases including: 2 pairs of pants, 1 t-shirt, 1 jacket, 1 nice button down shirt, 1 cute random $70 bright blue shirt that would be good for, uh, clubbing (do I ever go clubbing?), and 1 sweater.
12:40pm: Put on jacket, t-shirt, and pants, and head out to work event.

Anyway… I’m now trying to figure out if I should return anything. Obviously I can’t return what I wore yesterday. I really like the sweater from Express… and it wasn’t too expensive so I’m going to keep it. Really the only items I could return are the $40 bright blue button down, short-sleeve shirt and the gray dress pants, also from Express. But I always manage to not have any pants to wear. I should return the shirt. I don’t even know if I’ll ever wear it. I’m still upset with myself for buying a dress –on sale–at Macy’s a year ago and then never wearing it and managing to not attempt to return it until it was too late to make the return. That’s $53 down the drain.

In any case, I shouldn’t have spent $370 on clothes! That’s ridiculous and I know it. But clothes make me happy. I’m an addict. And I’ve decided that buying things on sale is a waste… because then I always buy things (like that dress) and never wear them. Well, the jacket I bought yesterday WAS on sale (for $60, compared to its $173 original price tag) but… my new rule is to buy clothing that I am in love with at the store, because i know i’ll get a lot of use out of it. For instance, the $70 purple shirt and $160 jeans I bought last month have already been worn… a lot. I try to buy machine wash and dry clothes now, since my dry-cleaning bin is filled up and I’m too stubborn to spend $100+ getting it all washed. Of course that would be cheaper that going out and buying new clothes.

Hmm. So I think I have a shopping addiction. And it’s pretty bad. I’m depleting my savings, even while making $50k a year. How is that even possible?

shop-a-holic / a rant re: dry cleaning.

I’m totally blowing my first month’s salary (for my new job that i haven’t even started yet) by taking a few (supposedly harmless) trips to my local mall.

Remember how I bought a pair of $156 jeans the other day (i’m still madly in love with them, though terrified of washing the pair. i think it’s ridiculous to dry clean jeans, but i also don’t want to destroy a pair of $156 pants in the washer/dryer) — anyway, yesterday I bought another pair. And this one needs a good hemming in order not to cover an extra 5 inches of imaginary calf.

[[[addition… i found the same part of jeans sold on Revolve Clothing for $231, so I feel rather good about buying the same pair for $153 on sale.]]]

Nordstrom is dangerous for me. Given, I’ve learned to control myself when it comes to buying clothes that I know I’ll only wear once. Still, my basket full of dry cleaning is awaiting my dragging it to the cleaners and spending $150 or so to get it all cleaned. I hate wearing clothes more than once in between washes, but I’m learning to get over that as well… especially my dry cleaned items. Dry cleaning is so damn expensive. Why must all of the nice clothes be dry clean only? I hate that.

At least men’s dry cleaning is fairly cheap. I love the places that advertise $1.00 per shirt, then I bring in my shirt and they say – ‘oh, that’s the men’s price. your shirt costs $3.50’ or whatever the marked up price is. In one of my sociology classes in college we watched a investigative piece about women getting overcharged for things, and in one part of it a guy brought a woman’s shirt to a dry cleaner and he was charged the lower fee, then a woman brought in the same shirt and she was charged more. WTF?

Anyway, I really have no right to complain about that when I just spent $153 on another pair of jeans. And I really shouldn’t have. Well, they just looked so great with that $66 shirt that actually made me look attractive.

Now, those $153 were actually on sale. I wasn’t familiar with the brand, but I was browsing the Saavy department of Nordstrom (where I have constant clothiorgasms, similar to the ones i have in the “Impulse” section at Macy’s)… the goal of the trip was to find a pair of True Religion jeans to try on (someone mentioned the brand on this blog so I figured I’d check them out and see if they happened to fit better than Joe’s brand). Well, I found one pair of True Religion jeans but they were this fugly dark wash that wasn’t my style. Then I found myself browsing the other jeans and noticed one brand way in the back of the too-cool-for-school section of the store. I’m not sure how denim designers think they can get away with charging $230 for a pair of jeans, but for this one brand that price tag seemed standard.

I wasn’t going to bother trying on that brand (I was afraid I’d fall madly in love with them and splurge $230 for the pair) but then I was browsing the sale rack (sale in the expensive department just seems like the wrong word to use) and found a pair in my size by the same brand… on “sale” for $153.

That brand, William Rast, is apparently Justin Timberlake’s denim line. Justin Timberlake has a denim line? See how much I know about fashion. Anyway, I tried on the jeans and lo-and-behold they fit quite nicely. But I think it was the way they looked with the purple shirt I tried on that sold me on the pair. After all, my goal was to buy one more pair of jeans… light wash… to balance out my wardrobe. These jeans were NOT light wash. They’re almost the same tone as my Joe’s pair, except the hue leans slightly towards a grey-blue, whereas my Joe’s jeans are true blue. So when paired with a color, they are less distracting and I feel like they match better.

I still feel silly about wearing jeans by Justin Timberlake. I tend to avoid all of the rock star designers… J Lo, P Diddy, etc. They can mark up their prices to ridiculous amounts for no reason other than their celebrity.

Still, the jeans fit, and as far as I know I’ll be able to wear jeans most everyday to my new job. If that’s true, it makes sense to own a few pairs of quality jeans. Right?

Ok. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m really bad with money. I was such a spoiled little kid. Of course, I never bought $200 jeans when I was younger. But it was common to spend upwards of $1500 a season buying new clothes. I’d buy A LOT of clothes for that price (whereas now I could see spending that much and getting maybe three outfits). If I found one shirt I liked, my mom would basically force me to buy it in every color they sold it in, even if I hated all the other colors. I was always aware of things being pricey, and would rather spend $30 on a shirt (and buy 10 shirts) than buy one $130 top.

Bad spending habits are hard to break. I’ve told my boyfriend that as soon as I start my new job, I’m going to make and stick to a strict budget. I think it will be fun to start saving and splitting that savings up so I can put, say, $50 a month into a shopping fund and then when a new season rolls around, I can limit my spending to the money I saved for shopping. If I don’t want any new clothes that season, I can keep saving. It’d be fun to go shopping with $1000 to spend once a year. And then I wouldn’t feel guilty for buying a $66 shirt that I’m madly in love with.

I just need to keep myself away from the mall. I went there yesterday to go shopping with my boyfriend. I was supposed to be looking for shirts for him. But then I ran into Nordstrom just to check out those True Religion jeans and, well, the rest of the story is history.

I’ll try those jeans on again tonight and see if I really like them, then i’ll take them to get hemmed at some point. It’s about time I visit the dry cleaners anyway.

Luxury Denim: $200 for a pair of jeans?

Back in the day, I remember oogling brand-name jeans in the Juniors department at various department stores and getting sick to my stomach looking at the price tags. But back then, the most expensive pair of jeans I saw was $100, maybe $110 for a really pricey brand. Most of the jeans were more like $50-$70, and there was always a pair I could find that fit decently for the $40-$50 range.

Yesterday, I spent $158 on a pair of jeans. Plus tax. I can’t believe I did that. But it was my reward for getting myself a new job where I’ll be making $15k more a year. The new job also lets me wear jeans to work more than one day a week, so I figured it was worth the investment. Sure, I could buy three or four pairs for that price, but why buy three or four that aren’t perfect when I could buy one I love?

I’m trying to get out of the mentality that my mom taught me: more is better. That’s not true most of the time. I’m a shoppaholic, sure, but I own so many items of clothing that I bought on sale that I wore once and never had the occasion or desire to wear again. Jeans, at least, will get a lot of wear.

I remember hearing from Suzie Orman (or maybe I read it in one of her books at Borders) that in order to determine the price of an item, you should device it by the number of times you wear it. So a $15 shirt worn once is actually a lot more expensive than a $150 pair of jeans worn 200 times. I like that concept, as it makes me feel pretty good about spending so much on one pair of Jeans. What doesn’t make me good is finding the same pair (fitwise/style anyway) on sale on Bluefly.com for $60 less (wrong size anyway).

So I went to Macy’s determined to find a pair of $150-$200 jeans that fit like a glove and required no further alteration. That’s more difficult than it sounds since my legs are too short purportionately for the size of my waist.

I tried on 8 pairs of Jeans, ranging in price from $78 to $186. I wanted to see if I could tell the difference between the quality, or if the price difference had to do more with the little logo that would rest near my ass and less to do with fit.

The three main pricey designer jean brands seem to be Citizen’s of Humanity, Seven for All Mankind, and Joe’s. I soon found out that Citizen’s and Seven Jeans are meant for model figures. I was tempted to buy a pair of Citizen jeans that sort of kind of fit, but for $186 I didn’t want jeans that fit like someone else’s glove.

Then, I found them. A pair of $156 Joe’s Jeans, size 31 petite, dark wash. The perfect pair of jeans. Almost. They fit like my glove. Even better, the details were classy, not trashy (i’m not spending $150+ on a pair of ripped jeans, thankyouverymuch.) Ever since finding out I have a nice behind (it seems to be one of my better assets, according to others) I’m very picky about how jeans make my ass look. And the pocket detailing has a lot to do with whether they’re flattering or falling flat. This pair had the best pocket’s I’ve ever seen. A braided weave of denim that would, indeed, gracefully cling to my bootie. This was the pair of jeans I had been dreaming of when fighting with pants to make it over my wide womanly hips, only to find out the waist itself was way to big (can you say ‘hello underwear’?)

I bought them. I also ended up buying a $90 DKNY dress/shirt that I probably didn’t need. But it was so beautiful that I couldn’t resist. I might return it. That’s one of those items I’ll wear once, maybe, and never wear again. Just because while I love fashion and patterns and color, lately I’ve found I always fall back on solids and, well, basic black. I’m so boring. When I grew up I was all about fancy patterns and bright colors. I’m no longer craving that kind of attention or desire to make a fashion statement. Besides, five out of seven days of the week I work, and while I don’t need to be extremely conservative at work, in order to be taken seriously I can’t wear paisely.

So here I am, wearing my over-priced designer jeans, enjoying the fit, the details, the feel of heavy, high-quality denim clinging to my hips and knees.

And now, of course, I want to buy another pair. Light wash.