03 April 2017

#Alpharetta #Shopping Trip #Babysitting #AmericanGirl #PaneraBread #Gamestop #Deals

My sister, our niece and I spent most of the afternoon (from about 1:30p - 6:30p) roaming around Alpharetta and then made stops in Brookhaven and Buckhead. We did go to the American Girl Store at Northpoint Mall. It was cute (and unsurprisingly crowded). My niece wanted everything, of course. Meanwhile, I could only laugh at the prices they charge for mass produced plastic doll furniture.

I remember when American Girl was introduced some 31 odd years ago by the Pleasant Company and while I thought it was very expensive even then as a kid, at least the furniture was (mostly) made of real wood. The original items showed craftsmanship and attention to detail. They were things worthy of "childhood desires." The majority of the "modern" items that I saw just looked cheap and cheesy, in my opinion. A sign of the (Mattel) times, I guess. But little girls --- and some adult collectors --- are still enthralled and snap up any brand introduction. (Whereas I would only buy the stuff on extreme sale or via free deals.)

I don't like to go shopping in the real world. I will go, if I can score deals only available in-store or if it's a special occasion trip like this (going to the American Girl Store for the first time). If we were only planning to go to the one place, it would have been fine, but my sister is (oddly to me) a Brick & Mortar shopoholic. She can literally spend ALL DAY out. I agreed to go, partially because her birthday is coming up next week, and spending the afternoon together would amount to "family bonding time." Urgh! Still, I knew that I would be bored out of my mind within moments as she and our niece, who also seems to like real world shopping, happily went about. Thus, I'd planned to take advantage of a few deals during our trip in order to make the afternoon more worth my while.

Turns out I had an old $10.00 Gamestop Gift Card that I got free with My Coke Rewards points like two Christmases ago, so I finally used it. (With the recently announced Gamestop store closings, I didn't want to hold onto it any longer and potentially end up with a valueless card, if its business "cost-cutting measures" progressed rapidly to bankruptcy or going out of business entirely.) So I ended up getting a couple Funko Pop vinyl figures and only paying $0.78 tax OOP. (The figures were $5.00/ea.)
Image (c) Funko Pop.
Ms. Pac-Man

Image (c) Funko Pop.
Suicide Squad: Killer Croc

I've been loosely reading various discussions of Funko Pop figures on a few of the gaming and movie sites I frequent. I was aware of them, but hadn't seen any in the wild. Then I spotted some near the checkout counter in the Gamestop store and thought "I could get two for free and they'll make fun gifts, if I decide not to keep them." So I bit. I chose Ms. Pac-Man, a favorite arcade game in my youth, and Suicide Squad: Killer Croc, because I recently saw the movie and liked the character.

I also used My Panera Rewards Card to get a free Cinnamon Crunch Bagel. (Panera Bread gifted me a "Free Daily Bagel in April" reward yesterday. At first, I thought it was an April Fools' Day prank. But it wasn't. I can get one free bagel each day this month, if I so choose.) I love bagels and I especially love Panera Bread bagels. My favorites being the Asiago Cheese and the Cinnamon Crunch. So this is an awesome surprise gift!

And finally, I used my Shopkick app to do a few check-ins while we wandered the mall. I earned enough kicks to redeem for a $2.00 gift card to either Target or Wal-Mart --- or I can keep saving for a higher tier reward.

Not a bad afternoon, in spite of my crazy family.

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