Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Consumer Conundrum

Being a consumer these days isn't easy. Trying to be a conscientious consumer is even harder. On the brain, and the wallet.

There have been so many recalls on toys lately that I have become rather paranoid about bringing anything new that is "made in China" into our house. Fortunately the hilarious Chris over at Notes from the Trenches posted this website called Not Made in China. It has given me a number of ideas of fun, educational toys that aren't from China that won't break the bank. Of course, I did start some of my Christmas shopping months ago. In June. And both of the big presents for the kids that I already purchased? You guessed it. Made in China. Ugh.

Don't you just love the spending holiday season?

For those who are having trouble keeping up with all of the recalls, and what to do with your many lead-painted toys, my friend Carol sent me a link to a place called Not in My Cart, that keeps track of all of those pesky recalls in one place.

In other consumer-related news, I had to get gas this morning. Desperately. I was on 0 miles-to-go when I pulled into the gas station. I paid $2.93 per gallon, and couldn't believe it, as I'd paid $2.79 less than a week ago at the same station. Over $57 to fill up. Holy moly (as Claire would say)! Then I started paying attention to the rest of the gas stations that I passed as I ran errands. Three at $3.09, one at $3.07, one at $3.11, one at $3.14, two at $3.01, and one at $3.19 (yes, I wrote them all down so I wouldn't forget). I can't figure out why there is such a huge disparity in prices. The place I get gas now I typically get 10 cents off per gallon using my grocery store customer card. Anytime I spend more than $50 at the store in a single visit, I earn 10 cents off at the pump. Based on the other prices I saw, I guess I got a deal.

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