Tag Archives: shopping

Retail Winners and Losers

we are openIt’s a mixed economy, of course. There are winners and losers in the retail world. How can you tell which is which? According to National Real Estate Investor, it’s a matter of which retailers are opening stores, and which are closing them.

It’s a mixed bag in 2015. The number of big national retailers planning to expand their operations and open new stores in the next year or two is pretty encouraging. At the same time, there are also big bankruptcies and store closings.


  • Craft stores, specialty apparel sellers and salons/spas.
  • Bed Bath & Beyond will open 140 stores in the next 2 years.
  • Urban Outfitters will open 120 stores.
  • Cosmetics…Sephora will open 100 new stores, Merle Norman opens 300
  • Furniture… Aaron’s will open 300 new stores. Isn’t that one of those Rent-to-Own places?
  • Fast food and dollar stores


  • Toy stores and book stores
  • A&P Supermarkets (bankruptcy)

Any of your favorites on the list? Do you see the economy improving or still struggling? Probably a little of both. Anyway, drop us a line at our Facebook page, and have a great weekend MindField-ers!

Not-So-Extreme Couponing

I found an old but very useful article at HowStuffWorks.com entitled “10 Extreme Coupon Tips for Normal People.” It was from a time when Extreme Couponing was becoming the big thing (is it still a thing?) and it was fun to point and laugh at the weirdos stockpiling 10,000 rolls of toilet paper.

People making a bizarre consumer religion out of coupons is, well, bizarre. That doesn’t mean that their tactics are useless, however. And that’s the point of the article – to remove the goofiness and pass on some useful tips and tricks. Here are the bullet points (with bonus dumb commentary!

  • Acquire Advanced Couponing Techniques : Newspapers, magazines, online sources of coupons
  • Join in on the Jargon-fest: OYNO? MIR? BOGO? Stackable? Apparently, these words mean something!
  • Turn Couponing into a Cottage Industry : You will need to build a cottage in your backyard to store all of that toilet paper. Just kidding… these are methods of organizing your coupons.
  • Get Familiar with Navigating the Marketplace: Start small by mapping out one store at a time
  • Know Your Rights for Smoother Sailing : Cashiers and managers are sometimes unfriendly to people trying to pay for four carts worth of stuff with 1,000 coupons and six dollars. Imagine!
  • Give Time, Save Money : Couponing requires a big investment of time. Too bad there’s not a coupon for that!
  • Buy in Bulk : And hope that you have the space for it all!
  • Forget Brand Loyalty : Really—what has Captain Crunch ever done for YOU!? I mean, besides defeating Hitler’s navy.
  • Go Where the Sales Are : This will take time and gas money!
  • Buy Items You Use: Or, as the survivalists say, “Hoard what you eat, eat what you hoard.”

For me, the hardest part of all of this is that I really can’t tell you the price of anything. They say people know the prices of 4 things, and I can’t even claim that. I imagine that is a big first step. Anyway, those were the bullet points. MUCH more info at the original piece

How about YOU? Any of these look like worthy tips? Any others you’d like to share? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

Shopping Ninja or Shopping Noob?

Purchase Receipt and Money.  Savings Concept.Here’s a fun shopping quiz (actual fun may vary) concocted by Deb Morris, the “Fru-Gal.” Your scores supposedly will reveal your shopping personality, and may actually help you change shopping behaviors and save more money!

Here are the questions…

  1. Do you enjoy shopping?
  2. Do you make a list before you shop?
  3. Do you stick to your list when you shop?
  4. Do you always buy the same brands?
  5. Where do you shop the most often?
  6. When do you shop the most often?
  7. Do you use your store’s discount card?
  8. Do you use grocery coupons?
  9. Do you print coupons?
  10. Do you use electronic coupons?
  11. Do you belong to Checkout51, Vocalpoint, Ibotta or Saving Star?
  12. Have you ever purchased grocery items free with coupons?
  13. Do you ever shop at the drugstore?
  14. Do you take your grocery coupons with you on vacation?

Each question gives you three alternative answers, with each being worth a certain point value. Add your points to find out if you are a “Busy Shopper,” (the lowest category) meaning you are too busy to cut coupons or comparison shop; an “Amateur Shopper,” meaning you realize the value of coupons and flyers but you just aren’t good at it; or an “Expert Shopper,” which means you are an expert at (wait for it…) shopping.  I scored a 10, which means I am a “Dude.” Oh well.

So, take the test! How did you do? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

Your Call is Very Important…


There is a popular image of retail “customer service” as a call center in some faraway land filled with people you can’t understand, yet somehow their names are Chad or Stacy. (An image, I believe, that retailers don’t mind perpetuating if it keeps you from calling.) But, somehow people still use the telephone.

So how was their experience on Black Friday, one of the toughest shopping days of the year? The Consumerist reports on a survey:

The survey, conducted by the folks at STELLAService, looked at the 35 largest online retailers — most of which are websites for major bricks-and-mortar stores — to determine how these companies performed at responding to phone and online chat requests. Consumerist.com

The results:

2012 Top 5:

JCPenney :22 sec, Office Max :30 sec, Amazon :59 sec, Target 1:05, Gap 1:33

2012 Bottom 5:

HSN 5:46, Dell 8:49, Walmart 11:20, TigerDirect 12:14, Costco 12:34

Read the article to see all the results. Did you call any customer service on Black Friday? How was your experience?

And, for the record, MindField Online uses home-grown customer service talent. If you can’t understand them, it’s just because they are from West Virginia! 😉  Have a great weekend!

(photo: apartmenttherapy.com)

Who is Really the Low Price Leader?

For me, the perception of paying less is what takes me to Wal-Mart. I feel like the noise, the crowd and the hassle are worth it if I am saving dough.

According to this article, though, those savings may be an illusion.

Target this month had lower prices than Wal-Mart for the first time since October, according to research conducted by Bloomberg Industries. The Minneapolis-based chain also led by its widest margin since the monthly study began two years ago. The study examined the gap in average price across a basket of 150 like items at stores within five miles of each other.  Bloomberg.com

Apparently, the still-crappy economy has the two giants scrambling for customers, and the competition has heated up. Of course, there are other players, including Kmart and Amazon. Customer loyalty is up for grabs, and we will go wherever the prices lead us.

At any rate, Target is crowing, and Wal-Mart is saying “Yeah, but…” And it seems this whole competition  is for bragging rights, since we are talking about a savings of 46 cents per every hundred dollars!

What do you think? Target or Wal-Mart? Do you see a difference? Let us know…and have a great weekend!

Sweet Seasonal Savings!

They’ve always said that certain bargains happen at certain times of the year, and knowing when to buy can save you money. Take me for instance. Just bought a TV, either 5 months late, or 7 months early! Anyway, here are some tips from around the web, starting with August.

August: Swimsuits, up to half off (the prices, that is.)  Anything related to back-to-school, like book bags, computers, crappy dorm furniture, etc. And lawnmowers, which won’t be missed – amirite fellas?

January: Linens and Holiday leftovers. White sales are everywhere, so stock up on the sheets and towels. Also, Christmas gear. Here’s one I have learned: if you collect those dated Christmas tree ornaments, but don’t absolutely have to have a 2012 on the tree IN 2012, then wait until January and save 50%!

February: Furniture. Stores are clearing out for new spring models. Save 30-60%

March: TVs. The big Consumer Electronics show is in January. Buyers place their orders, and they land in stores in March. So the shabby old 1080p flatscreens have to go to make room for the shiny new 1080p flatscreens! Save 15%

March: Springtime shoes. They hit the shelves in January, now they got ta GO. Save 20-30%

April: Raincoats. Stores have to meet the demand for April Showers, then clear the shelves for May Flowers. Save 25%

April/May: Thrift Store finds. After Spring cleaning! Furniture, housewares, clothes, kids stuff, the whole bit.

May: Athletic Apparel and Shoes. I guess it’s finally warm enough to go outside and exercise. Save 30-60%

June/July: Wedding season – June for planners, July for stragglers! So, wedding gifts like dishes and home décor are 20-50% off. Also, it’s Fathers Day, so useful things (tools, gadgets) and useless things (tools, gadgets) are on sale.

September: Plants. The typical season change clearing of the shelves. Save 30-50%. I hear that the independent places have better discounts than the big box stores.

October: Blue Jeans. The back-to-school market has dried up, and what’s left has to go! Save 30-60%

November: Pajamas, etc.  Lord knows I give SOMEBODY on my Christmas list some pajamas. Last year, I think I gave out 4 sets. A new record!

December: Coats & Jackets. Stores don’t have the room to store these bulky items until next fall. Save 15-40%

That’s the scoop. So, watch your calendars, then get out there and save in a timely fashion. And have a great weekend!!

(photo: galliawatch.blogspot.fr)