Black Friday 2014

blfridayOnce again, the Black Friday blog post – the Least-read Post of the Year!®

The Holiday shopping season begins! This year: “The National Retail Federation forecasts holiday sales will grow 4.1 percent to $616.9 billion — the biggest jump since 2011…retailers get 20 percent of their annual sales during the holiday shopping season.”  Associated Press

Scanning the news, it seems like business as usual. There are some notes of improvement, though. Instead of the old days, where the doors flew open and Death Race 2000 broke out to get to that one pile of Cabbage Patch kids, stores are spreading out the bargains throughout the store. Stores are hiring crowd control officers. The Early Bird Thursday shopping trend is easing things, as well, but a day later, some Black Friday shoppers are facing empty shelves.

As for the “open on Thursday” thing – what do YOU think? AP quotes a young adult shopper: “It’s ruining the spirit of Thanksgiving,” she said Thursday. “But … the best deals were today.”

So, what’s YOUR best bargain of the shopping season so far? Did you witness any craziness? Did you PERPETRATE any craziness? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and Happy Black Friday!

Thanksgiving By The Numbers 2014

thanksgiving spendingOne nice thing about Thanksgiving is that, even when times are tight, we still celebrate it. There are years when we have to choose driving over flying, spend less on food than we like, or worry more about the price of gas. But the urge to get together and give thanks amongst family and friends remains strong. Yay, us!

So, is this one of those “fretful” years? Yes and no. Who knows if we are ever going to get back to 2007 levels of “comfort,” but this year seems to be better than last. How so? Let’s take a look at Thanksgiving by the Numbers 2014!


  • 46.3 million: people who travel will be driving this Thanksgiving, or 92%
  • 50: miles driven on average, up 4% from 2013
  • $2.85: average price of gas, down 13% from 2013
  • $650 million: collective gas savings this year


  • 51 million: turkeys consumed on Thanksgiving day
  • 20%: of turkeys raised every year will be eaten this day
  • $21.65: cost of average turkey, down 11%
  • $49.41: cost of dinner for 10, 37 cents higher than last year

How about YOUR Thanksgiving spending in 2014? More travel or less? Driving or flying? Longer distance or shorter? More food and/or guests, or fewer? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page! Gobble gobble!


“Dangerous” Toys Named

Is it wrong that I still want one of these?
Is it wrong that I still want one of these?

Remember when all the cool toys were dangerous? I remember something called the Monster Maker. Sort of like the boy version of the EZ Bake Oven. You melted plastic in these aluminum forms to make little rubber monsters. Oh, and you also melted your fingertips. Good times.

Well, toys are a lot safer these days. There are a few, however, which are still iffy. So, some professional do-gooders called “World Against Toys Causing Harm, or W.A.T.C.H., issued the “10 Worst Toys” list to remind parents and consumers of the potential hazards in some toys as the holiday shopping season gets underway.” …NY Daily News

Some highlights:

  • Catapencil: a pencil with a miniature slingshot-style launcher on its end. Yes, you could put an eye out!
  • SWAT Electric Machine Gun: Looks too real
  • True Legends Orcs Battle Hammer: presents a risk for blunt impact injuries
  • Alphabet Zoo Rock and Stack Pull Toy: has a long string you might choke on
  • Air Storm Firetek Bow: Shoots projectiles up to 150 feet. Again, potential eye injury

And just so we don’t leave out the girls…

  • Lil’ Cutesies Best Friends Doll: parts break off, presenting a choking hazard.

You can read the rest and get all the details at the WATCH site.  My two cents? As always, there are legitimate concerns on the list, some that seem kind of a stretch, and some that are a little silly. What do you think? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

Tour the MindField Online Website!

cloudOver at the MindField Online Facebook page, we commonly hear, “I’m new—how does this whole thing work?”  That’s a pretty broad question, so we usually answer, “There’s plenty of info to be found at our website, -check it out!”

But exactly what you will find has been a mystery, wrapped in a riddle, wrapped in an internet – until now!  So, keep your hands and feet inside the tram as we take an informative, exciting (but mostly informative) tour of the MindField Online Internet Panels website. And please, no flash photography!

Member Home: A really useful portal that gives you a quick look at announcements, surveys available (“Live Now!”), membership details, payout options, referrals, member profile survey status, payout balance progress… and more!

Try Our New Apps!: Located at the top-right of our Home page, this is where you can download the new SurveyCloud mobile app for Apple or Android devices.

Account Settings: Here is where you can update or change your user preferences, email or street address and your password.

Study History: This is a detailed list of your Transaction History, Survey History, and Cashout History.

FAQ: Check out the answers to some frequently asked questions HERE. Then, take a moment to realize “So THAT’S what FAQ stands for!”

Policies: How do you register? Who is eligible? What are the rules? Here is where you find out!

IQD: Other than farm fresh ingredients, what steps does MindField Online Internet Panels take to ensure the quality of our data? Find out HERE.

News: Much of the news you will have seen on our Facebook page, but you will get more detail here.

Winners: MindField Online has regular cash drawings and sweepstakes. Here is where you can see the winners. ALSO… don’t forget our 2014 Holiday season cash drawing for $1000!!!

Contact:  Here is how you reach the helpdesk. They are ready to help with all kinds of technical issues!

MindField Online hopes you find our website an informative, user-friendly experience. Thanks again to the best consumer panelists in the business – YOU.

Marketing to Kids

shop kidsNot long ago I was going through some old photos. I found one of my class pictures – the one where the kids and teacher all stand together on a riser. I won’t tell you what grade I was in, but the year was 1972. And I noticed it right away: not one kid was wearing a Hello Kitty or NASCAR or Mountain Dew shirt. They just wore…clothes.

Commercializing our kids, marketing to children… some folks don’t mind it. Some don’t like it. Others say that this is just the way things are, and not much can be done about it.  Still others have decided to take a stand.

According to the Campaign for a Commercial-free Childhood (CFCC), too many kids are falling for the “values that dominate commercial culture—materialism, self-indulgence, conformity, impulse buying, and unthinking brand loyalty.” So, with the Holidays coming up, they have nominated the following toys for (in their words) the worst toy of the year. This year you can vote for:

  • Fitness watch for 5-year-olds
  • Girl Scout Barbie with high-heeled hiking boots
  • Mini-mall set with every conceivable name brand in it
  • Tablet device for ages 0-5
  • McDonalds/Cartoon Network app for boys 6-11

Head on over if you care to.

I have tried to present this without comment, but what do YOU think? Is there too much commercialism in today’s childhood? If there is, is this a horrible thing or are they making a mountain out of a molehill? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

Veteran Deals and Freebies 2014

veterans dayFirst off, a big thanks to our veterans, active military and their families! Now, go out and enjoy your freebies, such as a free haircut at Great Clips, a free Bloomin’ Onion from Outback, or a free beer at Rock Bottom! The list of participating retailers is long, and these are just the big national chains. There are likely many smaller retailers in your locale showing their appreciation.

Here’s a link roundup of the bigger deals. Enjoy… and be sure to thank a veteran today!

Low Gas Prices = Happy Holidays?

gaspigDriving to and from work every day, you have probably noticed the price of gas coming down. Here in South Carolina, we enjoy some of the lowest prices in the US, but I still see the pattern. This past summer, prices were up around $3.40 (which made my drive to Ohio pretty dang expensive!) Today, it’s $2.62.

So, let’s just say gas is now 75 cents less per gallon. And, lets say that you – the American consumer who drives 65% of the economy – are saving about $300 a year now. What do you plan to do with that extra scratch? has a suggestion:

American’s spend about 4% of their income on gas for their cars. The drop in price for each tank pumps up the spending power of most consumers, already adding billions of dollars in unexpected spending power ahead of the holiday spending season.

So, have you noticed the gas prices going down? Has it put you in a better mood? In a mood to spend more for the holidays? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

The Best deals for November 2014

NOV SAVINGSNovember is the month when those “here are the best deals for the month of X” articles start to get serious! In a few short weeks, the madness known as Black Friday begins the 2014 holiday shopping season. Just like last year, Black Friday is coming rather late (last year, 11/29; this year, 11/28) so the retailers are already panicking, and working a few new angles. Walmart, Amazon, NewEgg and others are offering some form of Black Friday savings for the entire month of November. So, if you want to get a jump on things, here is a list of links to tell you where the deals are this November. Enjoy!

So, are you ready to rock? Do you know of other good deals? Let us know at the MindField Online Facebook page!