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Google "Find My Phone" and Find Your Android Phone Instantly

Google "Find My Phone" and Find Your Android Phone Instantly

By Kate Musgrove

You can now literally Google "find my phone" and Google will find your phone. It's not a miracle -- it only works on Android phones with the Google app installed, but it's actually helpful in two really smart ways. One, it immediately highlights on a map where your phone is. This is not what you need if your phone is somewhere in your house with you (like mine is 99% of the time it's lost), but it would be great if you left the phone in a cab, at a bar, at a friend's house or whatever. From that screen, you can lock or erase your device.

The second smart thing it does it give you the option to make your phone ring -- exactly what you need if your phone somewhere near you. I tried the ringing option on my own phone with all sounds and alerts set to mute and it still forced it to ring, which I thought was pretty fantastic. (Because I usually have all the ringers/sounds/alerts on my phone set to mute, I can't even call myself from another phone if I'm looking it, so I love that it does this.) The phone rings for five full minutes or until you hit the power button.

Are You Trolling Us, Anthropologie

By Kate Musgrove

I've always enjoyed shopping at Anthropologie for fun, unusual housewares and gifts. Some of the items they carry are gorgeous, some are unusual are some are, honestly, just not for me. Then there are the items that make me wonder if Anthropologie is just straight-up trolling us. For example:

It's a desk made out of wood and plexiglass which is fine, but it looks incredibly poorly constructed and um, costs $3480 USD? Which is insanity?

I have to admit if I saw this piece of furniture in your house I would say "oh my God, what happened to your desk? Does it have WARTS?" (I assume you would frostily inform me that it is a console, not a desk.) Also it costs $2498 USD which is more than you would pay for the same piece of furniture not covered in bumps?

This rug isn't terrible, except it's $1998 USD and the whale looks like it is dead. Okay, I think I just described something terrible.

It's $1898 USD and will never look like anything but an ambitious and unfinished arts and crafts project. Like, seriously, where is the rest of the rug?

It's all fun and games until a sweaty person sits down on your white $1000 Muppet-fur chair. Plus, call me a pendant, but why does the matching $400 ottoman have super modern spindle legs while the chair has ornate Edwardian legs that basically look like hooves? I really need more consistency in my incredibly overpriced, absurdly furry furniture.

Seriously, every item in this store is $300 and covered in lumps.

Buying an Apple Watch: Two Perspectives from the RFD Staff

Buying an Apple Watch: Two Perspectives from the RFD Staff

By Kate Musgrove

The Apple Watch is available for pre-order now and sources estimate that more than one million have been ordered so far. As it happens, among the Apple enthusiasts in the RedFlagDeals.com office, there's one that pre-ordered the watch and one that didn't! Here's a bit from each of them on their reasoning why.

James: "I've ordered the watch. I'm a big fan of Apple design, build quality and community. I've lined up on launch day for the iPhone 3G, iPad 2, iPhone 6 (reserved) and was an early pre-orderer of the Apple Watch (foolishly believing I could pick it up on April 24). And I've got a couple Apple gift cards from birthdays and Christmas that I've been saving. I think the watch would be a great addition to the Apple ecosystem I am now fully invested in -- especially for things like calendar items, location-based to-dos, simple directions. And I'm pretty active so I'm really looking forward to the HealthKit tracking features, since I don't have a FitBit or any other kind of health-tracking device. It's also annoying to have to pull out my iPhone to adjust my music when I'm running, an Apple Watch would be a huge benefit to me as far as adjusting music and doing other phone tasks on the go."

Kevin: "I'm not ordering the watch. As much as I'm an Apple fanboy, I won't buy first gen Apple products. I'm also a traditional mechanical watch guy -- a wristwatch is one of the few items of jewellery for guys. Plus the whole wearable tech thing is still not mature enough for me to jump on board yet. "

I actually hadn't considered it previously, but Kevin's comment that he's a traditional watch guy made me wonder if dedicated watch wearers would actually be harder to convert to smart watch wearers than people who didn't ever wear a watch! Are you interested in an Apple Watch? Are you waiting a few gens to let them perfect the design?

Going in With a Friend on the Buy One, Get One 50% off IKEA Sofa Deal

By Amanda Aikman

I've been in the market for a new couch recently. Preferably a fabulous retro-inspired one Don Draper would look right at home lounging on. Unfortunately, my 21st-century budget doesn't quite meet my mid-century modern tastes, so IKEA it is. Some late-night Googling led me to IKEAHackers.net, where I found the clean-lined Karlstad sofa modified with tapered legs and tufted cushions and I was sold.

IKEA ad

But, being a confirmed RFDer, I did a search and noticed IKEA's Sofa Event generally came up this time of year so I held off, and, voila, two days later I got the email advertising the popular Buy One, Get One 50% Off sale on fabric sofas, loveseats and armchairs. The problem was, I only wanted one sofa. But my thriftiness was not so easily thwarted. My first stop was to the RFD forums to see if I could track down anyone in my city willing to split the discount. Then I put up a plea on Facebook, and a neighbour of mine took the bait. Off to IKEA!

The thing about BOGO 50% off sales is that they often sound better than they are. Fifty percent off a couch? Yes please! But when you have to buy two couches and only save 50% off one of them, the best case scenario is that you're saving 25% off each couch... and that's only if they are of equal value. But still, some savings are better than no savings and I had almost shelled out $1400+ with delivery for this particular couch so I was happy for the opportunity. I also found that the deal works slightly different in store than it does online. I was purchasing the IKEA Karlstad corner sofa for $1199 and my friend wanted the Kivik sofa with chaise for $949. Online, when we added these items to our cart, the Kivik was discounted to half price. But when we arrived in the store ready to buy, we were told that because the Kivik comes in two pieces, the discount only applies to the chaise and not to my sofa at all. We explained to the staff member that it worked online and she was nice enough to let us show her on her computer and then call the necessary higher-ups who let us have the discount we thought we'd be getting. But it was a hassle and the same results can't be guaranteed from all staff members at all stores.

In our case, it worked and we got the deal. We split the savings equally at $237.25 each and the cashier was patient enough to manually figure out how much we each owed after the discount and tax and let us pay with two forms of payment. Going to the store together and paying independently meant we could avoid any awkwardness over who owed who, and I'd definitely suggest doing that if you're able.

In the end, between the discount and reduced delivery charges I ended up saving just over $300, got to spend an evening at IKEA, and now have a new couch. It's not the screaming hot deal you might think of when you hear "buy one, get one", but I was able to save $300 just by waiting for the sale to come around and putting a call out on Facebook to see if anyone else was interested in buying a sofa. I'd definitely do it again.

YouTube to Offer a Paid, Ad-Free Browsing Option

By Kate Musgrove

If you are frustrated by the ads you see when you're watching videos on YouTube, you might be interested to know they are planning on launching a paid option allowing users to skip ads. This is in addition to the paid, ad-free music streaming service they launched in beta in November.

It's an interesting move, one meant to bring YouTube into competition with streaming content powerhouses like Netflix (and Hulu, in the US). There's no word on pricing yet, but some sources say $10/month -- which seems pretty pricy. By comparison, Netflix is $7.99 or $8.99, depending on when you signed up and it contains a lot more high-quality content in an easy-to-watch format. (On the other hand, it doesn't have any music, which YouTube has tons of, and there are definite gaps in its offerings.)

Are you interested in in an ad-free, paid YouTube option? Why don't you watch this great Apple engineer parody video while you decide.

Amazon Dash Button: Absurd, Mildly Helpful, Not Available in Canada Yet

By Kate Musgrove

Today Amazon.com launched a product so specific and ridiculous that many thought it must be an April Fool's Day joke. It's not -- it's a tiny, branded button allowing you to reorder your favourite products with one push. Now, instead of laboriously using their computer or mobile device to order products with one click, Americans can simply push a button that they've mounted near the products in question (reusable adhesive is included, of course). The product isn't available in Canada yet, but we'll let you know the second it is.

dash button

This is a similar product as their Amazon Dash remote that launched last year. The Dash is a handheld device that lets you reorder products by scanning their bar codes or dictating your requests. But while the Amazon Dash works for more than 500,000 different items in your home, the Amazon Dash Buttons each work for one item -- the item that they've been clumsily branded with. There's a limit of three Dash Buttons per household, a restriction I assume they've put in place to keep production costs low while people test the product. (The only thing more expensive than sending one plastic automatic-ordering Amazon widget to a customer so they can reorder a single item is sending ten of them to a customer so they reorder ten single items, right?) There's about 250 products available to order with the Amazon Dash Button and presumably each product available has it's own chubby, logo-laden button.

One of Amazon's strengths is that they're always innovating, and this product is certainly an innovation -- it's a completely new way to initiate your paper towel or laundry detergent order (but after the initial button press, everything is completed online as usual). It's also kind of absurd, unnecessary and I can't imagine it being anything but mildly helpful at best. Would you use one? If you did, what products would you want to use it for?

Not every ordering innovation from Amazon is quite so clunky -- they're also developing Dash Replenishment Service, a device that can be integrated with physical items to automatically reorder products you're getting low on. The examples Amazon gives are a coffee maker ordering more coffee beans or a pet food dispenser ordering more food. That seems like an idea that has merit and broad practical applications and I suspect is the sort of product integration (rather than chunky, branded, adhesive-included buttons) we'll be seeing a lot more of in the future.

Free Shipping Ends at Walmart.ca as of April 2, 2015

By Kate Musgrove

Since 2013, Walmart.ca has offered free shipping on all orders -- no matter how small. And about ten minutes after Target announced they were out of business in January of this year, people started wondering when they would begin to charge. Their reasoning (and mine) was that free shipping on all orders was acting as a loss leader of sorts and wasn't sustainable in the long-run. So it was not much of a surprise when an announcement came out today that as of April 2, 2015, free shipping from Walmart with no minimum would be ending. Orders over $50 will ship for free and orders under $50 will ship for $4.97. Orders of any size will continue to ship to Canada Post or a Grab & Go Locker for free.

On one hand, moving from free shipping on all orders to free shipping on orders over $50 seems like too big of a shift, especially because many big retailers (such as Amazon, Indigo and Best Buy) offer free shipping on orders over $25. But, free shipping to Canada Post or a Grab & Go locker on an order of any size is a feature that none of aforementioned retailers offer. (Although Grab & Go Lockers are only inside of Walmart locations (and only in Toronto), so if you have to go to Walmart to pick up your Walmart order..... you might as well just go to Walmart, right?)

There are still some retailers in Canada offering free shipping on every order -- Lululemon, Dell.ca and MicrosoftStore.com are probably the biggest.

Future Shop: All Stores Closed Across Canada

By Kevin Ngai

The Canadian retail landscape is changing once more, as Future Shop closes its doors effective immediately. It was announced on Saturday, March 28 that all 131 Future Shop locations across Canada will be closed permanently and the brand will be consolidating with Best Buy.

future shop closed

All in all, 66 Future Shop stores will be closed for good and 65 stores will be temporally closed for about a week while they are converted into Best Buy stores. It's all part of the larger plan to consolidate the stores and websites under one name. It seems likely to us that the Future Shop stores that will not be rebranded are the ones currently located adjacent to a Best Buy.

Best Buy president & CEO Ron Wilson was quoted in a press release that “80 per cent of our customers are within a 15 minute drive to a store and this won’t change.” In all, some 1500 jobs are now gone. This includes 500 full-time and 1000 part-time employees. The statement adds affected employees will receive severance, employee assistance and outplacement support.

This is shaping up to be a brutal year for Canadian retail. However, Best Buy Canada says it will be investing up to $200 million into what it calls a multi-channel customer experience to boost it’s stores and online presence. An example of what we can expect is a new ship-from-store program, making in-store inventory available to online shoppers. This means customers can order items directly from their local retail store and have it delivered.

All Future Shop orders and warranties will be transferred over to Best Buy, who will also accept Future Shop returns and exchanges. If you have an open FutureShop.ca order, you can track your online order by following this link. For anyone with gift cards, they will be honoured online at BestBuy.ca and at all their retail store fronts. Click here for more details and FAQs.

Join our discussion in the forums to talk about this news.

When is Easter 2015? And What is Open?

By Kate Musgrove

Easter is coming up -- it's Sunday, April 5 in 2015! Here's a quick look at what's open and closed Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday this year.

target
  • The majority of stores, malls and shopping centres will be closed on Good Friday -- we've noted some exceptions below
  • Many tourist attractions, like museums, zoos, aquariums and restaurants, will be open on Good Friday
  • All government offices will be closed on Good Friday and most will also be closed on Easter Monday
  • All LCBO locations will be closed on Good Friday and Easter, with some also closed on Easter Monday
  • All BC Liquor Stores will be closed on Good Friday and Easter
  • All Banks are closed on Good Friday, virtually all are open on Easter Monday
  • Costco locations in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Quebec are open on Good Friday and closed in the rest of Canada. Costco stores are open nationwide on Easter Monday.

In Toronto, both the Eaton Centre and the Loblaws at 60 Carlton Street will be open from 10 AM to 6 PM on both days. Additionally, the site of the Pacific Mall in Toronto says they are open 365 days a year!

Roundup: Letting Your Kid Buy a $14 Million Apartment, 5 Rules For Becoming a Millionaire + More

By Kate Musgrove

Here's a quick roundup of personal finance news, questionable advice and more from around the web!

  • Laurie Itkin says the first rule of becoming a millionaire before you're 40 is to invest every windfall. I feel like the first rule of becoming a millionaire before you're 40 is to actually receive windfalls? I'm not even saying she's wrong (having money is a great way to get more money), but I'm not sure it's a whole lot of help, either.
  • There are so many great things in this New York Times article about a 13-year old kid picking out a $14 million apartment for his parents to buy, and by "great things" I mean "portents of the apocalypse".
  • Target Canada is closing another 62 stores before Easter. That will leave just 55 stores in operation, and they'll all be closed before mid-May.
  • How well can you do on this great quiz comparing the prices of American Girl doll furniture with the prices of real, actual furniture for humans? I actually did really well (but I knew going in that there is a doll bed for dolls that costs $215 US).