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Dec 042013
 

I am an admitted brickoholic.

This past month has been a whirlwind of LEGO buying and building. Started with the LEGO store’s annual VIP event. Which is an invitation only event that I have been going to for the past 3 years now (guess because I buy so much from them…if only there was a way to get credit for all the sets I buy from Toys R Us and Target too). In the past we were given a discount at the register, so this year I had planned on buying the two big sets I have wanted for the past year but never got.  So as November neared an end I never got my invite from LEGO. I gave the store a call and I was on their list so they told me when it was and to come on in they would have my invitation there for me. YEAH!

So off I went had a grand time and met some great folks from DelVaLUG and a very nice BrickLink dealer who is starting up a blog. Got me some great LEGO sets and had some fun.

Afterwards I hopped online and joined the online forums for both PennLUG and DelVaLUG. Maybe I will start going to meetings and get to hang out with other AFOLs and learn a few tricks on building. Right now my attention is geared more toward LEGO trains. I have been setting up my 9 volt track under our tree for years and I want to expand it.

I bought my first remote controlled (power functions) train this month too and set it up under the tree at work. So I will have to find a way to work out the battery operated trains into my new train world. But I don’t know if you can do good old fashioned steam locomotives or if it is just new-fangled trains that are big enough to house all the power functions gadgets.

Lego Adventure Vol 2 Also got a pretty cool book: The LEGO Adventure Book, Vol. 2: Spaceships, Pirates, Dragons & More! Now I need to make me a TRAGON. That’s a train dragon.

But wait the LEGO purchasing madness does not stop there. LEGO.com had a great black friday sale so I scooped up a bunch a storage boxes, a 2014 calendar, and a few sets. They should be arriving soon.

Yesterday, Target.com had a sale on LEGO sets so I grabbed a few there too. Now to find room for all of them and time to build them all!

Dec 032013
 

NO MIMOBOT FOR YOU!I have been soup nazi-ed by Mimoco. It started out because I asked for the difference from the sale price I paid on Friday for the advertised sale price on Monday, which was a thirteen dollar difference in the item I was getting. They refused to give me the price difference and quoting some little seen policy on their website (as if they could not have bent the policy this once) that flash sales were exempt from this price guarantee. OK.

Policies can be change or overridden on a case by case basis. So why not ask someone higher up the totem pole if they could make an exception. Nope we can’t. So you can’t walk down the hall and ask the person that made the policy for an exemption? Nope we can’t. Again, I say OK.

So I cancelled my pending order and was then immediately told I would not be allowed to place another order for that item at the lower price. WHAT!? So no soup for me, huh?

Apparently, their software (yeah, right) would catch it and not allow the order through. In other words the customer service rep (which this company only has one) would see my name on the order and manually cancel it before it ever went through. Thanks a bunch there Mimoco!

Yeah, I could have had my friend buy it for me at the lower cost, but I would rather give my money to a company that appreciates my business.

So instead of losing $13 (which would have meant a TON to me and is but a drop in the bucket to you), you have now lost $77 and the fees to refund it to my credit card. Again not a lot of money to you. But a nice sized chunk of my pay check!

When a customer that has been loyal in the past and has not only made purchases of a couple hundred dollars over the past several months, but has gone above and beyond by supporting your kickstarter project both monetarily and within social media….maybe just maybe you would like to have reconsidered your position and given the added discount. As you have not just hurt the current and future sales of the products, but and future word of mouth campaigning I may have done on your behalf.

I would have loved to have had my Klingon in my pocket protecting my data from alien forces and the evil Federation, but I have my complete set of Star Trek Mimobots and will be getting my Kickstarter BatteryBot and then I am completely done with you folks. Your lack of customer service (by never replying to me and for taking over a day to cancel the order and refund my money) has cost you a loyal fan.

No, I wasn’t expecting an email telling me my order was on the way and by the way here is the discount you requested, but I could have at least gotten one telling me sorry but we stand by the policy etc. It is the completely being ignored after being told in no uncertain terms to not even bother placing another order. Those two things combined are what has gotten under my skin and are more unforgivable than the loss of the money. Poor customer service will lose customers faster than over inflated prices any day.

While I won’t tell anyone NOT to buy your products (I will leave that up to them), I won’t go out of my way to spread the word about any of your products or projects ever again either.

Good-bye Mimoco.

 

Dec 022013
 

Luvocracy.com is a Pinterest-like shopping site that’s not all cracked up to be what it sells itself as.

Luvocracy

At first look at the site I cannot even figure out why anyone would shop there. The Pinterest-like layout is confusing and really only works if you aren’t really even shopping. So why not just stick with Pinterest to browse for item you might find interesting and then go buy it from the actual store yourself?

LuvocracyDon’t like the jump from full screen to 4 columns either. 

Luvocracy says it will find the best price on the web for you. Trust me it does not do this. One of the first things I looked up was at full price and I know where I can get the same LEGO set at a huge discount on another site.

Luvocracy LEGO set

You never know where exactly they are purchasing the items for you. That’s right they take your money then go and buy the item for you.

So say you wanted to buy the afore mentioned LEGO set. They take your money and buy it from a store they feel is on the up-and-up. Your card info is never given to that store, but you also lose out on any sales or other rewards that might be offered by the original store. LEGO.com has their VIP program. You get rewards points and they can add up to free LEGO sets. MANY MANY other stores do this as well.

Same Item Cheaper at TargetSame set $73 cheaper.

So Luvocracy says they will reward you too. But how and when?

You know they are making money off of your purchases some how and it is not always through affiliate links, but my guess is that has something to do with why they don’t actually show the cheapest prices across the net. For that you are better off using a shopping comparison site where you actually see the different prices and can make the choice yourself.

So back to my LEGO set. They say the scour the internet for a lower price and then charge you that price (plus tax and shipping of course). So why blindly pay $154.99 for the Star Wars Jabba’s Palace set (#9516) at Luvocracy and hope they will be honest and only charge you the, say, $95 (with shipping) from Target.com when they place the order for you? What rewards will Luvocracy give you that are better than then low price at the other site? Also right now Target is offering 20% off LEGO when you spend $100….would Luvocracy share that discount with you? Does Luvocracy use a RedCard to purchase and get free shipping and still charge you shipping?

I, personally, would prefer more transparency. Heck, I would prefer to just buy from another site instead of this odd Pinterest knock-off marketplace where you don’t know what your getting, how much you’re really playing, where it is coming from or when you will get it. Very odd that apparently hundreds (maybe even thousands) of consumers have jumped blindly onto this bandwagon. Not me.

 

Jun 272013
 

If you live in PA and run down to Delaware to buy your diamonds from Robins Delaware Diamonds (no longer Ronbins Eighth & Walnut), you are a tax cheat.

If you buy online and aren’t charged sales tax for PA, you’re a tax cheat.

Yup, that’s right the Pennsylvania government wants you the average Joe to man up and pay your sales tax no matter where you buy your goods.

I first learned about this little sales tax issue when doing my taxes through Turbo Tax. The program will ask you for your unpaid state sales tax. I never knew this until this time. Today while looking up information on a taxable item for work (gift certificates are not taxable by the way) I landed on this page over at the PA Dept of Revenue‘s site: Use Tax for Individuals. Go ahead and pop over there and give it a read why don’t you.

Here is the basic info if you don’t want to rush to a government site (and I don’t blame you — big brother and all that)…

When sales tax is not charged by the seller on a taxable item or service, the consumer is required by law to report and remit use tax to the Department of Revenue.  Purchases made over the Internet, through toll-free numbers, from mail-order catalogs and from out-of-state locations are examples of purchases subject to use tax when sales tax is not paid.  The tax rate is the same as the sales tax, 6 percent state, plus 1 percent local tax for items purchased in, delivered to or used in Allegheny County or 2 percent local tax in Philadelphia.

Their site lists some very interesting examples of when and where you have to pay Use Tax (which is when you don’t pay sales tax on something you are using in PA). Here’s my example.

You pop down to Robins Delaware Diamonds because the radio told you they have TAX FREE shopping and buy your girl a diamond ring. She is living in and wearing that ring in PA. Guess what? You still owe the 6% sales tax to Pennsylvania as Use Tax. So there goes all your gas money for driving down to DE to get a ring and bring it back to PA.

You might ask, how in the world will PA ever know I bought my ring at Robins Delaware Diamonds? They may never know, but you will know that you were dishonest and owe the state some money. For me I just wish they would stop advertising on Philadelphia radio stations about going to Delaware to buy from them simply because it is tax free when in fact it is not (see above government resource).

Dec 202012
 

Christmas will be here in a few days then…It’s almost time to say “thank you.”

Who do you need to thank this year? thank you cards

Your family, your boss, your spouse, your co-workers…anyone who got you a Christmas gift (or for whom you are thankful this year). In a week, it will be time to thank them for their wonderful (and even not so wonderful) gifts. Writing thank you notes seems to be a lost art.

Tiny Prints has the perfect way to say “thank you” at an incredible price. For one day only, from 10:00am PT today through 9:00am PT tomorrow, they are selling their amazing thank you cards at 50% Off!

These are not your average thank you cards either. They are pretty awesome. From the paper quality to the ability to personalize them with pictures and your own text, these cards are sure to leave a lasting impression…and maybe even result in a better gift next year. SWEET!

Check out Tiny Prints right away and say “thank you” in style this year. And remember to use promo code DOD1220 to save 50%! P.S.

You know you don’t need a gift from someone to let them know you’re thankful for them!

Dec 192012
 

Yelp Sucks

You can see here that Yelp.com is still offer a bogus deal. Don’t fall for these scams.

I finally got around to writing up several reviews for Yelp.com and while I was on the site I noticed my favorite comic shop, 1up collectibles, had a Yelp “deal”. $75 for $50 (I knew my next comic pick up would be more than that so I bought it thinking I would be saving myself $25.

Well, I fell for the old scam of if it sounds too good to be true it is. Turns out 1Up Collectibles had turned off that deal over a year ago and Yelp.com should NEVER have been selling it. Shame on Yelp for scamming folks out of their hard earned money. My only hope is that my credit card company will see fit to reverse the charges since I can’t spend it and even if I could my comic guy would never see the money from Yelp since he no longer has an account with them.

How is it that they can continue to sell these deals after the companies discontinue, expire or stop them?

Is their a Yelp.com page to review them on their site? If so I have yet to find it. Guess the world is not allowed to review them!

Speaking of not allowed to review…they apparently filter reviews (even though I found a post saying they no longer filter — bullcrap). I wrote up my honest, unsolicited review of 1Up Collectibles and they removed/filtered it. My review (my thoughts, my opinions) don’t count when it comes to Yelp.com. Guess what? Yelp.com doesn’t matter and it seems like more and more people are starting to realize that.

Maybe Yelp should require reviewers to disclose if they received anything in return for their feedback. Instead of black balling the store owner for suspected deceptive practices. We have to do it on our blogs *waves nicely to the FCC* so instead of censoring us simply require the same standards of all websites to your users. Amazon.com does, so why can’t Yelp?

So lessons learned here. Yelp will remove you if they think you were bribed to write a review even if you weren’t and NEVER, EVER buy any Yelp Deals as they are not deals they are steals (as in Yelp stealing your money and you not getting a thing in return). You won’t even be able to call and speak with someone to ensure that your issue or problem will be dealt with. Shame on you Yelp.com

 

Disclosure/Disclaimer: I was not given anything but a headache and an empty wallet from Yelp.com in exchange for this review.

Jul 132012
 

With the new Batman Dark Knight Rises film coming out this summer, I really wanted to get a Batman costume this year for Halloween. Heck there is even still time to get one before the film hits the theaters if you wish to go to the midnight showing dressed as the Dark Knight.

Batman Costume For a great selection of Batman costumes check out Costume Discounters. The have a great selection of Batman (classic), Batgirl and Dark Knight costumes.

I got the Dark Knight costume hoping it would actually fit me this year after having lost some weight. (Yay it did, mostly.) This costume includes everything you need to jump in your Batmobile and hit the convention, movie or party right out of the package. Costume comes complete with the iconic Batman cowl with attached cape, one piece costume, boot covers and utility belt.

All the adult costumes have a padded muscle chest piece, which looks nice but doesn’t feel great wearing it. For women this can act as further disguise of who you are underneath that cowl, but the chest piece is rather broad across the shoulders and does not allow for easy moment. Idela if all you want to do is strike a superhero pose with shoulders back and hands on hips (like the photo). This is not a big deal if you are only going to be in it for a few hours at a party or the movies, but if you plan on spending all day at a comic con you might want to see about altering it.

The material is a light weight polyester (stretchy material) that makes the costume easy to get on and should not make you over heat too quickly. However, it is not too thin of a material that it would make you uncomfortable wearing it.

Some much needed accessories would be gauntlets (gloves) and Batarangs, but not necessary for a good Batman look.

I highly recommend that you take the costume out of the package long before you want to wear and reform the cowl and utility belt as they are not ready to go straight out of the box, so to speak.

This is an official DC Comics licensed Batman costume.

Disclosure: I was sent this Batman costume by Costume Discounters for this review. This in no way guides this review or my opinion of the products. All comments and remarks are my own.

Jul 122011
 

I little while back I got a few Catty Stacks to test out on my cats. I have to tell you I really liked them and the smaller cats did too, especially the two little foster kitties we had from One by One Cat Rescue.

The two fosters would run through the house and leap onto the Catty Stacks and start a game of tag, one on top and one inside the fort. They would hop from box to box thwokking each other through the openings

What I liked about the Catty Stacks is the fact that you can build and rebuild them in any configuration that you want, kind of like giant kitty LEGO bricks. If you get your cat some Catty Stacks you’ll want to start out with at least 3, but don’t worry when you realize how much they love them you can add to the construction at any time. That is another great feature of these boxes unlike other cat furniture.

Boris always loves to get in a box and will squeeze in any box no matter the size. So I had hoped he would like these as well, but it turns out he is just too big. He does like being on top checking out everything around him. So I think I wil rebuild these under a window so he has a nice bird watching perch.

Besides giving Boris a new window perch building the Catty Stacks up is a great way to give the other cats a weigh to be up high and not have them on top of the furniture or refrigerator!

Catty Stacks are available at CatToys.com, Amazon.com and other fine pet stores. They come in five great colors to match any decor; baby blue, pink, white, light green and brown.

Disclosure: these boxes were sent to me by the manufacturer, but this has in no way affected my comments in any way shape or form. The above review is mine and mine alone.

Oct 202010
 

Call me crazy (hahaha very funny), but I love this Wampa Rug. It is an officially licensed Star Wars product made by ThinkGeek.com (gotta love those geeks).

I already have the TaunTaun sleeping bag (and I have to make a lightsaber noise every time I open it too). It keeps me toasty warm on those cold Hoth winter nights.

Apparently the slave girl is not included with the Wampa Rug, sorry fan boys.

Oct 142010
 

Dogs Delight Wheat Grass Kit I bought the Dog’s Delight Sprout & Grow Garden for my cats (because I think cats like to eat grass as much if not more than dogs – just sayin’). It is made by Dunecraft the makers of fun, educational products for kids. You can find the items any where online or in Toys R Us stores.

I was actually a little shock when I opened up the kit to find a very small package of wheat grass seeds inside. I think it was less than a gram and turned out to be only 8 seeds. I have grown wheat grass numerous times before and I knew there was no way in heck eight blades of grass would satisfy three kitties. So I called the company.

The guy I spoke with obviously has never grown wheat grass in any form let alone their actual product. He told me that multiple shoots would come off each seed (I know this not to be true, but did not feel like arguing at that point). So I planted the seeds. I had sprouts in a week. I trim them every day so I can see if they will spread. It has been almost three weeks now and no sign of additional shoots on any of the seeds.

Dogs Delight Wheat Grass Kit Dogs Delight Wheat Grass Kit
What was advertised vs what actually grew.

You tell me does my wheat grass look anything like what the product packaging and website promised me it would?

Aug 092010
 

Originally submitted at Nip and Bones

Our Spaceship and Meteor Madness plush cat toys are sure to drive any cat wild. These Meteor and Spaceship designs and beeping sounds entice play. You will receive either a Spaceship or Meteor, if you would like to choose please let us know in the comments are of our checkout and we will do our be…

Squeaky Fun from Outer Space

By whataslacker from PA on 8/9/2010
4out of 5

Pros: Cat Likes It, Colorful, Geeky, Fun

Cons: Not enough nip

Best Uses: Leave Around The House, Active Cats, Kittens

Describe Yourself: Long-time Pet Owner

These spaceships and meteors are loads of fun for my geeky feline! The round shapes have them rolling in erratic patterns making him think twice when he pounces. He loves the beeping sound when he plays. Only problem we can think of is, it needs more nip inside to get him to really go after it.

(legalese)

Feb 252010
 

Robby Action FigureI know I am a day late…but better late than never (and it almost felt like I would never feel like writing on my blog again…but thanks to some meds, my friends, my cat and whoring myself out with sponsored posts I am back and I want stuff!)

Check this sweet (and very expensive) Forbidden Planet figure out.