[black friday] balance restored.

30 11 2011

black friday when all nuts this year. some stores opened at midnight, some at 4, some at 6… all of which made it nearly impossible for me to form a workable plan for a pleasant shopping experience. what was i supposed to do, hit the old navy and the target at midnight and then hang out at the denny’s until the mall opened?

NO. my digestive system could not take such a beating (although i still really do want to try out that grilled cheese with the mozzarella stix embedded inside, even though i know it’s wrong)!

i considered just hitting the midnight store and then going back later in the morning… but that also seemed less than ideal in terms of efficiency. so i decided to do something a little different this year- SLEEP IN.

it was actually kind of awesome. and then around 7, i leisurely got up, walked the dog, and headed to the mall. considering that i don’t need any big ticket electronics, and all the cheap movie titles were complete crap, it wasn’t like i was missing anything anyway (other than shivering in the cold with a bunch of other cranky folks who are more than willing to elbow you in the throat to get the last creepy stalker barbie).

and since i had already slept through the “best” deals, i also felt little pressure to hit the big boxes and try to scrape up what was left. so i just went wherever the hell i wanted regardless of big signs yelling DOORBUSTERS! and here is what i got: Read the rest of this entry »





liquidation sales suck cock.

31 07 2011

as you may have heard about town, borders is going out of business.

i don’t think anyone was surprised about it. it’s been on those “businesses about to go extinct” list for years with blockbuster and reader’s digest and all the other dinosaur brands. and so with the announcement of the closing, comes the immediate materialization of the telltale fluorescent signs flashing 40% off, and the kind of parking lot gridlock that makes a girl want to start slashing tires or throwing punches, or possibly both at the same time.

now the signs all say 40% OFF real big, but the fine print is always up to. opening weekend at borders, pretty much everything was a pitiful 10% off. yet for some reason, the line was out the fucking door.  10% off things that are full retail (and in some cases grossly inflated prices) is NOT A GOOD DEAL PEOPLE!  WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING?

i’m not entirely sure what kind of crazy discount juju possesses people when it comes to liquidation sales, but although the signs are big and flashy, and EVERYTHING MUST GO…  a quick rule of thumb: if the store was still open and you saw 10% off sign, would you bother to buy something that you didn’t really need (and that you could likely get somewhere else for cheaper)? probably not. THEN BACK THE FUCK AWAY FROM THE BORDERS. EVERYTHING MUST NOT GO. (just try to dodge that crazy bitch slashing tires and throwing punches in the parking lot).

foolishly, i went back again today (with more promises of 40% off), and was doubly disappointed. 20% is still NOT 40%, and shit was pretty much cleaned out anyway. there were a lot of dvds on sale for 40% off, but it’s not exactly a bargain when the dvds in question are $20-$60 each. didn’t i just say that my cut off for new dvds was $3? again, i hit the bricks with nothing. Read the rest of this entry »





i spy: $.25 socks.

13 03 2011

one of the main benefits of living in a cold state is that the winter merchandise goes on sale before it actually stops being cold. i wandered into target today in hopes up purchasing more leotard appropriate underpants for my show (aaaaaaaaaah thong!), and unearthed some pretty awesome bargains.

if you know me at all, you know that i’m constantly in pursuit of cheap tights (which are virtually impossible to find), as pretty much every pair i own gets instant runs at exactly dog height (mysterious). i do love target tights, but at $5 a pop, they’re a bit pricey for something that is essentially disposable. today, i found a big bin of discount underpants, tights, and socks in the activewear section. i bought 7 pairs of tights marked down to $1.25 each (cheaper than the $1.98 tights at goodwill!), and 3 pairs of short socks for $.25 each!

i also snagged some magic gloves (2 pairs) for for $.75 and a pair of slippers that i’d been coveting since pre-xmas for $2.25 (i knew that if i held out, they would come down!).  oh, and some weird german mascara for $2.

not exactly ground breaking news, but if you happen to be in the target area, and your underwear and/or sock drawer is looking a little scant… it could be good.  oh, and marden’s just got a big shipment of high endy underwear on sale for 70% off. badgley mischka silk g-strings say go. go now.





i spy- poop factory.

24 08 2010

never having been a dog owner before, i had no prior understanding of how much poop a 9 lb. puppy can generate. while we were preparing to bring home our little bundle of fur and teeth, we did a 2 week stint of dog sitting for the boyfriend’s parent’s evil scotty dog, but she never produced more than 2 poops a day. maybe it’s just our dog, or maybe it’s a puppy thing, but puppyface here is generating on average 4-6 piles of fun every day. needless to say, we tore through the stash of newspaper bags i had been hoarding from work in about a week. then we figured we could downgrade to plastic shopping bags, but were quick to find out (don’t ask-too horrific to recount) that they we not structurally sound, and too often came with holes already in them. so this weekend, we broke down and decided that we needed to go to the pet store and actually buy poop bags.

i’ll probably do some long winded post someday about how dogs are fucking expensive ($16 for flea drops! $20 for a bag of food! $90 vet visit!), but for today, i’m keeping the subject to poop only. doggie waste removal is an expensive proposition. we didn’t even go to the fancy pet store! we went to petco, and bought a package of 8 rolls (120 bags total) of petco brand pet waste disposal bags. $11.99!! it hurt, but we felt like we didn’t have a choice.

and then, we went to marden’s. sure, i talked shit about the new marden’s last time. and the women’s clothing still blows, and all the shoes are still made out of leather… but then i spied them from across the room- 4 packs of “bags on board” brand poop bags in fashion colors FOR $1.19 for 4 rolls. i bought 10, and have been plotting to go back and buy up the rest. that’s 600 bags for less than the price of 120! i felt a little guilty going back to the petco to return my purchase (it hadn’t even been an hour), but i gave the sad eyes to the cashier and told her that my boyfriend had given me a hard time about spending the money and not using shopping bags (sorry to throw you under the bus boyfriend!). but i’m trying to to feel too bad about it, because chances are those few rolls of bags they do have left at marden’s won’t last long, and the ones i just bought are not likely to even last a full year. petco will have my waste bag dollars soon enough, because if that dog knows anything (and it certainly isn’t how to stop biting my achilles tendons), it’s how to poop.





weekend pickthrough- full puppy takedown edition.

8 08 2010

everyone, meet kazuki. finally, i have a dog to call my own, and it’s totally awesome beyond my expectations (seriously, are you looking at this dog?). but, it’s also totally tiring beyond my expectations. as it turns out, puppies can not be left alone ever, because they will chew/eat/throw up everything you own. this means that i have to get up an hour earlier than usual, i’m responsible for 2+ poop walks per day (including one that eats my lunchbreak every work day), and that i can’t ever really pay full attention to anything… because i’ve got to have one eyeball on that little guy at all times. i’m pretty sure  this is why everyone who squealed in excitement about us getting a dog, punctuated that squeal with the phrase “puppies are a lot of work”. so yes, puppies are a lot of work, and i have absolutely no regrets, but if i owe you:

an email
a graphic design project
a guest post
a blog redesign
a coffee date
or anything else that i’ve probably already forgotten about…

it’s probably because i’m passed out in a pile of shredded newspaper, or out on the streets hunting for a chew toy that simulates the mouth feel of human flesh. perhaps i could make up for my negligence with some quality puppy time?

no seriously… i said my teeth are real diamonds (kanye & new yorker cartoons. two great things that taste great together).

i scored an 8 on this crazy color acuity test, and so far no one else has even come close. it’s your job to put my in my place.

typestaches!

nike does a little recycling. (it involves big asses and lively feminist debate, you’ll love it).

i’d never even heard of such a thing before, but card skimmers are scary and could be hiding anywhere.

food and fashion don’t come in a more adorable package, let’s hear it for my new favorite local blog… sweetersalt!

i hate that supporting my beloved marden’s these days feels like supporting this jackass.

i would also like to send out a big sloppy thank you to original portland, brews & books, and portland maine daily photo for mentioning my cheap eats article (all excellent blogs absolutely worth checking out). what’s also crazy, is that not a single person has mentioned the lack of meat!





bargains are my business.

1 07 2010

my mom always liked new stuff.  and not just any new stuff, the best possible new stuff. if we were in pursuit of say… a care bear (grumpy bear to be specific), she would never just grab the first one that she saw. oh no! she would dig through every single bear on the shelf until she found the one that was perfect. no smushed faces or lopsided expressions, no flat spots or loose threads- the most perfect and pristine care bear in the whole store (possibly a second store in case the first store’s product did not meet standards). it is because of my mother that i utterly refuse to bring home any product in a crushed or dented box. even if the contents is assured to be perfectly preserved. even if i’m just going to tear the box apart the moment i get home. it’s completely irrational, but it’s all i know.

thus, when we visited our first marden’s, i distinctly remember that my mom was less than impressed. we’d heard their commercials on the radio a million times- “i should have bought it when i saw it at mardens”, but the water damaged prom dresses and the nightmare bad lighting were too much for her delicate sensibilities. if you’ve never been to a marden’s, you should know that it is the low budgetiest, discountiest, no frillsiest place you’ve ever been. generally housed in the broke down shell of a bankrupted chain store, the ultra closeout goods get tossed haphazardly onto racks and piled up in bins floating in the aisles. let’s just say that the term “visual merchandising” doesn’t exist in their vocabulary.  oh, and don’t you EVER EVER EVER go into the bathroom. please, just don’t.

anyway, flashing back to 1988, our first foray into rock bottom bargainville was not a success. i distinctly remember my mom singing “i should have left it where i saw it at marden’s” (and being 11 at the time, i of course thought this was HILAROUS). it was too much. everything was dented and imperfect, we would never go there again.

as a late in life bargain hunter, marden’s and i would grow to love each other deeply. i would come to learn that the key is tenacity. that, and a willingness to dig, dig, dig (no matter how suspect the product at hand). for every 25 polyester blend clearance rack tragedies, you might actually find something good. remember that time i found a marc jacobs prairie skirt for $6.50? if you can just get over the weird smells, expired foods, and of course the bathroom…. it’s pure magic. so you can imagine my delight when i heard that a big-ass new marden’s was moving into my backyard (if my backyard was the mall).

sadly, the verdict is: MODERATE DISAPPOINTMENT. the new scarborough marden’s is much bigger, much cleaner, and much more organized than its brethren, yet was somehow sorely lacking in the magic department. i’m hoping that a bit of the newness will fade over time. right now i can still smell the walmart in there, and it just seems too put together in a way that robs me of the joy of the dig. i mean seriously, what are all these medium sized garments doing in one place?  its looking too much like a regular store and a lot less like a smoldering pile of junk ripe for exploration.  i miss that, and have hopes that in time the disorder will be restored. that said,  i did manage to get lost in there for the better part of an hour, and did encounter many tremendous things absolutely worth exploring:

1. first off, PLACE IS FUCKING HUGE. yeah, it’s an old walmart. i doubted at first that they would be able to fill it up, but it has a really good mix of clothing, homegoods, crazy off-brand/expired foods, in addition to things like furniture & carpet (that the portland marden’s doesn’t have).

2. there’s a MOTHERFUCKING FABRIC STORE IN THERE. yeah, i sew. yeah, i have a ludicrous and ever growing stash of fabric- but i always want more. even though i barely sew anything ever, i have a demented fabric lust that knows no reason. i don’t know what fabric store went bankrupt or had a small attic fire, but that shit is nice! one would expect from a marden’s fabric stash lots of cheap and highly flammable prom satins or flannels emblazoned with losing sports teams or faded disney stars headed for rehab… but oh no! tons of nice cotton prints, rolls of high-end decorator fabrics, stacks of unusual and vintagey looking trims. heavenly, and all for about $3.99 a yard or less.

3. hey, is that FURNITURE I WOULD ACTUALLY BUY? yeah, there was some weird stuff. and yeah, there’s a lot of overstuffed nogahyde recliner action. BUT, there were also several perfectly normal and attractive couches and chairs that could have easily found their way into my apartment. well,  if there was actually any room for more couches and chairs.

4. even though there’s better stuff than a lot of the other marden’s, there’s still a HEALTHY DOSE OF HILARIOUS OFF BRANDS and merchandise from the land that time forgot. is that an entire wall of slouch socks? or maybe the novelization of the short lived tv show roswell? if you can’t find a punchline at marden’s, then you’re probably a humorless dick.

5. the shoe department for me in any store is critical, and THIS FOOTWEAR DEPARTMENT DOES NOT DISAPPOINT. in the portland store, i’m lucky to find anything this isn’t for grandmas or hookers. not a lot of range there. i don’t know how they did it (did paul lepage have to shank someone?), but there was a boatload of amazing heels from high-endier lines like coach, bcbg, and charles david. they weren’t $3/10 cheap- but the were mostly $50 or under. and they were all stunning. too bad i have no money and a swiftly developing bunion.

i love the fact that discount and thrift stores are joining the mall area, and i don’t care if it’s a sign of the bad economy. now, i haven’t completely warmed up to the new marden’s yet, but i do feel like there is potential chemistry there. let’s just say that at the end of the cocktail party, marden’s scarborough will be getting a rose. and if less scummy and more choices sounds like your idea of a dream date… i recommend heading on over. i’m pretty sure there’s enough to go around.

oh, and if the marden’s in your area has something awesome, please let me know! you know, so i can keep that information to myself and go buy all of it.

p.s. you can check out the rest of the photos of my trip on the broke207 brand flickr account.





the road to hell.

29 06 2010

is paved with crumpled shopping bags. i was doing really well on my $30 a week plan for needless weekend spending… and then this weekend descended in a haze of clearance racks and impulse buying. does anyone else ever feel like they’re possessed by the devil? come july, i’ll be making some drastic reductions in my spending (to disastrous results i’m sure), but in the meantime… let’s revel in this last summer binge with gusto.

1. target, my second home. i once vowed that i would stop sleeping in sweatpants and old t-shirts and start sleeping in sexy lingerie. i’m not doing a very good job, but two new pieces of pretty from the liberty of london collection @ $4.48 each significantly increase the odds. if someone would come over to my house and finally torch my heinous disintegrating sweatpants, then we’d really be in business.

2. we decided to go to windham for a change, and that goodwill never disappoints. found another addition to my three investigators collection (jupiter jones is gonna solve that mystery SO HARD), and some crazy plastic apple container. i don’t know why, but i’m a sucker for shit that’s shaped like fruit.

3. marden’s sweet marden’s. there’s a brand new gigantic fucking mardens that just opened up in the old walmart building in south portland. i’ll be posting a deep and dirty expose about my experience later this week, but until then… BEHOLD! hobo spanx no more (that’s control top panty hose with the legs cut off for those who aren’t yet aware of my secret shame)! $11.49 for a maidenform control shorts. sure, it feels like my organs are being crushed, but i look SO SKINNY.

4. i ditched the boyfriend in the car for a nap while i took off to the marshall’s for a while. he’s such an old man. amazing asymmetrical t-shirt for $8, and the most beautiful summer dress ever for $19.99. i’m too fat for spandex, but there was a boatload of really nice looking marc by marc jacobs swimwear if you’re in the market for that sort of thing.

5. last time i was at the gap, it was all prairie skirts and straw cowboy hats, which is probably somewhere between windpants and juicy sweatsuits on the scale of shit that i shouldn’t be wearing. mysteriously this weekend, everything was awesome and on sale. oh, and everything that was on sale was an additional 40% off. got a cute skirt and 2 pairs of mysteriously great fitting pairs of 1969 (regularly $79 a pair) for $51.

6. shaw’s was the final stop for grocery shopping, and probably the biggest retail coup of the day. WACKY MAC MOTHERFUCKER! there was and endcap fucking full of it randomly over by the raw chicken. i bought just a couple because i could, even though i didn’t have the coupon that made them free.  but the biggest score was easily the fiber one deal. on sale for buy one get one (@ $4.29 each), i had a stash of $.75/1 coupons that would double, making it $1.29 for 2 boxes $.65 a box. i got 8 boxes for $5.16 total. i even had a $5/$50 coupon which would bring the whole goddamn mess down to almost nothing. it would have been exceptionally impressive if the boyfriend could have been an adult about it, instead of just giggling like a maniac, and telling me how much i’m gonna poop.

$102.58– scandalous! anyway, appreciate it now before i cut myself off from the crazy shopping forever (or until august, whichever comes first). but if the demon possession should happen to be too strong for me… tell my family that i love them, and make sure you wrestle my dead ass into those spanx. i don’t want to be a bloated corpse.