Friday, December 16, 2005


Saavy shopper or cheapskate?

This is the story of one woman's obsessive quest to save a few pennies at Christmas.

A couple of weeks ago, Simon started showing a lot of interest in Tristan's Leap Pad (the one for the 4 - 8 year old age range), but we don't like to leave him alone to play with it, partly because he hasn't quite mastered the dexterity to manouever the pen, and partly because he still shows an alarming tendency to tear paper when you least expect it.

Long story short (too late!) we decided to get him his own My First Leap Pad (the one for 3 - 5 year olds) for Christmas.

On Wednesday night, we were in WalMart and they had them for $37.50, which seemed like a pretty good price, but they only had them in pink. Now, I'm not overly into the whole gender specificism by colour thing, but Beloved pointed out that Tristan's is blue, which will matter much more in the long run, so we held off on buying the Leap Pad itself.

We did buy a Wiggles book and cartridge for the Leap Pad for $17. Did I mention Simon is completely obsessed with the Wiggles now? We have two Wiggles colouring books from the dollar store that we've had to replace three times so far, they've been so dog-eared from being carried around and paged through and drooled on and loved.

The next day, we were at Loblaws, and they had *blue* My First Leap Pads for $40. Close enough, I said to myself, and bought one.

Saturday, we were at Toys R Us (yes, two Saturdays before Christmas and I brought Tristan to Toys R Us. One word - mayhem.) and I was delighted to see My First Leap Pad on sale for $34.50, and book sets on sale for $12.97, so I bought a Thomas the Tank Engine book set and another My First Leap Pad, with the intention of returning the one I bought at the grocery store. I also bought Tristan a Madagascar book/cartridge package for his Leap Pad, valiantly trying to hide everything from Tristan during the 20 minute checkout line up.

I got to the car and realized I had been charged full price for the Thomas book, so pulled Tristan out of his car seat and braved the customer service desk (on a Saturday, two weeks before Christmas!) to get the correction made. Turns out the My First Leap Pad book sets are the only Leap Pad stuff not on sale. Grrr. Decide to keep it anyway, trudge back to the car and go home.

On Tuesday, I was in Zellers (can you tell I'm a last-minute shopper) and they had their entire line of Leap Pad products on for 50% off. So I bought yet *another* My First Leap Pad, for $20, with the intention of returning the first one to Loblaws and the second one to Toys R Us.

Today in the flyers, I noticed that Toys R Us is advertising the books and cartridges for My First Leap Pad at 50% off starting tomorrow, so when I bring back My First Leap Pad #2, I can also get a correction for the Thomas the Tank Engine books we bought on Saturday full price.

Still with me?

A recap: After buying three My First Leap Pads for $40, $34.50 and $20, plus the Wiggles book for $17 and the Thomas book for $20, soon to be reduced for $10, the total gift cost went from $77 to $47.

As long as I haven't lost any of my receipts (odds are 2:3 in favour), and if you don't count the opportunity cost of six hours of driving all over hells half acre in the festive (insanity) season, I think I come out ahead.

What has been the gift that has caused you the most grief this year? Or, are you doing your shopping next Saturday in Shoppers Drug Mart??