Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Paying to Shop...Interesting Concept or Stupid Idea?

One of the town's few remaining retailers announced that he'd be charging a $2 browsing fee for entering his store. Apparently, the fee will entitle the shopper to receive a discount when making purchases. There has been a backlash. I wish him luck.


On the other hand, there are store owners who approach the downward spiral in the economy or whatever the latest excuse is for the lack of shopping quite differently. There's a particular clothing store that I personally love called "From the Bottoms Up". I shop there from time to time, and yes, there are occasions when I browse without purchasing anything. Sometimes, I find that I just need to look around to see if there's anything that appeals to me. I've also returned later to purchase items that I had admired previously. Whenever my friend comes to town, we spend hours in the store, trying on clothing and buying much...too much. The staff is friendly and helpful. Alterations are provided in the store. The owner knows us by name. Employees are honest enough to tell us when we look bad in an outfit. My friend has even driven other out-of-town friends a considerable distance to purchase clothing in this store.

When I was watching an episode of "The View",  the ladies mentioned how some stores are now charging fees for trying on clothing. Apparently the rationale is that shops are attempting to protect themselves from people who go home and then order the items online. This is called "showrooming" and can be a problem considering stores have overhead, salaries, rent, bills and theft to cover. But, are they really protecting themselves by charging a fee, or are they in fact protecting themselves from potential purchasers?

Designer Vera Wang charges close to $500 for customers in Shanghai to try on her bridal gowns. On the other hand, if someone can afford to purchase one of her dresses, the $500 probably comes out of their loose change.

The concept of charging a fee has spread beyond the realm of clothing. A food specialty shop in Australia has begun to charge a $5 browsing fee. Shoe stores are asking for a "fitting fee". Some, but not all stores will refund the fee if an item is purchased.

Daily Finance’s Matt Brownell calls this policy, “the most misguided strategy we’ve seen for dealing with showrooming… The goal of any retailer should be to impress customers with competitive pricing and great customer service — not treat their customers with suspicion and hostility from the moment they walk in the door.”

Word of mouth and social media can go a long way to help deserving smaller businesses. I think that customer service and satisfaction is important when it comes to survival. Stores need to go the extra mile as it were. Besides bringing customers to my favourite store, I have commented positively on facebook about it. On the other hand, the local shop which will be charging the "browsing fee" has done nothing but attract negative attention in the media and online.

So, where do you think the future of shopping is headed?

June 28th Update

It enjoyed seeing this sign at one of the local strip malls today. Someone is cleverly taking advantage of the backlash.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Distortion and Contortion

I am beginning to create my list for future consideration. I threatened it in my blog of 1/7/11 when I entitled my piece "Touch My Words and I Will Haunt You...or Worse!"

Whoever writes the headings, or let me say, distorts the headings for the online version of the local newspaper totally misses the mark. I hate it. It's embarrassing. It happens over and over. I have had hostile comments made online based on a title back in February that was misconstrued. The commenter was making "assumptions", incorrect ones, based in part on a changed heading.

Now, here's a portion of the original June column complete with title as it appeared in the paper...not bad.

Here's the problem. When going to the newspaper website, the title is as follows. How is this anything the same? How is this relevant to what I wrote?

"Phones, tones and drones in Cobourg

How addicted are you to a mobile device?"

At no point was I commenting on the predominantly senior population of this town. I also wasn't referring to anything that happened here. In fact, the one story I related that did happen in a coffee shop nearby, was edited out of the column and I was fine with that.

I am sharing this info out of frustration. I have already noted the decline in submissions by some of the "monthly columnists".  I don't blame them.

 Editing should be just that...corrections in spelling/grammar and the possible removal of information that make the piece either inaccurate, offensive to the public, or too long...that's it.

Nothing that a person writes should ever be altered or reconstructed. What a person writes is what a person writes. So, as I said before, "I don't believe that anyone should have the right to change someone else's words. Whether those words have come from a brilliant scholar or some old woman writing a blog (or in this case, a column), leave them alone!"

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

On The Wings of A Dove

Every spring, we have robins nesting under our deck ( see blog Rambling Robins 6/8/12). They were there again this year, but sadly, I missed seeing them. That's probably because the weather has been too miserable for me to want to venture out into the backyard much. Good for the birds though. I didn't scare them either.

Today, I was outside and noticed some yellow leaves and wilted flowers in a hanging planter. I deadheaded and then climbed back up the deck stairs where I picked up a watering can and began to pour. Just then I heard hysterical chirping and fluttering as a now damp dove flew away from what I realized was a nest inside my hanging basket. There it was with two little eggs right in the pot amidst my plants.
I panicked fearing the effect my oversight might have caused. Since I knew little about doves other than "symbol of peace" and "bringing the olive branch after the flood", I did a bit of research. I soon learned the basics. Doves mate for life and both parents sit on the eggs in turn. They rarely leave the nest and eggs incubate for two weeks.

I returned later to check on my new discovery. I walked gingerly and as I did, I had the feeling I was being watched. I was. Good news. Mom was back.
Now that I've made the discovery, I'll keep watching, photographing and posting updates.
Birds-eye view
 Hopefully, the eggs will hatch and the squabs won't take too long to leave the nest. After all, I need to water my planter again before my flowers die.

June 20 - Update

It's been more than ten days. I see no progress in the nest. The bird is seated patiently. I believe it may have been too cold for the eggs to hatch even with the parent doves keeping them warm. I may be wrong. I'm not as hopeful as the mother bird.

June 25 - It's A Miracle

Well, it appears the dove parents had more faith and patience than I. Despite the google claim that the eggs would take from ten to fourteen days to hatch, it's been longer. I'm uncertain how much longer since I don't know when the eggs first appeared in my planter. Perhaps they thought they were 21 day chicken eggs. Maybe, as I mentioned earlier, they were awaiting the warmer climate. So now there's fuzz. One egg and one item of fuzz which may or may not be a live bird. It's hard to tell at the point although the proud parent did stand back to let me have a look.
 Further updates on egg #2, when I find out what's happening.

June 28 - Squab Sighting

I saw the second hatched baby. The doves are still sitting on them, protecting them from the elements AND eating my leaves. I wonder whether it's some way of feeding the young...grind up the leaves and pass on the liquid.
Today, another element caught a first glimpse of the bird. We have since set up a protective barrier.
Hoping to see the youngin's spreading their wings soon too.
July 1

The babies are getting big and have sprouted their pin feathers.

Mommmmmmmmmmm....you're squishing me

I expect they'll be flying away soon. Perhaps they'll even disappear during the night. Who knew the whole process would take so long...over a month?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

I'm A Yankee Doodle Dandyyyyyyyy.....

We became Yankee fans for a day when we attended a game at Yankee Stadium. Yankees were playing the Cleveland Indians. Since it was a Wednesday afternoon, there were only about 42,000 fans in attendance which meant tickets were actually available. It was also Mariano Rivera fathead day. We had no idea what a fathead was, but discovered that it was the huge poster sized peel and stick image we were given on our way into the park.
As we neared the stadium, I could sense the mounting excitement.
We parked in the garage at a nominal cost...approx. $32 for the day. Then, we began to take photos of each other and of our surroundings.

After finding our gate #2 we headed inside only to be greeted by several memorable characters.

Mickey Mantle?
Canadian Yankee


The hallways were impressive. And, as is the case in all ballparks, food and drink prices were...reasonable?

We arrived early enough for a visit to Monument Park, a memorial to outstanding Yankees players of the past. It included a lovely tribute to 9/11.

 "I saw him play in the original Yankee Stadium."

9/11 bronze
A baseball legend

This was followed by a visit to the Yankees Museum. Here we saw mementos, world series trophies, a scale model of Yankee Stadium, signed balls and an autographed wall.

Finally, it was time for the game. We took our seats and were thrilled with the lovely weather and good view. Of course, we were interested in how all our "old" Blue Jays (Nix, Wells, Overbay and Gomes) were playing.

Wells strikes out looking.
There was the traditional singing of "God Bless America" at the seventh inning.
The Yankees trounced the opponents. Then we ended the terrific day with a trip to a pizzeria for genuine New York pizza.
Patricia's in the Bronx