Tuesday, December 18, 2012
"Dearel's Excellent 2012 Consumer Product Discoveries"
On my other blog I once wrote of consumer products and services that I have found to be "Excellent". This year has proved to be no different. It is so refreshing to find excellence in a world that seems so readily willing to accept mediocrity. So, here's the products and services I've found to worthy of note during the last year.
1) Reynold's Slow Cooker Liners: These slow cooker liners are simply wonderful! I've found myself choosing not to use my heavy old stoneware slow cooker because of the hefty difficulty of cleaning it afterwards. When I did use it I was almost forced to let it soak in dish soap overnight in order to assure I could get all the hard coated food residue off of it. Then, one morning I found a coupon in the paper which offered a dollar off a box of slow cooker liners by Reynolds. The next time I was at the store I had them on my list and tried them out. They're great! You just put one of these liners into your slow cooker, put in your ingredients and close the lid! When you're finished you spoon out the beans or stew or whatever you're cooking, discard the liner, and put you're sparkling clean slow cooker back in the cabinet! With coupon the box cost me .59 cents and it is well worth it!
2) Again, with Reynolds! Reynolds Nonstick Aluminum Foil. Works great! Makes me wonder why they even continue making the old kind! I bake cookies, biscuits, fish, meatloaf and a roast and never have to spray a pan; I just place the food in a Reynolds non stick aluminum lined pan and never have food sticking to the bottom of the pan. Magic!
3) Stouffer's Frozen Foods. Stouffers has always offered high quality frozen food but, recently I noticed they have revamped their frozen dinner offerings and reconstituted some of their recipes. And Stouffers delivers! Their meatloaf dinners taste like homemade, the gravy is not that gummy stuff offered in other frozen dinners they give you enough to actually fill you up! My daughter and son-in-law swear by Stouffers lasagna; it's on their dinner menu often as they both work long days. But my new all time Stouffers favorite is the Turkey Breast Medallions with Stuffing and Mashed Potatoes. The turkey is high grade Turkey breast (not reconstituted pap like other frozen meals), the stuffing tastes as good as what I've eaten during family holiday meals and the turkey gravy adds a tasty touch! In fact, being alone this Christmas, I've already got my Stouffers Turkey Medallion dinner in the freezer for my Christmas dinner!
4) Pippin Deep Dish Apple Pie ( $3.98 per pie and Available only in Walmart) These pies are wonderful; not too sweet, pleasantly tart, and the crust is light and flaky but still holds up to a pie packed full of pippin apples that the makers swear are picked fresh, sliced and immediately baked into these fantastic pies!
5) Zappo's: I just discovered this online retailer of shoes and clothes. My "laze around"..and even my casual "go out" pants are Nike Dri-Fit Woven Running Pants. They are loose, warm and comfortable. I've been wearing these pants for fifteen years and a pair usually lasts ten years of wash and wearing. However, lately I've been having a problem finding the exact type of Nike pants I wear. Some of the Nike pants lines are too thin or too thick and bulky to my liking. Last week I ran the gauntlet of retail stores most likely to carry these pants. Couldn't find them. Then I googled them on line and found Zappo's. And found my pants! And A pleasant surprise! Zappo's was selling my favorite pants for 30% less than anywhere else on the internet, with no sales tax and free one day shipping!
6) Apple: After going through 8 or ten Microsoft Windows-clogged PC's, after suffering blue screens and "fatal errors" and long boot up times, and silly program failures I finally decided to tell Bill Gates to go to hell. I paid twice the price of a cheap PC and bought an IMAC. It has now been 13 months since I became an IMAC owner and my computer woes are at last behind me. My MAC has wonderful features like "going to sleep" and not having to be turned off and booted up...just a few taps on my keyboard and my MAC is ready for action. I do my word processing with a $20 dollar Apple program called "Pages" that will convert my work to Word if I need to talk to the "heathens", I no longer have an ugly CPU box to worry about...just a simple, light, beautifully designed monitory/processor with wireless keyboard and mouse that always works flawlessly. And Apple is often accused of "snooty pricing" but Apple always gives me ten percent off anything I buy from them just by showing my retired military ID card.
7) Amazon: Amazon is always my first stop when I'm looking to buy something. Chances are they'll beat anyone else's price and their customer service continues to be the best in retail. I rely on Amazon to keep my Amazon Kindle supplied with my book favorites and free books. Since Amazon is now folding like a cheap paper plates to more and more states who wish to collect sales tax, the jury is out as to whether Amazon remains the low price leader. We shall see. But for now I'm always amazed at the breadth of Amazon's product offerings and their ability to steadily please tens of millions of the world's customer base.
8) Fry's Food Store (Kroger Grocery Chain). My local Fry's Food Store remains my favorite place to shop. They have the best customer service I've ever seen in a food store, they offer ten percent off to seniors over 55 on their monthly senior day, they consistently beat out Walmart on pricing, and more than half the time, their sales pricing beats out my local military commissary.