Friday, January 16, 2009

Old Guard or New Guard, It's Still Shopping! Read, Laugh, & Save!

As we head into a long weekend capped by Martin Luther King's birthday celebration and with an upcoming historic Presidential Inauguration, our minds turn to the lofty and exhilarating topic of, you guessed it... online shopping! (Well, hey, at least we're focused.)

ShopWorthy Water Cooler

Blue Light, Red Logo

A Little Shopping Quiz

This is a picture of:
A. An exuberant blue light bulb auditioning for "Dancing With The Stars"
B. An outdated marketing campaign that won't die
C. A piece of manufacturing scrap - a light bulb with legs can't be screwed in
D. Something even more frightening to small children than a clown
E. Kmart's "Mr. Bluelight" (of Blue Light Special fame)
F. B, D & E
G. All of the above

Okay, so seriously now, did anyone know this thing existed? Apparently, Kmart's TV ad campaign featuring Mr. Bluelight kicked off on May 14, 2007 on ABC's Dancing with the Stars (hey, who writes these questions?) and NBC's Deal or No Deal. (Did I mention it was May 2007?)

Now look, we don't get out nearly enough, with all the online shopping we do, but we do own a television. Three of 'em, as a matter of fact. But we've never even seen Mr. Bluelight here. If you have (or haven't), please write your Senator... no wait.... please comment on our blog here and let us know. We're dying of curiosity. (And yes, we've finally realized that we do need to get out more.)

To keep with our shopping theme, however, sells gift cards with Mr. Lightie on them, in full blue regalia. Click on the gift card and check it out. Much like the sock puppet I still own, you might want one of these someday, for old times' sake.

On a bright note (bright?... get it?), Kmart and the namesake of its owner, Sears Holding Corporation, still offer layaway programs. Pundits are citing this as a reason for the (somewhat) better results they are experiencing, compared to a few other retailers. Leave another comment and let us know if a layaway program really gets you to shop somewhere. (I can see it now... a Layaway Program... and lest you think we jest, see - another topic for another time).

Wow, I think Kmart owes us a fee now for all this free advertising. One more thing before we move on... there are some interesting Kmart facts on the Sears Holding site. You'll rest easier knowing that Kmart Super Centers range in size from 140,000 to 190,000 sq. ft. and the average Kmart Super Center carries between 100,000 and 150,000 SKU’s. With the massive amount of money tied up in inventory in these big box brick and mortar stores, and with all the recent deep discounting to move that inventory, it's not hard to image why it's tough to be profitable in our current economy.

Safe Sects

The Encarta Dictionary defines "sects" in multiple ways, but one definition of sect is "a small close-knit group with strongly held views that are sometimes regarded as extreme by the majority."

Some may even feel that definition applies to the online shopping advice of blogger Tech Paul - but we advise that you "read and heed."

Whether or not you feel that way when you're done reading, you will at least have had the choice to decide. Most of the "be-safe-while-shopping-online" advice we see is about ensuring you're on a secure site with a cute little lock and an "https:" address. Paul mentions those and has a few
other things to say as well.

  • "Download Software Updates — Regularly!
  • Use Complex Passwords (include numerals and @#$%^&*[]) (DWG: Do you kiss your mother with that mouth, Paul? ;-)
  • Use Onetime Credit Cards
  • Verify Secure Connections - See that little padlock symbol at the bottom of your screen, and in the URL address bar?
  • Check Your Credit
  • Enter Your Shopping Site’s Web Address Manually (embedded links=no!)
  • Shop From Your Own computer (not a public ‘hotspot’)
  • Enable your browser’s phishing filter, or install a add-on (such as the super-easy WOT toolbar)
  • Don’t Send Credit Card Information Over E-mail. Even if you think it’s secure. Don’t send it over IM either. If you feel uncomfortable about sending personal information online, call up the business."
It pays to be cautious, so judge wisely and give Paul's advice some solid consideration. For the record, with tongue out-of-cheek for once, we find his advice intelligent and helpful. Be safe out there.

The News Room

Need a Little Pick Me Up?

Keeping with our Sears/Kmart theme from earlier, and according to Sandra M. Jones at the Chicago Tribune (cold enough out there for you, Sandra?), Sears is taking a new swing at online shopping. In her article online, Sandra writes, "Sears Holdings plans to open a warehouse-style concept store in Joliet called MyGofer that will allow shoppers to order online and pick up their purchases in the store or at a drive-through portal."

"The prototype, slated to open by this summer" (after Chicago thaws), "is expected to fill a niche between Wal-Mart and and could provide a model for the giant retail chain to eventually operate with fewer stores and lower overhead." Yup - and actually (and a bit confusingly-it's not summer yet) it's up and running now, and has a drive-through/delivery twist.

On the site, it's says:

MyGofer - It's about time

"Skip the hassle of repeated shopping trips and let MyGofer save you time and money. We'll deliver your order right to the office & or have it ready for you to pickup in-store. MY GOFER – IT´S ABOUT TIME is a concierge/personal assistant service."

Click here, scroll to the bottom and click on "About MyGofer" for more detail.

Shoppers, we're curious about this and will follow and report on it. If this actually works, we'll start delivering our customers' purchases personally via limousine. In Texas. In Flower Mound. In our neighborhood. On our street. And it won't be a limo but it could be a Honda Pilot with DreamWorthy Gifts magnets on it. But we'll do it. At least once, because we said we would. We'll keep you posted.

In the same vein, and despite some challenges of the past with this business model, we found a similar venture in, powered by MyWebGrocer (who powers Buehler's and Piggly Wiggly as well), according to

In About Us, it reads: "MyWebGrocer provides leading-edge eCommerce and eMarketing solutions to the grocery and consumer packaged goods industries. Our eMarketing services are focused on website design, specialty modules for websites, hosting, sophisticated email solutions and consulting services. These offerings are designed for use on a stand-alone basis or as an integral part of a seamless Internet solution. Our eCommerce offerings include a full online shopping and store fulfillment system, designed to match the retailer’s brand identity. All of our offerings can be individually tailored to meet the diverse needs of our client base." And hey, they blog, so they must be cool.

Back to NetGrocer: So, they have some solid infrastruture in place with MyWebGrocer, they deliver to all 50 states, use FedEx, and list their FAQs here, with a series of links to explore. Interesting that they offer the ability to save shopping lists and create regularly recurring orders. I didn't see explicit instructions about the handling of frozen items, but they sell them, and the total value of frozen items in your order must exceed $35 (excluding shipping) - so they must be specially packed. These guys have been plugging along for awhile... would you buy groceries online? Others obviously are, and this will be another interesting thing to watch and report on, over time

Use Those Circuit City Gift Cards Now

This isn't our standard storyline and the word is out everywhere, so we'll just make a quick comment and provide a link to a reliable source, just in case you haven't heard. If you've got any Circuit City gift cards, use them quickly, before liquidating stores don't have merchandise worth purchasing. Read more at MSNBC
or Consumer Reports.

Savvy Shopper

Remember When "Cheap" Was Bad? Not Anymore!

Well, we threatened to do it and we did it. We got on Twitter as @DreamWorthy. (Hey Twitter, if our user name could have been 1 character longer, we could have been "DreamWorthyGifts." We 're writing to our Senator about that, too.) In a moment of tremendous fortitude, we actually tweeted something. So, we made a few friends (followers) and followed a few others, and then - mostly due to help from friends @AxsysTechGroup and @HolisticMamma and a little cyber-luck - we started connecting with other nice people. As of this writing, we have 54 followers and follow 66, so we aren't experts and won't try to pretend we are. But we have made some cool friends.

One of those connections is @CheapTweet, powered by the smart, fun shopping gurus over at Appozite. Okay, I don't know how many gurus they have, but the one we know and like is Jenn Deering Davis who runs several shopping-oriented businesses and writes a cool blog called Appozitegeist. As a doctoral student, I also think it's fair to call her smart, but we just like that she's nice.

So what exactly is CheapTweet? According to their site in About, "CheapTweet scans Twitter for the best deals, coupons and sales that people are tweeting about." Then, "CheapTweet lets users rate deals by saying It's Cheap (it's a good deal) or It's Lame (it's not a good deal). Deals move to the Cheapest Tweets section if they get enough votes." (I've been in the "cheap seats" a few times in my life, but being in the Cheapest Tweets is a different kind of thrill, let me tell you.)

There's more and I suggest you check them out and follow them on Twitter as @CheapTweet.

Does it work? Well, from our perspective, it does. We've tweeted a few deals - like our special coupon code Twitter20, which Twitter users can use at checkout to get 20% off - and gotten to CheapTweet's home page. (By the way, readers of ShopWorthy enjoy the same benefit - use coupon code ShopWorthy20 at checkout, and save 20% at DreamWorthy Gifts.)

Another site that earns its way into our Savvy Shopper section is dealnews.

About dealnews and FAQ.

dealnews serves up hot deals on gadgets, computers, electronics, cameras, and plenty more. One cool thing about this site is that you can subscribe to an RSS feed for the specific item you’re looking for.

Taken from here are some cool things about their site, in their own words:
  • "We can send you an email alert so you don't miss a deal. In the market for a big-screen LCD TV and want to find out when a deal happens? This would be the option for you.
  • As we understand it, the dealmac forum is the most popular Macintosh forum on the Web. That does make us wonder what the least popular Macintosh forum on the Web is. It's not ours, though we're pretty sure of THAT.
  • Subscribe to our newsletter for a daily reminder in your inbox of our best deals for that day. If you occasionally forget to check dealnews, this will deliver them to your inbox so you won’t miss anything.
  • See if dealcoupon has a web coupon before you buy anything from anywhere. You might only get free shipping or $5 off, but that's still free shipping or $5 off.
  • We've got a good selection of RSS deal feeds. Pick a feed, stick it in your email client, My Yahoo, iGoogle, or even on your own website, and get a steady broadcast of deals."
Lastly, before we close, we need to offer a shout-out to our friends over at
They publish a blog, too, called - simply and clearly - Wanted Coupons. We follow their blog simply because we like it, and were surprised to see ourselves pop up in their recent Top 10 Useful Shopping Sites post. Thanks guys! Kudos to CheapTweet and the others who earned a mention. And in a move that tells you how decent the owners of WantedCoupons are, they recommend other coupon sites. 'Nuff said - please check them out.

And with that said, and with eagerness to go Tweet a shopping deal, we leave you for today.

Thanks for reading, and as always, happy shopping!

Until next time,

Your friends and Shopping Advisors at DreamWorthy Gifts.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Shopping at its "Find-est" - Good Shopping, Good Coupons, Good Deals

Hey, We Missed Ya!

Hello Readers!

Weeee're baaa-aaack!

Our apologies for the recent radio silence.... between the holidays, our business, and other fun craziness, we have been very hectic. But we have returned to taunt you with our savvy shopping sagas. (Be still, my heart! Or your heart. or somebody's heart, after all... Valentine's Day is coming up soon! More on that next time.)

That said, allow us to sidetrack for a moment and ask for your feedback. We had a great opportunity recently to write a guest blog (called a Spotlight) for Ken Ramirez, owner of Axsys Technology Group, and a noteworthy networking contact and new friend.

You can see the blog here, and while the topic is not our normal online shopping shtick, we would sincerely appreciate any feedback you have to offer. The Spotlight at Axsys also links to another blog we started to showcase our noteworthy networking contacts and friends - it's called DreamWorthy Friends. If you're feeling kindly and are in a sharing mood, please check out the blog at Ken's site and link over to our new creative venture. Then, in a selfless act of extreme virtue, write to us here (via comments) on Ken's site, or hey, just email us at and lavish us with praise or throw tomatoes (figuratively speaking, of course) - and in general, speak out and let us know what you think. We'd be grateful for your thoughts.

Okay, shopping fans, shift gears and put the pedal down. Last time, we announced our new format.

Exciting eh? So without further adieu... some weekly columns... comin' at ya:

Worthy Water Cooler

Lofty Pursuits
Our first water cooler trip gossips us straight into the lap of luxury at the The Luxury Loft - the indulgence you deserve.

The Luxury Loft is an online boutique for quality handbags and more. We met the owner, Michele, through another website for business owners and joined her Ning site for Mompreneuers.

Check out this cool purse, which apparently is sported by Jessica Simpson, according to the photo. (She's Bart's Mom, right?)

Okay, regardless of who she is or what they say on TMZ this purse is cool.

The News Room

What's The Buzz All About?

So, have you been bee-zy over the holidays? Have you gotten into the swarm of social networking yet? Where do YOU nest? (And can you handle another pun?) So is it MySpace, facebook, Digg, StumbledUpon, Twitter (do ya Tweet?), or where? We'd love to know. Consider it "research."

We met some cool folks recently from a new company called NextBee. They're offering what we found to be a very interesting way to spice up your shopping, create some buzz with your network of friends, and save money for you both. See an example of some of their referral programs here. We don't mean to turn the spotlight on us, but we'll be running a promotion starting Friday 1/9/09. As an example, if a DreamWorthy Gifts shopper (let's say "you" for this example, it's easier) - you refer a friend, and your friend gets a 25% discount. If your referred friend buys something from our site, you then get a special coupon for 40% off! Now, forget us for a moment, and watch for these programs on sites where you shop. NextBee was kind enough to share some places where you can refer friends and get some great deals. (Thanks NextBee!)
So get buzzed with NextBee - shop, tell a friend, and save money for you both!

Social Networks Dominate the Mobile Web

While we're talking about social networking... apparently, traffic to social networks comprise almost 40% of the mobile Web, according to Opera Software's "State of the Mobile Web" report.

The results both show healthy growth in the numbers of consumers accessing the Web from their mobile devices and provide insight into consumer preferences when browsing from their phones. As "CrackBerry" users and abusers, we're into the mobile Web, but have to admit to doing a lot of browsing and research via cell phone/PDA, but doing our shopping cart checkouts via a desktop or laptop. Guess this is the cusp of something big, though. How about you? Do you shop via mobile Web? Weigh in and let us know.

Savvy Shopper - Coupons, Discounts, Free Stuff!
We have two real winners this week. Our first is

According to the site, is "the coupon hub to find great coupon deals for everything that you want online! Save money on the most wanted brands, stores, merchandise and services with Online Coupons, In Store Coupons, Printable Coupons, Promotion Codes, Coupon Discounts and a variety of Coupon Codes!"

WC also has a coupon forum and a coupon blog.

Folks, this is a cool, well-designed site. In synch with our social media theme, you can bookmark and share as well.

But more importantly, they have amassed some great deals for you. For example, click here to save up to 60% on Restaurant Gift Certificates: $25 gift certificates for only $10!

Now multiply that by a thousand, and you'll get the sense of the savings you can find here. They have premium merchants, the normal crowd, some obscure interesting sites, shopping by category, shopping by merchant, and coupon tips and advice.
Check 'em out.

Hey Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime?
Another worthy venture is a click-over to the ExtraDime site.

They say that an extra million starts from an extra dime. This is a coupon forum with a twist. First, they offer shopping deals, bank offers, credit card bonuses, cashback offers, 0% credit offers, other deals, and more. Whew! And on their home page it says:

Get this:

1) 50 credits ($0.50) just for registering on this forum
2) 10 credits ($0.10) per new thread about a shopping discount
3) Free ad space for your AdSense banner when you post
4) Sign-up money offers from US banks for your next purchase
5) 0% credit card offers from US banks for your next purchase
6) A unique list of US credit cards sorted by annual cashback on purchases
7) Product ratings, reviews and price comparison

You can read the program rules here, but the bottom-line is this: share deals and coupons on the right forum and earn money, in addition to learning about all the other great deals that others are sharing. It's an interesting "save and earn" model. You have to play to get paid... and you get the most credits for helping to build the community, but it's a very creative concept and we hope it works out well for them and their community - and maybe you, if you trek on over and get involved.

And with that said, we'll wrap up our ShopWorthy post for now. Thanks for reading, and as always, happy shopping!

Until next time,

Your friends and Shopping Advisors at DreamWorthy Gifts