Holiday Shopping Tips

The holiday season is upon us, and so is the hustle and bustle of shopping. This month we discussed safety tips and shopping tricks for navigating through the stores and websites.

November 21, 2019

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Audio Transcript


Get Up and Go – Holiday Shopping Tips

Presented by Elyse Heinrich and Steve Kelley

November 21, 2019

Elyse H: Welcome everyone to the Hadley Discussion Group of Get Up and Go! My name's Elyse. I'm so glad you could join us today, and I'm co-hosting here with Steve. Steve, you want to say hello?

Steve K: Hey, everybody. How you doing? I'm delighted to be here and really looking forward to talking about shopping.

Harry: Uh-oh.

Elyse H: Exactly.

Harry: I avoid it.

Elyse H: Shopping and getting ready for turkey and all the fixings.

Harry: Mm, yeah. Well thank God somebody else is cooking.

Elyse H: Even better.

Harry: I used to make a turkey, but, well, not no more. It's just me, and so I go to my family and eat off of their table.

Elyse H: Well that sounds good. Yeah.

Harry: Yes.

Elyse H: Joining in. So today, I'll tell you a little bit about what we're here to do is to have a community forum and for everyone to share ideas and information about all things recreation. Like Steve said, we're going to talk about shopping and getting started on that theme as the holidays quickly approach.

Well, I don't know about you but I couldn't help to notice that we are fast approaching the holiday season, and to keep it general but also to include, there's many different backgrounds and people from all over the world with us and from different walks of life or different beliefs, so to include all holidays in the season I'll say "holidays." Finding yourselves looking for gifts or trying to find something for someone special, or possibly if you're going to be visiting with people in the next couple of weeks. Sometimes you want to bring a little trinket or a gift to them for them opening up their home, or even bringing something to share with them.

So I've thought about that and even though it's not recreation and leisure per se, but shopping can be viewed as a leisure activity for some of us, and just wanted to start to share some information about it between our group about how do you navigate some of the stores, whether they're a little more crowded this time of year than usual, and the layouts. What are some resources that you've found or that help, or maybe some technology like a handheld magnifier or a barcode reader that's helped you when you're shopping in the stores? One of them that I wanted to highlight.

Well actually, a funny picture first. I'll describe it. It just caught my eye. It's like a cartoon drawing. The gentleman's on a treadmill and he has a Target shopping cart in front of him on the treadmill. So it's the cart, and then him standing holding on it, and you can see that the machine is running at full speed, and there's a caption underneath that says, "Getting ready for Black Friday," and "getting in shape" to be running through the stores. I just had to share. It caught my eye.

Steve K: Do we have any serious Black Friday shoppers here?

Elyse H: Yeah.

Steve K: That are actually out there storefront physically, just out of curiosity?

Elyse H: Yeah.

Steve K: Personally I never quite understood that and it sounds insane, but maybe that's what some of it's about. Just a lot of fun.

Elyse H: Building off of the energy from each other, or if you really have a deal in mind and you're looking for the certain product and then racing to get there. I know I worked with a gentleman who would spend hours beforehand researching and looking at prices and deals and which store was going to be open when, and had his list all made out ready to go for the day of.

Steve K: Wow, that's brave.

Elyse H: So, talking about stores and navigating, sometimes using your white cane or using your guide dog. However you prefer. Some people go with a buddy and can do a human guide through the stores. There's also the option to ask the customer service counter or ask a clerk that could help you navigate the stores. I see we have a hand up, so I'm going to go ahead and pause a minute. Harry. You go ahead.

Harry: Oh, okay. The reason they call it "Black Friday" is because the businesses go from the red to the black.

Steve K: Is that for real?

Harry: Yep.

Steve K: No kidding. I did not know that.

Harry: They make most of their money this time of year.

Steve K: How about that? That is an interesting little factoid. I love that.

Harry: Also, it's the worst day to go as far as identity theft, because they can scan your credit card, and it could be on your possession in a pocket, and they could still scan sometimes. So people have to be real careful.

Elyse H: I've heard of that. They have these high-powered scanners that can almost, well, through a pocket or through a wallet and read your credit card numbers. Yeah. Do you have any-

Steve K: That's good to know. Extra precautions that day.

Elyse H: Yeah. I was going to ask Harry, do you have any workarounds that you've found that will deter the scanners?

Harry: Well, I don't pull it out until I'm ready to check out with the clerk, and I take my hand over it and put it in the slot and then wait for the "beep, beep, beep, beep, beep" noise, and that's ... They're also, some of the credit card companies are coming out with, you could get a temporary credit card and it has your number on it but it can't be traced in that way, and I forget what banks are doing it but it's beginning and people on their cell phones now can pay for things.

Steve K: Yeah, I was just thinking that that's one of those, and I'm not one of those folks who uses my cell phone to pay for things, but hearing that story makes me think that could be a reason to just start using the cell phone. I think there's Google Pay and then there's Apple Pay.

Harry: I've never used it, so I don't know. I just use my credit card, but I guard it really as best I can, and fortunately I haven't had any problems. What I'll do maybe is a day or two after I've gone shopping, I'll call the number and enter in, you know, select the current charges or whatever they are to make sure that there's no ... Because it lets them know right away if there's been any kind of identity theft, and that's how I have somewhat of control on that.

Elyse H: Yeah, that's a smart idea to verify what charges you made a couple days after the transaction and double check with your card provider that they match what your records match.

Harry: Right.

Elyse H: I also was going to say there's some wallets that are created. They're more of like a plastic hard case. The specific name I'm blanking on at the moment, but I'll find it, that are advertised to deter those credit card number scanner devices. So if somebody were trying to pull a fast one and be close to you or close to your wallet or your purse area, there's wallets designed that would block it. Might be another option.

Harry: Also if you're buying gift certificates, make sure that the cashier scans it because these people are going and they're getting the codes off of them, and then you forget to check it and you get home and there's nothing on it.

Elyse H: Oh, gosh. I haven't heard that.

Harry: Yeah. Sorry to brighten your day.

Elyse H: No, no. It's another thing to think about, right? Definitely.

Steve K: I see another hand up, Elyse. Liz?

Elyse H: Oh, great. Let's see. We can get our speakers here. Liz, can you hear us?

Liz: I sure can. I was going to mention on the checking your bank accounts two or three days later, I don't have a big bank so I'm guessing the big banks should have this too, but something that my bank calls "MobiMoney," and the minute my credit card is used it pops up on my phone. There's like a 10-second delay, and I'll know my card was used. So if I purchase something, it'll show up. If something shows up that I didn't purchase, then I can call and get my card deactivated right that second.

Steve K: Liz, is that an automated feature through the bank? Also, is that fairly accessible on your phone?

Liz: Yeah. Once you download the app for it and set it up, it automatically does everything for you. Then you can log into it. I log out of everything as soon as I've finished using it, and I'm kind of paranoid so if I ever go into one of my bank ones I turn my phone off and back on again afterwards, just to make sure.

Steve K: It's called "My Mobi?"

Liz: It's called "MobiMoney."

Steve K: MobiMoney. I'm sorry. M-O-B-Y?

Liz: Oh, let me look.

Steve K: It's one of the things. We usually put everyone's suggestions into the show notes so that they're all archived and people can go back and find them, so I just wanted to narrow our search down here for MobiMoney.

Liz: Okay. It is M-O-B-I-M-O-N-E-Y, all one word.

Steve K: So it is an I. Thank you. MobiMoney with an I. That's awesome. You know, that's a great sort of a thing, especially if you're concerned about a specific day of shopping. That way it sounds like all of your purchases will show up and if somebody has used it that shouldn't have, you'll know about it right away.

Liz: Exactly. It really, really is fast. If I'm at the pharmacy, which usually is at the back of a CVS or whatever, by the time I hit the door it's already beeped and told me how much I spent.

Steve K: Oh, that's great. Well, thank you for that suggestion. That's awesome.

Liz: Anything I can do to keep myself with my money.

Elyse H: Exactly. Keep all your hard-earned money in your pocket, or accounts. That's a new one for me too. I'm so grateful. One other thing I wanted to mention about in-store shopping, some of those barcode scanners. Has anybody had experience using them or any luck using them? I know they're improving and getting a little bit better, a little bit more well produced, to add into more ... I don't want to say containers, but items on the store shelves that might be handy when you're out and about for shopping season coming up. Liz, did you have a comment? Or did I miss your hand from before?

Liz: Oh. I hadn't ... What is it, *6? I hadn't done that yet, but-

Elyse H: Oh, no problem.

Liz: But, the barcode scanner. Because shopping in a large city, I've never liked it and I've never liked malls, and the more I've lost my vision the more I've figured out why I hate malls. But scanning it, like if I'm doing my grocery shopping at home, I can take the app, whichever one I'm using to shop with, and point it at what I want to reorder, or if I haven't bought it at that store before. Most of them if you've bought something at their store before it's already saved and they're suggesting to you to buy again and again and again.

Elyse H: Exactly. Yep.

Liz: But if I haven't bought it at that store before, most online shopping ones work really well. Now, running out to the stores in the real world? I don't know about those.

Elyse H: Okay. Okay. Well, good to know the online ones. But just a suggestion that if you have a little, either a device or an app on your phone, sometimes using the barcode scanners can be helpful in identifying products and information about them when you're in the stores.

Steve K: One of the things I had noticed in the past about the barcode scanners. It's been probably about a year since I used one regularly. I was working with a client and a lot of times when you get in the store you may not have good Internet service, and a lot of these rely on the Internet to look up the barcode on a database, so sometimes we found that we were waiting several minutes before we actually got a response to the scan.

The ID Mate is, it's a standalone device and I think it's about a seven or eight hundred dollar device, the ID Mate Galaxy, but the great thing about that device was it actually had the database built into it of millions of products, so you could just take that into the store and it was really prompt in scanning it. So for the hardcore shopper out there, I've found that something like the ID Mate was perfect because it did have all of that stuff built in, didn't rely on the Internet. I'd be curious to know if anybody else has been using a barcode scanner in real time out in the store what their experiences have been.

Elyse H: Me too. That's just a little bit about shopping in the stores. Steve, do you want to talk a little bit about shopping online?

Steve K: Yeah. You know, it's interesting. I think sometimes we really rely on the, what do we want to call Amazon? Kind of the big gorilla. You know? Don't get me wrong, I have made many purchases on Amazon. It's quick. It's easy. The site is fairly accessible for screen reader users and so on and so forth. However, I'm also trying to get to my notes here. One of the cool things before the show. I was listening to ACB Tek Talk, and that's T-E-K T-A-L-K, and it's a podcast.

They do Stocking Stuffers every year and I'm sort of addicted to it. I couldn't wait for the Stocking Stuffers to come out, and it's usually just before Black Friday, and one of the things that I like about their Stocking Stuffer episodes, and both of those are archived by the way and you'll find them in the show notes. What's great is they have different vendors who come on and tell you a little bit about some of their wares for that year, but a lot of these vendors are still doing it "the old fashioned way" with a phone call. What was I listening to? I think it was Brett Humboldt, and where is ... Of course I'm not going to find his stuff here. The Humboldt Company, right? And he's just one example. He came on and he was talking about some of his products, and of course they have a website, but the cool thing was on their website there's an audio description for every one of the products that's up there, and during business hours you can just call their phone number and talk to them about products, get a little bit of advice. You can make an order, and it was kind of cool too because he was mentioning that they keep the frequent flyers if you will, the folks who are regularly shopping with them, they keep their credit card information encrypted so that when Joe Smith calls for example and says, "Hey, I want two of those and three of those," he says, "Oh yeah, Joe Smith. I should put it on your credit card?" "Sure." And it's all done, and then the stuff is shipped out. You know, in this day and age when we're so accustomed to some of these big stores, I just thought, it's great to listen to some of these smaller guys. A T Guys was on there as well, and the same sort of thing. You can just call them up and talk to a human being and make an order and find what you want.

So the two podcasts that I just get a lot out of are the Stocking Stuffers. I'd highly recommend those, and then Now, their holiday shopping guide is due out probably next week from what I understand, so in the show notes what I've done is I've put a link to the 2018 shopping guide, but they did an interview with someone from Aira and one of my favorite products too, I actually had it listed as something to talk about, was the BlindAlive Eyes-Free Fitness audios. So for somebody who's creative, for example, you can go to and you'll find all of these archived audio files. At this point the audio files, there's no charge for them but there's a donate button at the bottom and I thought, now how cool would it be for somebody let's say who was on a budget, if you knew that the gift recipient that you had had a talking book player, or just some other sort of an audio player that could use a flash drive, so you'd download a couple of these podcasts or these fitness workout programs from Eyes-Free Fitness, put them on the flash drive, and bundle it up and give that as a gift? Flash drives are relatively inexpensive these days, about ten bucks, so I thought that that was kind of cool. So look for the when that comes out next week. They've got a brand-new shopping guide.

Let's see. A couple of other places. In some ways this is unfair because it's sort of hit or miss. I think that there's a lot of great companies out there that are doing one-on-one stuff with people, but I was listening to Blind Abilities over the summer, that's, and they featured a new product, White Cane Coffee, and it's by an entrepreneur who is also blind and she's hired some folks to work with her who also have disabilities, and they're doing coffee. So you can get a monthly coffee or every other week. You can get a sample pack for twenty bucks. The whole thing just sounded really like it was a lot of fun, and the other thing is too that you can just call, figure out what it is that you want, and have coffee sent to your favorite person.

Let's see what else I had here. Oh. If you're looking for ideas, another great place I thought to go was VisionAware had an article called Gift Ideas for People Who are Blind and Visually Impaired, and I'm going to put that in the show notes. I noticed that when I did a search on VisionAware for, I think I put in holiday gifts or holiday shopping, I got about four or five over the years, so some were a little dated from 2013 to 2014, but I think that the one that I'm going to put in the show notes was from 2018 and VisionAware has peer advisors, and what they did was they kind of checked in with their peer advisors about some of their favorite gifts and so everybody had a couple of gifts, put them in there. So if you're looking for ideas, check out the website and take a look at their many articles.

I think that's what I've got for the moment for online shopping. I'm sure that people have got a bunch of different experiences with online shopping, so I'd be curious to hear. Does anyone have some real positive experiences with online shopping, maybe not from one of the big ones that we're accustomed to hearing about?

Elyse H: Yeah, and as people are thinking of that, just want to also put a little asterisk that sometimes all of these suggestions can be sometimes overwhelming or just, oh boy, where do I start? I know Steve gave a good list of some really strong ones to start with, but if you are feeling intimidated about shopping and whether it's in person or online or even calling over the phone and talking with people, I know Steve and I also wanted to offer the suggestion that it doesn't always have to be monetary. You can do some things, or if you knit or crochet or make things that are homemade for a person, sometimes the meaning and the feeling behind it can also be part of the gift. Or doing a family activity together. I know Steve has a great example I'll let him share about his favorite movie.

Steve K: You know, when Elyse and I were talking about this earlier I just said, "I'm just kind of addicted to The Christmas Carol," and there's probably a dozen or so different versions of it. Believe it or not, one of the very first versions of The Christmas Carol was done by Thomas Edison, and it was a silent and it was done on one of those tubes, you know, and it's only a couple of minutes long but the really cool thing is if you're like me and you've got an interest in these, you can go to YouTube, or of course you could do Netflix but I think YouTube is pretty much, that's the one where I actually found a copy of Edison's, but you could just pull up one of those movies and sit down with a friend or a family member or something, and enjoy that. I mean, that always brings out the holiday spirit in me. I've got to sit there with tissues to be honest. Every time I listen, you know, because when Scrooge finally comes around, I'm dabbing at my eyes. Thankfully I see a couple of hands up.

Elyse H: Grab your composure. We'll start. Brenda, your hand is up. Would you like to comment?

Brenda: Yes. I have several sisters in my family. I can't see myself, but I have two different sisters who are able to see, and we don't wait until November or December. Anytime we go shopping throughout the year, we look for brand new companies, brand new items. Last Christmas I was at Kohl, and I think it's spelled K-O-H-L maybe. It's a big store. I knew I had been looking for some type of puzzle or jigsaw puzzle or some type of gift that I could give to my grandchildren. The oldest one is eight and the youngest one is probably two, and I found, in boxes, wire or metal puzzles. They were two different shapes of metal that were stuck together, and the point was to be able to figure out how to separate them and then how to stick them back together again. I wouldn't have known about it if a sighted person hadn't been with me, but what I really liked about it was on the box there was a URL, so I was able to navigate on the Internet to that company's website and hear about some of the other things that they also sell.

Steve K: Brenda, were you able to do that right from within the store or was that something you did a little bit later?

Brenda: No. I focus on what the store offers when I'm in the store.

Steve K: Okay. I got you.

Brenda: Then when I get home is when I look up on the Internet.

Steve K: Okay.

Elyse H: Oh neat. I heard also that you're not just waiting until the holiday time of maybe November/December to start your search?

Brenda: Exactly.

Elyse H: But whenever you're in the stores throughout the whole year can keep an eye open. That's really neat. I know what you're talking about. Sometimes I've heard them called as "brainteasers," that you have two pieces that you're trying to work around and twist and turn to get them apart, and like you said, back together. That sounds pretty good for an eight-year-old too.

Steve K: As someone who is not really a planner, I love the idea of doing a little planning ahead for that sort of thing too, and sometimes that can be helpful so that you're not dealing with the whole Black Friday crunch and trying to get stuff ordered or worse, in the store with a big crowd.

Elyse H: For sure. Thanks for sharing, Brenda. We have another hand up here. Barb. I'll go ahead unmute your line.

Barb: Hi, this is Barb.

Elyse H: There you are. Hi.

Barb: I'm one of those sisters that Brenda was talking about, only I cannot see very well, and I hate those brainteasers.

Elyse H: Oh.

Barb: Y’all was talking about making handmade gifts. My son recently got married, and at the bridal shower one of the bridesmaids had made us these little jars of apple butter that she made from scratch, and it was in a little mason jar. I'm going to say maybe four ounces or so, but on the lid, you know the mason jars come with a two-part lid. She had bought some special ones, and the flat part was down on the lid, and then the ring had an actual tree ornament inside it.

Elyse H: Oh wow. Very creative.

Barb: And I thought that was kind of cool.

Steve K: That's very cool.

Barb: Yeah.

Steve K: So when you got done opening the lid, you were able to take that centerpiece out and you actually had a tree ornament right there that you could hang?

Barb: Yes.

Steve K: Oh, I love that idea.

Barb: Yes, it was really cool.

Steve K: Did they make that themselves?

Barb: I think they ordered the jars and the lids that came with the ornament. I'm not real sure.

Steve K: Right, and they made the apple butter. That was something that was homemade that they put in there.

Barb: Right.

Steve K: What a great idea, Barb. Thank you. That's awesome.

Elyse H: Alright, we have another hand here. Harry, I'll go ahead unmute you. Go ahead.

Harry: Okay. I was just thinking as the discussion was going about millennials. They're more into experiences than material things, so it might be nice to have somebody over for dinner or share the cost of or just treat somebody to a meal out or that sort of thing, or some type of event, show or something like that. It also refreshed my mind about this couple. We found this Norman Rockwell 500-piece puzzle, and we thought, well, on some snowy night they could try to put this together, and they were very puzzled by it. They reacted kind of funny and I thought, wow, here I ... I didn't know what else to get them.

Elyse H: Oh, sure. And they weren't too fond of the puzzle idea?

Harry: No, no.

Elyse H: Oh boy.

Harry: They became quite puzzled by it.

Elyse H: Oh gosh.

Harry: I know, but you know, sometimes the things that we do for others, and giving of ourselves, it's just as important as something we purchased.

Steve K: I think in many cases it can be even more cherished, and it's easy to overlook that. I mean it truly is one of those things. It's probably quite simple to do, just to give someone a little bit of your time. Like you said, maybe watching a movie, sharing a meal, doing something like that, or even having a coffee.

Harry: Or if they have a pet, being willing to watch their pet for a couple afternoons or something. I don't know about children. That's a little more involved. Especially if you don't really know the children.

Steve K: You'd have to be very generous, right?

Elyse H: Yeah.

Harry: Yeah. I'm not a candidate for that. I love kids, but I love to give them back.

Steve K: Well Elyse, you also had an idea when we were talking that I thought I remembered from years ago, but I loved it. Do you remember or do you need a prompt?

Elyse H: I think I'm with you, because I was going to piggyback on that idea of-

Steve K: Harry brought it up, yeah.

Elyse H: Yes. Yes. When I was little, we were kids and we'd have the paper and crayons out, and we would make little coupon books for people in the family. I'm one of seven, and so our budget was tight, and good golly. My allowance wasn't going to cover it for gifts for people, but we would do little half slips of paper and staple them with kind of like a little book, and an idea is when I was little I would say, "This is a coupon, Mom, that I will do the dishes one night that you pick without any grumbling or complaining. This is a coupon for a free vacuum session that I would vacuum the upstairs."

Or, we always had to wash the stairs for some reason. We had hardwood floors going down to the basement, and so we'd be on our hands and knees. Different chores or things around, like I would rake the yard or vacuum or do the dishes or clean a sibling's bedroom, as an idea for a coupon book and so maybe there was five or six little pages in there they could use. And of course, we always had to put expiration dates on there, true to coupons. We were not going to be extending this too long.

Steve K: Five years of dish washing.

Elyse H: Yes, yes. We made sure to get our calendar out and make sure we were looking up the right dates, and to have an expiration date. I'm just giggling thinking about it all.

Steve K: Who would not want a couple coupons to have the dishes washed? You know? You can sit back down, watch a show, stay warm by the fire and have somebody wash the dishes for a night. That's a great gift. I love it.

Elyse H: Oh, sure, and even though our parents were probably going to make us do it anyway, they were tickled by the idea of us "willingly" to help out. Yeah.

Steve K: Now, this is not nearly as crafty, but one of the other things that I think about each year is, I'm a huge proponent of the Talking Books program and a lot of times, people who are new to vision loss haven't really stumbled across it just yet, and there's no charge for it. I think that that could be a really awesome gift for somebody if they're not aware of it is to get them signed up through the NLS for Talking Books. There's no charge, and I just know when I was working with clients, I mean, a lot of people just really totally embrace Talking Books and that became something that they really love.

The other thing I'm also fond of, and I'm not really pushing one of the consumer organizations, but the NFB Newsline is available in most states these days I believe, and that's another great freebie and if somebody doesn't know about that, getting them signed up and getting them reconnected with newspapers or magazines in their area by phone or on the computer, I think that would be an awesome gift and no charge to you other than to be thoughtful enough to share it with somebody.

Elyse H: For sure, and kind of on that vein, if you're outside of the United States we had a member of our group here send us some information ahead of time. Just like to sprinkle it in here, and also the phone lines are open. If you have comments or questions or a story to share we definitely are here, and they're some resources about shopping online outside of the United States, especially for people who are visually impaired. There's three different names, and I'm sorry about the pronunciation but I'll do my best.

One is Lazada. The other is Shopee. It's S-H-O-P-E-E. And Zalora, and they all are very accessible websites with screen readers, although some of the pictures are not fully described but they're definitely available on online shopping for overseas customers, and all of them have a 24/7 customer service line. So if you would need help with ordering or reporting any complaints or any shipping information, they do have phone numbers that you can call. One of them, the Shopee, has a feature where you can live chat with a seller, and there's not a lot on delivery fees overall. There are some specific deals going on, probably in conjunction with the holidays, so I'll spell. The Lazada is L-A-Z-A-D-A, and it's the number one online shopping and selling destination in Southeast Asia. They have places for Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Steve K: Elyse, is that an aggregate of shops, or is that just kind of like a big retailer sort of like Amazon but really focusing on some of those countries in Asia?

Elyse H: It kind of looked more like a big Amazon for Southeast Asia areas, yeah. And one thing if you're curious at them, some of them did not have English as a selection for the language, so if your screen reader or magnification starts going wonky, it might be in Thai or a different language.

Steve K: That's kind of cool.

Elyse H: Yeah. Zalora did have a English tab, and Zalora has leading name in online shopping for fashion, with an ever-expanding lineup of top local and international brands for different consumers throughout the Philippines, and many, many different products which cover fashion, shirts and dresses, sneakers, different kind of shoes, sportswear, watches and accessories, and so much more.

Steve K: Of course.

Elyse H: Just borrowing from their site. Or maybe a family or friends that are overseas and looking for a shopping idea closer to them.

Steve K: You know, I'd love to know if anybody's had a positive or well, even to a certain degree a negative experience. I don't want to be bashing any particular sites, but sometimes like a site that's not accessible, or less accessible, that's good to know. I'm just curious if anybody has had a positive experience with either one of the larger retailers, or maybe a smaller retailer that's been good. A good place to go for a gift, or to research a gift. We may not have a whole lot of shoppers here. Or just shoppers waiting for suggestions, that's all.

Elyse H: Yeah. Let's see. We'll get John. Can you hear us?

John: Hey.

Elyse H: There you are. How are you?

John: You recognized my name.

Elyse H: I recognize your name.

John: Just a couple of things. First of all go back to things that Steve mentioned a couple of years ago, and I know he's not a proponent of recommending the two blindness groups or trying to push them on, but both of them, the American Council and the National Federation of the Blind have a number of different services, and that's a really good resource.

Also, if a blind person wanted to give another blind person a good gift and both of them have access technology but they're not really sure how to find a lot of podcasts or self-help podcasts, all of these Hadley Discussion Groups are archived and you can subscribe to the podcast by going into the blindness-specific categories. Just pick one and you can go into what's called You May Also Like, and it'll list a number of different podcasts from the different groups, and that includes the Hadley Discussion Groups. You know, it might be that you have a new tech user. Help them subscribe to Tech it Out or something like that.

The other thing is, if you're looking at going shopping and you want the experience of going out somewhere, you might take a group to, oh, I don't know, a coastal community like Freeport. Well, Freeport is a town in my state, but, where there's a lot of small shops around and you can get a number of different gewgaws and odds and ends.

Elyse H: A variety. Right.

John: And you can go around the stores. I mean, if you've got a church or something that's willing to do that. I know years ago there was a congregational church in the town of Freeport which is about a half hour from me, as the crow flies, speed limit flies. They had a congregational church, and there were a number of volunteers that would take blind people out. This was years ago. I don't think they do that anymore, but if you know anything like that in your states or nearby towns, get a group of blind people. Make sure you can get them, you know, find some transportation to get to these places. The time to go is really before Thanksgiving, before the mad rushes. You can always get odds and ends and candy. I went to a candy store and got ... I always used to get jellybeans. I always used to get a pound of assorted jellybeans. No trip to Freeport was complete without a trip to Wilbur's Candy for a pound of assorted jellybeans. Loved it. I mean there's a whole number of things you can do.

Elyse H: It sounds like you have some good memories too of taking those trips and getting some of your favorite things there too.

John: It's just something to be thinking about, and also, speaking of Get Up and Go's recent sessions, last month we talked about card, board games. Go to Target and get a box of Uno cards. They're out there. You can get them.

Steve K: With braille on them.

John: Exactly, and they're only $9.99. You don't have to order them from a catalog.

Steve K: Right in the store, no special catalog needed.

John: Alright, that’s all I got. Thank you.

Steve K: John, thanks so much for your suggestions and gosh, we didn't have to pay John a thing for that nice PR. That was wonderful.

Elyse H: Great. Thanks, John for sharing. Liz, you're next in line. I'll go ahead unmute you.

Liz: Okay. Am I live now?

Elyse H: Yes. There you are. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Liz: Okay. What I was going to say is a couple things. They still have those, what did we call them in the old days? Strip malls? You know, where they've got stores that you go outside from door to door to door. Those are less crowded for shopping, and they've got specialty stores like that. I think those are the ones that they want you to go to on Small Business Saturday.

Elyse H: Okay, yeah.

Liz: Another thing that I do. If I'm looking for something specific and I hate to use the big box name, but on my Walmart app, if I type in or push the button next to the keypad to vocal tell it what I'm looking for, it'll bring up thousands of something that's similar to that, from not just Walmart but from all kinds of stores so you can find it. Even if Walmart doesn't sell it, they will list stores that do. That's a little tip that I've discovered where I can find anything, I want just using the Walmart app and then figuring out, okay, where is this and how can I go look at it, or touch it?

Elyse H: Sure. Oh, so they give recommendations for other places if they don't have it?

Liz: Right. Well at the top of the screen on that app it's got Search, so if I'm searching for, like I just searched for a mattress topper, and we didn't buy it through Walmart. We bought it out of somewhere else because it was listed on the list, and when we researched it online to see who had the best ones, we got the name from the Walmart app but we could look it up at other stores once we're getting recommendations. So that's one tip I like to do, because you can sort any way you want to and it's not just their stores. Half the stuff that I buy I don't necessarily buy from Walmart. I just find it on Walmart and then they say it's sold by all these other buyers, or they don't have it but these stores do, and so [crosstalk]

Elyse H: Yeah, that's a really great tip to share. Thank you.

Steve K: It is. Thank you, Liz. That's great to know. And kind of get you shopping other places than again, the big box store. Maybe there's something closer, smaller, a little more manageable nearby.

Liz: Exactly, and when I figured out that you could do that, it's like, that's how I find things now.

Steve K: Well, perfect.

Liz: I use their app but I'm not necessarily buying from them.

Elyse H: Oh, neat. Thanks for your comment, Liz.

Steve K: It's been a real delight, everyone, having you with us tonight and I've just had a great time with the discussion group this evening.

Elyse H: Yes, thank you to everyone joining us, and we hope to see you next time.

Steve K: Have a wonderful evening and a happy Thanksgiving to all of you.