Monthly Archive: June 2010

Retail Fail

This issue has been sitting with me for a while.

I really wonder about the future of brick and mortar stores.  If they don’t get their act together, I think their days could be numbered.

This is especially true here in the United States, where online shopping is just ridiculously easy.  Services like Amazon Prime that, for a once a year fee, offer free two day shipping, make it so incredibly convenient.  Things ordered on Amazon appear on my stoop 2 days after I order them.  I don’t even have to rely on the postal service – FedEx and UPS are so much more reliable.

But I digress –

Since I returned to the US two and a bit years ago, I have used online shopping mostly for the convenience.  Even when working part-time, time is limited, and it is so much simpler to just go online and click some buttons.

While I have been shopping online, the bricks and mortar retail stores appear to have been dropping the ball.  These days, when I go into one because I think it will be quicker, and I want something RIGHT AWAY, I am ALWAYS disappointed. I cannot think of a single time I went into a store and thought:  phew! I’m glad I went today and didn’t wait for it to arrive from Amazon.

Examples:
1. I wanted a new duvet cover from Restoration Hardware – I had wanted it for a year or so, and had been waiting until I felt I could afford it.  I was going with my visiting mother to the mall anyway, so figured I’d get it on the day, rather than ordering it online and having to wait.  First of all, the woman in the store that offered to help me didn’t know what the Eucalyptus color looked like.  She tried to sell me Sage.  And then, it turned out they didn’t even have to color I wanted in stock.

Result: went home and ordered online.  It is now beautifully lying on my bed.

2. As many of you know, I recently bought a new camera.  I’m planning a whole separate post on where I bought my actual camera and lens from, but let me tell you about my filter buying experience yesterday.  I wanted a polarizing filter and a UV filter for my lens.  It’s a Nikon, and the filters are very typical filters for a high end camera.  I wasn’t looking for anything exotic. I actually had time to shoot some pictures that afternoon, and thought it would be quicker (if perhaps more expensive) to head to Wolf Camera.  Well, they didn’t have ANY good UV filters that would fit my lens in my local Wolf Camera.   I had to drive half an hour out of my way to get the UV and polarized filters.  They were GREAT once I got them, but what a hassle!  Seriously Wolf Camera, no UV filters for a fairly common Nikon lens????

Result: bought them – eventually

3. Hubbie needed a new lawn mower – the one from 9 years ago finally gave out on him.  He wanted a motor mower, but not a powered one – he figures he can push it along himself.  He went to Home Depot, Lowe’s and some other place – driving all over the place in awful Saturday afternoon traffic and NONE of the places had a non-self-propelled motor mower.  NONE.  He came back very very frustrated and pissed off with traffic, people, and useless retail stores. 

Result: Ordered on Amazon, using Amazon Prime (free 2 day shipping), and it arrived on our doorstep 2 days later.

I have several more examples, but I figure those will do.

Serious retail fail all around.  I don’t even WANT to go into retail stores anymore.  Give me the meta shopping experience ANY day, where they have what I want, when I want, and usually for a lower price.

The Nikon D90 has arrived!


D90 first shots 010
Originally uploaded by Strumpet101

I am so ridiculously excited about my new camera! We decided I should get it before we go on holiday to London and Paris this week. This gives me 9 days to get used to it before I have to use it for ‘real’ stuff.

I have got one lens that’s should have me covered for the duration – an 18mm to 200mm Nikon, in case you care … I should be able to use it for zoom and wide angle — at least as much as I might need on vacation. Of course, this means that one of the kids will have to be my little helper and carry the tripod. Can’t let gorgeous pics get ruined by camera shake!

Anyway, there is a LOT to learn, and never enough time to learn it all — we are headed for The Great Outdoors this weekend, so hopefully I’ll get lots of chances to stop and set up the camera right then.

In the meantime, you can all steal yourselves against the onslaught of flickr uploads.

For those of you even remotely interested, some of my pics are now available as prints/card/mousepads, you name it on SmugMug – Strumpet101’s SmugMug.

Oil and Vinegar


Oil and Vinegar 004
Originally uploaded by Strumpet101

My parents got me lovely new bottles to put oil and vinegar in in the kitchen. So, I had to go to the EVOO Marketplace in downtown Denver to choose some gourmet ones to put in there (EVOO = Extra Virgin Olive Oil).

The selection is tremendous there! For someone who loves to make their own salad dressings it’s fabulous!

And of course, I couldn’t decide on just ONE oil and just ONE balsamic vinegar to put in the new bottles. So, I bought one each, and figured I’d sort out which ones to use when I got home.

I opted for the South Australian Arbequina EVOO and the Tangerine Balsamic. I figure that will make a pretty nice ‘standard’ balsamic dressing.

Although the Cilantro and Onion looks yummy ….

Oh … and can you imagine a Honey Ginger Balsamic with a plain olive oil for dipping lovely Ciabatta bread in??

Thank God the GM diet is over this weekend!

The GM Diet


Breakfast
Originally uploaded by Strumpet101

I’m on another GM at the moment. Another GM diet that is. We (meaning hubbie & I) have been doing it every six months or so.

If you want to find out about the specifics of the diet, you can read it here:
http://www.iimahd.ernet.in/~jajoo/gmdiet.html

And, yes, GM stands for General Motors of all things.

It’s amazing to me how many people have really really strong and unsolicited opinions about 1-week cleansing diets. Everyone has one they think is better. A lot of people say: “oh! Don’t do that X, Y, or Z is much healthier/better/sustainable/ethical.” Or something to that effect.

The thing is, we researched a BUNCH of cleansing diets before we settled on this one. We chose it because it FITS us. It might not fit everyone’s lifestyle, beliefs, or diet choices, but it works for us. It works because it’s doable, we feel great after a week on it, and even better: we lose a little bit of weight and shrink our stomachs enough to keep our portion sizes reasonable for a few weeks again after being on it.

I’m not saying it’s perfect, but it works for me … and I might moan a lot while on it (especially the first 3 days), but I feel great when finished!

Today will be tough – this apple is about to become my breakfast. Today is all fruit and veges … third day with no meat, and only one little potato for carbs yesterday. But tomorrow, I get to have beef. Lovely lovely beef. Then I’ll stop being so grumpy!

B&W Wazzee Lounge and Supper Club

We went downtown to LoDo today — lunch at Gumbo’s was in order for my parents. Always absolutely scrumptious Catfish over gumbo … and I am always stuffed when I leave there!

I brought my camera, hoping to snap some shots while we were there. Of course, it’s almost impossible to do any extensive ‘photography’ when you’re with other people who aren’t there for the same reason. But I got a couple that I was really happy with.

One day, I will have to head down by myself, bring the tripod, and really do some more serious stuff. Today, I was focusing more on taking some black and white shots for the much-talked-of photography class.

This lesson’s assignment is all about black and white photography. (People who follow me on flickr won’t be surprised to hear that!). I’m supposed to take one high key picture, one low key, one architectural, and one landscape. And then I’ll have to pick ONE to send off for grading! That ‘picking one’ part sounds like the most difficult. Trying to decide which one I like best/hate the least is NOT going to be easy!

I still have to take the landscape one, though, so I have a few days before that horrendous decision has to be made!