Sunday, November 1, 2009

Stuff That Works...and Stuff That Doesn't Work

I have a little game I play. As things happen in life, I divide them into two categories: That Works and That Doesn't Work. Stick with me here, and you'll see it's really pretty fascinating.

A wise man once said, if you keep doing just what you're doing, you'll only get more of the same.

And yet...day after day, we move through life and see things that clearly DO NOT work being repeated over and over. Sometimes by us. Sometimes by big corporations.

Here are a few examples:

+ 1. Zappos.com I love them. Kiss, kiss, smooch, smooch to you, geniuses! I can go online, find shoes in colors and styles I want, see how many they have in stock, and order them in less time that I could hop in the car and drive to the mall. This week I ordered a pair of Munro shoes at 2 p.m. one day and had them before 3 p.m. the next, and I didn't pay for shipping. (By the way, Munro shoes are the most comfortable things I own with any heels at all. They have a smart last, which means they know how to center your balance for comfort. They also use a rubber on the sole so your foot doesn't strike the ground so hard. Love these!)

- 2. The map at the airport in Indianapolis. Even though this is the newest airport to be built after 9/11, and even though they obviously thought through a lot of security issues, they missed the boat with their site maps. They don't say, "You are HERE." Hey, if I don't know where I am on a map, what good does it do me? Hello! I'm already LOST.

+ 3. My Jiffy steamer. I rarely iron because I have this commercial grade steamer unit in my closet. I can't tell you how fast it heats up, or how well it works, but trust me--I can't imagine life without it. Without a doubt, it's one of the BEST investments we ever made. We've had it for years. The money we save in dry cleaning wrinkled clothes alone has paid for this.

- 4. Hairstylists who change the color of your hair. I mean, how simple is it to show you what THEY mean by darker rather than to simply color your hair and then have an unhappy customer? Hello! Color is so incredibly subjective. Why not show the customer a swatch and then proceed? Grr. While I'm at it, most salons don't work at all. There's a lack of understanding that they are there to provide a very, very personal service--and not just prance around and chat with each other. (Don't ask me why I'm including this today. Grrr.)

+ 5. My combination strainer and berry dish with the lid. Simple, but oh, so useful. I put grapes or berries or whatever into the strainer portion. I run water over the fruit. I let it drain. I put the strainer inside the dish (fits perfectly) and snap on the lid. Voila, fresh and clean fruit that stays cold in the frig.

- 6. My Brita water filter pitcher. I love the taste of the water, but the stupid well isn't the same size as the tank. I have to fill the well, let it sit and drain into the tank, then try to judge how much more water to put in the well so it doesn't overflow. ARGH. I always wind up spilling the water on the floor.

+ 7. Paper towels that are half the size of a regular towel. So often you only need a bit of paper to mop up. Not a whole sheet. Whoever thought of this was brilliant!

- and + 8. The prescription bottles at Target. While I hated the weird wedgie shapes, the name of the medicine was printed clearly in readable bold type. I could easily grab what I needed. After we moved here, I switched to CVS because they had an all-night pharmacy. Once the nearby Walgreens opens, I'm outta there. CVS is always crowded, their pharmacists don't speak English clearly, and the printer only partially worked when they printed my labels. It's nearly impossible to read the drug name. Inconvenient and DANGEROUS. Almost done with that.

- 9. Solicitations through the mail to come to investment seminars. I mean, really, are they nuts? They expect us to show up for a lousy meal? Do they really think that most people with money and sense will fall for that? Do they think that's how we choose a broker or investment counselor? Get outta town!

+ 10. Boots Face Serum. I think it's their No. 7 brand, and you buy it at Target. Inexpensive and glorious. (Of course, I absolutely love Boots. It's probably one of the things I miss most about the UK. Now that Target carries this line, it's almost heaven.)

- 11. Styrofoam take out containers. Have they heard about landfill? Hello! David and I now choose where we order out in part on their Styrofoam containers. I hate these, and they usually pop open and spill your food anyway.

+ 12. Whole Foods Braised Red Cabbage. You can always use more cabbage in your diet, and this stuff is sooooo good I actually crave it. Spicy, sweet, crunchy and healthy. They use cabbage, red wine, red wine vinegar (also healthy), cinnamon, and a touch of white pepper.

- 13. Cetaphil by Galderma. The only way to wash your face. Ph-balanced, inexpensive, and great for your skin. Removes makeup. (Just dip a Q-tip into some and wipe away any mistakes.) You can use it with or without water. Oh, and I use baby shampoo on my eyes to take off eye makeup. Not only does it do a super job of getting off almost all the eye makeup, it also helps keep you from getting eye infections because it cleans the eye area carefully and thoroughly.

Okay, I'll stop for now. Do you have a list like this?

10 comments:

Camille Minichino said...

Fun and useful, Joanna! And,
Oh, do I have a list! Everything from computer paper brands that curl in the printer to kitchen tools that require a bigger tool to operate.

I'm in the process of trying to decide which crafts tool I need as I start making cards. Some are more like computers and not cheap, so I need to do some research other than an Infomercial.

BTW, I also love Munros! And Keene's for sandals.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Camille, I can help you with that...some. I love punches and EK Success has a new line called "Paper Shapers Family." These are simple to store. You need a 1/4" hole punch, a 1/2" circle punch (or there abouts), and a 1" circle punch. I have a lovely big scalloped circle punch. As for computer-like tools, I own a Cricut, and they are great. However, I also love my Sizzix because I don't need to plug it in.

My best advice? Borrow these tools from your local craft store for a while at a crop. You'll see what you really like, and what you don't really need.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Also, I love flower punches in every size. I layer them!

Julie said...

Oh, yes! For me, alergic to an ingredient that is in nearly all cosmetics and skin-care, my go-to's are Noxzema and Vaseline. Vaseline will even take off waterproof mascara, and Noxzema soothes, moisturizes and reduces redness. And they're cheap! For needlework, Addi knitting needles. They're a little more than the really cheap ones, but so worth it! And clumping cat litter. And pomegranates.

Betty Hechtman said...

A useful post! My list, hmmm, Viva paper towels. They're the only kind I'll buy. I follow the sales and load up. I got talking to a guy at Target who felt the same about Vivas and was loading up, too. It's always nice to know you're not alone in your eccentricity.

Okay, I keep seeing the Cricut in the Michael's ad. What does it do?

Camille Minichino said...

I've been toying with getting a Cricut. The lowest price I've seen is $259, plus the cartridges, which seemed pricey.

Good idea to see if my crafts store will let me have an hour or so on it.

Also, I've scheduled a card-making class at my house, to be given by a Woman of Tools, so to speak, and I'm hoping to learn more what would suit my needs.

Lorrie said...

I totally agree about Boots face products! Their micro-dermabrasion scrub is FABULOUS and so much cheaper than any other brand. Run to Target this week... all Boots stuff is 15% off!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Wow, new and useful info. You know some things are really worth the extra money...like the knitting needles. You think you're saving with cheap stuff, but you wind up paying more.

As for Cricut, it's an electronic die cut machine. You load a cartridge or now I think you can go to the 'net for designs. You can change up the sizes, and load in paper, push a button, and it cuts stuff for you. Camille, AC Moore here had cartridges for $29. Yep, amazing. I'll see if I can get my Cricut wizard pal to do a post sometime for us.

And,Lorrie, thanks for the micro-derm idea. I did just go and buy more Beauty Serum.

Jamie Freveletti said...

Love this post! I never thought of baby shampoo as eye makeup remover, but makes perfect sense--and guess I'm headed out to get boots now.

Cryptoman said...

Tips from a long-time Brita user.

The reservoir contains about 1/3 the capacity of the tank. When the tank is down that much, fill the reservoir and walk away.

Keep the unit out of the sun. Algae that may be in the tap water will grow and produce a green scum on the bottom and sides of the tank. I thought that the filters were bad, but the Brita customer service messaged me about this problem.