Tag Archives: shopping

my fifteen minutes of fame: product testing for a tv show

9 Dec

(Not my picture – Sourced from Creative Director’s twitter feed )

Random experience of the month – Two nights ago, I was browsing Craigslist and for some reason went to the Volunteer section of the site to see what kind of stuff is posted there. There was a posting that called for product testers in Vancouver so I clicked on it. I like trying new products and have done it a couple of times before.

This casting call was for people to try out a product for an upcoming show “Buy.o.Logic” that will air on the Oprah Winfrey Network in Canada. It is produced by Anna and Kristina of the Shopping Bags and Grocery Bags which is often featured on the W Network. I figured, sure why not, I don’t have anything else planned for tomorrow morning. I sent them an email and they emailed me back with information about what I would be testing and where.

This morning I made my way to the Vancouver Film School cafe on West Hastings to try out dental floss, seriously! The objective of the show was to get 100 people to try the product while being filmed for the episode. This was a 3 hour ordeal and I tried out 5 different types of dental floss which are available now at most drugstores. At first we given numbers to wear on our clothes and sat down at a bunch of random tables.

I sat with these three middle aged women – one was an aspiring actress, one was a comedian, and not sure what the other did. We chatted briefly and I felt really awkward since I didn’t have anything interesting to say to them. I can get pretty quiet when I’m with a bunch of people I don’t know.

The creative director ( I think?) for the show stood on the stage and welcomed everyone. We were told what would happen for the rest of the day. We would go around and try out 5 different types of floss. At the end, we would choose which one we liked best and would film scenes with the host of the show. My favourite floss was the Oral B Glide, so smooth and minty fresh!

Most of the time, I stood around and talked to other people that were there. Such a random bunch of people! I was really interested in going just to see who actually went to these things and how they even got into it. A couple said they saw the ad in an Actor’s magazine or something, a few saw it on Craigslist like myself, some had done product testing for the show before and one was persuaded by a friend who decided not to come, haha. A lot of people came from far away like Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge far away which is surprising. I guess if you have a chance to be on camera, you’ll jump at the opportunity. Some people even flossed their teeth right in front of the cameraman – glad it wasn’t me who was chosen to do that.

As “compensation” for our time, there were some door prizes like vacuums, ab workout stuff ( from the last episode), and a cookbook. I think these items were past test items. I didn’t win anything but they gave goodie bags to everyone at the end which was nice. I got: a Cobs Bread reusable bag (great, now I have 10 reusable bags), $5 to Cob’s Bread, gift card (amount unknown) to Caya, Bonchaz pastry coupon, Riceworks chips, trial size Udderly Smooth cream, and a 225 gram bag of roasted coffee beans from Caffe Artigiano.

Would I do it again? Maybe – depending on the product being tested and I would definitely go with someone I know next time. I think I would have felt more comfortable without having to make general conversation with strangers. Clearly, I have some social issues…haha. I didn’t care much to be in front of the camera but, you might catch me in the background or in the closing scene with the host and our favourite dental floss.

Should have taken some pics while I was there but wasn’t sure if I was allowed! Anyways, the episode is supposed to air in March 2012, so I’ll let you know when it is so you can catch my fifteen minutes of fame, lol.

If you are interested in doing product testing like what I did, this is the website for the show and they post casting call info on it as well.

introduction to dollar store finds

8 Nov

Not gonna lie. I love going to the dollar store and seeing what I can find.  The best dollar store chain (IMO) is the Dollarama chain with stores across Canada. They price their stuff between $1, $1.25, $1.50, and $2 so more like an up-to-two-dollar store but that doesn’t have a nice ring to it.

Why do I like this specific chain? A lot of their stuff is branded with the Dollarama trademark. I assume this means a lot of their products have been specifically made or branded for Dollarama so their products aren’t just buy-offs from other stores and what not. As much as I would like to support small businesses, the individual dollar stores or smaller chains like Dollar Giant just don’t have a good selection of stuff and it’s usually a random mish-mash of stuff from different suppliers. I guess Dollarama is like the Wal-Mart of dollar stores but I still love it…

There is a limit, however, to what I will buy at Dollarama. I won’t buy food unless it’s a name brand and by food, I mean chocolate bars. I’ve unknowingly eaten dollar store cookies and crackers and they tasted fine but I try to buy natural and/or organic stuff as much as possible. I won’t buy clothes from Dollarama unless I am desperate for a pair of socks that I need to wear ASAP. I also won’t buy body products from there either unless it’s branded and I know what I am getting. I bought Dove conditioner once for $2 and it was quite nice.

A lot of stuff can be found at Dollarama and I am always amazed at what I can buy for $1-$2 which is why I’ll be posting some of my finds online.

I’ve bought a lot of basic kitchen stuff (spatulas, the flipper thing, egg timer, chip clips, saran wrap, measuring cups/spoons) from the dollar store and they are things I’ve been using for the past two years. I buy most of my school supplies from here as well (pens, pencils, envelopes, receipt paper, book covers, report folders, paper clips, etc.). I also pick up some beauty supplies like hair ties that I always lose, cotton pads for makeup removal (made in Canada!), and a small tabletop mirror. A lot of these things are pretty basic so I’ll just be posting unique things that I’ve found.

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A while back I read about these treat balls that I can put treats or food in and let the cat roll it around to get the food out. It exercises their brain and mind and keeps them busy for a while (see video here for an example). I figured I would go to Tisol and see if they had any. They did and I bought one for $7 and gave it to my cat. A week later, I went to Dollarama and saw an exact replica of the ball for $1.25. So I bought it and gave it my sister for her dog. Could have saved $5 if I had gone to Dollarama first.

Keeping this lesson in mind, yesterday I picked up a laser toy for my cat at Dollarama for $1. I went to Tisol as well because I wanted to get a brush and water-less pet shampoo (which they don’t carry at Dollarama and I wanted something natural) and they had a laser toy for $5.95.

These are small amounts but, it all adds up. There are few things worse for a shopper than seeing something they’ve already bought go on sale or find it cheaper which is why I will always check Dollarama first before buying something that could possibly be bought there.

my go-to site for anything and everything techie

26 Oct

A friend introduced me to this site many years ago and since then I have been buying most of my cheap (techie) gadgets  like Apple USB cables, card readers, book holders, and more. There have been several times when I bought something at Future Shop and found a replica/substitute of the same product on the site but 75% cheaper like my iPad Smart Cover or the $19.99 Griffin stylus pen (yes, I actually paid that and didn’t think of checking this site. What was I thinking?…)

Pros:

Products are cheap, reviews are abundant, and shipping is free. You can find pretty much anything here. Camera accessories, video games, cell phones, cases, screen protectors, lasers, cables, jewellery, and much more. I think it’s kind of fun just to browse because everything is so random.

Cons:

Slowest shipping ever. My last order was shipped on October 2 and it still isn’t here, granted it is coming all the way from China for free so it was probably sent on a boat. Build quality is not the greatest but it really depends on the product.

A few things I’ve purchased:

Guitar capo $5.44 – Kinda smelt like rubber for a few days but the smell went away. Works great!

FM Transmitter $9.23 – Still have it after 3 years and works!

Digital guitar tuner $10.28 – Comparable to $20 in stores, makes guitar tuning so easy

Mini displayport to HDMI converter  $6.99 – Took something like a month to arrive but it works great! Note that you might have to play around with your preferences to get the sound working at first and you have to plug it in first and then open the video on your computer otherwise the sound won’t play from the TV.

I’ve probably ordered 15 things from them over the years but some of them are outdated like iPod touch cases and protectors. They are pretty current with new products so accessories come out pretty quickly.

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If you are looking for cheap gadgets, check out www.dealextreme.com and browse through their products.  Don’t forget that shipping takes a while so if you are patient and the product you want is not urgent, then I highly recommend the site.