Date February 17, 2009

Post topic suggested by Julie — possibly a cry to the masses for an intervention. You be the judge.

Let’s be clear: I hate shopping. That’s all there is to it. Well, unless we’re talking a store that carries power tools and lumber. There is that one exception. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy sifting through PVC fittings, scanning the specialty fastener bins for a stainless steel cotter pin, looking for that perfect set of safety glasses, tracking down a 3-way dimmer switch,… It’s not really so much shopping as a treasure hunt, if you ask me. So that’s it. Really. No. Other. Shopping.


Are you familiar with

The guy who turned me on to Woot lo’ these many years ago (“many” being defined as “just under three” in this case) described it aptly: “It’s sort of like the internet version of the guy in the white van in the alley with a bunch of VCRs.”

Except it’s totally legit.

The concept is pretty simple: on the main site, at midnight Central time each night, a new product goes up for sale. The product is almost always a good deal. They sell that product until they run out. If they run out at 2:04 AM, then there’s no new deal until midnight that night. If they go all day and don’t sell out, then you can buy right up to 11:59 PM, but not a minute after. And, they don’t take themselves too seriously. Examples:

  • Every day there is a new weird/funny/bizarre-but-related-to-the-product-being-sold narrative tale of some sort. They can be quite creative
  • Every so often, the deal of the day is a “bag o’ crap” — you don’t know what’s in it, but the price is usually something like $5; I’ve never ordered, but, presumably, this is how they clear out the stuff that didn’t sell

Oh. Yeah. And it’s always $5 for shipping — doesn’t matter if you bought an $800 LCD flatscreen TV or a $1.98 LED booklight (I ordered 2 3-packs this morning). $5 for shipping.

I’m a bit of a junkie.

Since my first order (8/29/06 — 2-pack of KidSmart Vocal Smoke Detectors, $21.64 including shipping), I’ve ordered from the site 26 times. On the one hand, that seems like a lot. On the other hand, considering that I check the site pretty much daily, that’s only one purchase every 34.7 days…maybe not so bad?

A rundown of some of the more noteworth purchases:

  • MP3 players…on 3 occasions — spreading them around the family; the Sansa e260 Sandisk, of which I bought two, really are compact, durable, user-friendly little suckers. For $45 (incl. shipping), wayyyyy cheaper than any Apple MP3 player
  • The Go Duster — worth checking the Go Duster site for a chuckle…and note that I got two of them for $12.99 (again, including shipping), and they’re selling one for $19.99 PLUS shipping and handling. We gave one away, as we didn’t need two, but, by golly, it does come in handy! (There was the unfortunate incident where Alana held it up to her ear to listen to the motor…and it grabbed her hair and cinched up a nice knot, but she recovered.)
  • Three “marshmallow popper” airguns (they shoot foam pellets or mini marshmallows) for $19.99; Julie actually set up an account and ordered three as well so that we’d have enough for a good chunk of the neighborhood this summer
  • Two Garrity 1 Watt Luxeon LED spotlights for $19.99 — think a small-ish Q-beam. And the “1 Watt” is deceiving; if you think “I’ve got a 75 Watt light bulb, so 1 Watt seems pretty dim,” you’re not thinking through that wattage is a measure of power, and LEDs take much less power to produce the same luminescence as an incandescent bulb. These little suckers are surprisingly powerful…and the kids have become quite attached
  • Four Power Squids for $24.98 — think a power strip that won’t let two block-sized plugs fit next to each other, so it’s more of a mini-extension cord that splits into six different short cords with a plug on the end of each one (or, if that description makes no sense, check out the Power Squid web site). Who doesn’t need more outlets?

All in all, I’ve had more hits than misses (the bluetooth wireless stereo headphones were something of a bust, the MP3 carrying cases didn’t turn out to get any real use, and the 2-pack of remote-controlled helicopters weren’t particularly durable),  so Julie, I think, has decided that, if the choice is this or a cocaine addiction, she’ll accept this minor vice.

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