365 Things to Look Forward to–Number 40: Mail Order!


40. Mail Order

Have you ever ordered anything by mail order? (And no, this doesn’t include brides, so those of you who’re hoping, dash it!)

I groan in dread every time I get an envelope in the mail from my mail order companies. Yes, more than one.

I belong to a book club that has given me some truly delightful collectible editions, but that has books that cost an arm and a leg! But they do have at least one spectacular clearance sale each year, when I can order books at ridiculously low prices. The shipping from England sort of brings the price back up, but over all, it is usually a satisfying and worthwhile experience.

I receive mail order catalogues and fliers from a couple of companies that specializes in mail order, and you can get all sorts of big and little things for anywhere as low as a couple of dollars to big ticket items that might cost nearly two hundred dollars. Some of the items are just amusing. Others are curios. Still others are curiosities. And the majority of them are items you might think of getting or trying out but wouldn’t really get. Then there are the items that you will really find handy or items that you might really want. Because of these, I do a lot of household shopping for non-perishable items that are not readily available in the grocery or department stores through mail order. Because one of the companies requires cheques to be sent before the items are sent, I don’t usually get from them, although once in a while, they have an item that’s too good to pass. Now, the other company actually gives customers the option to pay COD or in 4 or 5 equal installments. That is what makes it worthwhile. Even if you pay a little more for shipping, which raises the prices, you don’t need to get out of your house or even up from your couch to shop. Well, you do need to get up to mail in your order. The bonus is that they also offer all sorts of prizes and free gifts and bargain items and a lottery. Mind you, the big lottery is legitimate, as researched by various independent research companies, but as in any other lottery, you have a one-in-a-million chance of winning! But that’s not the point.

I said I groan in dread when the catalogues or fliers arrive. That’s because I know there might be something there I just can’t resist, or something I think I could really use, or something I really want, or something that might come in handy in the future, or something that’s too good to be true. That’s when I know I’ll be spending some money on something I wasn’t planning to get at all, no matter how useful. Which means I’ll be out some cash that I shouldn’t have spent in the first place. Which means I’ll be beating myself for spending money in the first place!


But when the package(s) arrive, it’s like Christmas! I don’t always remember everything I order…I’m not obsessive-compulsive enough to make a list of every single thing I order, in the first place, so when packages arrive, it’s a surprise! Well, not totally, because I knew packages would be arriving. But surprised, nevertheless, because I didn’t know exactly when they would be arriving. Plus, there’s the excitement of finding out what’s inside. And the excitement of seeing if what you get is exactly what it looks like in the pictures. Plus, the excitement of trying out something new and adding it to my growing pile of kitchen gadgets and tools, or household implements and other things.

Then the realization of a bill in your hand just hits you. Sure, it’s a small bill, so it’s like a pebble bouncing off your head. But sometimes, you’ve got two or three at the same time, so it’s a small handful of pebbles bouncing off your head, and if those pebbles are the size of dimes, a handful of them can be a bit annoying and even a bit hurtful, if they hit hard enough!


At least it isn’t TV shopping where I’d need to use a credit card that could just get maxed out before you know it! Thank goodness I don’t have a credit card!


365 Things to Look Forward to–Number 31: New Gadgets!


31. New Gadgets

I suppose this would evoke the image of Inspector Gadget for some people, but no, I do not go around with all my gadgets in my pocket or on my person, or in my purse. That would be utterly ridiculous. But I do love new gadgets. Who doesn’t? Oh, wait. Yes. My mom doesn’t. Can’t forget that.

But my dad, oh, did he love new gadgets! I must have picked some of that up from him. He would often come home with some little new-fangled gadget to use in the kitchen or put in his toolbox, or somewhere around the house, and after trying it a couple of times, it would disappear. Well, I suppose it was my mom who would make them disappear. She would mutter about the useless expense and the waste of money and how it would just clutter up her kitchen and so on and so forth. That never seemed to dampen my dad’s interest or enthusiasm, however, and he’d keep on coming home with little things, albeit less frequently. When cable television finally caught in the Philippines and home shopping was on nearly every channel, I discovered that he and my sister were back into trying out new things, ordering little gadgets or novel products from TV offers.

I always enjoyed looking through home stores and hardwares, because there were so many intriguing and amazing gadgets for sale. I can still spend hours and hours going through those stores just looking at everything there is to see. If I had some “spare” cash on me, I’d inevitable be walking up to the check-out counters with a little new something in hand. They really didn’t necessarily have to be a gadget that you could manipulate, although those are the most exciting to get. Sometimes they would be a china mug with a design that I just couldn’t leave on the shelf. I just had to have it for my mug collection. Or it might be an ice cube tray that didn’t make cubes and had some unique shape. I had a couple of ice cube trays that made little balls. I just loved them. Then I had a pair that made tubes. I also got a couple that made the tiniest little round-bottomed half capsules. And a couple that made the cutest tiniest little cubes! I just can’t have normal ice cubes from the standard trays. I have to have cute little fancy ice cubes! Not that they make different ice. Just differently shaped. They never cease to amuse me.

Before I left the Philippines, when I was earning enough to have a bit left over for just about anything, I fell for the home TV shopping. To my credit, I’ll have to say that I only got things that I could really use around the house. Twist mop? I had it. And it was one of the best mops I’ve ever had! I’m sure I had a few other purchases, but I really can’t seem to recall what they were. I guess that proves I never really did a whole lot of the home tV shopping. But I did love to watch the infomercials.

Here in Canada, I don’t get to do the home TV shopping bit for a couple of reasons. No credit card. No money. Sure, there might be a couple of things I’d like to get, but I’ve found that you can actually get them by mail order or in some big stores in town. My big folly now is mail order shopping, which wasn’t a big thing in the Philippines. I actually get a lot of things by mail order, most of which I do use around the house. It’s just so handy to be able to pay in installments, not have to walk around looking for what you want in a dozen stores, and have everything delivered to your front door! I’ve equipped my kitchen with cutters, knives, sharpeners, a mixer, and all sorts of other little appliances and tools to use. I have a really handy screwdriver that twists on its own. Most recently, I just received a brand new craft cutter. My very first craft cutter disappeared from my office in the Philippines, while we were cutting tickets for a show. My second craft cutter, which I purchased just before leaving the Philippines, needs a new cutting pad and has some broken fasteners as well, so that the strip that holds the rotary blade doesn’t stay in place. So I ordered a new craft cutter. It’s still in the plastic wrap in came in, but this one has 6 different blades, an extendable ruler, and a back light! It’s just fantawesome! I can’t wait to use it. But I probably won’t until I finish the oil painting I’m currently working on. That’s because if I start using it, I just know I’ll get engrossed in paper and cutting projects that I’ll be setting aside my paints for a bit. And that won’t do. I have a deadline to meet.

How long will I be able to keep myself from opening the plastic wrap and trying out that new cutter? I don’t know. But it probably won’t be too long.