This past Labour Day was the first time I’d had a three day holiday weekend off along with the majority of the free world. Let me tell you, it felt amazing!!!! We filled our evenings by spending time with family and friends, but true to my form, I couldn’t face the idea of spending three days just lolling around the apartment aimlessly. So, I created a game for James and me to play: Stupid Shopping.
We both enjoy the process of shopping, but being poor Millennials we don’t have the money to just buy random things that we don’t need. Seeing as how we want to transition out of the apartment rental life sometime in the next few decades, I thought that doing some theoretical shopping for a future house would be more fun on a weekend where all the stores are trying to sell, Sell, SELL! If that isn’t geeky enough, I decided to assign a point system to our shopping excursions to keep it interesting and do a little bit of behaviour manipulation for us to. All in the name of science…and shopping!
The basic rules are as follows:
- Lock your wallets (cards, cash, and all) into your glove box or trunk before entering an establishment.
- Limit phone/electronic interaction. The point is to interact with each other and your environment – bring a notebook and kick it old school.
- Don’t waste employee’s time. As you will see in the points system, you only get credit if they are being tenacious and really want to try and sell to you. Since the goal of your shopping journey is information, not purchasing, leave them free to chat to buying consumers.
- Have fun! Dream big, talk practically. The idea is to find out features and perks you like and don’t like in a non-pressured environment.
Now, for the fun part! I wrote these rules and points down on a page of our notebook, and we hashmarked the points we earned at the end of each shopping stop. I’ll put any explanation for a rule next to it in parenthesis. We decided to keep our focus on the kitchen area of the house: fridge, stove, range, dishwasher, and washer/dryer. Next time we are going to attack bathroom/kitchen fixtures!!!
- Enter store front – 5 points
- Have salesperson engage of own volition – 5 points
- “Lowest price ever” spotted or said – 30 points
- Salesperson starts sales spiel – 50 points
- Salesperson tries to close spiel – 1000 points
- Find something we actually really, really want to put in a house – 50 points
- Find a sale price ending in 4 – 50 points
- Find a sale price ending in 2 – 500 points
- Compare prices on identical items at different stores – 100 points
- Hear the phrase “this weekend only” – 5 points
- Sit on display chair/sofa – 5 points (because I believe it is a crime to pass up sitting on a comfy couch
- Offered store’s line of credit – 50 points
Now, for the negative points!
- Make a purchase – -1000 points (remember, our goal was a cheap date activity)
- Engage a salesperson – -10 points (now, there’s no rule against using your acting skills to attract a salesperson if you have an actual question so they approach you)
- Say the phrase “this weekend only” – -50 points (sale prices don’t matter since we aren’t actively buying)
- Take a picture of something to buy later – -5 points (write it down, look it up later! Stay in the moment)
- Lay on a display mattress – -10 points (James really wants to buy a new mattress but it isn’t in the budget. This was my way of keeping him from falling in love with something he isn’t ready to buy!)
The points are made to be tailored, so they are just a good guideline. The point is to have fun with them! Our trip ended up being very successful – by the end of the three days we had a great idea of things we like, don’t like, absolutely hate, and an example of a product we’d buy if we were purchasing now. What’s even cooler is we discovered that our tastes automatically run very middle of the road price-wise (we didn’t fall in love with anything completely unaffordable), and the final products we loved all had high four or true five star consumer ratings! Go us.
Want to see what we fell in love with? Here they are!
First up, stove and range. James has turned me from being an electric-only girl into a head-over-heels in love with gas cooking. It is faster, stabler, and produces a better cooking experience in my opinion. What we were hoping to find is a five burner range, with a split convection oven…in gas. For the first two days we came up with nothing close. We could have a double-door gas oven, but all the ones we found put the smaller oven compartment on top so if you’re going to put a roast in the bigger compartment, you basically have to sit on the floor to do so. Yeah, no. Then, we found an electric model that has a standard oven compartment, but includes a smart shelf that when inserted turns the one compartment into two separate cooking spaces. Finally, at our last stop on Monday, we found the gas equivalent! It appears that gas convection is a very new technology, so I’m excited to see if it will catch on.
NX58J7750SS Gas Flex Duo®Range with Griddle and Wok Grate (Stainless Steel)
Next up is the hood! I would love a down draft, but in the event that we can’t do that I really want something low profile and airy. James isn’t 100% convinced yet, but I’m beginning to win him over.
Frigidaire Convertible Wall-Mounted Range Hood (Stainless Steel) (Common: 30-in; Actual 29.875-in) Model #: FHWC3060LS
The fridge is the one thing that we found on the first stop, and stayed in love with through the whole shopping trip. We love the French doors, the dual freezer compartments, the multiple drawers with individual humidity controls, the large door compartments, the ice/water dispenser, and the handles. Oh yes, we are thorough!
Whirlpool 24.7-cu ft French Door Refrigerator with Single Ice Maker (Stainless Steel) ENERGY STAR Model #: WRF736SDAM
The dishwasher gave us a lot of problems. We wanted flexible, quiet, functional, and a low profile handle. You wouldn’t think this would be a hard thing to find, but it really was! We finally went with a KitchenAid model that fits our wants well.
KitchenAid 46-Decibel Built-In Dishwasher (Stainless Steel) (Common: 24-in; Actual 23.875-in) ENERGY STAR
Model #: KDFE104DSS
Finally, our washer/dryer. We aren’t totally sold on these models, but they feature an agitatorless, top loading washer, a great dryer, see-through lids, and these particular models have a shallower depth than most conventional sets (about 3 inches shallower).
Maytag Bravos 4.3-cu ft High-Efficiency Top-Load Washer (White) Model #: MVWX655DW
Maytag Bravos 7-cu ft Electric Dryer (White) Model #: MEDX655DW
So, there you go. Behold the very boring and adult way that we waste a weekend…but honestly, we had a lot of fun. Once we finalized what we liked, we used Evernote to create a list with model numbers and images in a shared notebook so that we have it with us for future reference. Leave a comment below if you’ve done something like this, or if you decide to do so; I’d love other tips and hints!