I worked hard last year to make sure that I had enough money to buy nice gifts for my family for the holidays.  I researched purchases, earned some Amazon giftcards through swagbucks (you can see here how to get a free tv like I did from swagbucks) and saved a little cash each month so that I would not have to worry about how to pay for gifts.  All of this planning paid off!  I got some really great deals!  One of the deals I was most excited about were some Beyblades that I bought for Ben and my nephew.

They were super cool!  They lit up!  They spun!  The packaging said “Let it Rip!”  I kept thinking how neat they were that they lit up when you pulled the strip and how cool they would look when they were spinning in battle!  I knew the boys would be thrilled!

Christmas day went off without a hitch. Sure enough, the boys were excited about the super cool, new Beyblades! “Wow!  They light up!  Yeah!”  They had so much stuff to play with that they didn’t actually open the Beyblades until that evening. My sister called and asked if we had opened the Beyblades yet.  Nope. Not yet.  She said that they didn’t work.  What?!?!?!?!?  I tried them in the store !  They light up great!  They spin great!  She said “Yeah but they are just flashlights.” WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?

Sure enough I tried Ben’s Beyblade and all it did was spin and light up.  Nowhere on the packaging that it came with (it has since been changed) did it say that it wasn’t a “real” Beyblade.  It was only a flashlight. How disappointing.  I immediately emailed the LARGE toy company that owns the Beyblade name.  They sent me a response that they don’t manufacture ALL the Beyblade items and they couldn’t help me.

I emailed them back again saying (name of LARGE toy companies deleted where ***** are):

“So, although ***** is all over the Beyblade name, and I bought a Beyblade branded product, there is nothing you can do for me as a consumer? How is that possible? That is insulting. I have never even heard of ***** ****** ********** and they certainly aren’t mentioned on the Beyblade website (where it says ****** everywhere). I am beyond irritated. This is NOT right! I would think that a toy company that manufactures the Beyblade items would want their customers to be satisfied? How can I get a resolution to this issue? There must be something you can do. It is hard for me to accept that a company as large as ******, who makes the Beyblades items for children, just doesn’t care that they disappointed children on Christmas day and that they are not interested in correcting the issue? Seriously? ESPECIALLY since the EXACT ITEM that I purchased was listed as a selection under Beyblades on the subject of the email I previously sent you (you know, where I am supposed to select the product I am emailing about. WHY would the EXACT ITEM be listed there if you don’t provide customer support for it?) There must be something you can do to make this right. Please let someone else review my complaint and come up with an alternative solution because your previous response is unsatisfactory. Thank you in advance for your help with this matter.”

Long story short, they apologized and sent us two REAL replacement Beyblades.  Don’t take NO for an answer.  Be polite but state your case.  You have the right to complain if you aren’t satisfied with an product or service you have purchased.
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Alright, by all accounts I consider myself quite good at finding the BEST deals but I have to confess:  I do not shop Black Friday deals. Yes, it’s true.  I will not be shopping on Black Friday 2012.

I have only shopped on Black Friday two times in my life.  Once with my now ex-mother-in-law (over 20 years ago) and just last year.  I did not plan to shop on Black Friday either of those times, it just turned out that way.  Here is how I found out how to make sure that I am getting the BEST prices on the items I am going to buy:

The time I went Black Friday shopping with my ex-mother-in-law, I bought one item and then saw it on sale for a LOWER price the following week!  I was determined not to fall for that trick again!  Every year since that event, I look at the Black Friday sales fliers and circle and save the ones with items I want and sure enough, a week or so later, I find the same item for a LOWER price than the one that was in effect on Black Friday!

Last year, my kiddos were at their Dad’s house and I happened to look at the Walmart flier and saw literally two things that I thought were good deals that I could use.  So, I leisurely drove over to my local Walmart at about 3 pm to see if the stuff I wanted was still available. The parking lot was only half-full (I guess everyone else was already done shopping !) so I found a spot and walked in.  No crowds. I found the items I was looking for (a cell phone for my daughter and some tee shirts for Ben) and went to check out.  No lines! I was in and out of there in less than 1 hour.  And I got some really good prices!

For some reason most people think that the best prices are during Black Friday but every retailer will tell you that it is not true.  Even Consumer Reports says that the Black Friday 2012 deals “don’t seem so special.”  Even if the deals were good, is it really worth going out on Thanksgiving or waking at 3 a.m. to go to the store to deal with mobs of people to try to get an item that is just $5 less than it will be two days from now?  In my opinion, no.  I value my family and sleep more than $5.

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