CHAPTERS: You’re Cheating on Me! (But I still love you)

Several years ago, a new Chapters store opened up in my neighbourhood. It was wonderful to have a huge bookstore so close to home. I would walk there frequently and it quickly became my go-to store for buying books and magazines. Since it is a Canada-wide chain, my grandchildren often received Chapters gift cards as Christmas and birthday presents.

Do you see the big BOOK on the sign? Does this tell you something? Do you get the idea that they sell BOOKS?

However, something has gone wrong. Over the last few years, it seems as if books and magazines are becoming a less important part of Chapters’ inventory.

A few days ago, I went to my local Chapters store with three of my daughters. Here are just a few of the items that occupied probably  more than half of the store’s space.

  • Office furniture and supplies
  • Blankets and throws
  • Dishes
  • Jewellery
  • Baby and children’s toys
  • Christmas trees and decorations
  • Chocolates and candy
  • Scarves and wraps
  • Candles
  • Lego sets
  • Gift wrap and bags
  • Games
  • Home décor
  • Nail polish
  • Baby clothes
  • Stuffed animals
  • Handbags

When I go to Chapters, I want to buy books and magazines. I don’t mind them selling Kobo  e-readers and accessories, because at least it has something to do with reading. But those other items – not so much.

The shelves holding books on Art , Computers, Science, and many other genres have been greatly reduced. It’s getting more and more difficult to find what I am looking for in-store. I can order books on-line from Chapters, but there is just something so cosy about browsing through a bookstore to see what’s new and interesting.

Chapters, you’ve done me wrong. And it’s really disappointing. But I still love you … for now.

Thanks for reading. – Maureen

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Only Money

When people have decided to purchase something, you often hear them say, “Hey, it’s only money.”  Sometimes I wonder where all my money goes.

Housing and food are givens and so are utilities and taxes.

But where else does my money go?

  • Books, Magazines, and Ebooks.  I probably spend a few hundred dollars a year on these items, despite the fact that we have a fabulous library here in Ottawa.  I am really trying to cut back but sometimes I feel like I just have to have the latest Jeffery Archer right away, for example.  In that case I buy the eBook which is cheaper than the hardcover.
  • Hair, Nails, Make-up.  Okay, I really save here.  I buy shampoo, conditioner, and hair dye, only when they are on sale.  I usually buy a bottle of nail polish a year, to paint  my toes for the summer season.  For make-up, I buy lipstick and eye-shadow once every two or three years.  I rarely wear make-up so it isn’t difficult.
  • Transportation.  This one is a good one for me.  Hubby and I take the bus only on “free” days, and buy our groceries, etc. to carry home.  Very rarely, I have to take the bus on a non-free day, and then I use tickets.  We bought a book of tickets ($15) four months ago and I still have most of them.  However, the city is getting rid of the “free” bus on Monday and Friday afternoons, so we will have to do some creative thinking to come up with some alternative plans.
  • Home Beautification. We moved to Ottawa a few months ago and decided to buy some new furniture and a new bed, as ours hadn’t been replaced for decades.  We spent about $2,000 but it is all paid off and NOT on a credit card.  That feels good!  I put in a very small garden in front of my house.  Plants and soil were a gift from my cousin, chairs from my daughter Monica, and some flowers from my daughter Michelle.  Cost to us $0.00!!!
  • Movies and Entertainment.  Absolutely nothing, although there are one or two movies I’d like to see sometime.  Most of our entertainment doesn’t cost anything – bike rides, walks, visits to parks, free concerts, even free cooking classes at the local community centre.
  • Restaurants. We probably spend a few hundred dollars a year eating out, but if you know me at all, you know we usually dine on the basis of two-for-one deals.
  • Electronic devices.  This could be embarrassing!  I am an electronic gadget lover!  I have two eReaders, a Netbook, a Laptop, and a regular computer.  I have an iPhone, and an iPod Touch, and several Memory Sticks (including a few free ones).  When I go anywhere to visit, I have a separate bag with cables for all my “toys”.  Hubby has multiple computers, monitors, memory sticks, hard-drives, and an Android phone.  I would say this probably runs into $1000.oo per year, as many of the items are now older, but still…

We really are blessed here in North America, but I feel that we should be aware of what we spend and how.  I have obviously cut back in some areas but I still have work to do!

Oh wait, I think there’s an app to help me calculate all that!

What about you?  What are your spending “pits”? – Maureen