So let's say you're at a thrift store or even just a yard sale, and you're looking at an item, wondering if it's really a good value, or not so much. Well, now you can whip out your text message-enabled cell phone, address a message to "email@example.com" and type in the product's UPC code, adding an asterisk (*) to the very end of the number.
Within two minutes you should receive a message in return that will show you two or three prices for that item available from online retailers for comparison shopping. And you can use it, of course, not just at thrift shops. I recently bought a paperback at Barnes and Noble for $6.99. If I'd used the "hunter" utility, I would have seen that I could have gotten the exact same book from Half.com for 75 cents. (Doesn't include shipping, of course, but with the price of gas these days, that could still turn out to be a better deal.)
If your phone doesn't carry text messaging as a feature, the website is here, and though only the first two weeks are free (with no obligation to continue after that point), the hunter utility and the forums - where you can discuss all things thrifty with other users - are always free.
A woman was waiting in the checkout lane at our local supermarket, her arms laden with a mop, a broom, several boxes of detergents and cleaners, and a few other cleaning supplies.
By her sighs and groans and caustic comments to others around her, it was obvious she was in a hurry and not at all happy about how slow the line seemed to be moving.
She finally reached the cashier and angrily dropped her items on the counter to be rung up. When the cashier needed to call for a price check on an unmarked box of soap, the woman had had enough. She rudely remarked, "Oh, c'mon! I'll be lucky to get out of here and home before the end of the year!"
But the clerk only smiled and, as he finished bagging up her supplies, said, "Don't you worry about getting home on time, ma'am. With that wind kicking up outside and that brand new broom you've got there, you'll be home in no time."
The rest of his customers burst into applause.
[selected from Net 153s Smile A Day with edits by Mark Raymond]
WONDER for YOUR WEEK: What happens when you go into a general store and ask for something specific?
Mark's Musings is also sent each weekday via email. If you enjoyed this post and you haven't got one already, get your own subscription for free by clicking here.