Monday, June 13, 2022

The Great Grocery Debate!

Hello Mamas! It's been a while! I thought I'd share some grocery shopping insight I've recently discovered. To preface, I am a sale shopper. I will RARELY ever pay retail prices on anything. It physically pains me to do so. So, with that said, I thought I'd share my thoughts on two different grocery shopping services in my area (Oregon). In this edition of Versus, we're pitting 

Offers DeliveryYes, for a fee or w/planYes, for a fee or w/plan
Offers Pick-upFree w/$30 purchaseFree w/$35 purchase
Delivery PlanFreshpass $99/yrWalmart+ $98/yr
Plan Includes:Plan Includes:
$5 monthly creditFree shipping
Free Delivery on orders over $30Free Delivery on orders over $35
Monthly Starbucks PerkScan & Go Service (no checkout)
Save 5% on Organic Line
Item SubstitutionsYes, unless you opt outYes, unless you opt out

I subscribe to Safeway Freshpass and do Walmart pick-ups. After using Safeway since February, I will not be renewing next year and will strongly consider using Walmart's annual plan. 

Safeway Pros
  • Their sale prices, and Just 4 U prices, are usually better than Walmart's regular price and that adds up. I typically split my weekly groceries between the two depending on who has the better price.

Safeway Cons
  • Every. Single. Order. Is. Wrong! I order weekly and almost every week I have to contact customer service. Issues I've run into are sale prices not being honored, out of stock items negating a sale price on items received (ie, buy 5 for $1ea, must buy 5, I get 3 delivered and pay full price for the 3), and substitutions are sometimes weird (I got a bag of tortilla chips as a substitution for fabric softener that was out of stock). A big note on Safeway substitutions, if you opt for them, you could be sorely disappointed as the substituted item may be three times the price of your out of stock item, but you'll be charged full price for the substitution. I've opted out of them all together because I've been burned too many times on out of stock items.
  • I HATE HATE HATE all the damn plastic bags! You can't opt out of them, and that makes sense for delivery, but seriously, so much plastic! And sometimes, they'll put one or two items in a bag. Fill those suckers up! At 10 cents a pop, you'd better be filling them up with grocery goodness.
  • With the number of out of stock items, I usually have to make a weekly in-store trip anyway. The bright side is I have less items to pick-up.
Walmart Pros
  • When they substitute an item, they honor the price of the item you originally ordered. They will also send you an email asking if the substitutions are okay before you pick-up, so you can say "no, thank you" and they'll remove them from your order.
  • You don't have to use bags! I LOVE this feature. I can opt out of bags when checking out online and when they bring out my groceries, they put them straight into a bin in my trunk and I can forego all that awful plastic.

Walmart Cons
  • I honestly don't have any other than the fact that's it's Walmart and I have a love/hate relationship. This might be different if I used their delivery service, but my biggest beef with Safeway is the substitutions and I already prefer Walmart's way of handling that.

So there you have it. My two cents. I may be the only one to ever read this, but this is the type of stuff I search for online when I want to compare services, so to my other "me," you're welcome. :-)

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Groupon Racket - If You Groupon, You Need to Read

Disclaimer: Sorry, it's long, but bear with me, it's an important read if you Groupon
Ah, the Groupon.  The steal of a deal and sometimes the only way we can justify a spa trip for ourselves.  "But Honey, it was half off!  So now my hair is too, do you like it?"  I've found plenty a good deal and have discovered some new favorite places.

This is all well and good, but what happens when your Groupon expires?  First thought, "Crap."  Then you start scouring the fine print to find out exactly what that means.  Most of us assume that the paid value can be used for anything that that business offers.  Like a store credit.  Myth number one.

To illustrate, I shall use my own personal example.  For my last birthday, my parents gave me a Groupon for Picture It On Canvas.  The deal was for a 16x20" print with free shipping for $26.99.
"Picture It On Canvas!  Make sure it's a photo of
you bending over."

 Well, oops, I let it expire.  I figured I'd use the $26.99 on some other deal on their site.  Then Picture It On Canvas had a sale, 16x20" prints for $24 plus $12.95 shipping.  Cool, I'll just apply my $26.99 to that and pay the difference.  Myth number two.

When I tried to check out, I was unable to because the Groupon voucher needs to be entered in the coupon field and you need to enter a coupon to get the $24 deal.  Two coupons cannot be combined in a single transaction.  Even though the Groupon is no longer a "coupon" but a credit, it's still viewed as a coupon and Picture It On Canvas requires coupon codes for sales rather than just discounting the items on their site.  When I contacted them, they said the Groupon is a coupon (not a store credit) and can't be used on sale items, but full price items only.  The 16x20" print is regularly $89.

Now going back to Groupon, I contacted their customer service to find out how I could use my Groupon as a credit and not a coupon (as the promotional portion is expired) and as far I can tell, they're confused.  We'll see where this goes.  If you read the print on the vouchers it says that once the promotional value expires, the paid value can be used on the original item, or if it's no longer available, something else the business offers.  Nowhere does it say, excluding sale priced items.

What does this mean?  It means I can buy the print on sale for $36.95 (with shipping) and be stuck with an unusable $26.99 Groupon or I can buy the same print for $74.96 (after Groupon voucher).  So, I guess Groupon and Picture It On Canvas get to be $26.99 richer and neither of them had to earn it.

Yes, please take my money.  No, I don't need anything
in return.  It's yours.
This got me to wondering about how many unused expired Groupons are out there?!  I know I'm not the only one passing up on an offer to pay full price just to use an expired Groupon.  I went through my history and found two Groupons I had gifted to someone else, that went unused.  Again, Groupon and the business are now $24 richer and neither of them earned it.  I could use the vouchers myself, but I would have to pay full price then apply the amount I already paid to Groupon (so still paying full price).  It's also not a business I would have personally used, but I was sure the person I'd given it to would have.

The thing is, if this were any other business, I would have a store credit, to use on any other item, sale or not.  After all, the business has already been paid, I'm just looking for something to spend my money on.  But it's not any other business, it's Groupon.  I don't know about you, but this seems shady and Groupon is making a killing.  Lesson learned, be wary purchasing Groupons for yourself or others unless you KNOW it will get used before it expires.  Otherwise, you're gambling and likely throwing money away.  Then the terrorists win. Or Groupon does anyway.

Monday, January 12, 2015

My Baby You'll Be

This is my first baby, Ozzy.  Long before I had biological babies, Ozzy stole my heart with those soulful eyes and just-love-me-into-a-cuddle-coma attitude.  It didn't hurt that at the shelter, he peed on my husband to solidify the bond that he belonged to us.

At the time, we weren't looking for another dog, just a hamburger at the Wendy's next door to the shelter.  Isn't that how it always happens, though?  You can't actively look for love, it will find you when you least expect it.  Especially if you order the cheeseburger combo with a side or adoptable adorable.

Yes, my first baby weighed in at about 7 pounds and 15 inches long, with the shelter given name of Little Man, but we knew that had to change.  On the car ride home, my husband and I debated the name game, and you know how that goes.  He loves Barney, you hate it.  You love Fitz and he threatens to crash the car.  So we turned on the radio while we brainstormed.  "I'm goin' off the rails on a crazy traaaainn...."  We both started bobbing our heads.  There's nothing a little Ozzman can't fix.  Wait a minute!  Yup, loved the name.  And his name was Ozzy and he was perfect.

You know how you're not supposed to pick favorites?  Well, I did and so did Ozzy.  I couldn't go anywhere without a little Ozzy shadow and even if he was all cuddled up with my husband on the couch, as soon as I sat down, he'd bolt over and cuddle into me.  We were soul mates.  In fact, we were so attached at the hip, that he was, unfortunately, standing under me when my water broke as I was getting out of the bathtub (pregnant with my first daughter).  Oh memories.

Over Twelve years, two moves and two kiddos later, Ozzy grew old, grey and content.  We found out in December that Ozzy had kidney stones and a herniated bladder (an injury he likely incurred when he took on a raccoon several years ago.  PS, Raccoon 1 - Ozzy 0).  The corrective surgery would have been about $4K, but due to his age (guesstimated about 14 years) and his grade 4 heart murmur and collapsing trachea, he wasn't a great candidate for surgery.  Even if he survived the surgery, he would likely have had heart failure.

Naturally, I was devastated by this news.  We held out hope that with a diet change and healing thoughts, Ozzy might turnaround.  And he did, for about two weeks.  Long enough to "snuzzle" (my daughter's word) a little longer, and for my kiddos to come to terms with the inevitable loss.  Three days before Christmas, my baby died and I've been in limbo ever since.

I've researched stages of grief, and I've checked off anger (sorry Family) and guilt.  I had the
hardest time telling people that my dog died, when really, I felt like I had killed him by taking him in to the vet and letting her do it.  This was all magnified by the fact that I was holding him the entire time (Husband and girls went to get burgers.  I now see the irony).  I felt it only right that I be the one with him, given that he was mine and I was his.  I've now entered the annoyingly persistent phase of depression and honestly, have a hard time believing there's an end to it.  Like reading the Twilight books, but for real.

I didn't write this with the intent to throw a pity party or hear another "I'm so sorry for your loss," but more because I've come to realize that this level of grief is something I'm completely unfamiliar with and I hope that writing this down will somehow be therapeutic.  I've lost loves in the past (most notably my grandfather a couple of years ago) but this sense of loss is so overwhelming that it makes me feel guilty I didn't struggle like this previously.  I had no idea it could hurt this much.  I'm turning into a weeping recluse who feels pajamas are a valid wardrobe choice and, on most days, showering is too high maintenance.  Especially since staying in has the awesome appeal of avoiding other people.  To those who know, you've been here, I'm truly sorry, I get it.  To those who don't, I hope you never have to.

There are many people who would say, "He was just a dog" and to them I would say, "I'm sorry you have never experienced unconditional love in the truest sense of those words."  To which they may respond, "Yes, I have.  I have children."  And to that I would reply, "Exactly.  Then you do understand."