A convenient U.S. shipping address

I do a lot of online shopping and, once in a while an item is either not available in Canada or A LOT cheaper in the U.S. — even Canadian goods! At first I thought I couldn’t benefit from those deals because I did not have a U.S. shipping address to send it to. But then a colleague told me about this place called “The Letter Carrier“: it’s like a little warehouse where you can have your stuff sent to for a very small fee at this address (check the website for fees and restrictions):

[YOUR NAME]
[YOUR PHONE NUMBER]
145 Tyee Drive
Point Roberts, Wa 98281

It’s conveniently located walking distance across the border on the U.S. side. Even me who doesn’t own a car can get there easily enough with transit, albeit more slowly. I live downtown and it takes me about 1.5 hours to get there (it’s just past Tsawwassen). The best part of going there by transit is that I can just step off the bus about a 10 minute walk from the border and walk across almost instantly (my reward for getting the slow ride there ;) ). But even with a car, the wait time can’t be that long as Point Roberts is a tiny community surrounded by water and, if you have no business there, you shouldn’t be at that border crossing to begin with.

I have now used this service a couple of times and it’s great! You can register your email on their website so you’ll get notified right away when your package arrives. You can also send your mail from there too, of course. There are probably other similar places around other border crossings, but this is the most convenient one for me. If you don’t have family, friends or an existing postal box near the U.S. border, try it! You’re gonna love it. :)

“Deal of the Day” sites for Vancouver

You know you’re hot when Google wants you. Such was the case with Groupon recently, although they rejected Google’s 6 billion dollar bid. :o  Groupon and the “social buying” phenomenon that it is is so popular that it’s set to become the fastest business to earn a billion dollars in sales in a year, ever.

Seeing the potential of social buying, a lot of  other “deal of the day” sites have sprung up lately and it’s all the better for us consumers. :)  I’m kinda new to this myself; it seems to me that 50% – 70% off whatever product or service a company has to offer is the norm, although these “deal of the day” sites claim we should see offers upwards of 90% or more once in a while. I have yet to see those jaw-dropping offers myself, but I’m not gonna complain at getting something at “just” 50% off either, you know? :) I would think these sites might hurt a long time favorite of mine, the “Entertainment” coupon booklet, unless they switch to this type of “deal of the day” site as well.

So far, I can vouch for these sites:

http://www.groupon.com/
http://livingsocial.com/
http://dealoftheday.redflagdeals.com/deal/vancouver/

And I just found out about this one:

http://www.facebook.com/socialshopper

I was a bit suspicious when their email showed up in red warning color in my email inbox, but after looking at their Facebook page, I guess they must be legit, with almost 7,500 people who like them? I have bought a deal from them; I’ll let you know if I still have all my money soon enough. :)

Let’s hope that these sites will become so popular that they’ll have a huge backlog of partners waiting for their turn and “deal of the day” just won’t cut it anymore. Instead, a “bundle of the day” will be in order, giving us consumers us a plethora of deals to consider every day. :D

Let me know if you have some more sites to recommend.  In this beautiful but expensive city, we need all the deals we can get! :p

UPDATE: Everything is fine with Social Shopper… I was able to redeem my voucher without any issues at the restaurant. As much as I’d been a fan of the Entertainment booklet for a long time, I must say that this is even better (all those deal sites, not just Social Shopper) since those vouchers act like gift cards and you can use them to buy whatever you want. At the restaurant, this means you’re not limited to just entrees; you can use the voucher to buy appies, desserts or even alcohol if you want (unless the fine print says otherwise). Sorry Entertainment… It was good while it lasted. lol

I found yet another deal site:

http://www.stealthedeal.com/vancouver

UPDATE #2: Yet a couple more sites to add:

http://www.dealfind.com/vancouver/ (seems to be legit, after checking out this blog)
http://www.teambuy.ca/vancouver/ (they appeared on the “Dragons Den” on CBC, so…)

PRESTO!

UPDATE 2011-03-01: the restaurant has been closed… Bummer.

We have been going to Cafe Presto Panini 3-4 times now and the experience has been consistently rewarding.

A must have on our list is the excellent Roman Salad.  Its thick slices of prosciutto generously cover the organic greens which are mixed with some fresh and tasty tomato bits along with parmesan (did I detect a hint of Dijon mustard in there?) and balsamic dressing.

We have also tried a few of the paninis and, so far, our favorite is the Chicken Avocado.  The panino almost feels like it melts in your mouth — in a “non-mushy” way, of course ;) — as the tender chicken, avocado, tomato sauce and mozzarella make their way to your taste buds.

The cafe is small, but its following seems strong indeed as one could notice the chef merrily chatting with what seemed to be regulars on 3 occasions (out of 5 occupied tables — good ratio!), as they entered.  It’s always a good sign when you see people coming back for more.  I think they can count us in as regulars now, too. :)

In a nutshell:

Name Cafe Presto Panini
Address 859 Hornby St., Vancouver
Phone 604-684-4445
Food *****
Service Friendly.
Ambiance Simple. Homy.
Price Most dishes hover around $10 each.

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Directions: