Bargains

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Tomorrow is Duncan‘s first birthday. Yep, an entire year has gone by since that sweaty palm countdown finally ended.

Since he’s become pretty aware of things around him, like birds, bumble bees, and the neighborhood cats, we thought it’d be a good idea to take him to the zoo for his birthday.

Specifically, the Bronx Zoo.

So, while researching how much this excursion would set us back (since we’re a wee bit tight on cash right now), we noticed that the Bronx Zoo has a “pay-what-you-like” promotion on Wednesdays!

How about that? Perfect timing for a birthday!

Now, I’m not going to say that we’re going to walk in without paying a dime (I’m sure they guilt you into some sort of donation, you know, to save the rainforest or something) but it will certainly save us a few bucks.

Even better — the weather is supposed to be nice and sunny!

2 2068

The whole story begins way back in in October of last year when I went to the mall and picked up three new pairs of jeans.

Though I settled on Levi’s on that specific trip, the Gap has historically manufactured my favorite and best fitting jeans.

The Gap discontinued my “style” years ago but I still pop in everytime I visit the mall just to check and see if they’ve made a comeback. So far, no luck on that front.

But I did notice a jacket that I liked. I picked it up. I looked at it. I walked away. I walked back. I picked it up again. Basically, I did everything but try it on.

The price was $129.50.

Too much, I told myself.

I didn’t like it *that* much…

Then, a few weeks ago, I happened to open one of those “junk” emails that I get every so often from the Gap. It was advertising something that I had no interest in but it succeeded in getting my to visit their website.

That’s a win for them…

So, anyway, I see the jacket that I liked months earlier in the “Sale” section for only $69.99 (apparently down from $98).

I thought about it, oh, for maybe 45 seconds, and then I bought it.

Around a week later it arrived in the mail — I tried it on — and it was one of those fat guy in a little coat scenes.

I’d ordered size large.

Now, I know that pretty much none of you out there reading this know how big I am (three apples high — read the about section, will ya?) but in the grand scheme of things, I’d say that I’m a medium sized person.

I’m not small.

And I’m certainly not large either.

But a large-sized jacket from the Gap, well, let’s just say that they’re stuff isn’t exactly “true” to size. It never has been.

So we all piled into the car earlier this week to return it to our local Gap store.

When we entered the store, I saw that they too had the same jacket on a sale rack for — get this — $29.97.

Even better, they had an extra large available (which wasn’t available online).
Oh man…

I was like, uh-oh, what do we do?

I want to exchange this one for that one but I paid over twice as much for the one in the bag.

This would have to be a two step process — I was going to return this one, get the credit, then come back in later and buy the other one for less than half the price.

Yep, that was the plan.

My wife thought I was crazy — just make the return and buy the bigger one all in one shot, she said…

I wanted to play it cool, though, so I made it as if I hadn’t even noticed that they had the exact same jacket on sale for half the price and sauntered up to the counter to make the return.

After punching in a few buttons and scanning my receipt, Warren, if that was indeed his “real” name, lisped out that my account had been credited $74.19 (including the tax) and my wife, Duncan, and I made a hasty exit.

We walked around the mall for around a half hour and then my wife — now acting as a secret agent — went in to the purchase the jacket again in the larger size.

“Warren” was sharper than I’d expected. He was on to our scheme and made it *very* clear to my wife that this one was NOT returnable. He even used a highlighter (pink, of course) to make it overly clear on the receipt.

Doesn’t matter, though — this one fits.

Now I know we didn’t do anything wrong — it was all totally legit — but it still felt sneaky.

I mean, I went in to return a jacket and walked back out with the same jacket and nearly $45.

I dunno, it was very satisfying but felt wrong at the same time…know what I mean?

All told, though, by not buying the jacket back in October, I saved just short of $100…and that doesn’t happen very often…unless you’re a tiny size and gravitate towards ugly colours that you can regularly find on any clearance rack anyway…

1 2056

McDonald'sI’ve recently rediscovered my love for McDonald’s hamburgers.

At one point in high school I was convinced that I could eat two McDonald’s hamburgers for every meal indefinitely.

Not to date myself too much but back then a McDonald’s hamburger was 59 cents. Two of them came to exactly $1.25 including Connecticut sales tax.

That meant that the quarter that I pocketed each weekday from the lunch money my mother gave me was enough to buy a late night weekend meal with my friends after an evening spent at the video game arcade.

Okay, if that doesn’t date me, I’m not sure what will…

Seriously, how did video arcades survive into the 1990’s?

Anyway, for a few years there in my twenties, I was starting to think that maybe my father might have been correct in avoiding McDonald’s like the plague during my childhood while repeating something along the lines of “Someday you’ll stop wanting to go there…”

I still visited McDonald’s now and then — usually because their fries are the best around if you’re lucky enough to get a fresh batch (a rare occurrence) — but I really hadn’t ordered a hamburger in quite some time…

So a few weeks ago, I had a craving for a McDonald’s hamburger… Wow — I’d venture to guess that I had my very first hamburger there in the late 1970’s and today, in 2010, they taste exactly the same.

There’s just, well, I don’t know what to call it, but there’s something about the texture of those bland and flavorless little onion bits and the piping hot pickle and the less than fresh bun that looks like it’s been stepped on.

It’s like peculiar form of perfection.

They’re not 59 cents anymore but they’re still a pretty decent bargain.

So last weekend I introduced Duncan to McDonald’s:

Here’s to hoping he continues to enjoy their signature item for years to come…

…and avoids the cheeseburger.

That thing tastes like cardboard.

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Levi'sWhen your site’s name is “Pants in a can”, it’s only natural to talk about something relating to pants every now and then…

Last May, I talked about how I bought my pants on eBay.

Long story short, so you don’t need to click on the link, the GAP stopped offering the style of jeans that I’d been wearing for years and eBay came to the rescue — at a MAJOR discount. It was all good.

Now, though, it’s been nearly 3 years since the GAP offered my style… The result?

Slim pickens on eBay.

So, since I’m now in near desperate need of a few new pairs, I had to find something more practical — and because I’m not longer of the mind set that jeans need to cost big bucks to fit right (or perhaps I just don’t care any more), I went to Macy’s.

Yep, fifteen minutes and $89.97 later — I had 3 new pairs of Levi’s 569 jeans.

I used to pay more than that for one pair of jeans!?

Simply put, for under $100, my lower half is all set until at least 2011.

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So this morning we headed out on a daytrip to go and pick our pumpkin for 2009. We do this every year but this was the first time we’ve made the trip as a trio.

First we took a hay ride…
Hay ride to the pumpkin field.

Then we roamed the fields…
The Pumpkin Patch.

And then we found the great pumpkin!
Duncan and the Great Pumpkin.

Weighing in at just over 16 pounds, he was less than $10… Such a deal.

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Michigan StateYep, that’s right, I’m welcoming myself back.

I feel like I’ve been on vacation except that I haven’t…

Anyway, I’m a few days late with this but remember how I mentioned that I’d tossed in $5 to be included in on of those March Madness bracket things?

While I may not have finished “in the money”, I’m quite proud of where I landed — out of 60 participants, I finished in 7th place — considering my chosen method of selecting who would win each game throughout the tournament.

For the early rounds, I picked teams that I had t-shirts for.

Yep, it’s true — it was as simple as that.

So that cheap ($7.50) Michigan State t-shirt that I bought on a whim at a Steve & Barry’s in, I’d guess, Michigan almost paid for itself 40 times over.

It’s actually too bad that I let my personal feelings towards the University of Connecticut men’s basketball team get in the way.

I have a UConn t-shirt in closet too. Had I chosen them to go further in the tournament (they reached the Final Four), I’d have won the whole darn pool…

Don’t worry Steve & Barry’s… I won’t hold it against you.

It was my fault.

I really miss that store.

Even the smell.

4 3755

Phish Logo -- I actually have a signed version of this logo hanging around by the guy who originally drew it.Perhaps it has much to do with growing up in New England, and even though they’re from Vermont (a state at which I like to poke fun), Phish is one of my favorite bands of all time — not far behind They Might Be Giants.

As different as the two bands are, it’s shocking how much their audience’s overlap.

Anyway, Phish unfortunately broke up a few years ago and for the last few years that they were still together, they were just releasing one live album after another.

Now, I know, some people are really into live recordings and bootlegs and trading them and all of that nonsense but no one will ever convince me that a live recording sounds better than a studio album.

Especially when you listen to it with big ol’headphones on like I do.

HUGE Headphones are the only way to go.There is no comparison.

Seeing a band live is one thing… Listening to a ‘recording’ of a band live is a whole different animal.

A boring one.

Like a mallard duck, or a beagle, or something generic like a squirrel or something…

Give me a studio album any day.

So get this… The band is getting back together for a 3-night show this weekend down in Virginia and since they know that it isn’t possible to every fan to attend (and they’re cool like that), they’re offering mp3’s of all three shows on their website…for FREE!

Yep — FREE. (for a limited time, so… hurry!)

Now I know that I just poo-poo’ed recordings of live shows but when they’re free, hey, I’ll take it.

Here’s the link.

All you have to do is register — and no worries, they don’t spam the hell out of you like other places do and once you snag your free tunes you can always opt-out and be done with them.

You heard right — when you opt-out, they really stop sending you stuff.

For real.

Imagine that.

Now I just have to hope and pray that they don’t go into a bunch of beat-less 45-minute jam sessions… Yawn…

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The GAPJust a quick heads-up… The Gap is holding a four-day sale featuring men’s, women’s, and maternity v-neck sweaters, for $25 to celebrate President’s Day.

The whole gimmick is “Save a few Washingtons and Lincolns this President’s Day.”

Not terribly clever.

Anyway, the good news, for those like me who aren’t exactly inclined to visit the mall, is that the sale is also online.

The bad news is that $25 isn’t exactly a bargain — but as I’ve rapidly migrated from the likes of J. Crew and Brooks Brothers towards stores like Target and the former Steve & Barry’s to fill out my wardrobe, I must confess that the Gap is one of the few stores that I’ve consistently and continually shopped at since high school.

Their stuff stands up and stays fashionable for years and years. For me, anyway…

Basically, they haven’t let me down yet so if I see a sweater that I like in this sale, I’ll gladly plonk down $25 to get it.

Can You Dig It?

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