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TekSavvy and Other Independent ISPs to Cut Prices or Increase Speeds

TekSavvy and Other Independent ISPs to Cut Prices or Increase Speeds

By Simon Hung

You may get more bang for your buck in 2017 if you’re a customer with TekSavvy, Start.ca or another third-party internet service provider, because some independent ISPs will be lowering their rates or increasing internet speeds!

The move comes as a result of a CRTC ruling from October 2016 that found wholesale high-speed access rates to be unreasonable. Nearly all independent ISPs resell broadband or cable services from Rogers or Bell and now that they can access the service at a lower rate, some are passing the savings onto their customers. There is a small catch, as the CRTC ruling is on an interim basis, so the savings may be changed once a regulator finalizes the ruling later this year.

TekSavvy and Start.ca are two popular independent ISPs that have already cut prices, as many customers were notified in December via email of upcoming changes to their plans, with the new rates taking effect this month.

A 25/10 plan from Start.ca with 300GB bandwidth now has unlimited bandwidth for the same price.

The savings will vary depending on your plan, but some customers saw their bill reduced by as much as $10.00 per month while others received bumps to internet speeds or bandwidth increases at no additional charge. For example, forum member SeeWhy2 was able to save $9.95 per month and get an extra 10 Mbps in download speed from Start, while Dpack22 will be saving $9.00 and getting a 5 Mbps bump from TekSavvy. New customers will also benefit, as many plans have been updated with lower prices or higher bandwidth.

On the other hand, don’t expect to see any savings if you’re with one of the Big Three (Rogers, Bell or TELUS), since they own the infrastructure and do not save money with the CRTC ruling. In fact, Bell will be increasing their home internet packages by $5.00 and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Rogers or TELUS follow suit. Nonetheless, more competition is always a good thing and it’s refreshing to see companies lower rates for a change.

Let us know if you’ll be paying a lower internet bill or if you're with another internet service provider that we didn't mention that is doing the same!

Nintendo Switch Presentation Roundup: Release Date, Pricing, Upcoming Games, and More!

Nintendo Switch Presentation Roundup: Release Date, Pricing, Upcoming Games, and More!

By Ambia Staley

For anyone looking for more details about the upcoming Nintendo Switch console, the wait is now over, as Nintendo officially dished out the details! Streamed live from Tokyo while many Canadians were sleeping soundly late Thursday night, the presentation revealed the release date, pricing, upcoming titles and more.

If you didn't get a chance to watch the entire show, here's our roundup of some of the most important details revealed during the Nintendo Switch presentation.

Release Date & Pricing

The Nintendo Switch hits store shelves this March

Probably the most important information gamers are waiting for is the information on when they can buy the Nintendo Switch and for how much. Starting off the presentation, Nintendo revealed that the Nintendo Switch will hit store shelves in North America on March 3, 2017 with a suggested retail price of $399.99 in Canada.

Switch Features

More features of the system and Joy-Con remotes were revealed

Nintendo skimmed through quite a few features of the Switch in their presentation. One big announcement was that Nintendo will finally abolish region locking and Switch titles will be region-free. Nintendo will also be offering online multiplayer for many titles. This service will be free at launch, but will become a paid service in fall of 2017. More details surrounding pricing and online services offered will be announced at a later date.

Many of the features announced were repeats of last year's short video announcement, including different ways to play at home and on the go, as well as details about different ways in which the Joy-Con remotes can be used. Nintendo did offer a bit more information on the Joy-Con remotes however, noting that each side can be used as a fully functioning remote, and that they feature HD rumble for more realistic vibrations while gaming. It was also announced that the left Joy-Con features a square button meant to take screenshots while gaming so that you can share pictures with friends. They are also hoping to expand this feature to include video capture at a later date.

If you're playing the Switch console off the dock and on your tabletop or on the go, Nintendo mentioned that the battery life of the system is between 2.5 and 6.5 hours depending on the game.

Upcoming Games

The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild finally receives a release date

Nintendo announced quite a few games that will be released either at launch or a later date. While there are 80 active titles in the works for the Switch, here's a look at a few of the titles announced during the presentation:

  • The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild (March 3)
  • 1-2 Switch (March 3)
  • Arms
  • Splatoon 2 (Summer 2017)
  • Super Mario Odyssey (Holiday 2017)
  • Xenoblade 2
  • Fire Emblem Warriors
  • Project Octopath Traveller
  • New "Shin Megami Tensei" title
  • Skyrim
  • FIFA

Product Configuration

A look at what's included with your Switch purchase

While exact product specifications were left out of today's presentation, Nintendo did reveal exactly what comes included in the box when you purchase the Nintendo Switch console:

  • Nintendo Switch Console (screen)
  • Left and right Joy-Con
  • Wrist strap
  • Joy-Con grip
  • Switch dock
  • HDMI cable
  • A/C Adapter

Nintendo also mentioned that when you go to buy the console, you'll have a choice between a system with grey Joy-Con remotes, or a system with one red and one blue Joy-Con remote -- both of which have the same retail price. Pro remotes will be available separately.

More info is expected to be released in the upcoming weeks as more presentations and hands-on events occur leading up to the Switch's release date.

Update: Nintendo's website just announced that the Switch and Play Preview Tour will be visiting Toronto's Metro Convention Centre on January 29, 2017. As of right now, this is the only Canadian tour date listed.

Did you watch the Nintendo Switch presentation? What are your thoughts on the console? Will you be picking one up? Let us know in the comments!

McDonald’s Testing All-Day Breakfast at 17 Restaurants in Canada

McDonald’s Testing All-Day Breakfast at 17 Restaurants in Canada

By Simon Hung

One year ago, RFD forums guru and self-proclaimed McDonald’s enthusiast Tom wrote about his positive experience with the standalone McCafé locations in Toronto and his dream of having the concept of all-day breakfast expand across Canada.

That dream has now become a reality, as McDonald's will be testing all-day breakfast at 17 locations in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec!

According to the Globe and Mail, participating restaurants are located in Coquitlam and Langley in British Columbia; Ajax, Brampton, Mississauga and Whitby in Ontario; and the Montreal area in Quebec. In our forums, BB8819 listed the participating restaurants in Ontario. We’ve reached out to McDonald’s to see if they can provide a definitive list of all locations and we’ll update this article once they give more details.

Ajax

Brampton

Mississauga

Whitby

This past December, McDonald’s introduced the Potato Rosti & Bacon Burger, which includes a hash brown patty -- it’s one way to eat their delicious hash browns past 11:00 AM, but it just isn’t the same.

McDonald’s all-day breakfast has been a success in the United States since 2015 and it’s an encouraging sign to see the concept (finally) come to Canada. Let us know if you see any all-day breakfast locations and if you’re looking forward to eating Egg McMuffins and hash browns at any time of the day!

Amazon Ordered to Pay $1.1 Million Fine for Misleading Advertising

Amazon Ordered to Pay $1.1 Million Fine for Misleading Advertising

By Simon Hung

Savings -- it’s a metric many shoppers use to evaluate a deal and it’s this very notion that has gotten Amazon into trouble with the Canadian Competition Bureau, as the online retailer has been fined $1 million for using misleading advertising practices, plus another $100,000 towards the Bureau’s investigation costs.

The two-year investigation, conducted between May 2014 and May 2016, found that Amazon often compared their retail prices to a list price in order to give the impression of offering steep savings. In reality, the list price was often unverified and provided by suppliers, misleading shoppers into believing that Amazon’s savings were more substantial than their competitors -- per the Competition Act, comparisons between a regular price and a sale price must be accurate.

A common example would be watches and jewellery, as the list price is usually marked up significantly and it was not uncommon to see some products with thousands of dollars in alleged savings.

Amazon has agreed to pay the fine and is in the process of making changes to how they display prices to ensure better accuracy and validity. The changes are being made on both Amazon.ca and Amazon.com.

This isn’t the first time a Canadian retailer has been fined for misleading consumers, as the Forzani Group (parent company of Sport Chek) was fined $1.7 million in 2004 for using similar misleading tactics while Michael’s was fined $3.5 million in 2015 after the crafts store did not ensure that custom frames were offered for sale before promoting them at discounts.

It remains to be seen if this fine will hurt Amazon’s brand, as the ruling should theoretically give consumers more confidence when shopping with the online giant. Beyond Amazon, the Competition Bureau hopes this fine sends a clear message to other retailers that unsubstantiated savings will not be tolerated -- click here to view the complete press release about the ruling on the Government of Canada website.

Will you be more vigilant on Amazon in the future? Maybe you're already savvy enough not to be fooled by these tactics? Let us know if this ruling will change your shopping habits on Amazon by leaving a comment and voting in our poll!

Cineplex Movie Formats Explained: What Are Premium Tickets and How You Can Save Money

Cineplex Movie Formats Explained: What Are Premium Tickets and How You Can Save Money

By Simon Hung

It’s a lot trickier to see a movie nowadays. Once upon a time, you only needed to pay for general admission, but these days there are premium formats like 3D, AVX, VIP and more options with capitalized abbreviations, each more expensive than the last -- but what do they even mean?

Cineplex movie tickets can cost as much as $25.00, making date nights and family movies an expensive outing. We’re here to help and have listed the common movie formats found in Cineplex cinemas to give you an idea of what each one has to offer, along with some money-saving tips at the end.

Note that ticket prices reflect adult pricing at various Cineplex theatres in Downtown Toronto -- prices vary by region and tickets at your local theatre may differ.

Regular

Pros
Cons
2D Price, 3D Price
SCENE Price
CheapestSeats not reserved, little leg room, more ads, can get crowded$13.50, $16.501000 points

The cheapest and most ubiquitous ticket option, seats to regular movies are general admission and available on a first-come-first-serve basis. Regular theatres usually have smaller screens, seats with little leg room and can get crowded quickly during more popular movies. Regular showings also play a longer pre-show, which means more ads will play before the movie starts.

Prime Seats

Pros
Cons
2D Price, 3D Price
SCENE Price
Reserved seats, some Prime Seats are largerSame disadvantages as regular theatres, but more expensive$15.50, $18.501500 points

Some Cineplex cinemas have tickets designated as Prime Seats, which are usually a block of 20-30 desirable seats in the centre of the seating area. Tickets for these seats are sold in conjunction with regular admission, but Prime Seats cost more than regular tickets with the added benefit of being able to reserve your seats.

UltraAVX

Pros
Cons
2D Price, 3D Price
SCENE Price
Reserved seats, larger screen, roomier seatsScreen and audio improvements are minimal$16.50, $18.501500 points

UltraAVX theatres promise a larger screen and better seats.

UltraAVX is the most common premium format, featuring reserved seating, a larger screen and more comfortable seats with extended leg room. UltraAVX and other premium formats usually play big-ticket movies, as they'll draw a larger audience and as a result, more revenue for Cineplex. While the perks are nice, UltraAVX is where prices start to creep into the territory where you have to think twice before buying.

D-BOX

Pros
Cons
2D Price, 3D Price
SCENE Price
Same advantages as regular or UltraAVX theatre, motion seatsSame visual experience as regular or UltraAVX theatre but more expensive, motion seats offer little value$22.50, $24.501500 points

D-BOX seats are a block of 20-30 specialized seats in regular or UltraAVX theatres that offer the same pros and cons as the theatre with which they share, but D-BOX seats vibrate and move along with the events on-screen, adding an extra dimension to the movie. It equates to sitting in a rocking massage chair and for most people, the extra cost isn't worth it.

IMAX

Pros
Cons
Price
SCENE Price
Reserved seats, largest screen, improved audio, some movies have exclusive IMAX scenesPrice, not all theatres have traditional IMAX, no TimePlay in some theatres$20.501500 points

Described by many as the best visual experience, IMAX features a massive screen with improved audio, but only if you're in a genuine IMAX theatre. There are only a few cinemas in Canada that have a traditional 80-foot IMAX screen, while most have much smaller screens that are only branded as IMAX and jokingly called Lie-MAX by movie purists -- click here to view a list of IMAX venues in Canada (venues marked as Dual Projection or IMAX with Laser use traditional IMAX screens). Cinemas with the misfortune of sporting a small IMAX screen offer a similar experience to UltraAVX.

VIP

Pros
Cons
Price
SCENE Price
Reserved leather seats, smaller audience, lounge, in-seat dining service, 19+Price, no major audio/video improvements, no TimePlay in some theatres$19.992000 points

The main advantages of VIP theatres are the smaller audiences and in-seat dining.

Those looking for a more intimate movie experience will want to try VIP, as these tickets are only available to those aged 19 and up. VIP theatres only seat about 30 people and feature an in-seat dining service (including alcohol), priced à la carte. The visual quality is the same as regular theatres, but VIP tickets are worth it for those who want to enjoy the movie experience while avoiding the hectic crowds in regular theatres.

4DX

Pros
Cons
Price
SCENE Price
Reserved seats, motion seats and environment effects are neatMost expensive, motion seats and environment effects may be annoying$24.992000 points

In addition to moving seats, 4DX theatres spray water in your face.

The crème de la crème of premium tickets, there’s currently only one cinema in Canada with a 4DX theatre (Cineplex Yonge/Dundas in Toronto). 4DX theatres feature motion seats, but with a new trick -- environment effects. These specialized theatres include jets that spray mist, wind and scents to enhance your movie experience. It’s an expensive experience and the "spray water in your face" marketing tactic is an interesting one, but you may see more of these spring up if the format is successful.

Tips to Save Money

  • Cineplex vouchers -- Cineplex vouchers can usually be purchased at a discounted rate through your employer or programs like CAA. RFD forums legend Hellfire has also organized group buys for Cineplex vouchers regularly over the past nine (!) years
  • Costco -- Costco regularly sells Cineplex movie ticket packages that cost less than paying full-price in-theatres. Pricing varies by province and packages are available both online and in Costco warehouses
  • Get a SCENE card -- SCENE is Cineplex's loyalty program where you earn points by watching movies and can redeem them for free movies. SCENE members also get 10% off concession snacks
  • Grocery vouchers -- a few times a year, you'll find Cineplex vouchers on packages of Coca-Cola or General Mills products that offer free or buy one get one free admission. These products will often cost far less than a ticket at the box office
  • Other cinemas -- although Cineplex holds an 80% market share in Canada, Landmark Cinemas and Rainbow Cinemas also operate in Canada and you'll often find cheaper tickets for the same movies
  • TimePlay -- TimePlay is an interactive trivia game played before most movies. Download the app on your phone and play with the audience to get free SCENE points, concessions and contest offers
  • Tuesday -- Cineplex offers discounted ticket prices for all shows every Tuesday and SCENE members also get an additional 10% off the Tuesday price
  • VIP "Hump Date" Wednesdays -- questionable marketing name aside, those who enjoy VIP theatres should go on Wednesday, as you can get two tickets and dinner for $50.00 -- look for the "Hump Date" pricing when buying your tickets online

What do you think of Cineplex's multitude of formats? Good choices or gimmicky cash grab? Let us know which format you enjoy the most and any tricks you use to save money when going out to the movies!

American Apparel Brand is Purchased by Montreal's Gildan Activewear

American Apparel Brand is Purchased by Montreal's Gildan Activewear

By Ambia Staley

In a move that surprised many, Montreal's Gildan Activewear Inc. has purchased the rights to the American Apparel brand after placing a winning bid of $88 million U.S. in auction.

American Apparel, a Los Angeles based company originally founded in Montreal, filed for bankruptcy protection on November 14, 2016 for the second time (having also filed for bankruptcy in 2015) and is currently in the process of a court-supervised liquidation.

In a statement following the winning bid, Gildan CEO Glenn Chamandy said, "We see strong potential to grow American Apparel sales by leveraging our extensive printwear distribution networks in North America and internationally to drive further market share penetration in the fashion basics segment of these markets."

Gildan's purchase must still be approved by a U.S. court, but if accepted, the deal can be finalized as early as February. The deal sees Gildan gaining all of American Apparel's intellectual property rights as well as some of its manufacturing equipment. Gildan is also expected to purchase American Apparel's current inventory in a separate transaction. None of American Apparel's retail stores were included in the initial deal and are expected to close.

Are you surprised to hear about Gildan's purchase? What do you think the future has in store for the American Apparel brand? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

The Walmart/Visa Disagreement is Finally Over -- Visa Can Be Used at Walmart Stores Across Canada

The Walmart/Visa Disagreement is Finally Over -- Visa Can Be Used at Walmart Stores Across Canada

By Kate Musgrove

After six months of behind-the-scenes negotiations, Visa cards are again being accepted as a form of payment in all Walmart stores across Canada starting tomorrow, Friday, January 6. While the ban was first announced as beginning in Thunder Bay and moving across Canada in a "phased rollout" it actually only extended to the three locations in Thunder Bay, Ontario and later, the sixteen Walmart locations in Manitoba. In total, less than 5% of the Walmart locations in Canada were impacted by this ban.

Details on the resolution are scant from both Walmart and Visa, and so far, there isn't any indication of which party made concessions to close the deal, but regardless, this is good news for consumers in Thunder Bay and Manitoba.

January 2017 Video Game Release Dates

January 2017 Video Game Release Dates

By Ambia Staley

It's the start of a brand new year, and with it comes a new list of highly anticipated new video game titles. While some of the year's most anticipated games such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Injustice 2 still have no concrete release dates, there is still plenty to look forward to in January, including Tales of Berseria for PlayStation 4 and PC, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard for PS4, Xbox One and PC, and Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue for PS4.

If you're looking to get some last minute pre-orders in, check out our list of January 2017's video game release dates to help get you started:

  • Milkmaid of the Milky Way (PC/Mac/iOS) - January 5
  • Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Future Tone (PS4) - January 10
  • Night in the Woods (PS4/PC/Mac/Linux) - January 10
  • Criminal Girls: Invite Only (PC) - January 11
  • Rise & Shine (PC/Xbox One) - January 13
  • Road Redemption (PS4/Xbox One) - January 15
  • 2064: Read Only Memories (PS4) - January 17
  • Atelier Shallie Plus: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea (PS Vita) - January 17
  • Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star (PS4/PS Vita) - January 17
  • Gravity Rush 2 (PS4) - January 20
  • Urban Empire (PC) - January 20
  • Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (3DS) - January 20
  • Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue (PS4) - January 24
  • Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (PS4/Xbox One/PC) - January 24
  • Tales of Berseria (PS4/PC) - January 24
  • Yakuza 0 (PS4) - January 24
  • Memoranda (PC/Mac/Linux) - January 25
  • The Wardrobe (PC/Mac/Linux) - January 26
  • Disgaea 2 (PC) - January 30
  • Double Dragon IV (PS4/PC) - January 30
  • Constructor HD (PS4/Xbox One/PC) - January 31
  • Digimon World: Next Order (PS4) - January 31
  • Divide (PS4) - January 31
  • Dynasty Warriors: God Seekers (PS4) - January 31
  • Hitman: The Complete First Season (PS4/Xbox One/PC) - January 31

Release Date TBA:

  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: Mega Battle (PS4/Xbox One/PC)
  • The Flame in the Flood (PS4)

Note that video game release dates may change due to various reasons, but we'll try to keep this list updated as news becomes available.

Are you looking forward to picking up any of January's new titles? What's your most anticipated game of 2017? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

2016 Holiday Shipping Deadlines from Online Retailers

2016 Holiday Shipping Deadlines from Online Retailers

By Ambia Staley

With the holidays fast approaching, many shoppers are heading online to not only pick up great deals for themselves, but also to do some holiday shopping. With the increased shipping demand on both retailers and shipping companies this time of year, shipments may take longer than usual. If you're looking to do your last minute shopping online, it's important to be wary of each store's order and shipping deadline to ensure you get your items before Christmas!

If you're looking to get your orders on time this season, the elves here at RFD have compiled a handy list of order deadlines for various retailers around the web!

  • Abercrombie & Fitch - December 12 at 12 PM EST (standard)/ December 19 at 12 PM EST (2-day)
  • Addition Elle - December 18 at 11:59 PM EST
  • Aldo - December 18
  • Amazon - Date varies by store location and shipping method. Amazon will inform you if the item will arrive in time.
  • Ardene - December 16 at 12 PM EST (standard)/ December 18 at 11:59 PM EST (express)
  • Aritzia - Varies by province and shipping method. See site for details.
  • Banana Republic - December 20 at 11:59 PM EST (standard)/ December 22 at 2 PM EST (1-day shipping)/ December 14 at 2 PM EST (for rural areas)
  • Bench - December 19 at 1 PM EST (standard)/ December 20 at 1 PM EST (express)
  • Bluenotes - December 16 (standard)/ December 19 (priority)
  • Buffalo Jeans - December 16 (standard in urban areas)/ December 13 (standard for non-major and remote areas)
  • Call it Spring - December 18
  • Crocs - December 14 at 11:59 PM MST (via FedEx)
  • Dynamite - Varies by province and shipping method. See site for details.
  • Gap - December 20 at 11:59 PM EST (standard)/ December 22 at 2 PM EST (1-day shipping)/ December 14 at 2 PM EST (for rural areas)
  • Garage - Varies by province and shipping method. See site for details.
  • Globo - December 18 at 11:59 PM PST (standard)/ December 20 at 11:59 PM PST (express)
  • Guess - December 15 at 9 AM PST (standard)
  • H&M - December 13 at 12 AM EST
  • Hollister - December 19 at 12 PM EST (2-day shipping)
  • Hudson's Bay - Varies by province and shipping method. See site for details.
  • Indigo - Varies by province and shipping method. See site for details.
  • J Crew - December 14 at 12 PM EST
  • Joe Fresh - Varies by province and shipping method. See site for details.
  • La Vie en Rose - December 14
  • London Drugs - Varies by province and shipping method. See site for details.
  • Little Burgundy - December 17
  • Mark's - December 16
  • Old Navy - December 20 at 11:59 PM EST (standard)/ December 22 at 2 PM EST (1-day shipping)/ December 14 at 2 PM EST (for rural areas)
  • Reitmans - December 18 at 11:59 PM EST
  • RW & Co. - December 18 at 11:59 PM EST
  • Sears - December 18 (standard)/ December 19 (priority)/ December 20 (express)
  • Sephora - December 14 at 11:59 PM PST (for select fragrances & restricted items)/ December 17 at 11:59 PM PST (standard)
  • The Source - Varies by province and shipping method. See site for details.
  • Suzy Shier - December 14
  • Toys R Us - Varies by province and shipping method. See site for details.
  • Walmart - Varies by province and shipping method. See site for details.

If you don't see a particular retailer on this list, they may not have provided a holiday shipping deadline yet. We'll keep this list updated as retailers add dates, so keep checking back!

Note that each site provides approximate shipping dates only since volume, location, weather, and other factors could cause further delays. If you're looking to get your order before Christmas, it's best to be safe and order as early as possible!

Holiday

10 Terrible Gift Ideas You Probably Shouldn’t Give to Anyone

10 Terrible Gift Ideas You Probably Shouldn’t Give to Anyone

By Simon Hung

Everybody loves a good gift, but there are times in life when someone deserves a bad gift -- an in-law who likes to throw shade at you when you visit, that guy at work who constantly mispronounces your name, the boss who has never seen Star Wars or that useless person in accounting who couldn't solve your payroll problems for over a month.

You didn’t choose the troll life, the troll life chose you. Whatever your reason, we’re here to help and have 10 poor gift ideas that you probably shouldn’t give to anyone other than your best friends or your worst frenemies.

One-Ply Toilet Paper

Why does this even exist?

Arguably a human rights violation in several nations, one-ply toilet paper should not exist. These atrocities are in shopping malls and office bathrooms everywhere -- likely a conspiracy to keep you from using these bathrooms, because one-ply toilet paper is stupidly delicate and will shred apart when used for anything, leaving you with terrible memories. 24 rolls of the stuff will likely lead to some kind of psychotic break.

Imitation LEGO

LEGO is always a great gift, unless they're fake.

Genuine LEGO is fun for all humans aged one and up, as it's the gold standard when it comes to building blocks. Anything less than real LEGO is an abomination and enthusiasts can be easily triggered with the phrase “LEGO compatible.” Imitation bricks are usually always terrible and never seem to fit perfectly with real LEGO because the build quality is so poor. If anyone happens to tell you that “they’re the same thing,” politely but firmly tell them to get out of your life.

iPod Shuffle

It's small. It's from Apple. It's a bad gift idea.

An iPod Shuffle isn’t the absolute worst thing you can gift someone, but it’s arguably less useful than that $399.00 Apple book. It’s only 2GB, there’s no screen so it’s a pain to navigate, it charges with a flimsy proprietary cable and perhaps worst of all -- you’re forced to use iTunes to manage your music. The iPod Shuffle is a definite oddball and a subscription to Apple Music or Spotify is a much better option. Unless you’re a small child or fine with antiquated technology, friends don’t let friends use the iPod Shuffle.

Gift Cards to Awful Places

When you get a gift card to a store you hate.

Gift cards can be a nice (albeit lazy) gift, but there are a few scenarios where a gift card will forever ruin a friendship. One of these scenarios is giving a gift card to an awful store, forcing your recipient to visit to a dreadful place they wouldn’t otherwise go. A fine example is a Coffee Time gift card, as the universally accepted coffee hierarchy in Canada goes McDonald’s/Second Cup/Starbucks/Tim Hortons > water > Kopi Luwak > Coffee Time.

Gift Cards with a Low Balance

When you get a gift card to your favourite store but it's under $5.00.

Conversely, gift cards to stores like Amazon, Best Buy, Hudson's Bay or any big-name retailer are always a delight to get, because chances are high that you’ll shop at these stores eventually. But delight quickly turns to rage when your recipient checks the balance online, only to realize that the balance is stupidly low and that you’ve essentially gifted them a fancy piece of plastic. Thanks but no thanks.

Cheap, Fluffy Blankets

Don't let its softness fool you, this blanket will drive anyone insane.

Not all blankets are made the same and even the fluffiest of blankets can lead to mild insanity, like this "Super Plush Blanket" from Sears. It looks warm, cozy, soft and comfortable -- until you use it. That’s when little balls of fluff will shed and appear everywhere -- your hair, your carpet, your laundry, your clothes, your pets, your stash of office cookies. It’ll take you months to rid your home of the fluff ball plague and you’ll never want to see the blanket again to avoid another bout of fluff-induced madness.

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Fans like to pretend Episode I never existed.

Nine out of ten Star Wars fans agree that The Phantom Menace is the worst Star Wars movie and the one who doesn’t agree is wrong. It’s a cornucopia of awful with too much pod-racing, too much Jake Lloyd and way too much Jar Jar Binks. It may be number one in the chronology, but it’s last in the hearts of many Star Wars fans -- including your gift recipient, who probably won’t ever take it out of the shrink wrap.

Monopoly (Any of them)

Don't let Monopoly destroy your family.

If you ever want to alienate your friends, simply say “Let’s play a game of Monopoly!” Monopoly (or any of its special editions) typically brings out the worst in people -- constant jockeying for power and wealth, frequent backstabbing and betrayal, yelling at your significant other when she makes an under-the-table deal that gives Sarah a monopoly and completely ruins your chance of winning. Anyone who owns Monopoly quickly realizes why they barely play the game after making the regretful decision to play the game.

A Donald Trump Book

We're not sure how he did it either.

Friends who want to stay friends shouldn’t discuss religion or politics and there’s no better way to incite a riot than to talk about the most polarizing figure this year -- the 2016 TIME Magazine Person of the Year, Donald Trump. He’s popular for being unpopular and there are over 40 books in his name that will likely provoke the cliché phrase of “You shouldn’t have…really you shouldn’t have.”

Christmas Décor

The only reason why anyone should have lights up after Christmas.

Unless your gift recipient is a massive fan of Stranger Things or enormously lazy, there is absolutely no reason to have any Christmas decorations up after December 31. It's also extremely likely that any motivation to decorate your home will diminish around mid-December, making gifting any Christmas décor a particularly snide move. Bonus points if the decoration is ugly, like this inflatable Dory that looks nothing like Dory or creepy Yoda.

If you're looking for good gift ideas, be sure to take a look at our Gift Guide page to find not-so-terrible gift-giving inspiration for this holiday season! While you're here, let us know if you've ever received any particularly terrible gifts in the comments!

Amazon Prime Video Now Available in Canada!

Amazon Prime Video Now Available in Canada!

By Simon Hung

Amazon Prime subscribers received an early Christmas present today, as the long-awaited Amazon Prime Video is now available in over 200 countries, including Canada!

Amazon Prime Video is a video streaming service that was previously only available in England and the United States -- click here to view the full press release about the expansion. The service is similar to Netflix and allows you to stream hundreds of movies and TV shows for free if you’re a Prime member!

Amazon’s library doesn’t look quite as extensive as Netflix and there are some titles available on both platforms, but Amazon does have some exclusive titles as well as Amazon Original Series titles including The Grand Tour, The Man in the High Castle, Mozart in the Jungle and more! Curiously, there are some Amazon Originals like the Emmy-award winning Tumble Leaf that do not appear to be available at launch.

Jeremy Clarkson's newest project, The Grand Tour, is available exclusively on Amazon Prime Video.

Click here to visit the Amazon Prime Video homepage -- simply login with your existing Amazon credentials and you’ll be able to access the entire library. Apps are also available on Android and iOS that let you stream on-the-go and even download titles for offline playback.

This new addition is one of several major perks that Amazon has recently added to their Prime service, which lets members receive free shipping on all orders, one-day delivery in Toronto or Vancouver, 20% off diapers, unlimited photo storage and more!

An Amazon Prime subscription costs $79.00 per year or $39.00 per year for eligible students. Free 30-day trials are available for those who have never used it. Let us know if you’ll be using Amazon Prime Video or if the addition is enough for you to subscribe to Prime. Happy binging!

Boxing Day

Loyalty Points and Rewards Can No Longer Expire in Ontario

Loyalty Points and Rewards Can No Longer Expire in Ontario

By Simon Hung

Shoppers in Ontario can now have some peace of mind when collecting loyalty points, as the Protecting Rewards Points Act went into effect on December 5, which means points and rewards earned through loyalty programs cannot expire.

Air Miles recently reversed their decision to implement a rewards expiration and this act is largely credited with their change of plans, as it would have meant Air Miles would be operating against Ontario law.

This new law encompasses all loyalty programs that operate in Ontario, including Aeroplan, Air Miles, PC Plus, SCENE, Shoppers Optimum, Starbucks Rewards and other programs. If a loyalty program had previously set an expiration date on points or rewards that you've earned, this act invalidates that clause.

All loyalty programs, including Air Miles, can no longer expire rewards in Ontario.

The act can also be applied retroactively on loyalty points that expired on or after October 1, 2016 -- in these cases, the points will go back into your account.

There is one exception -- if there is a second reason, it is still possible for your points to expire. For example, if your agreement states that you must earn or redeem points within two years and you do not, your points could expire because of the combination of time passing and inactivity.

The new law is set to go into full effect in 2017. Although it is effective as of December 5, retailers will have until 2017 to modify their policies and comply with the new law. Until then, the Government of Ontario suggests reviewing your statements regularly to keep track of your points.

Click here to view the full details of the Protecting Rewards Points Act from the Government of Ontario website and let us know how you feel about this new law in the comments.

Boxing Day

Boxing Day 2016 Predictions: What to Expect and What to Buy

Boxing Day 2016 Predictions: What to Expect and What to Buy

By Simon Hung

Nobody likes Mondays, but we'll make an exception on Monday, December 26, because Canada's biggest shopping day is almost here -- Boxing Day.

Last month, we put together a list of Black Friday predictions and while we were right on some predictions and wrong on others, we're taking some of the things we saw during Black Friday and applying them to a new set of RFD Bold Predictions™ for Boxing Day.

We still haven't mastered the art of fortune telling and our Magic 8 Ball is hit-or-miss, but take a look below to read some of the things we expect to see during the biggest shopping day of the year.

General Predictions

  • Doorcrashers -- if you’re willing to brave the crowds, in-store-only doorcrashers will likely be available at many major stores and a great way to snag the best deals, but quantities are usually extremely limited
  • Early birds -- Best Buy will likely hold another “VIP Pre-Sale” where you can buy some items from their Boxing Day sale early. We like the concept but aren’t too fond of the name, because nobody is a VIP when everybody is a VIP
  • Flyers -- you can expect to see a flood of Boxing Day flyers after the first major store releases theirs. We don’t know who it is and when it’ll be, but competitors are usually quick to release flyers after the first shoe drops. Whatever the case, we’ll have them here on RedFlagDeals
If you're willing to wake up early, some of the best deals are in-store-only doorcrashers.
  • The queue -- it’s become a holiday tradition at this point that brings the RFD community together, but Best Buy will have an online queue once their sale begins where you’ll have to angrily wait in a virtual line before spending your money
  • Worse deals? -- Boxing Day generally isn’t celebrated in the US, which means most Canadian stores may not feel the need to offer comparable deals to US stores. We hope we’re wrong and it means retailers will want to offer better deals, but we’ll have to wait and see

Cell Phones

  • Android -- many popular Android phones from Samsung, LG and even the new Pixel saw discounts or gift card bonuses with a two-year contract during Black Friday, so expect to see them on sale again
  • iOS -- all iPhones (including the 7) had some discounts over Black Friday with a two-year contract. We expect similar sales, with the iPhone SE and 6s offering the steepest savings
  • Windows -- if you happen to use Windows 10 Mobile, the Microsoft Store will likely have a sale or include a bonus with the purchase of select Lumia devices

Computers and Tablets

  • Apple products -- we saw very minimal savings on Apple products during Black Friday and it wouldn’t shock us to see the same trend on Boxing Day. You’ll probably find sales on some older generation products, but probably only up to 15% off
  • Microsoft Surface -- Surface Pro 4 and the Surface Book both received discounts during Black Friday from a number of stores and they'll likely go on sale again on Boxing Day
Microsoft's Surface tablets will likely see discounts on Boxing Day.
  • Windows laptops -- there will be a plethora of laptops on sale from various retailers, but you can expect to find entry-level models for as little as $200.00, mid-range models for $500.00-$700.00, while laptops with premium add-ons like SSD storage or touchscreens will be $700.00 and up

Home and Appliances

  • Christmas décor -- if you’re the type who likes to shop early (like 364 days early), Christmas décor will be on sale everywhere
  • Major appliances -- there will be sales on standalone major appliances, but you’ll find the most savings if you bundle multiple appliances from specific brands
  • Small appliances -- high-end small appliances from Breville, KitchenAid and other premium brands will likely see big discounts, including the popular Breville Barista Espresso Machine and KitchenAid Stand Mixers

Home Audio and Entertainment

  • Apple Music -- we didn’t see a price cut for Apple Music during Black Friday, but we may see the reported 20% price cut that Apple is “seriously considering”
  • Bluetooth speakers -- we saw a number of Bluetooth speakers go on sale during Black Friday, including popular models like the UE BOOM 2 and Bose SoundLink Mini II, so anyone looking for Bluetooth speakers should wait until Boxing Day
  • Physical media -- many DVD and Blu-ray sets will be on sale at a number of stores, including recent releases, for those who prefer physical media
  • Wired headphones -- Sennheiser HD 598 Cs headphones went on sale during Black Friday and while many RFDers were pleased with the sale, others had hoped to see the open-backed Sennheiser 598 SE on sale instead and there is a chance we’ll see them for around $100.00 on Boxing Day

Peripherals and Accessories

  • Cameras -- GoPro HERO Session bundles are a common sight for sales recently and there’s a good chance that they’ll be on sale again on Boxing Day
  • Peripherals -- many peripherals including the $199.99 (!) Logitech G900 Chaos Spectrum mouse went on sale during Black Friday, so look for premium gaming accessories like mechanical keyboards, surround sound headsets and gaming mice on Boxing Day
Gaming peripherals like this $200.00 Logitech G900 mouse are likely to go on sale.
  • Storage -- we’ll likely see discounts on both internal and external computer storage if you need more space to store your selfie collection. Specifically, look for high-capacity external hard drives and internal SSDs to go on sale

Televisions

  • 4K televisions -- with higher demand and more 4K content available, 4K televisions should be a popular item on Boxing Day and expect to see major price cuts on a number of major brands
  • HD televisions -- since 4K televisions have grown in popularity, 1080p televisions should receive steeper discounts than normal on Boxing Day
  • OLED televisions -- one of the most popular threads during Black Friday revolved around OLED televisions and while the prices are tough to swallow, if you’re looking for a television with incredible colour and contrast, be on the lookout for more sales on Boxing Day

Toys

  • Drones -- DJI Phantom 3 and some Phantom 4 drones are likely to go on sale, along with a number of more budget-friendly drones from Parrot and other brands
  • Hatchimals -- the Hatchimals craze is real and some stores may receive stock and even put them on sale once demand diminishes after Christmas
  • LEGO -- you can usually save 20% on LEGO sets at stores like Toys R Us and it wouldn’t shock us to see the same sale. If we’re lucky, the savings might be even more on Boxing Day and not exclude more popular LEGO collections
  • Star Wars -- by Boxing Day, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will be in theatres and we’ll probably see discounts on a wide range of Star Wars toys so stores can take full advantage and cash in on the hype

Video Games

  • Microsoft -- the standalone Xbox One S console went as low as $299.00 during Black Friday and we’ll likely see a similar deal on Boxing Day, with bundles probably getting savings of $50.00. The Microsoft Store has a popular promotion where they include an additional Microsoft Store promo code and free game, which we hope to see again
  • Nintendo -- barring a surprise announcement, we don’t expect another special edition 3DS to release on Boxing Day. There’s a chance stock may spring up for the limited-edition handheld or the popular Mini NES Classic Edition, but otherwise look for sales on the standard Nintendo gaming hardware if stock is available
  • Sony -- we’ve seen the slim PS4 go as low as $329.99 recently and there’s a chance it may dip even lower, but we’re more likely to see some bonuses like free games or PlayStation Plus subscriptions. We saw no sales on the new PS4 Pro during Black Friday and chances are slim that we’ll see any discounts on Sony’s latest flagship until 2017
  • Steam -- Steam has historically held a Holiday/Winter sale over the Christmas break, so expect to see another one this year

Wearables

  • Apple Watch -- we didn’t see any Apple Watch sales aside from Apple themselves on Black Friday. We don’t expect the Apple Store to hold a Boxing Day sale, but we’re hoping to see at least some discounts on the Apple Watch, even though it seems unlikely
There were barely any Apple Watch sales on Black Friday, but we hope that changes on Boxing Day..
  • Fitbit -- Fitbit fitness trackers went on sale at multiple stores during Black Friday (including some of their new products) and we expect the same thing on Boxing Day
  • Pebble -- Pebble was recently acquired by Fitbit, who intends to shut down Pebble operations. While this does mean Pebble products will likely get discounts, it is somewhat of a gamble to purchase them as product support will be limited

What are you looking to buy on Boxing Day? Will you brave the weather and shop in-stores or online? Leave a comment with your thoughts and stay tuned to RedFlagDeals for the latest in Boxing Day news, flyers, tips and more as we inch closer to the biggest shopping day of the year!

Holiday

Hatchimals: Out of Stock Across Canada, How Can You Get One?

Hatchimals: Out of Stock Across Canada, How Can You Get One?

By Kate Musgrove

If you're still searching for this elusive toy, we're giving a Hatchimal away and it will be delivered before Christmas!

The holidays are here and Hatchimals, the must-have toy of the season, is out of stock everywhere! While the best thing to do is check in regularly on the sites below to see if they have stock, we can also suggest setting up a Deal Alert for the RedFlagDeals.com forums. If you click "more options" you can change if the topic alert is searching all forums (or just some), if it's searching just forum titles or titles and body and if you want to receive alerts instantly, hourly or daily. If you set up an instant alert, you just might be able to snag a Hatchimal the moment they come back in stock!

There are a number of stores across Canada carrying Hatchimals. Toys R Us has an exclusive Owlicorn species and Walmart has an exclusive Burtle species. While they're all out of stock at the moment, if you're not setting up a Deal Alert you might want to bookmark these pages and visit often.

Air Miles Reverses Decision to Implement Rewards Expiration

Air Miles Reverses Decision to Implement Rewards Expiration

By Simon Hung

Air Miles collectors can breathe a sigh of relief, as the popular rewards program has announced that they’re rescinding their plan to expire earned miles.

Earlier this year, the company had announced their controversial plan to expire unused miles after five years, with the policy set to take effect January 1, 2017. The decision angered many collectors, as members rushed to cash in their miles on items they didn’t necessarily want before the expiration date.

Some customers also accused Air Miles of deliberately blocking certain rewards and many RFDers were also frustrated with the decision, as there is currently a discussion thread with over 700 replies.

Now, customers are free to collect points for as long as they wish with no fear of expiry. While some customers are relieved, those who have already redeemed their points are likely unhappy with the sudden change of plans.

Air Miles members can now collect points without fear of expiration.

It’s speculated that the reversal is due to a pending bill in Ontario that would make it illegal for loyalty programs to set an expiry date on rewards -- should the bill pass, Air Miles would be operating against the law in Ontario and cancelling the expiration plan altogether is an easier option than to operate with two sets of rules depending on the region.

The decision will cost LoyaltyOne, Air Miles’ parent company, up to $250 million USD in revenue and Air Miles has announced plans to adjust their reward offerings to members as a result -- no specifics have been released, but there is a reasonable chance that future offers may be of lesser value to help offset the loss of revenue.

Let us know how you feel about the decision and share your thoughts about the Air Miles debacle in the comments!

December 2016 Video Game Release Dates

December 2016 Video Game Release Dates

By Ambia Staley

Your wallet may still be recovering from all the video games you purchased for Black Friday, but with the holidays just around the corner, there are still plenty of new titles to pick up! If you're thinking about some gift options for the gamer in your life, some of December's most anticipated titles include, Dead Rising 4 for Xbox One, The Last Guardian for PlayStation 4, and the Nintendo 3DS port of Super Mario Maker.

If you're looking for even more games to play, you can check out our list of releases for past months including September, and October, and November.

Get your wish list for Santa ready! Here's a look at what's coming out in December:

  • Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney (iOS) - December 1
  • Maize (PC) - December 1
  • Rad Rodgers: World One (PC) - December 1
  • The Dwarves (PS4/Xbox One/PC/Mac/Linux) - December 1
  • Furi (Xbox One) - December 2
  • Little Briar Rose (PC) - December 2
  • Steep (PS4/Xbox One/PC) - December 2
  • Super Mario Maker (3DS) - December 2
  • Arizona Sunshine (Vive/Oculus Rift) - December 6
  • Dead Rising 4 (Xbox One/PC) - December 6
  • I Expect You to Die (PS VR/Oculus Rift) - December 6
  • The Last Guardian (PS4) - December 6
  • Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun (PC/Mac/Linux) - December 6
  • The Unspoken (Oculus Rift) – December 6
  • VR Sports Challenge (Oculus Rift) – December 6
  • Werewolves Within (PS VR/Oculus Rift/HTC Vive) - December 6
  • Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney (Android) - December 8
  • Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel (PC) - December 8
  • Space Hulk: Deathwing (PC) - December 9
  • Bastion (Xbox One) - December 12
  • Drive! Drive! Drive! (PS4/PC) - December 13
  • Stardew Valley (PS4) - December 13
  • The Little Acre (PS4/Xbox One/PC) - December 13
  • Stardew Valley (Xbox One) - December 14
  • Super Mario Run (iOS) - December 15
  • Eagle Flight (HTC Vive) - December 20
  • The Walking Dead: A New Frontier (PS3/PS4/Xbox 360/Xbox One/PC/Mac/iOS/Android) - December 20
  • Don Bradman Cricket 17 (PS4/Xbox One) - December 22
  • Rollercoaster Dreams (PS4/PS VR) - December 22

Will you be picking up any of December's titles for yourself or as a gift? Let us know in the comments below!

Netflix Adds Offline Playback Ability

Netflix Adds Offline Playback Ability

By Simon Hung

Netflix released an update to their app for iOS and Android today and with it comes a feature that many users have been wanting for a long time -- offline playback!

That’s right, you can now download select titles to your device and watch them offline without a data connection! This new feature is a somewhat surprising addition, as the company has previously stated that they had no plans of offering offline playback ability.

Titles including Stranger Things and Narcos are now available for offline playback.

Currently, there are a bevy of popular titles available for download, including several Netflix originals like Narcos, Stranger Things and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, letting you take your Netflix binge wherever you go. To view all titles available for download, tap the “Available for Download” menu in the navigation drawer. Downloaded titles will appear in the “My Downloads” menu in the app.

Look for the Available for Download menu in the navigation drawer to find downloadable titles.

The download feature is available to all Netflix subscribers and it’s important to keep in mind that downloading titles will still consume bandwidth, but this is a great feature for those with unlimited home internet and those frequently on-the-go, as you can download titles using your home network instead of streaming with a mobile data connection.

Let us know if you’ll be using the feature and if you’re glad to see offline playback finally come to Netflix!

TTC Launches Online Gift Shop with Official Merchandise

TTC Launches Online Gift Shop with Official Merchandise

By Simon Hung

Depending on who you ask, Torontonians either love or hate the TTC and the riders who love the contentious transit agency can now own some official merchandise, as the TTC has opened an online gift shop!

Currently, there are over 50 products available and it’s unknown if proceeds from sales will go towards funding the one-stop Scarborough subway or mitigating the costs of the PRESTO rollout beset with financial trouble.

Products range from artwork to drinkware to apparel and we’ve listed a few of the notable items to give you an idea of what the TTC Shop has to offer.

Stations Shower Curtain - $90.00

This $90.00 shower curtain repels water better than most streetcars.

Before you go on your long, miserable commute, relax with a nice warm shower and remind yourself about your impending long, miserable commute.

Replica Street Car USB Flash Drive, 16GB - $24.95

By the time these are shipped, the real ones might actually be on all streetcar routes.

Currently marked as “Coming Soon” to the store, we suspect that the stock delay is to provide as genuine of a streetcar replica as possible, as shipping will be behind schedule and delivered by Bombardier by 2019 (maybe).

Token Cuff Link - $75.00

Also handy for paying your fare whenever a PRESTO reader is broken.

Made from real uncirculated tokens, these stylish cuff links go wonderfully with any formal ensemble, but unlike real tokens, they won’t go up in value by $0.10 every year.

System Map Double Cover Folding Umbrella - $57.00

Never use another smelly, leaky bus shelter with this $57.00 umbrella.

Perfect for those rainy days when your bus decides to unexpectedly go out of service and you have to huddle alongside dozens of angry, cold and wet passengers for the next bus (which is probably running late).

Westbound Line T-Shirt - $29.00

Keep cool on those Line 2 trains with no air conditioning with this functional and fashionable shirt.

There were over 1100 subway delays in 2015 and if you find yourself stranded on a platform or your train suddenly goes out of service, rest assured that you can always find your way home with this handy shirt. Plus, at the current rate of subway expansion in Toronto, this particular shirt won’t become obsolete for a very long time.

Stations Thermal Bottle - $25.95

Store water, juice and other drinks to make your TTC commute more tolerable.

Great for keeping hydrated when you’re trapped on the 504 King streetcar during rush hour and also handy to collect rain water on days when the window next to your seat springs a leak.

Stations Soft Phone Case - $12.00

Stand out from the crowd, as your phone will likely be the only one rocking this stylish case.

Ideal for deterring theft while you Ride the Rocket, your phone will always be safe as almost nobody would want a phone wrapped in a TTC case. Plus, if you do lose your phone and it winds up in the TTC lost and found, it'll be easily identifiable since it'll probably be the only one wearing this case.

Facetiousness aside, the store does contain some neat memorabilia for transit enthusiasts or Toronto fans, including an authentic subway map for $20.00, a myriad of modern and retro posters starting at $15.00, wooden station signs for $39.00 to represent your favourite Toronto ‘hood (although we wish there were photos of the actual product and not digital mock-ups) and even an authentic subway blind for $250.00.

The TTC Shop is a store that’s peak Toronto and serves a small niche of Torontonians, but it is a nifty store for anyone with an interest in Toronto or its transit. The TTC Shop is open now and offers free shipping on orders of $50.00 or more. Let us know if you plan on buying anything from the store and share your thoughts in the comments!

While you're there, be sure to take a look at our PRESTO Beginner's Guide to learn all about the upcoming fare change.

Boxing Day

Great Secret Santa Gift Ideas for Coworkers

Great Secret Santa Gift Ideas for Coworkers

By Kate Musgrove

It’s coming up on that time of year -- you’re buying presents for your very nearest and dearest family and friends… and that one weird guy at the office. For reasons we can’t totally understand, offices often hold a random draw gift exchange which means that in addition to buying gifts for the people you love, you’re also buying a gift for someone you don’t know -- or worse -- someone you know but you don’t like! Here are a few Secret Santa shopping tips to help you out:

Boss: buying presents for your boss can be awkward. If you give an extravagant gift you may look like you are currying favour. Pick something small but meaningful instead -- a framed photo from a work event, or some homemade sweets to share.

Complete Stranger: keep an eye on their desk for clues. For example, if they are never far from a cup of coffee, you could do something like a mug, a coffee shop gift certificate or even some gourmet coffee beans. If their desk is covered with photos of their kids, you might give them a board game they can play as a family. Now, investigating someone's desk or habits isn't foolproof -- just last week I gave someone a Starbucks card only to realize that I kept seeing them with cups from Starbucks because someone else had recently given them a Starbucks card that they were unenthusiastically drinking their way through. (Because we both work at RFD, though, I cheerfully told him that he should feel free to regift it!)

Office Nemesis: a forced gift exchange is a great time to kill with kindness -- even though the temptation to give them a Dating for Dummies book or an introductory Weight Watchers membership may be there, a thoughtful holiday gift could go a long way to bridging this gap. You might consider asking someone who knows them well what their hobbies are or what activities they enjoy.

Intern: typically, interns aren’t well-paid. This is definitely the time to skip a gag gift and give something genuinely useful, like a gift card for a store you’re sure they’ll like or a pair of movie passes.

Do you have an office gift exchange? If you do, are you a cheerful participant, or would you rather skip it?

Holiday

What are Hatchimals and Where Can You Get One?

What are Hatchimals and Where Can You Get One?

By Simon Hung

If you're still searching for this elusive toy, we're giving a Hatchimal away and it will be delivered before Christmas!

This article was originally published September 26, 2016 but has since been updated with stock information.

They’re expected to be one of the most popular toys this holiday season yet nobody has a clue what they look like. They’re called Hatchimals -- interactive eggs that require nurturing and patience before they “hatch” into a magical surprise creature. Once hatched, the walking, talking Hatchimal will continue to evolve and remain interactive with its owner.

This Hatchimals teaser doesn't reveal much about the mysterious toy.

Aimed at children age five and up, the toy was previewed earlier this year by Toronto-based company Spin Master to industry insiders and has since landed on must-have lists from both Toys R Us and Walmart. The toy has been shrouded in more secrecy than the contents of Area 51, but all will be revealed when Spin Master officially releases the toy on October 7, a day that they’ve dubbed Hatch Day.

The eggs "hatch" to reveal their unique design.

Only the speckled egg exterior has been shown thus far, while creature designs remain unknown. Children can choose a colour and one of four species when purchasing, but the Hatchimal inside is a mystery until it’s hatched. Those familiar with Pokémon GO can think of the toy like incubating eggs, as part of the thrill involves not knowing what’s inside until it’s hatched. Hatchimal designs will vary by species, so you’ve “gotta hatch ‘em all” to discover all of the unique designs.

If you’re wondering where you can get one, they’re currently available from Indigo, Mastermind Toys, Toys R Us and Walmart starting at $59.97. Right now they're sold out at all stores, but intermittent stock does pop up from time to time, so be sure to check back frequently if you're interested in getting one. We’ve listed the stores and prices below.

While you wait for Hatch Day, visit the Hatchimals website to interact with a virtual egg and be sure to visit on October 7 for the full reveal!

Fad or flop? How do you think these mysterious toys will fare during the holiday season? Do you plan on buying one (or several) for your child? Let us know what you think in the comments!