Questions in the Shopping category.
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August 12

How to buy commodity tech on Amazon with a flood of fake reviews

I’d like to buy a DVD burner for my USB-C MacBook Pro. I could pay a premium to buy the Apple external SuperDrive, which isn’t USB-C, and seems like a waste of money. (I have plenty of adapters, it’s simply annoying.) There are tons of alternatives, some name brands, some off-brand—most with rave, and likely fake, reviews. What’s your approach to finding commodity-level tech (USB hubs, power banks, DVD drives, maybe not defibrillators), when Amazon is filled with fake reviews? And what damn DVD drive should I get for my MacBook?
posted by Admiral Haddock at 4:30 AM - 9 answers

August 11

New Car Buying -- Manual Transmission non sports car Filter

Our 2011 Mazda 2 is falling apart. So its time to purchase a car. We want a manual transmission. The New 2020 Mazda offerings only offer a Manual Transmission in their premium package so help us narrow down what to look at? [more inside]
posted by AlexiaSky at 5:39 AM - 27 answers

August 9

Saw ugly accident, ready to ditch my car. Am I overreacting?

I have a safe, reliable car. But SO, our toddler and I were literally seconds away from getting T-boned in an accident where a distracted and/or irresponsible tow truck driver ran a red light and slammed into the passenger side of the sedan right in front of us. Everyone was okay, but we were left shaken. My anxiety says I need a new car. Or do I? [more inside]
posted by onecircleaday at 12:45 PM - 46 answers

August 7

Where to buy a leather portfolio in midtown Manhattan

What's a good place in Midtown Manhattan--or pretty quickly accessible from Midtown--where I could buy a leather portfolio tomorrow morning? Ideally something nicer and longer-lasting than a $15 piece from Target, or whatever, but I'm also not a bank executive or anything. My vague standard is: nice enough for a generic professional look, but neither so cheap nor so expensive that someone really notices or remembers it. Suggestions?
posted by pdq at 7:53 PM - 5 answers

August 6

Kid-sized silencing solutions?

Smallest is 7 and wants to hear nothing at times. I have the 3M ear protection mufflers which she quite likes but they still allow some noise to come through. She wants absolute silence. The other thing is to have more options than over-the-head because there's a possibility she could be allowed to wear this at school sometimes (disability request). She has sharp physical hearing and a small-adult/big child head. Before I spend $300 on noise-cancelling headphones, is there something that just cancels? Earplugs is too finicky for school.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 10:34 PM - 11 answers

August 3

Multicolored Chinese paper lanterns

I love a particular kind of Chinese paper lantern, which seems to have vanished from the Earth -- or at least as much of the Earth as is reachable by English-language internet. I just found some from someone on Etsy who found them used and doesn't have any more. Yay! But they only last for three months or so, before they're completely faded. I have found many, many Chinese lanterns online -- but not these. Please help me source them!
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 8:19 PM - 8 answers

Which hanging high chair should we get?

We're in the market for a hanging high chair (the kind that clamps/hooks onto a table). Two options have come out as frontrunners, but one has a 5-point harness and the other has a 3-point harness. Is one significantly better than the other? Snowflakes under the fold. [more inside]
posted by saltypup at 1:25 PM - 5 answers

August 2

Does this kind of photo book exist?

I'm looking to get the hundreds of family photos on my phone and computer printed in hard copy before they one day disappear into the cloud forever, but I'm having trouble finding a photo book service that suits my needs. [more inside]
posted by lakemarie at 10:29 AM - 5 answers

How can I figure out if bowflex 1090 dumbells are safe?

I want to buy a set of bowflex 1090 dumbells. They sound great, but a disturbing number of online reviews mention scary issues of plates falling off the dumbells. I'm trying to figure out how worried I should be about this... [more inside]
posted by ManInSuit at 9:06 AM - 4 answers

August 1

Safe to use "Send Money to a Friend" Paypal option to pay a vendor?

A non-US vendor is asking me to pay him through Paypal using the ‘Send Money to a Friend’ option. Is this safe? [more inside]
posted by gtrwolf at 7:47 PM - 14 answers

[pause] ka-CHING [pause] ka-CHING [pause] ka-CHING . . . ad nauseum

What app was this woman using? [more inside]
posted by ditto75 at 7:57 AM - 14 answers

July 31

Tiny bubble wrap for popping / fidgeting, only need small quantities

So I like popping bubble wrap, and I found a kind I really like. It's tiny and thin and soft / good for popping, and it doesn't require a lot of hand strength. I got it in the packaging of some smallish item I got from Amazon awhile back, and I'm looking for more. [more inside]
posted by cats are weird at 10:54 AM - 5 answers

July 30

The Tide isn't high, but I'm holding on...

Tide laundry detergent has disappeared from all my local grocery stores and pharmacies. What gives? Mysterious details inside. [more inside]
posted by Toddles at 11:17 PM - 12 answers

Advice on buying a used electric car

I'm looking at buying a used electric car and have some questions. About battery degradation, makes/models, and places to find them! [more inside]
posted by overglow at 11:33 AM - 8 answers

July 29

What can I buy that will improve my life?

I hate shopping, and only relatively recently have had disposable income. So I'm pretty unaware of what goods and services are out there that could improve my quality of life (defining this as giving me more time to focus on other things, efficient tools, things that will bring joy into my life). [more inside]
posted by sugarbomb at 3:42 PM - 49 answers

July 28

English teenagers gift

Any ideas for gifts for English teens (13, 16) who are visiting the States? We'd like to give a gift to two kinds. They've visited the States many times before, so it's not necessary to be explicitly American but I'm short on ideas. No food because they have several food allergies and aversions. Thank you!
posted by dublin at 9:24 AM - 7 answers

July 25

Mens' polo shirt w/ different color collar in a particular color combo?

I am curious if anyone is selling a short-sleved mens' polo shirt in US size 2XL, primarily blue (anything from Royal through Cobalt, or even as dark as Navy), but with the collar (and possibly the cuffs) a golden yellow. No points for guessing which nearly defunct video rental chain's uniform I'm trying to recreate. [more inside]
posted by radwolf76 at 1:28 PM - 7 answers

Stun-gun Suggestions?

Recent early evening rape in a nearby campus building has crystallized a decision to acquire some personal defence devices. While a Katana was considered, carrying a stun-gun may be less awkward during the workday. Amazon lists so many, we are looking for recommendations based on personal experience.
posted by Sophont at 12:47 PM - 16 answers

July 24

Help me come home to a spa, scent-wise

You know that scent that wafts by when you open the doors of a hotel spa or upscale gym? I have a dream that when I come home after work and open the door of my apartment, it smells exactly like that fancy spa or gym. I have some ideas about how to get there, but I'd like your help! [more inside]
posted by capricorn at 11:50 AM - 13 answers

July 23

Can real flowers' smell be replicated? Do these oils/scents exist?

I'm interested in introducing scented oils into my life, but I'm having trouble finding ones I like. [more inside]
posted by monologish at 1:38 PM - 6 answers

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