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Procter & Gamble launches "Tide Basic"

Procter & Gamble is testing sales of a new, cheaper type of Tide laundry detergent called Tide Basic, the Associated Press reports.


The product is on shelves in the southern and southwestern states for a trial run at 100 Wal-Mart and Kroger stores. It costs 20 percent less than regular tide, comes only in powder form and lacks the advanced cleaning technologies marketed with premium Tide.

It is an attempt to attract new consumers who do not normally purchase Tide, as well as a bid to hang onto loyal consumers who might be tempted to switch to a lower-priced brand amid the recession.

---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Only 182 shopping days 'til Christmas...


Think it's too early to start your holiday shopping? Before you answer that, you might want to check out Bath & Body Works' clearance sale.  

You know all those gift sets that retail for 30 bucks in December? You can get them now for $7.50.

The store is also offering 75 percent off a whole slew of merchandise. Availability is hit or miss in stores, so if you're looking for a certain scent of body lotion or perfume, you might want to check online. Besides the increased selection, there's an abundance of stuff on the company's Web site that isn't available in stores, like rain boots, pajamas and makeup.

You can also get $3 shipping today until midnight, $4 shipping Saturday before midnight and $5 shipping Sunday before midnight.

---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Eyeliner for your hair?

Looks like some savvy marketing company has found yet another way to sell cosmetics to macho men.


Natural cosmetic company Pencil Me In is hoping to take guyliner to a whole new level with Graff*Etch. With it, tough guys who shave patterns into their hair can "set it off" with a bit of added color using Pencil Me In eyeliner. The effect comes out like this:


Each pencil retails for $6.99. Can you see this catching on anytime soon?

---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Five Things You Should Always Buy Online (and other advice for guys)

My friend from college developed Primer Magazine as an online weekly guide aimed at guys too old for Maxim but too young for GQ - so we're talking mid-20s, independent from the parents and graduated from college. It seems to be taking off. The content is getting consistently better and more focussed. One of its most popular topics is money saving advice. 

Take Friday's post Five Things You Should Always Buy Online, for example. Some things such as plane tickets and books are obvious but did you know that buying prescription eyeglasses online results in massive savings? (Actually, yours truly wrote about the benefits of buying eyeglasses online last year)

Check out this and other tips such as "What You Should Know Before You Buy Your First New Car" and "The 5 Best Sites for Great Deals on the Internet," among others. And, note, much of the advice is helpful for anyone - not just young guys setting foot in the world.

- Joseph Popiolkowski

Saying Goodbye to the Summit


We all knew it was coming, but closure of The Summit, formerly known as The Summit Park Mall, makes me sad nonetheless.

Once a bustling retail center, The Summit has limped along for years. But, just as The Summit's tagline suggests, to me it was "More than a Mall." I guess you can say The Summit is my Buffalo Memorial Auditorium . I will miss the Summit as much as you sports fans will miss The Aud.

In recent years, The Summit saw more mallwalkers than paying customers, but I always kept a soft spot for the mall in my heart. Some of my fondest memories were spent at the Summit Park Mall, standing on the bridge overlooking the giant fountain and tossing pennies into the water. I loved piling into the family car for a trip to KB Toys or Child World, taking the back roads through the side streets of North Tonawanda and Wheatfield to admire Christmas lights along the way.


Reaching the age when I was allowed to take the bus to the mall with my sisters was a huge milestone. I could spend hours in the arcade, Aladdin's Castle, or perusing I.O.U. sweatshirts at Attractions.

As an adult, whenever I would feel a little down, I'd head over to the Summit for a nostalgic stroll and a small, comforting, pick-me-up purchase. I will sorely miss my monthly pilgrimages to Leon's Pizza--the mall's lone food court holdout and makers of the best slice of cheese and pepperoni on the planet.

Rest in peace, Summit Park Mall. You gave it your best shot.

---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Do-it-yourself alterations on Buffalo News video

Late last week I visited Jimmy Lee, owner of TT New York in the Boulevard Mall in Amherst. Lee took me step-by-step through four simple things you can do to repair, alter and clean your clothes without visiting a tailor or dry cleaner. The first video in the series is embedded below.

This assignment was especially timely for me because my new pair of Banana Republic khakis have a grease stain that just won't come out. I'm going to use Lee's method of combining baby wipes and baby powder to lift the stain (I have to buy the wipes and powder first!). Also, my favorite corduroy jacket recently came back from the cleaners with a cracked button. I'll use Lee's advice to sew a new one on.

If you have success with Jimmy's tips, let us know. And if you have other tried-and-true methods, share them here.

— Joseph Popiolkowski

View the full "MoneySmart: Skills to Master" series at The Buffalo News video page.

Snuggies and other Unrealistic Temptations

What is it about infomercials that is so tempting? In the 1990s, I was the not-so-proud owner of the Ab Flex, a kind of Stick Blender called the Daly AND a sandwich press called the SnackMaster. None of them lived up to my expectations--all ended up in the garage sale heap.

So why is it that, even after reading all the terrible reviews, I still kind of want a Snuggie blanket?

And I don't even care that I'd look like one of the Knights Templar when I put it on.

Maybe it's because the infomercials do such a great job of making the ordinary objects we've used all our lives suddenly look astoundingly unacceptable.

I mean, look at the woman in the snuggies commercial. "Blankets are OK, but they can slip and slide!" The woman onscreen looks so baffled by how blankets work. She seems about to cry because she can't figure out how to pull it over her shoulders while still covering her feet.

Yes, why do blankets have to be so difficult?! And then the phone rings! Harumph! Now I have to take my arm OUT of the blanket! What do I do? My hands are "trapped inside!"

Which infomercials have you found most tempting or most ridiculous? It's a fine line. Have any "exclusive TV offers" cut the mustard at your house?

---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Wegmans Drug Formulary Released Today

Today, Wegmans pharmacies joined the ranks of those offering select generic prescription drugs at $4 for a 30-day supply and $10 for a 90-day supply. Click here to find a complete list of included medications.

---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Goodwill Deal at Ann Taylor LOFT

We've been talking a lot lately about building up a wardrobe to enter (or re-enter) the workforce. Goodwill Industries has been helping people do that for years. Now, it and Ann Taylor LOFT are teaming up for a special promotion to bring things full circle.


From March 2 to March 8, bring any pair of pants to a LOFT store and receive $15 off each full-price pants purchase. The pants you bring will be donated to Goodwill, where they'll be sold to help fund job training and placement services. 


Ann Taylor LOFT stores can be found at Boulevard Mall  (834-1404), Walden Galleria (651-0617) and Orchard Park Village on North Buffalo Road (667-2592).

---Samantha Maziarz Christmann                              

Post-Christmas Bargain Hunting: Are they onto us?

It used to be just a few of us sneaky bargain hunters lurking through store aisles the day after Christmas. We knew only fools bought wrapping paper and greeting cards before then. We waited until after the big day to stock up on deeply discounted Christmas merchandise for the following year.


Now, post-Christmas sales are all but a holiday in themselves. Stores open early, giving out doorbusters and coupons as if it's round two of Black Friday.

I saw some boxes of really cool Elvis Christmas cards at American Greetings December 26. But, instead of scooping them up for 25 cents apiece like I might have in years past, I left them--and their five dollar price tag--sitting on the shelf. Sure, they were 75 percent off, but the original price was a whopping $20 for 20 cards.

Which begs the question: are retailers onto us? Do they jack prices up in advance, knowing we'll come back for the "markdowns" later?

---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

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