Sunday, November 21, 2010

Why I don't shop at Kroger much if at all

So they are saying I have to spend money before I can save money... ya I don't think so! I'll keep shopping at Publix, Bi-Lo and sometimes Food Lion. My pattern is I go where the sells are and if I don't get your coupons to make my total spent cheaper I don't go there. Publix is awesome as I get like 2-3 magazines in the mail and the baby/kids club stuff AND they take competitors coupons all without having to develop a pattern shopping there. The Bi-Lo doubles up to 60 cents here and Food Lion is just close to my house. Here is the response to why I don't get there mailers even though my co-worker does and some friends, all who don't go to Kroger on a regular bases but live closer to a Kroger then I do. Their logic is flawed and not helping their cause of us wanting to shop there.
Dear xx:

Thank you for contacting The Kroger Co. We apologize you have not received coupons/my magazines. Our mailings are based on a very complex amount of data that takes into consideration your frequency of shopping, total spend amount, spend by shopping trip, type of items that are purchased, departments that are shopped in the store and other factors. Your must establish and maintain a shopping pattern in our store, once a pattern has been established you will begin to receive coupons/my magazines in the mail.

If you have any additional concerns, or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact our customer service line at 1-800-xxx-xxxx and speak with a representative. Thanks again for contacting the Kroger Co.

Consumer Affairs

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Review: Emerson Karaoke Karaoke Player from CSN Store

We were definitely looking forward to having a karaoke player in the home. We've seen them in bars and at parties, and we knew our daughters would just love it and it would make a great family video of the kids singing. By those measures, this unit is definitely a success. The kids have a great time with the Emerson Karaoke Karaoke Player, and the sample CD that comes in the package contains some children's songs that they know (Jingle Bells, Itsy bitsy Spider, etc.), so we were able to begin enjoying it as a family right away.

Now, if you're expecting to get the same experience as you get in bars and at parties, remember that those machines usually cost many hundreds or even thousands of dollars. It seems like the Emerson Karaoke Karaoke Player should be simple enough, and I honestly think it should. Emerson always has given what I want in electronics. But you'll quickly see that the price point on this unit brings it well below the professional units in terms of quality. So let's get that information out of the way...

The sample CD includes vocals. It's a small thing, but it kind of gets in the way when you're trying to hear the singer. If you turn it too high then the singer has to shout to be heard (which sounds terrible), but if you turn it too low then you can't hear the music and the singer might as well be singing without it, which kind of defeats the purpose of the machine. The vocals coming through the microphone seem inordinately loud, as though there's a setting somewhere that's too sensitive. This makes for distorted/compressed sound, or "artificial loudness," which doesn't sound good. Maybe a higher-end microphone will help, I haven't had a chance to test that yet.

The remote has a lot of buttons that don't seem to do anything, and the ones that do aren't very intuitive. Combine that with a fairly unresponsive interface and it's fairly difficult to use the machine in a quick and easy way. There are no interesting graphics or displays of any kind, and the basic menu is pretty lacking. Any song (or file) name that's longer than a couple words doesn't fully display. This makes it very difficult to see an entire artist + song name combination on the screen. The lyrics don't stay in time with the actual song, though that may just be the sample CD. I tried to burn a MP3/G disc from downloaded files, but it doesn't seem to recognize the lyrics at all. The entire unit seems to be advertising MP3/G support, but there's little information about how to make that happen.

Now, there are good things about this unit. The comparatively low price point for karaoke players is a plus. There are lower-end units on the market, standard portable ones with their own speakers. But for something that plugs into a television and acts as part of the home entertainment center, this works reasonably well. It has a USB input, suggesting that it can pull songs off of a thumb drive as easily as a CD. That'll definitely be handy for anybody who has a large collection of music and doesn't want to maintain a library of discs for the karaoke player.

The entire unit is pretty small, much smaller than I thought it would be. It's considerably shorter and narrower than a standard entertainment center component device, and it doesn't run hot, so there are a lot of options of where to put it. For us it's even low-profile enough to sit directly under the TV (a flat-screen on a stand) without looking like some ugly media component. The unit also has dual microphone inputs. By default it comes with only one microphone, understandably. But a second microphone is easy to come by. This is especially handy when there are two small children arguing over whose turn it is!

All in all, I wouldn't say that I'm dissatisfied with this unit. It's not what I was expecting, so there was some disappointment. But for the price compared to professional units it at least gets the job done. Whether friends or family are over and using it, or whether the kids are playing with it themselves, it provides entertainment. We definitely enjoy having it as part of our entertainment center.

Friday, November 12, 2010

New giveaways entered as of 11/12/10

Ran into a twitter error so could not enter in all I had done...

Mommy? Im Hungry! Product Reviews and Giveaways
Progresso Healthier You prize pack 11/15
3 pairs SmartKnitKIDS Seamless Socks 11/15
2 hairfreƩ brushes 11/16
Foster Farms Great Bites -5 Winners! 11/17
MAGNAblade 11/18
Butter Bell Crock -3 winners! USA/Canada 11/18
Cystex Liquid Cranberry Complex w/Proantinox 11/19
Pedia-Lax Fiber Gummies 11/19
New! Certain Dri Solid Anti-Perspirant 11/19
Live Gluten Freely Prize Pack 11/23
Seventh Generation Optical Brightener Discovery kit 11/23
ROHTO Hyrda and Cooling Eye Drops 11/26
Progresso Lemon Pepper Panko & Chef Chiarello's Cookbook 11/26
Cooking Light Complete Meals in Minutes: Review and Giveaway for 2 Winners! 10/26

Minnesota Mama's Must Haves
Holiday Gift Guide: Melissa & Doug Easel from Gummy Lump! Review & Giveaway! 12/1
My Baby Clothes Boutique Review & Giveaway!! 11/24
Holiday: Pillow Pet of your choice! 11/24
Holiday: Expressionery Hamilton Stamp Set valued at $70! 11/24
Holiday: 2 Dozen Sqwishlanders 11/22
Holiday: $50 Gift Certificate for toys! 11/22
Holiday: Lunch Bags! & Scandiniavian Stitches Sewing Books 11/22
Holiday: Hearthsong Personalized Book Rack 11/22
Holiday: K'Nex Preschool Prize Pack w/3 Sesame Street Canisters & Big Building Tub! 11/22
Holiday: Little Tikes Neighborhood Market Value $100! 11/22
Holiday: Moxie Girlz Magic Snow Doll 11/17
Holiday: Knickernappies Baltic Amber Teething Necklace 11/15
Holiday: 2 Double Packs of Mix Pups 11/15
9 Month Supply Prenatal Vitamins, Food Processor & gDiapers Cloth Diapers Prize Pack! 11/15
Bella Materna Nursing Tunic or T-Shirt Nursing Bra! 11/15
Sprout Change Cloth Diaper 11/15

Simply Stacie
$50 Walmart Gift Card Giveaway 11/12
Holiday Gift Guide: Diary of a Wimpy Kid Cheese Touch Board Game Review & Giveaway 11/20
Holiday Gift Guide: Prima Princessa: The Nutcracker-DVD Review & Giveaway 11/21
Holiday Gift Guide: George Foreman Evolve Grill Review & Giveaway 11/23
Amazon & Chapters Gift Card Giveaway 11/25
Holiday Gift Guide: Chimp and Zee Shopping Cart Dash Review & Giveaway 11/26
Holiday Gift Guide: Magnablade Review & Giveaway 11/26

Born 2 impress
Scholastic -THE HALLOWEEN STORIES COLLECTION Review and Giveaway 11/13
Holiday Gift Guide - Pearl Paradise Review and Giveaway 11/17
Holiday Gift Guide - Breyer Horses Review and Giveaway 11/30
Holiday Gift Guide - Britax Marathon 70 Car Seat Review and Giveaway 12/15
Holiday Gift Guide - Giveaway 12/9

Mom Spotted
PartyLite Fall Prize Pack (up to $166) 11/15
Walmart Gift Card from Febreze 11/15
$50 Hallmark Gift Card 11/22
Personalized Gift from Things Remembered 11/22
Progresso Giveaway 11/29
Gift Card to Fantasy Jewelry Box 11/29
Personalized Holiday Ornament 11/29
Custom Holiday Stamp 11/29
Hal & Holly Moose Christmas DVD& Book 11/29
$500 B-Ready Stroller 11/29
Stunning Wine Bottle Chopping Block – Review & Giveaway! $130 Value! 11/29
Crocs Crocband Winter Boots – Review & Giveaway (FOUR Winners!!!) 11/29

Outnumbered 3 to 1
$50 Hayneedle GC 11/12
Hold on Scooby Doo Game 11/15
The Young Science Club Animal Tracks Game 11/17
Tonka Strong Arm Fire Truck and Garbage Truck {US & Canada} 10/18
Candy Land The World of Sweets Game 11/25
Deluxe Magic Set by Melissa & Doug 11/26

Baby Loving Mama
Midwest Dairy Association Healthy Morning Tips & Presto Griddle {Giveaway} 11/29

Leslie Loves Veggies
Wasa Thin & Crispy Flatbreads Prize Package – US 11/14
Integrity Outdoor Brands ~ PICO Arm Chair – US & Canada 11/16
WondaWedge inflatable back support pillow – US 11/16
Truly Organic Baking Mixes – US 11/17
Yum Yum Dishes – US & Canada 11/17
Balsam Hill 36 Colorado Mountain Spruce Wreath with Clear Lights – US & Canada 11/26
Green Ostrich ~ To-Go Ware Bamboo Utensil Set – World Wide 11/26
Ultra Concentrated Dawn Dishwashing Liquid – US 11/27
George Foreman Smart Kitchen Multicooker – US 11/28
SKINEEZ Skincarewear Camisole with Adjustable Straps & Shelf Bra – US & Canada 11/30
Smart & Sexy $50 Lingerie Prize Package – US 11/24
Green Earth, Green Home ~ Salt Lamp – US 11/23
CSN Stores ~ $50 Gift Code – US 11/23
Hershey’s Drops – 30 Winners! – US 11/22
Spice Rack Chocolate Collection – US 11/21
Fiesta Large Chocolate Disc Pitcher – US 11/20
The Cravory ~ Mixed Dozen Chef’s Favorite’s Cookies – US & Canada 11/18
Fire & Flavor Turkey Perfect Brine Kit – US 11/18

Thanks, Mail Carrier
My Pillow Pets {Review & Giveaway} Nothing compares to the real thing 11/12
The Energizer Qi Inductive Charger {$25 Gift Card Giveaway} 11/12
1-800-FLOWERS.COM {Review & Giveaway} The Deliver Birthday Smiles Campaign 11/19
PUR One-Click Faucet Mount {Review & Giveaway} 11/19
Hasbro Halloween {Review & Giveaway - 5 winners!} 11/19
Reeves International Toys {Review & Toy of Choice Giveaway} 11/19
ThinkGeek {Gadget and Doodad Review & $100 Gift Certificate Giveaway} 11/19
Checking Our List #11: Alphabet Photography {Review & Giveaway} 11/23
Checking Our List #6: CitiBlocs Wooden Building Set {Review & Giveaway} 11/26
Checking Our List #5: Xtrema Ceramic Cookware 3-Piece 10" Skillet Set {Review & Giveaway} 11/26
Checking Our List #4: KidKraft Baking Set {Review & Giveaway} 11/26
Checking Our List #2: HearthSong {The Learning Tower Review & $50 Gift Certificate Giveaway} 11/26
Checking Our List #1: Little Tikes Neighborhood Market {Review & Giveaway} 11/26
Old El Paso Family Taco Night {Review & Giveaway} 11/26
Wild Creations {Tandem Space Hopper Review & Choice of Product Giveaway} 11/26
ErgoMotion Laser Mouse {Review & Giveaway} 11/26
Checking Our List #9: Melissa & Doug from Gummy Lump {Review & Giveaway} 12/3
Checking Our List #8: Epson PictureMate Show Digital Frame/Compact Photo Printer {Review & Giveaway} 12/3

Burkett Blessings
Super Sipperz Review and GIVEAWAY - FUN STOCKING STUFFER!!! 11/14
Ms. Lady Bug Pillow Pet 11/21

Piece of ME
Floral by Milano Bedset from 11/19
Item of your choice from Smitten NYC 11/22
Get More Bang For Your Buck with Ultra Dawn (Review & Giveaway) 11/26
MirrorMate: Custom Frames - For Your Mirror! (Review + Giveaway) 11/27

Chimp and Zee Shopping Cart Dash Game 11/16
Spin N' Store Play-Doh Playset 11/18
Diary of a Wimpy Kid Cheese Touch Game 11/20
Disney Rummikub 11/23
Caspar Babypants "This is Fun" CD 11/26
Music Week Giveaway: DidiPop Goes to Hawaii 11/27

One 2 Try
Progresso Lemon Panko plus Cookbook 11/14
650 Best Food Processor Recipes Cookbook 11/15
Kitchen Table Bakers - Parmesan Cheese Crisps 11/20

The Experimental Mommy
First Impressions Fall Line: Review and Giveaway 11/29
Dominos Aubidle Tracker: $20 Gift Card Giveaway 11/29
Stay warm this winter with Zippo: Review and Giveaway 11/19
Constructive Playthings Today’s Girl Doll and Kitchen: Review and Giveaway 11/24

Silikids Giveaway!! 12/15

Deal Wise Mommy
Tanga-iPod Touch 8G Giveaway 11/12
Barney Learning Pack 6 DVD Set Giveaway 11/14
KD Novelties Giveaway 11/15
Gameday Rugs Giveaway 11/15
Esso Watches Giveaway 11/17
DS Game-The Story of Noah's Ark Giveaway 11/18
Mini Bargainz Review & Giveaway 11/18

Energizer Bunny's Mommy Reports
Bob & Larry sing the 80's -Veggie Tales CD 11/13
H-E-B gift pack 11/13
It's A Meaningful Life DVD 11/13
Nimli Azuri Pashmina Shawl -2 winners 11/13
Angelina Ballerina- Nutcracker Sweet DVD 11/13
Gummy Lump Toy of Choice 11/20
VTech Toy's Winnie The Pooh Explore 'n' Learn Table 11/20
Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls gift pack 11/20
Hasbro Family Night Fun Games 11/20
LeapFrog Digital Camera 11/27