Can You Really Trust Online User Reviews?

As a savvy consumer, you probably do some research before you spend your hard-earned money, whether it’s for a night out at a fine restaurant, a hotel stay as part of a leisurely vacation, or purchasing goods such as electronics or clothing. How often have you spent those dollars only to find out that the restaurant or hotel wasn’t quite what you were expecting? How much time have you spent exploring your plans and checking out online user reviews? Did you trust what you read? That’s the question I’m asking today and what I have learned about online user reviews can help you wade through some of the clutter and get to the real story.

Can You Really Trust Online User Reviews?

There have been many articles written and surveys taken about the reliability of the reviews we see online for various services like hotels, restaurants, contractors, and of course, products. Some are positive and others are negative. According to a survey done by BrightLocal, the results for 2015 show that 80% of consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations, but 72% will do so only if certain criteria are met, with 31% needing to believe the review is authentic.Continue reading“Can You Really Trust Online User Reviews?”

Black Friday Shopping Tips to Save You Time & Money

Ready or not, holiday shopping is here with the arrival of November 1st this weekend. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving on November 27th this year has the stores preparing right now for what they expect will be their single biggest day of sales for 2015. It kicks off the four weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas that will determine their fate for a successful holiday season.

Black Friday Shopping Tips to Save You Time & Money

I have been through Black Friday sales over 40 times in my retail career and have seen it all, from the bargains of a lifetime to sometimes completely foolish offerings purchased by a frantic public.Continue reading“Black Friday Shopping Tips to Save You Time & Money”

Fall Into Super Savings Right Now!

It’s officially Fall 2015 and we can already tell just by the temperature (49 degrees here this morning!). When the temperature falls, that means savings are in the air as well. So here’s an opportunity to hunt for real bargains that may be on your shopping list. There’s actually double opportunities in October to get great prices…last of the summer merchandise sales as well as the start of fall and winter goods.

Fall Into Super Savings Right Now!

Let’s begin with the big deals for fall savings:Continue reading“Fall Into Super Savings Right Now!”

Common Retail Myths Exposed

We’d all like to think we know about most of the rules regarding our rights as consumers. If you’re old enough to know the name Ralph Nader (from before his political career), you can probably remember that he was very involved in protecting consumer rights and getting laws passed and policies changed that made shopping more consumer-friendly. The author of the book, Unsafe at Any Speed, he was particularly active with automobile safety and was largely responsible for the seat belt requirements in autos and their importance to safety protection regulations.

In a way, “Nader-isms” (if I can coin a word) have been responsible for a lot of things we do and think we know as consumers in all aspects of our shopping. I’ve spent 40+ years in retail stores and retail management, so I can tell you with authority that stores are now better than ever at attempting to satisfy and protect consumers. After all, happy customers are good for the bottom line.

Common Retail Myths Exposed

But there are still myths out there that make us wary and distrustful. In a few cases, they may be justified. But you should know the myths from the reality. Continue reading“Common Retail Myths Exposed”

How I Saved $171.07 While Shopping Today

I regularly preach that everyone should use their loyalty cards, clip coupons, and shop all the sales in order to save their hard-earned bucks. You don’t have to become an extreme couponer or spend countless hours sifting through circulars, but if you pay attention and give it a bit of forethought, you can save a bundle when you shop. I thought today I might brag a little bit about my successes while doing some routine shopping errands with my wife. I hope you will pick up the vibe here when I show you how with very little effort, I was able to save nearly 80% on my purchases, and keep $171.07 in my pocket!

How I Saved $171.07 While Shopping Today

The first thing we did was to make a list of stores where we planned to shop, and what route to take that would be most efficient in terms of saving time and gas money. First we’d head to the gas station to fill up, then a stop at Casual Male to use my free birthday money, next a trip over to Lane Bryant for my wife to use her bonus coupons and free rewards dollars, a quick stop at Harmon Discount for some health and beauty items, and finally a stop at the supermarket to get some advertised bargain OJ. Now, let me show you our savings!Continue reading“How I Saved $171.07 While Shopping Today”

Are You Wasting Your Money?

In this day and age, perhaps more than ever, spending your money wisely is essential to keeping you and your family financially healthy. If you’re like me, you probably plan a budget and think about your big purchases long and hard before you spend any hard-earned money. You probably don’t think you waste your money, but sometimes our everyday habits leak money without our even realizing it.

Are You Wasting Your Money?

Are you wasting money? Take a look at this list to figure out what ways your money may be disappearing right out of your pocket.Continue reading“Are You Wasting Your Money?”

The Simple Truth About Retailers’ Integrity

After 40+ years of working in the retail world, and even more years as an astute shopper, I think I know that the intention of almost every retail establishment is very clear. Their goals are very simple. They want to make a profit (yes, it’s not a dirty word!) and to make you a happy, satisfied customer so that you will return again and tell your friends to do the same. There are “rules” to be followed in many cases (they’re also known as consumer protection laws), but mostly it’s a common sense approach to resolving issues and shopping mistakes.

The Simple Truth About Retailers' Integrity

As upfront as that sounds, things do occur that can prevent such simple goals from being achieved. What happens in reality often leaves a bad taste in the shopper’s mouth and prevents the goal of mutual satisfaction from occurring. Why? Well again, it’s not complicated. Sometimes an honest mistake is made by a store and its employees. Other times, it’s the chain of command and the retail staff feels the need to protect the store from being taken advantage of by customers (and that does happen sometimes), which can lead to tension and customers leaving unhappy. Here are some real life situations I’ve experienced and what I did to resolve them from both sides of the shopping transaction.Continue reading“The Simple Truth About Retailers’ Integrity”

Negotiate Your Way to Shopping Bargains

I have spent most of my adult life working in and around the retail world. Over the years I have seen many changes such as the consolidation of many of the department store names of the 1970’s through the 2000’s, and all of the technology that helps to control inventory, track sales, and speed services, among many other changes. But one thing hasn’t ever changed in all my years in this business, and that’s the desire that all shoppers have to get a great deal on whatever they buy!

Negotiate Your Way to Shopping Bargains

You can often scour the ads and find “sales”, special values, price breaks, etc.  But do you always feel like you got the best deal?Continue reading“Negotiate Your Way to Shopping Bargains”