One hundred and fifty-five

The start of Out of My Comfort Zone month

This month I will be putting myself Out of My Comfort Zone every day.  Stretching my boundaries.  Doing things that challenge me and make me (and sometimes other people) feel uncomfortable, but ultimately I will learn from them.  And it will be hilarious to read about!

Day one – Lunch with a stranger

Yesterday, for my first day of the month, I went and had lunch with a stranger.  I went into the Eaton Centre (that mall is generally out of my comfort zone – can people walk any slower?!), got lunch at the cafeteria and looked around for someone sitting alone.  I found a girl in her twenties and asked if I could join her at her two-person table.  She agreed and I started a conversation.  We started with small talk – how busy the mall is, the New York fries she was eating, my Thai food.  I asked her why she was in the mall.  Then the conversation developed from there.  She’s from Winnepeg, is a part-time student deciding whether she wants to stay in Toronto.  She’s studing Latin.  She lived in Montreal and Quebec City.  We spoke about our lives, our goals, where we have lived, what languages we speak. All while we ate lunch.  In the city of Toronto, where rarely will anyone make eye contact with you, let alone share a full conversation over lunch, it was very strange.  But really lovely.  More people should do this.

When we were done our lunches, we went our separate ways.  A random interaction with a complete stranger with nothing before and nothing after.  A beautiful moment that I think made both our days a little brighter – with no strings attached.  Just a moment of connection.  And after the initial fear of rejection and nervousness at speaking to a stranger, it was actually quite easy.

Tonight

Karaoke!  I am FREAKING OUT.  I have been trying to find a good song to sing all day and I can’t find one.  I am so nervous.  Ahhhhh!!!

An update on online shopping

I got my red rubber boots today in the mail from Beyond The Rack.  I was so excited, as I love the colour red and I really needed a pair of rubber boots.  This was also my first buying experience with Beyond The Rack and has been four weeks since I ordered the boots (after an e-mail saying they were “PENDING” because they hadn’t received them yet).  I received them through Canada Post and tried them on right away.  Well, the boots were in two different sizes!  They were both labeled size 9, but the left was clearly way smaller than the right in width and length (it didn’t fit my foot and my feet are the same size as each other).  I’m a little bit annoyed.  I called customer service, sent an e-mail and am sending them back.  Hopefully they have another pair that are both size 9, if not I better get a full refund (including shipping).  I will most likely never shop with Beyond The Rack again.  And I’ve heard other horror stories of things taking 5-6 weeks to arrive.

One hundred and forty-eight

The ups and downs of online shopping

I got two dresses in the mail yesterday – shoved into my mailbox.  One I love and one I’m not so sure about.  Had I bought them in the store it would have taken me an hour of travel time, plus however long it took me to try on the dresses.  I would have bought the one and not the other.  I would have had instant satisfaction and could wear it right away.  Buying online meant choosing the dresses hoping I would like them on my body type and waiting two weeks to have them delivered (in that time I was sent an e-mail saying they wouldn’t be sending me the tank top I also ordered because they were out of stock).  By the time I finally received the dresses, the excitement of getting mail didn’t outweigh the fact that I’d moved on – I was no longer as enthusiastic about them.  And now do I send back the one that is ok, or do I keep it and wear it once and awhile?  I’m still not convinced about the merits of buying clothing online.

I also got an e-mail from Beyond The Rack saying that they don’t know when I’ll be receiving my red rubber boots I ordered off them three weeks ago.  “Your order was initially scheduled to arrive at Beyond the Rack last week, but the delivery from the supplier is currently being delayed.  Due to this unforeseen setback, we’ll be unable to pack and ship your order within the estimated 3-week timeline. Rest assured, we’ll make it a priority to pack your order as soon as we receive it from the supplier. We’ll make sure to keep you informed of all further developments, and sincerely apologize for any inconvenience.”  Beside the description of my boots at the end of the e-mail a highlighted bright orange box says “PENDING”.  Like they don’t know whether they will ever be shipped.  Hopefully I get them eventually.  Or at least get a refund.

And I haven’t even heard from the other place I bought a dress from.  No idea whether I will ever get it.  No idea if it has even been shipped.  Sigh.  The ups and downs of online shopping.

One hundred and twenty-seven

Thanks everyone for your support to help me make it through my bad day yesterday.  From chats with the dishwasher at work reminding me that the bad days are there to appreciate the good ones, to texts from a couple of my dates from date month making sure I’m ok, to Facebook and blog comments from friends and family encouraging me to keep going, I realized once again I can’t do this without you.

I’m feeling much better today and am starting to plan my month of online shopping.  I have organic vegetables and a few other things arriving on Friday (which I will talk more about later in the week).  I also bought a sports bra from lululemon online today – on sale, although no exchanges or refunds – I sure hope I picked the right size!

Beyond the Rack

Yesterday, during my frustration of online clothes shopping, I was browsing Montreal-based online retailer Beyond the Rack – “a private shopping club for women and men who want designer brand apparel and accessories at prices up to 70% off retail.”  Authentic designer merchandise is posted on their website for a limited period of time (typically lasting 48 hours) and available for purchase only by their members.  You can become a member by being invited by a friend who is already a member, special invitation from one of our marketing partners, or request membership (if you want to be a member through me click here).

Internet Retailer’s 2011 Top 500 Guide recognized Beyond the Rack as the fastest growing online retailer, based on annual 2010 internet-based sales.  According to the Financial Post: “Total revenue doubled between 2010 and 2011 to exceed $100-million and staffing levels nearly quadrupled in that time; growing from 60 employees in 2010 to a current headcount of 230. Beyond the Rack’s membership, the company’s bread and butter, grew from 600,000 in January 2010 to approximately four million today.”

I haven’t actually bought anything on the site yet, however the deals are amazing –  $300 designer silk dresses for $50.  The problem is most of the sizes available are size 4 or small, with the rare choice of medium or large.  Searching through all the products takes a lot of time as well, and the photos online are hard to tell what it would look like on someone larger than a size 4.  You can also buy sunglasses, bags, shoes, and other accessories, which wouldn’t require getting out the measuring tape and might be a better idea to browse through.

Further research showed that a lot of people were unhappy with the length of time shipping takes and the poor customer service (see this forum on redflagdeals.com from last year).  Hopefully things are improving as the company grows (they seem to now have a live chat component to their website, which probably helps with customer service), but expect to sacrifice speed for savings.  There is a saying that if things are cheap and good they aren’t fast, fast and good they aren’t cheap, and cheap and fast they aren’t good.  I guess this is a good example of that.

As I was researching the above information, I saw that they have rubber boots on sale.  Mine broke this year, so I bought a pair.  The shipping and HST ended up being almost as much as what I paid for the boots, so I’m not sure how great a deal this is… I will keep you informed as to how long it takes to get to me.