Monday, January 30, 2012

Glaceau Vitamin Schtick

Here we have a lip balm scented to match the actual tastes of Vitamin Water! They really resemble each other, as far as my keen sense of smell is telling me. These were introduced about 3 years ago to the public (before that time they weren't available for purchase, just to people who contacted customer service and happened to receive them like I did in 2008). Anyway, I'm beginning to think that they've stopped production of these since I don't see them in the stores I used to find them at (i.e. Walgreens, Shoprite). Last week, the only decent online stores to carry them were and Amazon. I chose to purchase at since I was able to make use of my ShopRunner privileges and receive these in 2 days, without paying for shipping.

  • They smell delicious.
  • The texture is a creamy, non-opaque stick that glides on smoothly like Vaseline.
  • You never get chapped lips if you apply it in the morning and at night.
  • They have a hidden use (explained below).
  • Last a long time.
  • Hard to find.
  • They come sold in packs of 3 that don't necessarily include the flavors you want.
  • Not very cheap ($6.99 for a 3-pack) as opposed to other brands of scented lip balm.
So what's the hidden use? This may shock you, but I have tested this and it worked. Behold, the Vitamin Schtick can be used as HAND SALVE! Yes! Here's what happened: Last week I was at work and needed a chapped skin remedy immediately as my hands were all cracked (I don't know how it happened overnight). All I had with me was some of this stuff. Since I had about 1 use-worth left in the tube, I figured I'll try that on my hands. It glided on perfectly and best of all, my fingertips stayed clean (you know how greasy your fingertips get after applying a salve?). I used it like I'd use a glue stick. My skin felt so moisturized and rejuvenated afterwards, and pleasantly scented (not strong like other hand products). I just suggest you use a separate one for hands and lips :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Shipping Reviews

I'd like to talk about the shipping quality of different online stores. It might actually change your mind about where you shop!
  • Amazon: there are different shipping speeds, availability depending on whether you have Prime or not. Student Prime is easy to get if you have a .edu address (once the year is up and your Student Prime term is up, start a new Amazon account and use your .edu address once again!). Free trials are often available as well. Amazon has free 2-day shipping with Prime purchases and free 3-5 day shipping if your standard un-Prime order is at least $25. 2-day shipping comes with UPS, 3-5 day shipping with USPS (and sometimes UPS). Tracking numbers are always sent to you upon shipment. 
  • Free 2-day shipping on everything but some items will ship overnight (new styles, and other shoes). It will show up on your Review Order page.
  •,, etc.: Free shipping on orders of at least $50. If your order is less than that, you can easily bump it up by adding an expensive item and then returning the unnecessary stuff to the store. Shipping can take a few days.
  • (American Eagle): Free 2-day shipping with ShopRunner. They very often have free shipping events that last a few days or more, so it's best to wait a bit. Otherwise, orders of $100 or more ship free. You can do the same thing as you would with Old Navy or GAP but there's more to lay out in this case. There's also free returns via ShopRunner, or you can return it whenever you want at a store.
  • (Tommy Hilfiger): Shipping is free for orders over $150 and they hardly ever have free shipping deals. I usually wait for a really amazing discount and then the $7.50 shipping cost is justified. They package items very nicely and shipping is quick.
  • they always have free shipping codes. I've made at least 30 orders there in my lifetime and never once paid for shipping. Returns can be easily done at a Sears whenever you want. The free shipping, however, can take over a week to arrive.
  • Everything ships free but it can take about a week for your stuff to arrive. The packaging isn't spectacular so sometimes the shoe box itself may come dented (not everyone minds).

Monday, January 9, 2012

Crayola's Customer Service

I've had many interactions with the customer service folks at Crayola, and each of them was very pleasant. Crayola really stands by their products and will refund you one hundred percent if anything goes wrong. I've had the tips of jumbo crayons snap off when falling from the table, markers that dried out while capped, and black markers that weren't truly black. Each time I called to voice my concern, Crayola was glad to send me reimbursement coupons so I can buy a new product in the store. And they were so happy to help. They wouldn't just send me a coupon in an envelope like any other company would do, but instead they sent me a colorful card with an apology and wish for "a colorful future"!

I decided payback was due so here's what I did. I recently found a slick deal for the Crayola Glow Station, which is a very unique and highly fun toy. The list price is $39.99 but I paid about $7 for it on Amazon once (as of today it's $14.99 there). Anyway, we pulled it out for the kids to play last night. By the way, the toy is exceptionally enjoyable for all ages over 4. I decided to make a video describing the various things you can do with the product, and here it is:

I figured I'll send this as an appreciation email to Crayola. I did, and later today I received a reply from them that read:

Thank you for sharing your video with us!  I am happy to learn that you enjoy using the Crayola(R) Glow Station On the Go.  Our company receives hundreds of letters and e-mails each week.  Most are inquiries for product information.  Few people take the time to write and share their thoughts and experiences with us.We appreciate your contact and are sending several complimentary cents-off Crayola product coupons.  You can expect to receive the mailing within 12 business days...

UPDATE: You've go to hear just how cool Crayola is! They did not send me "cents-off" coupons, oh no! They sent me a $10 off and $20 off coupon that I can use on any Crayola product!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Powerstep Orthotics

Not every story I have ends happily and lucratively. Here's one example of a complaint that met a dead end. Last winter I bought Powerstep orthotics (shoe inserts) for my EMU boots because, as I said in my EMU review, they have zero arch support. These blue orthotics (I bought the Pinnacle model) feel really comfortable and padded. Underneath the foamy padding is a strong metal arch that supports the foot nicely. I was quite happy with them until one day I noticed the top material lining was beginning to peel. After about two weeks, the inserts were totally peeled up for about a half inch. I just cut off the loose flappy piece of material and tried to ignore the annoying feeling. Then the boot season ended.

I pulled them out again for this season's EMUs and re-noticed the peeling orthotics. I sent the company an email telling them what happened and upon learning that I got them last year, the woman was totally unwilling to help me. She claimed that while they do guarantee their products, complaining about it a year later isn't going to cut it. Maybe she's right.

Now I know that when I'm not happy with a product, don't wait until the next season to deal with it. Email or call as soon as you notice a problem.