Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Holiday mood coming up!

Well, it's getting to be that time of the year and I am slowly getting into the Christmas mood. We are even getting ourselves an early gift today - satellite TV!! After almost two months without TV this will be a treat. Of course what does that say about me if I am "suffering" from TV withdrawal??? I'm not really a TV junkie, there are just a few shows that I really like and I have been missing them - Heroes, Brothers and Sisters, The Amazing Race. I ended up getting kind of lost with Lost so I bailed on that one. And I have missed so much Survivor that I don't dare try to catch up at this point. There is a great site that I found where you can watch episodes of your favorite shows - http://www.surfthechannel.com/ Check it out if you get a chance and browse through their selection. I think you'll be impressed. They are having some growing pains due to a very popular similar site in the UK shutting down and TONS of web traffic now heading their way. They have had to upgrade servers lately and you may still find issues with download time, but give them a chance.

With our constant exploring and price shopping we have changed our initial opinion that things are a bit more expensive here north of the border. If you shop around and have numerous options, for groceries as an example, you can certainly find things on sale and make that a good time to stock up. We've been grouping errands for the same location because it takes us a half hour to get to either Sooke or Langford and we don't want to be running back and forth every day. We have been getting most of our groceries at Real Canadian Superstore. (check their website for weekly flyer and use the shopping list feature-very handy) The cool thing with them is no more plastic bags! You have to bring your own bags or cloth shopping totes or they have large plastic totes you can purchase for $2.99. I've seen people with the totes fill them up as they shop, unload onto the register conveyor and then load the items right back into the tote for the trip home. Kind of a neat routine but I can't get Dixon to spring for 1 or 2 totes. The downside is that we always seem to forget to toss our plastic bags into the car before we leave. Maybe when I am done with this post I will just go put 6 bags in each trunk and we'll be all set. Now THAT is something that a woman would have thought of right away, before even the first excursion, NOT after she had forgotten them numerous times. Women are SO practical sometimes!

Other stores we've 'discovered':
RONA: GREAT for fixing up the house and very helpful staff. Fun stuff in the greenhouse but pots are kind high.
Home Depot: similar to the stores in the US, flooring dept. in Langford is a disaster and help is kind of sparse. HUGE selection of pieces/hardware for assemble it yourself furniture, in case the factory in China/Bulgaria/wherever forgot a piece. I found this selection very interesting.
Canadian Tire: WAY more than an auto supply store! Like a mini-RONA.
Home Hardware: This one is in Sooke and they are loaded with all kinds of stuff. Staff is super helpful!!! They didn't have something I was looking for so the clerk suggested I go to the auto/marine supply distributor behind them for the part and they had it!! They have a good Christmas catalog available in store with lots of decorating ideas. Their website is good and there are links to their furniture division, which uses a lot of reclaimed and recycled wood! The closest retail outlet for the furniture is in Duncan, none in Victoria.
Serious Coffee: Numerous locations around the Island. Very similar to Starbucks but with a local flavor.
PetSmart: New outlet in Langford and you can take your dog/cat/pet in with you!! Very helpful staff and sign up for their saver card.
Village Food Market in Sooke: EXCELLENT grocery experience but can be pricey. Again check their website for weekly specials and you can get some deals for sure. Wonderful produce, deli, bakery departments. Nothing like the smell of fresh baked bread and theirs is no exception.
Western Foods in Sooke: Nice selection, a bit pricey also, but the deli smell when you walk in the door is incredible.
Pier 1 Langford: A bit smaller than the stores I was used to in the US but the same basic item selection.

In the seven weeks that I have been in Canada I have had one or two bad service experiences, wherein the staff member seemed to be annoyed at having to help someone. These were definitely the exceptions and, other than these, EVERYONE has been so friendly and helpful.

Another good source of information and savings is the Welcome Wagon. Once you arrive you can schedule a meeting with one of their reps for your area and you are treated to all kinds of coupons, goodies and offers from local businesses. This is a great way to get to know the community quicker than usual and our gal in Sooke was terrific! The page to sign up online is http://www.welcomewagon.ca/en/community/

Well, I've been typing away long enough and I think our installer is almost done with the satellite installation so, for now, thanks for tuning in and check back again!


West End Bound said...

Hey, thanks for all the shopping tips, Doug!

We are familiar with being 30-minutes from everything. Where we are - currently - in Florida, that is the situation. We are looking forward to having everything we need within 2 blocks at our place in Vancouver.

Confession: I am still a "Survivor" fan, too . . . .

Canada Calling said...

Confession: I am a "Survivor" addict . . .:)

Great shopping tips! See you Sunday!