Parents ‘Frozen’ Out of Merchandise From Hit Movie

frozen-dollsIf you have young children who are experiencing Frozen-mania you’re probably sick to death of hearing them belt out the lyrics to “Let It Go” at the top of their lungs.  You may also be tired of hearing them beg for all the dolls, outfits, clothes, and stuffed animals of Elsa, Anna, and Olaf.

Unfortunately you may be listening to their pleas for a long time as many parents are finding it utterly impossible to find any Frozen merchandise at all.  Stores everywhere are completely wiped out and if you check online auction sites like eBay you’ll find anything Frozen-related selling at grossly overpriced rates.

Some are accusing Disney of deliberately limiting merchandise availability to build up scarcity and demand.  But that seems unlikely to me…after all, wouldn’t Disney want to sell as much merchandise as possible?

I think it’s more likely that both Disney and retailers underestimated how big the movie would be and didn’t want to get stuck with warehouses full of unsold merchandise.  After lackluster merchandise sales from recent princess movies like Tangled, Brave, and The Princess and the Frog, you can’t blame them for being cautious.

But as the Frozen phenomenon continues to sweep the world, manufacturers and retailers can’t stock shelves fast enough.  The site of parents going from one store to the next and fighting with each other over a toy is reminiscent of past crazes over Cabbage Patch Kids and the Tickle-Me Elmo doll.

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Sadly, the kids who do have these toys have to worry about other kids and even parents stealing them.  A friend of mine took her kids to the park and while they were riding the swings someone swiped an Elsa doll out of the baby stroller.  Who would do that to a kid?

My daughters were lucky enough to get a few Frozen toys before the mania really took off.  They have dolls of Elsa, Anna, and Kristoff, plus a plush Olaf that my little one sleeps with every night.  Until the craziness ends and I can be sure some lowlife won’t be trying to steal from my kids, the toys stay safely locked in our house.

Source: NY Post

12 Times It’s Okay To Be Cheap

This morning I read an article on Yahoo Finance titled 12 Times Being Cheap is Totally Worth It.   The author shares 12 examples of items where you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get good quality.  I’m all for saving money at the supermarket whenever possible, and I also love shopping at Costco because there are so many great deals to be had.

Below I have listed each of the 12 examples along with some thoughts of my own.  

Shampoo.  I don’t put much thought into shampoo but my wife swears it pays to spend a little extra.  I’m fine with using whatever is on sale or shopping at the dollar store.

Produce.  The article mentions that frozen fruits and vegetables are generally cheaper than fresh, though I would caution that isn’t necessarily true.  There’s a farmer’s market nearby where I often stop for fresh fruits and veggies and the price can’t be beat.  But we also keep some frozen vegetables on hand, especially during the winter when it is harder to find them fresh.  I think we have some frozen corn in the freezer right now as well as some berries and mixed fruit.  We like to use those in place of ice when making smoothies.

Prescriptions.  I always ask the pharmacist for the generic version of prescriptions because they are just as effective for a fraction of the cost.  The same goes for over the counter pain killers and cough syrup.  Why pay more just for a name?

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Water.  Bottled water is a total rip-off, but it is something I’m guilty of buying from time to time.  I know filters work great and all but the convenience of grabbing a cold bottle of water out of the fridge on my way out the door is something I appreciate.

Contact Lens Solution.  I don’t wear glasses or contacts so I don’t have much opinion on this one.

Tools.  As a do it yourselfer, I don’t completely agree on this one.  While it’s usually not necessarily  to spend top dollar on tools, you don’t want to go too cheap or you’ll end up with something that doesn’t work.  I’d say I usually buy mid-ranged tools…they may not have all the bells and whistles but they have enough of them and I’m confident they’ll last for a while.

Coffee.  Umm, no.  My wife and I are both coffee-lovers and the generic brands just don’t cut it in our house.  I’d rather spend a few extra bucks and grab a bag of Starbucks when it goes on sale.  I NEED my morning cup of coffee!

Cell Phone Plans.  We have a family plan through Sprint and I’m happy with that.  I spend more than the author of the article does but it’s not the most expensive plan either.

Toothpaste.  I don’t have any brand loyalty when it comes to toothpaste.  We buy whatever is on sale and with coupons you should never have to pay full price for a tube of toothpaste.

Pantry Staples.  We almost always buy the generic version of items like cereal, rice, and canned goods…with a few exceptions.  Anything but Hellman’s mayonnaise is gross to me.  And as an avid griller I like to try different barbecue sauces…the cheap stuff usually isn’t very good.

Toilet Paper.  Completely agree with the article…Scott’s toilet paper is horrible, but the store brand is usually just fine.

Wine.  My wife and I both enjoy drinking wine and there is definitely a difference in quality as price increases.  We usually shop in the $9 to $12 range for a 750ml bottle and I find that’s a nice balance between quality and price.  The cheaper stuff is usually not very good.

In the end, it’s all about trade-offs and balance.  I’m more than willing to shop smart and save some money on most items so I can afford to spend a little bit extra on a few items that are more important to me.

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