New York Post: Black Friday "ineffective and dysfunctional"

As we brace for the onslaught of Black Friday sales later this week, you've probably noticed something that hasn't happened in previous Black Fridays in past years -- retailers have really jumped the gun with early "Black Friday" sales in 2014. It seems that retailers have been trying to out-do each other, launching sales much sooner than the traditional shopping season kickoff.

The New York Post has noticed too:

This year, it’s Broken Friday.

After a tough 2014, nervous retailers couldn’t afford to wait for the traditional day after Thanksgiving to pull the trigger on holiday shopping discounts... Retail experts say the hysterical bombardment of deals both online and in stores all November long shows just how ineffective — and dysfunctional — the Black Friday business model has become.

Just 28 percent of shoppers are expected to hit the stores the day after Thanksgiving this year, according to a survey released last week from “Retailers know that big pop, the big Black Friday day — it’s not working,” said analyst Jeanine Skowronski.

New Super-Couponing Tips column: Readers share money-savings tips

This week's syndicated Super-Couponing Tips column is entitled "Readers share money-savings tips that don't involve coupons." Here's an excerpt:

Dollar stores are such a major market that manufacturers are catering to their price needs by providing products in smaller sizes than what you may see at your local supermarket. A 16-ounce dish soap bottle at the local store may have only 14 ounces at the dollar store (even though both are the same brand.) Sure, the package is cheaper at the dollar store, but in the long run it may be even more per ounce.

Read this entire column at

Deals of the Week for November 23, 2014 are live

Deals of the Week are live!

Sunday's Chicago Tribune has TWO inserts: SmartSource (SS) and RedPlum (RP.)
Need a deal on Sunday Chicago Tribune home delivery? Get it at home for just .75 per week!

Subscribe to my blog via email and you'll receive one email each day detailing any new deals and matchups. Your email address will never be sold, and you won't receive spam:

Have a great week of shopping and saving!

Print now for .25 Beneful dog treats at Meijer

$1.50 off Two
Beneful dog treats
Print Coupon

If you're headed to Meijer on Thanksgiving, 11/27, 1.27oz. Beneful Healthy Smile dog treats will be on sale for $1. Buy two and use this $1.50 off 2 printable. Pay .50 for two, or .25 each!

Not a repeat story: USDA greenlights fresh and frozen Chinese chicken to be sold in the USA

Last September, the USDA agreed to let chicken processing plants in China process American-raised chickens, then ship the chickens back to the USA to be sold to consumers.

In November 2013, the USDA announced that it was planning to approve importing Chinese-raised and slaughtered poultry too.

Well, another year has passed, and the USDA has indeed given the green light to China to begin selling Chinese-raised fresh and frozen chickens in the United States. From the New York Times:

The Department of Agriculture will allow Chinese poultry processing companies to ship fully cooked, frozen and refrigerated chicken to the United States.

Food safety advocates have been predicting the announcement since the department last year approved the export of chicken raised in the United States to be processed in China....

School lunch advocates have been especially worried about Chinese chicken potentially ending up on trays. Nancy Huehnergarth, a nutrition policy consultant, has noted that processed chicken does not require country of origin labeling and predicted that it would end up in chicken nuggets and chicken soup.

According to the Congressional Research Service, China has wanted its chicken to be accepted as a quid pro quo for lifting a ban it imposed on United States beef products in 2003 after a cow in Washington state was found to have mad cow disease.

This article from has more information:

It took a little more than a year, but the fears of many food safety experts and xenophobes have come to pass: You may soon be eating chicken that was raised and slaughtered in China.

Last year, the USDA quietly announced (on the Friday before a holiday weekend) that it would allow imports of chicken that was processed in China but had been killed elsewhere—say in the U.S. or Canada. While federal officials would oversee the slaughter, no USDA inspectors would be present when the birds were processed in the four approved Chinese facilities.

It was indeed the first step: The USDA will now allow processed, refrigerated, and frozen Chinese poultry to be sold in the United States. And food safety advocates are furious.

“There have been scores of food safety scandals in China, and the most recent ones have involved expired poultry products sold to U.S. fast-food restaurants based in China,” Wenonah Hauter, Food and Water Watch executive director, said in a statement. “Now, we have FSIS moving forward to implement this ill-conceived decision, and it has not even audited the Chinese food safety system in over 20 months, in direct contradiction to what it promised it would do to protect U.S. consumers.”

Thanks to reader Russ for bringing this story to my attention.

Problems shipping & receiving Wen seasonal formulas

If you're a subscriber to Wen haircare auto-delivery through, and you're on a plan to receive seasonal product formulas, this may be of interest to you.

In the summer of 2013, I signed up with Wen to receive their seasonal formula plan. I got the summer scent in my orders (at that time it was Summer Mango Coconut) and I was scheduled to receive Fall Apple Spice in the fall of 2013. When fall rolled around, I instead received a shipment of Sweet Almond Mint. I called to complain, and they said that they "did not receive the new fall scent in time to ship," so they'd substituted Sweet Almond Mint. This seemed strange to me, because their site was advertising the Fall Apple Spice, as were the print materials I'd received in my summer Wen shipment. They offered to send me a return label and ship a different "regular" scent of my choice instead. I opted for Pomegranate, and shortly after that I found a great Wen deal on QVC and stopped my Wen subscription.

This October (2014), I started hearing from other Wen subscribers and readers who suddenly did not get their Wen seasonal Fall Ginger Pumpkin scent from, receiving a different, substituted scent like had happened to me last year.

Over the weekend, I got a too-good-to-be-true Wen offer in my email offering a fantastic deal on Wen if I'd resubscribe. The package price was great considering all of the items inside, and I bit the bullet and subscribed -- again, knowing I could cancel again at any time. This package only offered the "regular" Wen scents, so I chose Pomegranate and ordered.

Well, after I placed my order, I was redirected back to, where I saw an offer advertising that of your bottles will be Fall Ginger Pumpkin when you place any kit order. I called Wen today to see if I could take advantage of this and have one of my three Pom bottles be swapped out for the Fall Ginger Pumpkin.

The woman on the end of the line had some pretty interesting things to say... things that I think push this into the "bait and switch" area of marketing. She said "We don't have any Fall Ginger Pumpkin to ship, it's sold out."

I said "But it's showing right now on the homepage of Take a look."

She took a moment and said she was looking at it, then added "We don't have it in stock. I can put a note on your account, but you won't get it."

I asked what would happen if someone placed a new order, right now, on the page showing the Fall Ginger Pumpkin. You can go there right now too and see this offer on the homepage!

She said, "They'll get Sweet Almond Mint." She added that "the month is almost over," adding that the fall scent was due to stop shipping at the end of the month anyway. (Again, today is November 24th, 2014.)

What? That's crazy. I don't think they should be advertising a bottle of Fall Ginger Pumpkin with every new kit order when they have none to ship and willingly tell customers so on the phone..! And what about the people I've heard from this year who never got a fall scent at all for 2014 and had a different substitution sent. Did they even actually have any to ship at all?

Just a heads-up for any of you on the seasonal plan. These kinds of product substitutions were what prompted me to drop my Wen subscription in the first place and simply buy from QVC. I love the product, but incidents like this don't inspire a lot of confidence to customers.

Crazy Kohl's FREE appliance deal is back! Get three kitchen appliances FREE after rebate and Kohl's Cash!

Every year, bargain-hunters look forward to Kohl's small appliances Black Friday sale, and once again, the sale is back for 2015!

You'll enjoy FREE appliances after this great deal! Here's how to do it:

Buy 3 of the $19.99 appliances - $59.97
Use 15% off coupon code THANKS15 - now $50.98
Get $15 Kohls Cash - now $35.98
Shipping is FREE!
Fill out a $12.00 mail in rebate for each of your three appliances.
That's -0.02 after rebates and Kohl's Cash! ALL FREE and a .02 moneymaker!

There is a limit of five rebates PER PRODUCT, so you can do this deal multiple times if you'd like!

Thanks to reader alesis_77 for spotting this one bright and early this morning!

Here are the participating appliances with $12.00 rebates:

The following items have $10.00 rebates. Do the same deal and grab these for just $1.99 each after the same deal!

Black & Decker Hand Mixer with Storage Case - $19.99 with $10.00 rebate

Black & Decker 12-cup Programmable Coffee Maker (black) - $19.99 with $10.00 rebate
Black & Decker 12-cup Programmable Coffee Maker (red) - $19.99 with $10.00 rebate
Black & Decker 12-cup Programmable Coffee Maker (white) - $19.99 with $10.00 rebate

Black & Decker 550-Watt Blender (black) - $19.99 with $10.00 rebate
Black & Decker 550-Watt Blender (white) - $19.99 with $10.00 rebate
Black & Decker 550-Watt Blender (red) - $19.99 with $10.00 rebate

Black & Decker Belgian Waffle Maker - $19.99 with $10.00 rebate

Black & Decker Grand Openings 3-in-1 Electric Can Opener - $19.99 with $10.00 rebate

Black & Decker Quesadilla Maker - $19.99 with $10.00 rebate

Black & Decker 2-Slice Toaster - $19.99 with $10.00 rebate UPDATE 9:50AM - SOLD OUT

Black & Decker 16 Cup Rice Cooker - $19.99 with $10.00 rebate UPDATE 11:10AM - SOLD OUT

So, who's been out freebie-hunting this morning?

So, who's been out hitting CVS and Walgreens already this morning? My husband and I went to our local CVS at 8:15am and got everything you see above -- all of the freebies, plus the .99 Listerine and Kraft cheese. We did get the last shaker of parmesan, but beyond that, everything was in stock. The Lake in the Hills, IL CVS had the majority of the free items on an endcap near the front of the store, which made deal-hunting very easy.

I do want to get to Walgreens later too for their deals (especially the Excedrin, which we never seem to have enough of in the Cataldo house.)

What deals are you chasing today? Have you been out this morning?

Neoprene winter ski mask: Just $1.89 shipped from Amazon!

I saw these on sale a couple weeks ago, but they sold out before I had a chance to post the deal! Now they're back...

Black neoprene winter face masks are only $1.89, including shipping, at Amazon!


- Black neoprene face mask warms neck and ears
- Fitted vent with Velcro closure
- Thermal cotton fleece long neck warmer and raised ear warmers
- Great for winter sports, hunters, snowmobilers, snowboarders

Oder your winter face mask for $1.89, shipped, from Amazon!

Thanks to Mashup Mom for spotting the deal.

Amazon Gold Box Deal: ALL seasons of How I Met Your Mother for $64.99 (reg. $179.98!)

If you're a fan of the "How I Met Your Mother" television series, Amazon's got a great deal today on all nine seasons of this hit television show. You'll get the complete, 28-DVD series for the legen... wait for it... dary price of just $64.99 -- that's 64% off!

Order now, and you can even have it in time for "Slaps-giving." What a great gift for all those fans of Ted, Robin, Marshall, Lily, and Barney.

Order How I Met Your Mother Seasons 1-9 from Amazon for $64.99!