Other / Canada

Have you talked your way out of a speeding ticket??


I find it pretty ironic that after living all my life in the same city, I have NEVER gotten a speeding ticket here. However, on that occasion that I do decide to venture downtown…BAM…speeding ticket central! It’s like one, giant welcome sign: Welcome to Toronto, here’s a ticket!

It’s pretty obvious what city is strapped for cash, but I digress.

Over the weekend, I got my second speeding ticket ever. I was exiting a long ramp, with multiple exits, cutting around a car with a shaky rear bike rack, when a cop motioned me to the shoulder. I had been a victim of a speed trap! 🙁

After the whole licence, registration, insurance spiel, the cop retreated back to his car I was soo livid since come Dec./Jan. my record will be wiped completely clean of my last speeding ticket. So when the officer re-approached my car, I had decided that I was going to put my pride aside and get my acting chops together. I was going to plead with him.

(Did you know?: Once you receive a speeding ticket, the next time your insurance is up for renewal, your rate goes up…for 3 whole years!!! So on top of wasting time going to court, paying your ticket + fees, you are ultimately being penalised for 3 years. Someone please tell me how this is fair! I understand if your rates shoots up as a result of a collision that is your fault, but we’re talking about a speeding ticket here.)

After asking if the officer would give me a break, he said aggressively, “No…I have already written it out!” So I’m not sure if this meant that I had a chance to plead my case with him before he officially logged the offence.

I know that talking your way out of a ticket is not an urban myth as my sister would do it all. the. time. So if you have experience in this field, how did you get out of a speeding ticket?

P.S. I cannot cry on cue!


Bullying: When did it become an epidemic?

Other / Canada 81 comments

When I was in elementary school, because we were in French Immersion (FI), our class was definitely a target for bullies. Other students would taunt us with names like, “French Fries”, “Frogs”, “Grenouilles”, “Poodles”, etc. My male FI classmates would have it worse by being dumped in school yard garbage cans and having their heads used as toilet brushes – if they were caught by other non-FI male bullies.

All laughter aside, we got through it by supporting each other, and not in so many words, telling our bullies to “talk to the hand”. It was a rough time, but I think it helped me to stand up for myself!

Admittedly, the taunts that kids face today are worse than those that I went through. And now they have the added dimension of having cell phones and being “connected” on social networks.

I certainly don’t want to make light of things, but why can’t these victims turn-off their phones, “x” those pages of taunts, stand up to their bullies &/or talk to a trusted adult?


I LOVE RYAN GOSLING!!!

Other / Canada 41 comments

As an off-topic, I realise that this one might be a bit of a stretch, but think of it this way: Ryan Gosling is Canadian AND he seems smart, hence Smart Canuck! 😉 So there shouldn’t be any complaints, right?

Over the weekend, I saw Drive and all I have to say is WOW. The man can act. Yes, even though he has a page of dialogue throughout the entire film, as the lead, there is no doubt of his acting chops. According to this article, Gosling told the producers that he didn’t want to do the lines, but that he would convey everything through his face! Who does that nowadays??

(If you do plan to watch Drive, I highly recommend that you go in knowing as little as possible.  Don’t watch the trailers or read reviews!)

I think 2011 is certainly Gosling’s year as not only has he starred in Crazy, Stupid, Love. and Drive, but The Ides of March (with George Clooney as director) is set to be released soon.  I don’t get the whole Clooney thing, but there are some other pretty heavy hitters in Ides like Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti.  And although the plot doesn’t interest me, i.e. politicians, politics, and scandal, I’m still going to watch because Gosling’s in it!

Anyway, through a job that I’ve had, I have had the err…um…pleasure of meeting many celebrities.  And I hate to say it, but I pretty much regret every encounter that I was looking forward to!  For the most part, they’re not like you or me, these actor-types are WEIRD.  All the stereotypes about them exist for a reason:  They’re really insecure, yet they have to pretend that they’re confident, they sound like robots on the red carpet/interviews, some can probably be the subject on A&E’s Intervention, while others are complete douchebags all because of their imdb profile!

SO I’m reaching out to all you SCers, if you know Ryan Gosling, please tell me he’s a nice kid…still.  Please tell me that Hollyweird hasn’t chewed him up, spitting out some rude automaton who has lost all sense of where he came from…


Cineplex Canada: Movie + Maynards = 100 Scene Points!


 

winegum

The next time you take in a movie at Cineplex and are adding a treat from Maynards (170-185g), show your black Scene card to get 100 points!

Maynards candies includes Sour Patch Kids, Fuzzy Peaches, Sour Cherry Blasters, & Swedish Berries. No idea why Wine Gums weren’t mentioned…yummers.

Promo runs until October 14th!

If you’re not already a Scene Member, click here to sign up and start collecting those points!


What was the weirdest deal that you’ve seen/bought?


Sort of a follow-up to this post about there being waaay too many group buy sites, I have had a change of heart: I no longer think that there are too many of them. In fact, the more, the merrier…BRING ON THE DEALS!!! 🙂

Over the past few months, I have been really getting into snatching these deals! Highlights include the spend $10 and receive $20 at Whole Foods (Living Social) and spend $5 and receive $10 at Artisano Bakery (WagJag) – which I have to buy soon before it goes away.

One downfall to these deals is that you can easily get caught up, forgetting about the deals as quickly as you snatched them up!

Aside from missing expiry dates, I’ve seen some pretty strange deals and I’ve even picked up 1 of them. I bought 1lb of tzatziki for $5, usually $10.

The tzatziki was from a Greek restaurant that I like. And since my bro-in-law loves it too, I bought 2 deals, i.e. 2lbs of tzatziki. Although I like tzatziki, I honestly don’t know what 1lb of the product looks like.

Another weird deal that I saw, and almost bought, was $49-59 for a wine making session that includes 50 bottles of wine! This deal can go either way, either really GOOD/BAD ’cause if the wine doesn’t turn out, you’ll have 50 bottles of it to deal with.

What’s the strangest deal that you have seen? And have you purchased any of them yourself?


Greek Vs Regular Yogurt


yogurt

Over the past few years Greek yogurt has become very popular in Canada. But how does it differ from regular run of the mill yogurt?

Greek yogurt is creamier and thicker, due to a straining process seperating all the whey from the milk.  Because of this process Greek  doesn’t seperate, such as some cheaper regular yogurts do.

One serving (3/4 cup) of Greek yogurt contains appox. 20 grams of protein while regular yogurt contains about 10. There is slightly less lactose in the Greek variety  as well.

So in the end Greek yogurt has more protein and texture but both are still very good choices for your daily diet.

I prefer my regular run of the mill yogurt.  Greek tastes a bit too thick but I still will eat it.  What do you prefer?


Dry Cleaning: Money Down The Drain?

Other / Canada 22 comments

Today, I actually had to drop something off at the cleaners. “Had to” because I consider it a necessary evil, i.e. it’s a waste of money. For example, my wool tunic with silk lining was $11+!

Unless it’s a wool blazer, down jacket/coat, or vintage silk, dry cleaning is not a service that I use on a regular basis. Wool shrinks and the lining gets all wrinkly, down feathers settle and flattens, and as I found out the hard way, vintage silk can also shrink!

Anyway, before this visit to the new cleaners, I used a cleaner at my local Superstore. Their prices are decent, especially if you have a coupon that comes on the back of your grocery receipt.

However, the last time I dropped off my gorgeous, red, cashmere blazer, it came back with a couple of stains…that I was able to subsequently remove with a stain remover at home. 🙁 And one of the buttons was even hanging by a thread. After this experience, I determined that this wasn’t a good dry cleaner.

When I was in high school, my dad used to run a dry cleaners. And when I worked there, I remember doing things like sew back loose buttons, go over items that have been cleaned with a fine-tooth comb to make sure stains were removed, and other small touches to justify this service.

So with items like those dry cleaning cloths, that you can do at home, is there still a demand for dry cleaners? Is there such thing as a Good Vs. Bad Dry Cleaners? Is this a service that you use on a regular basis?


Bacon!


bacon

Whats your favourite way to eat bacon? I “loves me” some bacon anyway, anyday BUT I like my bacon cooked to perfection. Not under or over cooked. I love blt’s.


Saran Wrap Canada. Are you gone?


saran

I love the brand Saran wrap.  It’s the only cling wrap that I find does it’s job proper and “clings” to things.  Only problem is I haven’t been able to find it for months.  I’m dead serious. I’ve checked Zehrs, Foodland, Walmart, Zellers, Giant Tiger and other random store I’ve come across.  I cannot find it anywhere.  Not only can I not find it but there is no spot even for it.  I’m sure there has to be old stock at some stores, but is it discontinued?  Is this something I can only get in the USA now?


U.S. Address: Would you use it?

Other / Canada 63 comments


A few months back, a self-confessed shopaholic girlfriend of mine told me about U.S. Address Inc, a company that provides a physical U.S. address where you can have your parcels shipped/stored. Not having an immediate need for the service, I sort of forgot about it…’til now.

My bf’s birthday is right around the corner and I thought of the PERFECT gift. (I’m not going to mention it here, just in case he reads this! 😉 ) The problem is that the seller, both on eBay + Amazon.com, will not &/or cannot ship to Canada.

I would like to support local businesses, but no one manufactures this item to the same standard of quality here in Canada. So I’d be paying more for an inferior product.  Isn’t that always the case?

I am seriously considering “renting” a U.S. Address and here’s a pro/con list:

PRO
– can get items that aren’t sold in Canada
– can receive items that only ship to “USA Only”. Think some eBay sellers who often have this disclaimer on their listing!
– inexpensive service; website states that fees are $1.50/package up to 50lbs and that includes 1 week of free storage
– may not have to pay duties/taxes, depending on the product

CON
– will have to drive across the border to pick-up merchandise, so depending on what you order, it may not be worth the gas/time spent
– amount of duties/taxes, again depends on a few factors

If you haven’t already, do you think this service is useful? If you have used this service, what did you think of it? Was it worth the effort?

Click here to the U.S. Address Inc. website for more details.


Extreme Couponing Season 2 Starts. Will You Be Watching Canada?


extreme_couponing_canada

Extreme Couponing season 2 starts!  Will you be watching? To be honest I didn’t even have much interest in season 1.  A lot of it seems to be too extreme or only be aired for sheer shock value.  I believe you can extreme coupon in Canada withougt being shady like some of these “characters”

Click here if you want a sneak peek of season 2


What Do You Think Canada’s “It” Toy Will Be For Christmas?


cabbage

Tickle Me Elmos, Easy Bake Ovens,Wii, Furbies, Cabbage Patch Kids, Pound Puppies, Polly Pockets, Pogs,  Zhu Zhu Pets,….

Every year there is a “hot” toy for Christmas (or winter celebration).  This year I haven’t seen anything or read anything thats hit the top mark with me or my kids.   I can’t help but wonder what this years big hit will be.

Any guesses?


What Is Good Customer Service?


 

decaf

Recently, I’ve had soo much bad customer service that they’ve literally eclipsed any of my positive experiences. In fact, I’m beginning to think that good customer service is going the way of Blockbuster! 🙁

(Part of the reason which contributes to bad customer service is that many people in retail just seem to HATE their jobs. And rightfully so, as they are most likely overqualified, underpaid, and overworked.)

Retail, especially dealing with weirdos, rude people, and slobs, is just not fun. I should know because I have over 10 years experience in retail. And although it’s nothing to be proud about, one valuable thing that I’ve taken away is that I KNOW Good Vs. Bad Customer Service. Furthermore, I know what I’m entitled to as a customer.

Here are some signs that you are getting good customer service:

1. A Greeting. Whether it’s as soon as you walk into a store OR sometime while you’re in the store, a sales associate should acknowledge your presence. A smile will suffice.

2. Good Manners. I wasn’t going to mention this because it’s pretty obvious, but sometimes the sales staff is as rude as some customers. A pleasant demeanor + Ps+Qs goes a long way!

3. “Do you need any help?” This should happen if it seems as though you’re looking for something. While folding jeans, a salesgirl recently asked, in a monotone voice, if I needed help…without even glancing up at me. Sorry, but that doesn’t count!

4. Fitting Room Follow-up. If you’ve made it as far as the fitting room of a clothing store, chances are good that you’re serious about spending cash. So how difficult is it to check-up on customers, ask if they need another size, or simply give your opinion on how something looks on them?

***BONUS POINTS***
5. Know Your Needs, Before You Say Anything. If you’re walking around with an armful of clothing and a staff member offers you a shopping cart, that is a total bonus! It’s sort of like having your glass refilled with water at a restaurant…before you even have to ask. 🙂

I can provide a list of things that make for bad customer service, but let’s focus on the positive, shall we?


Fall Trend: Leopard Print!

Other / Canada 14 comments

It’s not official yet, as per the calendar, but according to the weather…Fall’s here!

I have mixed feelings about ringin’ in this new season: 🙂 – ’cause I no longer have to worry about schwitzing through my clothes and hiding where the A/C dictates, but 🙁 ’cause I don’t want the Summer to end and I don’t feel ready for the change in temperature! Whether/weather I like it or not, it’s here, so I have to deal with it.

And as unescapable as this weather, so is Fall’s latest trend, leopard print! If you step into any mall, you’ll spot leopard purses, leopard shoes, leopard scarves, etc. at every turn. Here are some ways to inject a spot of leopard into your wardrobe…
Calvin Klein, The Bay, $150

(I would’ve liked to have tried this shoe on, but they didn’t have it in my size!)


Steve Madden, Madee, $119.95

I looove these Euro-styled loafers! I didn’t even bother trying them on because I already have a pair of the same style shoes – just not in leopard.


I didn’t hone in on any specific purse, as there were lots to choose from, but picking out a leopard purse can be tricky! Leopard sits on a fine line of classy/trashy, so the print has to be just right.


Last but certainly not least are scarves. What better (and practical) way to add a spot of leopard? Scarves are definitely a must while temps are still in a state of confusion.


Blockbuster Canada: Sad News, Remaining Stores Slated To Close


blocks

Unfortunately today it was announced that the Receivers involved with Blockbuster Canada want the rest of the stores closed down.  In June 2011 150 locations closed while 253 continued to run.  Apparently there has been no buyer for the remaining stores. The ruling will be made September 6th.  If this is passed the stores will start closing down days after.  If you have a gift card for Blockbuster still please use it before September 6th.  It is highly likely  the ruling will be in favour of the Receiver.

But… The news isn’t all bad. The US has a “new company” called the “New Blockbuster” that has the potential of being brought into Canada. At this time there is no announcement of any plans, just speculation.

Click here for more details.


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