Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Jot Ballpoint Pen Review

Among the good size selection of pens you'll find at Dollar Tree stores, the cheapest are the Jot Ballpoint Pens. The pens come in packs of 10 (at a $1 a pack, this breaks out to 10 cents a pen) with a choice of 2 different type of pen bodies (white and clear) and 3 choices of ink color (Black, Blue and, I think Red). All pens as far as I know have a .7 millimeter nib.

I bought 2 packs of the pens myself to test them and, I found they write well especially for such cheap pens. One down side to them is their stick pens meaning they don't retract and, you have to use a pen cap each pen comes with to keep the ink on the pen from drying out. I suspect the pens use a standard oil based ink which doesn't dry out for a long time though they will eventually.

Of the 2 pen bodies, I'd recommend the clear body pens as you can see how much ink the cartridge has left. With the white bodies, you'd have to pull the ink cartridge out of the pen to see how much there is.

Overall, these are decent cheap pens that write well enough. At 10 cents each, I don't think it's worth going through all the hassle of replacing the ink cartridge when you've used it up. Also, I'm not wiped out by the extremely basic ink color selection. However, for most business writing, I think you're supposed to use black or blue ink any way so, this shouldn't matter to most folks. As with many things at Dollar Tree stores, the selection of these pens may vary from store to store. If you want to get a specific pack of them, you might want to see about ordering them on their website.

That's all for this post. Happy writing all!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Review of Ollie's Discount Store Chain

Another store I visited today was the Jessup, Maryland Ollie's. Ollie's is a discount store chain that sells merchandise that they're able to get a discount and sell it cheap to its customers. They do offer some nice deals. Today for example, I was able to get a Chefman 300 watt hand blender for $20. According to Ollie's, this blender would normally sell for double that. Another plus with Ollie's is they have a loyalty program called Ollie's Army. Being a member can get you 10% off entire purchase coupons which can save you even more.

One down side to Ollie's is you never know what they're going to have. And, once what they have is gone, they many times don't get anymore nor are there any more in the back nor may they have a lot of choices in the item such as color or team. I asked the cashier if they had another turquoise Chefman blender in the back as the box was open on the one I found and, he told me they put on the floor all the stock they get. So, what you see is what they have and once it's gone, it's gone just as they say. So, it can be a mixed blessing as you may be able to get a good deal on something though it may not be the color you want or the team (this Ollie's has some staplers with various NFL team logos on them) and you better get it when they have it otherwise, you may not get that deal again.

Ollie's does put out an email flyer you can get which goes out regularly telling customers what particular specials they're having at that time.

Merchandise wise, the stores sell a wide range of goods. They have canned and dried food items, sports equipment, carpets, automotive stuff, cooking utensils, small appliances, books, stationery items, toiletry items like deodorant and shampoo, shoes and boots, DVDs, the gamut. Basically, they sell whatever items they can get at a discount because of close outs or other reasons and pass on the savings to their customers.

Overall, I've been pretty pleased with this chain though it can be frustrating in that you never know what they're going to have barring that what they will have will be cheaper than what you would normally find it for elsewhere. Also, selections can be few. Another example of that was some Progresso soups they had at this store. They have 4 different Progresso soups for just 99 cents a can - great price but very limited selection. If you're interested in shopping at this chain, I'd definitely recommend you check out their website and sign up for their email flyer as this will tip you off what's in their stores at that time. It'll enable you to snatch up some nice deals (I got another good deal on a Himalayan salt lamp) before they disappear. Happy shopping all!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Review of Entenmann's Thrift Outlet Store

A couple months ago, I discovered an Entenmann's Thrift Outlet store at 7351 Assateague Drive in Jessup, Maryland. The store features discounted items on a number of different name brands including Arnold, Thomas and Sara Lee. I've visited the store twice and been very pleased with it both times. The stores staff are helpful and, they offer great deals on various items example: 3 bags of Thomas everything bagels for $4 or 3 bags of Ball Park hot dog buns for $3. You can buy individual bags of items but, you won't save as much. They claim you can save 50% or more and, they may be right. I've seen single loaves of Arnold bread sell for over $3 alone at other stores.

The stores hours are Tuesday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. They're closed on Sundays and Mondays. They offer good parking. Also, they offer a military/police/fire 10% off discount on Tuesdays and a 10% Senior discount on Wednesdays.

My only complaint with them is that at times, they don't have that much stuff on the shelves.

Overall, I've been very pleased with them and feel I've gotten some really good bargains on name brand baked goods. If you're in the Jessup, Maryland area and want some really good priced baked goods, this store is worth checking out in my opinion. Happy shopping all!

Update: September 27, 2017. I visited this store today and to my surprise, they had signs up saying they don't sell out of date merchandise. Apparently, would be customers assume that since they're an outlet store that they're selling stuff that is old. They don't. I bought some Thomas Pumpkin Spice bagels at this store today and, their sell by date is October 3, 2017 (6 days away as of this post). The bagels are still fresh and perfectly good to eat. Folks who want a bargain on brand name bread goods like Thomas, Arnold, Holsum and Beefsteak (they make an excellent rye bread) to name some of the brands they sell should give this a place look if they're in the Jessup, Maryland area.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Review of Dollar City & More Store

Another dollar and above type store has opened in the place of what I believe was a store called Dollarman. I saw the signs a while back announcing it's grand opening and later got around to visiting the store to see what it's like.

The store reminds me of a Family Dollar store. I has stuff for a dollar and, it has stuff that costs more than dollar. As far as I could tell, if there isn't any price tag on it, it's a dollar otherwise there should be a price tag saying how much the item is. There is a chiller unit in the store offering cold drinks that don't have prices on them BUT, there is a price list for the drinks at the top of the unit (I bought an Arizona Orangeade out of it).

Appearance wise, the store is well kept up. I've seen Dollar Tree stores with stuff strewn all over the place. This store is neat and items were kept in good order by its staff.

The store's staff was courteous and, I believe they would've been helpful if I had any questions about items or their prices.

Brand wise, I did notice the store carries a lot of stuff from the Forelli brand which I've never heard of. I tried some of their honey and lemon flavored black tea and found it decent. For a $1, I got a box with 20 tea bags in it which I thought a good price.

Parking wise, there's plenty as it's part of the Laurel Plaza (next to Laurel Centre) complex in Laurel, Maryland. If you're using a Global Positioning System (GPS), it's address is 361 Montrose Avenue, Laurel, Maryland 20707.

Overall, I think it's a decent store. This was my second visit to it and, I found it nice. It did seem a little small compared to other dollar type stores I've visited but, the staff does try to offer a good selection of items in the space they have. I'd give it at least 1 thumbs up. If you're in the area and want to find some cheaply priced stuff, you may want to check it out.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Review of Maryland Lottery's Betty Boop Scratch Off Game

I've been meaning to write a review on this game for a while. I've played it a number of times myself. I find the game noteworthy because in my opinion, it's second chance prize is actually better than it's top prize. I'll explain.

Maryland Lottery's $2 Betty Boop scratch off game is one of the few games it offers that has a second chance drawing. In this case, they're having 4 separate drawings where the winner can win a 8 day/7 night stay in Belmont Towers (condominiums that can sleep 8) in Ocean City, Maryland. The winner also gets a $1,000 Visa gift card for spending money.

2 of the drawings have already been done with the next one happening on July 24th. The winner will get to stay at Belmont Towers from August 26th to September 2nd. The final drawing will be on August 21st with the winner staying at Belmont Towers from September 23rd to September 30th (the end of the season at Ocean City). Considering what it can cost to stay at Ocean City, in my opinion, this is a very nice second chance prize.

How would be players get entered in the drawings is by entering their losing tickets with Maryland Lottery Rewards. Every losing ticket gets 1 entry for 1 particular drawing (whichever one you get the ticket entered by). Entries don't carry over as far as I know.

Top prizes for the game are: $10,000 (4 remaining), $1,000 (9 remaining), $500 (93 remaining), $200 (214 remaining) and $100 (670 remaining) at the time of this post.

You get 2 winning numbers and, you get 10 chances to match those numbers. The game does have an instant win feature. If you discover a BB symbol, you automatically win double the prize shown.

Overall odds of winning are (to be filled in later by me as I forgot to write this down from one of my tickets, sorry about that).

I've found this game to be very easy and quick to play. As I've stated, I really like the second chance prize. I visited Ocean City once during the off season and found it nice though I'm really not a beach person and that is largely what Ocean City is about though they do have a very nice boardwalk. If you want a cheap and easy game to play with a really nice second chance prize, this might be the game for you. Good luck and please remember to gamble responsibly. Remember, the odds ultimately are in the Maryland Lottery's favor.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Review of National Harbor Cariloha Store

I'm a big fan of Cariloha. I think they make some neat stuff out of bamboo. Also, I have found their t-shirts softer and cooler than cotton t-shirts. Recently, I decided to visit their National Harbor store to get some more of their t-shirts. I'd visited the store a few years back though I couldn't remember exactly when. Because of that, I was somewhat familiar with the parking near the store.

If you're lucky, you can find a parking spot right on American Way Street which makes it really easy to visit the Cariloha store. They have parking meters by the spots and, they charge $3 an hour with a maximum of 2 hours at a time. If you can't find a spot on American Way, they do have multi-level garages where you can park your car though I don't know how much they charge.

The store is the usual Cariloha store. It isn't particularly big and is right next to and part of a Del Sol store. It has a decent selection of their stuff. T-shirts were selling for $34 each and their white crew socks were selling for $12 a pair. They had other items but, these were the ones I was interested in and actually bought.

I found the store staff helpful though there was only 1 lady running both shops at the time of the visit. I feel she could've used some help. Still, she did the best she could and, I was able to get the items I wanted. I lucked out in that I visited the day after July 4th and, they were still having their 25% off July 4th sale.

Store hours are Monday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. The store's address is 160 American Way. I have seen 2 different town locations for the store. One is National Harbor, Maryland and the other is Oxon Hill, Maryland. If you use a Global Positioning System (GPS), you may have to see which town your system will take.

Overall, I was very pleased with the store. I've since worn the t-shirts and socks and, they've performed fine. I do wish they had more t-shirts that said National Harbor on them (they only had 1 in my size). I may go back there some time in the future as I'd like to get one of their bathrobes. If you like Cariloha stuff and live in the Washington D.C. area, I think you'd like this store. Plus, as far as I know, it's the only one in Maryland. At one time, they had one in Annapolis but apparently that one closed. Happy shopping all!

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Review of Springfield, Virginia Trader Joe's Store

The church I go to is located in Springfield, Virginia. While down there, I've taken advantage of some of the stores they have in Springfield. One of them is their Trader Joe's store (store number 651) located at 6394 Springfield Plaza.

The store is open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. It has plenty of parking and really good staff. The thing I really like about it is it's outstanding deals on various wines and beers. I live in Maryland and due to the state's liquor laws, Trader Joe's stores in Maryland can't sell anything alcoholic. In Virginia, thankfully, that isn't the case.

One particular stellar buy they have at this store is Charles Shaw wines. The wines come in 750 milliliter (ml) bottles. Apparently, they've earned awards at a wine tasting in San Francisco, California. I've tried their Pinot Grigio and found it pretty good though I'm definitely not any kind of wine connoisseur. The thing I particularly like about these wines is the price. A 750 ml bottle at this Trader Joe's store will cost you just $3.29. This price is good as of this post on their Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and White Zinfandel (I bought a bottle of each and have a receipt to prove this price is valid at the time of this post). Give them a gold star for these deals.

Another plus about this store is their staff on how they keep the check out lines short. This store does get a fair amount of business but, I found the staff did an excellent job of keeping the check out lines short so, you don't spend a lot of time waiting to pay for the stuff you want to buy. I don't know about others but, when I go shopping, I want to get what I want to buy, pay for it and leave. I don't want to spend a lot of time waiting at check out. So, they get another gold star for this.

Overall, I'm very pleased with this store and plan to shop here again. I give it 2 thumbs up and definitely recommend it to others who are fans of Trader Joe's stores. If you're nearby, you might want to give this excellent store a look. Happy shopping all!