Sales Letters that Sell!

Sales Letters that Sell!

The average consumer is inundated with sales pitches. So if you’re selling a product or service to today’s ad weary consumer, if you want your sales letters to get results, you’ll need a step-by-step plan that breaks down the barriers to buying. A plan that bypasses the head and goes right for the heart.

If the heart’s in it, the brain will follow.

Buying anything is largely emotional. Whether it’s paper clips or plain paper copiers, emotions lead the purchase. Facts, specs and the like are simply used to justify the decision, once made. Which means that everything about your sales letter, every sentence, every phrase must appeal to your customer’s emotions.

What emotions?

The simple truth is, there are only two emotions that really motivate people: The promise of gain or the fear of loss–with the fear of loss being the stronger. Example: Given the choice of headlines: “Save money in legal fees.” Or “How to keep from being sued.” The latter will probably get a better response.

Supporting the promise of gain and the fear of loss are seven key emotional hooks or basic human needs. No matter what your product or service, to be effective, your sales letter must directly address as many of these basic needs as possible:

• Safety/Security
• Wealth
• Good looks
• Popularity
• Self-satisfaction
• Free time
• Fun/Excitement

So how do you get them to act? How do you go from head to heart? What’s the copy paradigm? Imagine you’re in a baseball stadium facing an audience in rows of bleachers. It’s the game of the century, ninth inning, bases loaded. And you’ve got a bag of peanuts you absolutely must sell or the boss will fire you on the spot. What would you do to get their attention? Yell “Peanuts?”

Start with a verbal “2×4”

You’ve got to hit them over the head with an emotional motivator. And that means you start with the envelope. Remember– gain or loss–it has to be right there on the outside, in bold. (When was the last time you rushed to open a plain white envelope?) Two examples:

Gain– “We Put a Money-Making Miracle in this Envelope.”
Loss– “Throw This Away and Work Hard for the Rest of Your Life.”

Okay. They’ve opened the letter and what do they see? A boring paragraph about your leadership in the industry? Stuffy sentences about commitment, innovation and dedication?

Whoosh. In the round file it goes.

Time to visit our key motivators–gain or loss. Again, it’s got to be there in a headline they can’t miss. And it must reinforce the headline that compelled them to rip open that envelope. Both headlines must dovetail in their message and emotional impact.

Example: “Finish reading this letter and you’re halfway to becoming rich.”
Next comes the all-important body copy. What to say to leave them begging for your product. For this we go right into the consumer’s emotions, mining for clues to the perfect selling pitch.

What’s the problem?

A while back, McDonalds was beating the pants off its competitors. So Burger King hired a big powerhouse ad agency to gain them market share. They tried everything–analyzing secret sauces, elaborate contests, toy tie-ins. Nothing worked. Finally, they sent out questionnaires, did focus groups, and literally stopped people on the street. And you know what they discovered? Not what consumers liked, but what they didn’t like about hamburgers. For on thing, the leading hamburger came practically “factory made” with everything on it. Some folks liked pickles, others hated onions or mayo. That was “the problem.” The solution was simple: hamburgers made to order, followed by the now all-too-familiar slogan “Have it Your Way.” The point is, you’ve got to find and exploit your consumer’s problem. And make your product the hero.

Life without your product–miserable

So, you’ve succeeded in getting your reader’s attention. You’ve discovered their “problem.” Now it’s time to remind them how many ways that problem affects their lives. If you’re selling a cordless electric lawnmower, you’ll want to remind them of all the headaches of their old gas powered mower. Like running out of gas, finding the gas can, taking it to the gas station, driving back with a can full of smelly gas in the car, maybe spilling gas on the carpet. Once at home, there’s the annoyance of yanking the starter until your arm feels like a wet noodle. And the fire danger of having a can of gas in the garage with kids playing near it. The point is, you want to paint a very troublesome picture of life without your product.

Life with your product—absolute bliss

Now that you’ve raised your reader’s interest by making them feel the pain of life without your product, it’s time to provide your solution. Here’s where you’ll briefly introduce yourself and your product or service. No more running out of gas, no more smelling gas cans in your new car, no more yanking that starter cord till your arm falls off. Just flick the switch and you’re ready to mow. Plug it into your electric outlet and it charges overnight. Your worries are over. You go on and on, hammering home the fact that your product or service is the perfect solution. At this point, your reader will probably ask, “Sounds interesting, but who the heck are you to think you can solve my problem? I never heard of you.”

Credentials time

Here’s where you build trust by detailing key facts that build confidence in you and your company. You could start by listing some testimonials from satisfied customers. If these come from people in the industry who your prospect is familiar with, so much the better. And if you can get photos, phone numbers and so forth, it will add even more to your credibility. This is also the time to mention how long you’ve been in business and any articles that about your company and/or its products that have appeared in the local or national media (these can be particularly valuable, since they come from an impartial source).

Now that you’ve assuaged their fears about doing business with a complete unknown, they’ll want to be totally sold about your product or service. Here’s where you go into detail. And this is the perfect time to do so, because you’ve established trust. They won’t be thinking about who you are, but what you can do for them–how you’re going to solve their problem.

Detail benefits, not features

A key caveat here. Don’t get your reader quagmired in “Featurespeak.” It’s easy to do and it’s what most unskilled writers fall victim to. Featurespeak is for your sales team, not your potential customer. Avoid things like “Our new cordless electric mower features the X9T Autoflex handle, or the PT600 Zenon Battery. Better to say, “Our new electric mower’s handle easily adjusts to your height for maximum comfort.” Or “The easily rechargeable battery lasts up to 5 years without replacement.” If your product or service has more than three major benefits, list them in bullet point form to make them easier to read.
Make them an offer they can’t refuse

This is the crucial part of your sales letter. Your offer should be compelling, irrefutable and urgent. You want your reader to say, “This is a great offer, I’ve got nothing to lose but my problem.” Try to combine the big 3 in your offer–irresistible price, terms, and a free gift. For example, if you’re selling a cordless electric mower, your offer might be a discounted retail price, low interest rate, and a blade-sharpening tool. Try to raise the perceived value of your offer by adding on products or services–for electric mowers, it might be an extended warranty or safety goggles. Augment this with compelling benefits these additional products or services will provide.

Assuage with a guarantee

There’s a little voice in the back of every customer’s head that whispers, “Buy this and you’ll be sorry.” So make your offer bulletproof. Take the risk out of the purchase. Give the absolute strongest guarantee you can. It tells your reader you’re confident in your product or service. Enough so to back it up with a strong guarantee. Don’t be afraid to make this final commitment.

Motivate the procrastinators

So they’re reading your letter and are pretty convinced that your company and your product or service can solve their problem. They want to buy. The mind is willing but the flesh is weak. Time to bring in our key motivator—fear of loss. One way to tap into this fear is by convincing your reader that because this is such a good deal, only a scant few mowers remain. Or that the extended warranty is being offered only for the next few days, or for the next 50 customers. Our old motivator–gain–can be used here as well. Example: “Buy now and get a $20 gift card–FREE!”

Call to action–KISS

You and your staff know what readers need to do to buy your product or service, but your readers are inundated with offers every day. And each offer has a different procedure for buying. Give them a break and walk them through the order/purchase process. And KISS (keep it simple stupid). Use simple action words like “Pick Up the Phone and Call Now!” If your phone number spells out a catchy slogan or company name, always add numerical phone numbers. If they need to fill out a form and mail it, say so. And if possible, use large type on your form—especially if you’re selling to seniors. Be clear on what they’re ordering and for what price.


Follow Alec Baldwin’s admonition in the movie Glengarry Glen Ross—“ABC…Always Be Closing.” Sprinkle your call to action throughout your letter. Ask for the order. Then when you give the call to action at the end of the letter, it won’t come as a surprise, but just another reminder. Better still, if they’re ready to order halfway through your letter, they’ll know what to do.

Postscripts are magic

Nobody reads postscripts, right? Wrong. The P.S. is the third most read element of a sales letter—after the headline and any picture captions. The top wordsmiths use several (P.P.S) in their letters. It’s one of the best places to remind readers of your irresistible offer. But you have to be brief and compelling, establishing urgency and value, and drawing on your key motivators of gain and loss.

Drive it home on the order form

The order form is where some of the greatest sales are won or lost. It’s where that little voice in the back of your customer’s head comes alive once again and says, “You’ll be sorry” or “You sure you want to buy this now?” It’s what I call Preemptive Buyer’s Remorse.” Time to bring in our top gun persuaders–gain and loss–one last time. Use the same persuasive arguments as before–only be brief, more compelling and urgent.

Do you want the steak knives or the El Dorado?

Okay, you’ve got the prized Glengarry leads. And the formula for writing a winning sales letter. Start by knowing your prospect’s problem, then drive home key benefits using the emotional motivators I’ve described. And don’t forget Alec Baldwin’s other maxim, AIDA–Attention. Interest. Decision. Action. Get their attention, build their interest, convince them it’s the right decision, and finally, urge them to act. Good luck. You’ve got 26 letters in the English alphabet. How you use them can make all the difference …between getting the steak knives or the Cadillac El Dorado.

Home And Contents Insurance. Poor Maintenance Can Invalidate Your Cover.

Home And Contents Insurance. Poor Maintenance Can Invalidate Your Cover.

Lancia Y
Source: Flickr

Most home and contents insurance claims proceed smoothly, except perhaps for occasional disagreements about how much something was worth. But another re-occurring difficulty is where damage is due to poor building maintenance. The homeowner has a duty of care and the insurers take a dim view of claims that the homeowner could, and should have, avoided. AS a result insurers may scale down or even reject your claim.

To avoid such problems you should give your house an annual Maintenance MOT. A springtime check would be good. By carrying out just a few simple checks, it should be possible to find problems at an early stage.

Rain, wind, snow and frost place some of the biggest day-to-day strains on the structure of your home. Consequently, most homes develop a few problems in the autumn and winter months, so a springtime check can save much time and expense further down the line.

It’s not as if you’ll be paying money that you could claim later on an insurance claim. Indeed, any costs you claim that were really a maintenance issue, will be rejected by your insurance company.

Here’s our 10 point springtime MOT for your home:

• Clean out the gutters. Autumn can be especially hard on gutters as lots of debris can accumulate. That must be removed. Blocked gutters and down spouts can quickly cause enormous damage if water is left to overflow and penetrate the structure. But please be careful with this job. Working up ladders is dangerous so why not get your window cleaner to do the job!

• Now get your binoculars out and check the roof. Search for cracked, loose or slipped tiles. A leaking roof can result in costly damage. Ceiling damage, rot, redecoration can quickly swallow up money. Then there’s the a safety issue. If a tile slips off, someone could be badly injured. Even your car could take a direct hit!

• Check out your exterior paintwork. Any cracked, peeling, or blistered paintwork needs attention. Touch it up to preserve the wood from damage. Summer time can be surprisingly hard on paintwork. High temperatures and big temperature changes create expansion and contraction cracks ready to let in the following winter to do its worst.

• If you’ve heavily used an open fire during the winter, get the chimney swept. Heavy build-ups of soot can easily catch fire and during the summer the soot absorbs damp.

• Take a walk around the house and make sure that nothing is covering over the damp course. Pilled up garden rubbish is the most common offender. Grass cuttings are not your home’s best friend! If damp gets past the damp course your walls inside will get damp resulting in damaged to plasterwork decoration. Over time, rot will set in.

• When you are planting shrubs and trees you need to ensure that their roots are not going to cause future damage. If roots penetrate your drains or get into your foundations you’re in for horrendous bills. Willow and Popular trees are some of the worst offenders. Are you aware that you shouldn’t have a Popular tree within 150 feet of your property? If a new house is built within this distance, it has to have specially reinforced foundations!

• Whilst on the subject of trees, you probably think that your buildings insurance will cover damage caused by falling trees. Yes they will – if the tree was well maintained. But what happens if the tree was rotten or already damaged? Yep, you’ve guessed it, that’s a maintenance issue. You’re liable! Unless you can show that you took reasonable care of the trees, the insurer can refuse any subsequent claim. If have big trees you could have big problems. You are advised to get an annual report from a tree surgeon detailing any work that is needed – and don’t forget to carry it out and keep the paperwork! Such action demonstrates that you have taken due care and therefore, any related claim will be accepted.

• Do you have any climbing plants on the house? Check out that they haven’t caused damage to your brickwork or render. Ivy is the biggest offender. And never let climbing plants get onto your roof – that’s a recipe for disaster!

• Now go inside your house. Remember to have your central heating boiler serviced – it’s been a hard winter! And get its carbon monoxide emissions checked. Whilst the engineer’s there, also get him to give your radiators the once over.

• Finally, up into the loft. Check for signs of leaks and rodent damage to the wiring. Squirrels love warm lofts and they love the insulation around wiring! The fire brigade hate squirrels! And a dirty job. Whilst you there, remove any old bird or wasp nests and block up the openings.

Take these steps and you’re unlikely to run into a problem with any structural insurance claim. Your home will also love you!

Dog Care: 6 Easy Steps for a Terrific (and safe) Romp in the Woods

Dog Care: 6 Easy Steps for a Terrific (and safe) Romp in the Woods

MB G63 AMG XPEL Stealth PPF Install
Source: Flickr

Leaves are falling and paws are crunching in the parks….

What a beautiful time of the year to get out with your canine companion and enjoy the crisp, cool air, frolic in the falling leaves and take in the visual splendor of nature. A walk in the woods can be an exhilarating experience for you and your dog, especially if you’ll take a moment for some basic dog care preparations. Minimize surprises and emergencies by following these simple steps.

I don’t know about you, but I will drive hours to find a place where the dogs can run free in nature. We all love it and often spend the whole day in the mountains together. I’ve developed a list of easy dog care to-do’s to ensure we have a great time and arrive and leave together safely.

I recommend the following items for your outdoor adventures:

1. Orange vests for you and your dog
This may sound like overkill, but I recently had an experience with my dogs that scared me. I was out in the woods with my dogs when I heard shots fired not far from me. I couldn’t see my dogs and terror ran through me. Immediately I realized we were not prepared for the hunters. Bright colored vests would have helped the hunters know we were not deer, and please don’t shoot us. Every year you hear the stories of accidental shootings. Don’t be the next casualty — don your orange vests!

2. Current dog tags on collars
Keeping a collar and current dog tags on your dog helps others get him home if you get separated. One thing I have recently done is change the dog tags to read “I must be lost. Please call Mom. (xxx) xxx-xxxx”. This gives all the pertinent information, yet doesn’t provide information for an easy abduction. I don’t want someone to know my babies’ names, which might lead the dogs to believe the stranger is a friend.

3. Foot and body check during and after the outing
I check my dogs’ paws and body frequently to remove the debris from the fall season — gum balls, seeds, burrs, rocks, thorns, pine needles, and leaves can add up to irritation or lameness.

4. Fresh water and a bowl
If I can help it, I don’t let my dogs drink standing water. I carry fresh water instead. I have had to deal with stomach problems in the past from bacteria in standing water. Carrying your own water is a small thing, but doing it can prevent lots of pain and suffering, a vet bill, and a 10-day supply of antibiotics.

5. Towels
I love towels, lots and lots of towels. To me, dropping dirty towels in the washer is much easier and less smelly than detailing a car or working to get that horrible wet, dirty dog smell out of fabric and carpet in my truck.

6. Whistle — long range
Lastly, I whistle-trained my dogs. If we do separate, a blow on the whistle has them running to me. Chances are, they don’t like not being able to see me and will be happy to have me back in their sights. I highly recommend the ACME whistle that sounds from 2-5 miles. Get it on a lanyard and carry it with you.

These 6 simple steps can make your outdoor trip so much more enjoyable, for you and your dogs. And paying attention to the basics in dog care shows your dog just how much you love her.

Happy hiking!

How To Calculate Your Whiplash Claim

How To Calculate Your Whiplash Claim

Ford Kuga
Source: Flickr

How much is the pain and discomfort of your whiplash injury worth?
A fair question, after all a whiplash injury is painful – so you should be compensated accordingly. Unfortunately, however, the level of compensation you get for your injury following an accident will depend on a number of variable factors.

The Whiplash Compensation Claim

The first of the variable factors will depend on how you make your whiplash injury claim. If you make a compensation claim directly against the insurance company, then you will likely be compensated in accordance with the settlement agreement you make with the insurance company.

However, if you decide to seek the advice of a compensation solicitor to handle your whiplash compensation, then you could be entitled to compensation categorised as

(i) General Damages and

(2) Special Damages.

General Damages For Whiplash

The overall amount that you may be entitled to under General Damages is difficult to determine as it is paid for the physical pain and suffering (i.e. the actual damage – such as a whiplash neck injury or something more serious) that you encounter as a direct result of the accident you had.

You may also be allowed to claim for emotional pain and loss of enjoyment of life as part of General Damages. Finally, if the pain and suffering you encounter as a result of your injury causes you to suffer psychological disorders, such as depression, then this may also be included in your compensation claim.

Although General Damage sums awarded by a court will be dependant on their set guidlelines, the details of your medical report detailing the extent of the whiplash, the actual injuries caused, and the possible harm it has had on your emotional state will, all play a pivotal part in the whiplash injury claim.

Special Damages For Whiplash

Unlike General Damages, Special Damages can be fixed to some degree and are payable to you as a result of you having encountered certain special losses because of the accident.

In particular, Special Damages are payable on any loss of earnings (including any potential loss of future earnings as a result of the accident) you may have to endure while you recover from the accident; car hire expenses you have to pay as a result of your car being in the repair shop; if you have to pay someone to look after you while you recover from your whiplash, these can be recovered; and if you have paid for medical attention to treat the injury, you can also include these in your claim.

If you want to claim for Special Damages you need to keep a careful track of all the payments you have made and where possible you’ll need to have receipts.

Insurance Settlement

If you decide that you do not want to make a whiplash injury compensation claim through the courts, then you need to agree to enter into a settlement agreement with the insurance company. In this case you need to make sure you read the terms of the settlement agreement very carefully as insurance settlement claims usually contain provisions

(1) that the insurance company can pay you in instalments, rather than a one-off lump-sum payment;

(2) that once you have been paid the whiplash compensation by the insurance company you cannot reopen the claim in the future to try and get some more money and agree to no longer hold the insurance company liable for any future cost or loss.

Limitation Period To Bring A Claim

If you have recently suffered a whiplash injury, then you have a period of 3 years from the date of the injury in which to bring proceedings to court. If you fail to bring your whiplash compensation claim to the courts within this time you will have forfeited your right to make a claim.

Whiplash Injury Solicitor

Whether you have suffered a neck injury, back injury, or bruising, in order to know exactly what your rights are you should seek a consultation with a personal injury solicitor or lawyer as soon as you can following the accident and in any case before you agree to sign any settlement agreement with any insurance company as they are not obligated to tell you what your legal rights are but also what compensation you should be entitled to.

{Fear cannot be entertained on your scholarship quest; whatever your uncertainties, face them good and square, or bury them until the quest is over

{Fear cannot be entertained on your scholarship quest; whatever your uncertainties, face them good and square, or bury them until the quest is over

Source: Flickr

{When scholarship hunting, you may not lose any document from your past. There is no telling when you could be asked to present these documents detailing an achievement from your past, or some kind of record that they think is important. You wouldn’t want to have trouble getting that, would you?|When seeking scholarships, you could look virtually anywhere for what you need. Some car dealers actually carry loads of information on the packages, and sometimes you can learn at retail stores or grocers. Every little bit of information you can lay your hands on will be a help.}

{There is a chance that in spite of your best efforts you might not get that scholarship. In the light of that, apply for a grant also. They work in similar ways even though they are not the same thing. At least, you could use the grant as a consolation prize.|If you don’t know how scholarships work by now, you are not planning to win one. To begin with, they all have some kind of working understanding across board, but added to that they also have specifics on how they plan to function individually. You have to be versed in them all.|You don’t get to get your scholarship if you don’t know all about it that there is to know. Who packaged the scholarship, who runs it, how long it has been functional, and what you need to do to get it. Sincerely many of these things are not even stated in the rule book, but they kind of grow on it when you do your general researches. Well, don’t let them slip.}

{You don’t have to sit back and give up on your dreams because you are short of funding; even though you cannot see another option in the horizon, your chances are not wiped out. I happen to know that a scholarship might do the trick for you; why not try that one?|It will be smart of you to garner as much information as you can about scholarships before you embark on the quest for them. What little you do know might make all the difference between getting the scholarship and flunking your one chance.}

{Even with a low GPA you could get a scholarship in the United States these days. It takes first, doggedness; and then gunning for just the right ones that won’t throw you out because of that nasty little setback. With those in place, you are as good as having the scholarship in your hands already.|You know that in your quest for a scholarship you cannot afford to be too slack. You must give it what it takes unless you suppose you no longer have it. In that case, you know that you will not be getting the scholarship anyway.|A low GPA or bad SAT scores will kill your scholarship dreams dead, and you know it. If you are not able to begin building on that one right away, you are bound to have serious problems in the future. You don’t want that, and neither do I for you.}

Tips On Barcelona Sightseeing

Tips On Barcelona Sightseeing

Ford Kuga
Source: Flickr

Barcelona has a lot to be proud of.
A city literally stuffed with spectacular architecture, historical and cultural places of interest, fantastic food and a vibrant nightlife, it is no wonder tourists flock to the area. There is more to Catalunya than Barcelona sightseeing however, including a glorious coastline, beautiful mountains and a fierce independent spirit that will be felt by even the least informed visitor.

Make sure you have a map detailing the places of interest when you arrive in Barcelona; it is surprisingly easy to get lost in Barcelona’s bustling streets. A good place to start your tour is Gaudi’s Park Guell, an open space filled with pieces of Gaudi’s work including benches, archways, walls and balconies. It is a place where Gaudi’s imagination really ad free reign, and you feel almost that the works of art are more natural than the plants and trees.

From here you can move easily on to Gaudi’s iconic work, the Sagrada Familia. This church was started in 1882 but was not finished when Gaudi died in 1926. Various attempts have been made to complete the work to Gaudi’s designs but the church is still not entirely finished and probably never will be. If you don’t think you can capture the spirit of the church in your own photographs, you might want to check out the stunning images available in postcard stands that surround the building.

The Barcelona zoo was founded in 1892 and is located in the Ciutadella Park, next to the old town or Ciutat Vella. This is a great place to visit especially of you have children that are likely to lose interest in architecture and history. Some of the seven and a half thousand animals on display include pelicans, American buffalos and red kangaroo, as well as a specialist primate collection which the zoo is famous for.

There is an aquatic park within the zoo that provides a home to bottlenose dolphins among others. Dolphin shows can be seen throughout the warm summer months, and this can make a refreshing escape from the heat of the city. An acclaimed research program at Barcelona zoo is well known for sympathetic breeding of animals in captivity and protection of endangered species, which would otherwise become extinct.

The main avenue in Barcelona, La Rambla is a riot of color and bustle with flower stalls and street performers at regular intervals along the promenade. The main hotels and restaurants center around La Rambla, but you may get a better deal and more authentic dishes if you explore a little further out. One place not be missed is the Boqueria, a fantastic food market to one side of La Rambla, with exotic delicacies you have never even imagined.

The port area received a face lift with the Olympics in Barcelona in 1992. The Olympic village was situated right on the coast and the area is marked by the dual towers of the Arts Hotel, Mapfre Towers and Nova Icaria Square. The main Olympic sites can be found on top of Montjuic, a hill overlooking the city, and can be reached by cable car.

HO Toy Trains – An Antique of Today

HO Toy Trains – An Antique of Today

Source: Flickr

Collecting toy trains is referred to as the world’s greatest hobby; and for some, it isn’t just a hobby. It’s a passion and a way of life, perhaps beginning in childhood. Several toy train collectors started their hobby as children, when they were given a toy train as a gift. Toy trains, at one time, were a very popular and much desired toy among children. Over time, that concept faded and was replaced by razor scooters, iPods, and webkinz. Most children of today aren’t familiar with the classic toy trains from back in the day, so the legacy is left to be carried on by adults who choose to start a collection of their own. One such popular toy train that is desired by many collectors is the HO toy train, developed by Marklin in 1935. So what makes these miniature locomotives so much different than the others?

The construction of the HO toy trains is one aspect that makes them stand apart from other toy trains. HO toy trains are jagged and are scaled at 1:87, making them the perfect starter electric train. Appearance is also a major factor in collecting HO toy trains. The flawless detailing gives them a realistic appeal, making them an attractive addition to any toy train system. The Marklin HO toy trains resemble the Z gauge in that they are built from diecast metal. Most of the frames and wheels are constructed from 100% metal. The engineering of HO toy trains is also quite brilliant. The wheels of the freight and passenger cars have a low center of gravity to avoid derailment, making them a reliable addition to electric systems.

The third-rail track systems of HO toy trains make them a hassle-free operation. The electrical current is carried by miniature stud contacts found in the middle of the ties. If you don’t look closely, chances are you’ll miss these clever additions. This helps prevent wiring problems and electrical pickup issues. Given the careful engineering and construction of HO toy trains, most collectors consider HO toy trains part of a scale hobby. At the debut of HO toy trains, they were sold as a toy train rather than a scale model as they are often sold today.

Scale model railroading didn’t become a popular hobby among collectors until after the 1950’s. Until that time, HO toy trains were thought of as just another size of train. Therefore, the Lionel Corporation began to make HO toy trains as smaller versions of the classic freight and passenger cars. It wasn’t long before the Louis Marx Company began constructing their own version of HO toy trains, and they even started to sell them with complete scenery and in slot car sets.

Although finding HO toy trains on the shelf at your local toy store may be a challenge, they aren’t all that difficult to come by. A simple search of the internet will provide you with a detailed listing of available HO toy trains for sale as well as places to locate these classic toy trains.

End Tables – The Secret To Completing Your Space

End Tables – The Secret To Completing Your Space

Source: Flickr

People might not know it, but when you really want to bring the look and feel of your space together, it is the little things that make it all happen. Like, the paintings on the wall and the little personal touches throughout your entire space. So, these little things cannot be overlooked and one important little thing that every home needs are fabulous end tables, because without them, your space will not be complete.

When it comes to end tables, there are many different styles, designs, and shapes to choose from. The basic design of one will include a table top area or base that is supported by four legs. Over the years, there have been many variations made to this design including ones that have a pedestal design with just a single supporting stand to others that even nest within themselves. Some will even have drawers, shelves, and cabinets that are perfect for stowing away any items that you might have. They can also be crafted from many lovely materials including wood, like pine or oak, along with metal, glass, stone, and some will even have leather coverings. With these different materials comes many lovely decorative looks that would surely enhance the appearance of your space. For a quick way to see all of the selection, do not make the mistake of hopping into your car and going to the furniture store. Instead, just turn on the family computer and do some online shopping on the Internet. It is fast and makes comparison shopping a breeze.

All of the different options mean that you can easily find the end tables that will perfectly fit into your space. Like in your living room for example, maybe you have a vintage vibe going on with the furnishings that you already have an antique look and feel to them. Then, a great choice for you are ones that are crafted out of wood, featuring an antique cherry finish along with intricate detailing and scrollwork. Or, maybe your living room has more of a contemporary feel to it. A lovely option for you would be one that features the same contemporary design that is made out of metal and glass with a bold, eye-catching appearance that is sure to please. All in all, there are many options to choose from including those that are plain and simple, to others that are very, very elaborate and everything else in between. And, along with being a wonderful choice for your living room, you could also place one at the end of a hallway, in an office, dining room, or bedroom area.

So, if you really want to bring your space together, then you need to have the little things in place, especially end tables. Not only do they provide a nice decorative touch to the rooms in your home, but they are also a practical item for storing and displaying your stuff. Really, every home needs them and without them your space just would not be complete.

Mystery Shopping

Mystery Shopping

DASH PRO-TECH - Always Dry Brisbane Authorised Applicator
Source: Flickr

There is nothing for free.
But how about almost free, or free with little effort? Ah ha! Now that you’re paying attention, let’s talk about the world of Mystery Shopping.

Mystery Shopping, or being a secret shopper, is merely evaluating a product or service, and then getting paid to do it. The only stipulation is that you must be covert about it. The list of assignments is literally endless. You could be asked to go to a fast food restaurant, a clothing store, an employment agency, a car repair establishment, receive a bouquet of flowers, get your eyes checked, be a potential renter in an apartment complex, or eat out at a fine dining restaurant. Many will reimburse you for the item they required you to purchase and also give you a small bonus ($8-$15) on top of that. Sometimes you’re allowed to spend $40 for dinner and you’ll get an extra $10 if you submit your report on time. Other times you will be reimbursed only for what you purchased and that’s it. Each company compensates differently.

Like everything, there are a few downsides. Perhaps “areas of consideration” is a more appropriate word to use here. What is your time worth? Sometimes you’ll be offered a gig where you have to stay in a store for 20 minutes and interact with different employees. Then you need to come home and fill out a three page report detailing every single tidbit that happened. You may have driven 40 miles round trip and you’ll get a check for $10 when all is said and done. Consider how much your time and a tank of gasoline is worth. The assignment may fit your situation just fine. Also you may be asked to go to a boatload of fast food restaurants and purchase Crabby Patties. Now suddenly you need an entire new wardrobe because it appears your dryer is shrinking all of your pants. You just need to evaluate where you want to go and determine if you are willing to do the assignment for the agreed upon compensation.

Getting started is rather simple. Google the words “Mystery Shoppers” or “Mystery Shopping” or “Secret Shopping”. From there you’ll see a plethora of companies that work in this arena. Visit each site to sign up to become a shopper. They’ll ask you for basic contact information. Some will ask why you want to be a shopper. Others might ask for a sample of your writing. This is to insure you can complete an evaluation report. It could take 4-6 weeks before you hear back from some. Some will phone you, some will send you emails and some will send assignments in the mail (note: most have done away with snail mail assignments). Register with as many companies that interest you.

Remember. Do not pay for a guide advertised on the newspapers. All the information you need is easily available online… Free! Free! Free!

Coffee Table – An Ideal Choice For Any Room In Your Home

Coffee Table – An Ideal Choice For Any Room In Your Home

MB G63 AMG XPEL Stealth PPF Install
Source: Flickr

Sometimes, you need a nice surface and table in different rooms throughout your home.
Whether it be in your living room for a place to set the remote control down or in your den for a spot to rest the morning newspaper. You might think that you could put a coffee table in just one of these two spaces, but think again because this furnishing would actually be an ideal choice for any room in your home.

Now, there are many reasons why a coffee table would be a nice choice for different rooms in your home. One of them being how beautiful this furnishing is. It gets its beauty from the wide variety of materials that it can be fashioned out of. One of the staple materials used to make them is wood, but a wide variety of woods are used including oak, maple, pine, and other sturdy hardwoods and softwoods. Other materials that they also can be crafted out of include metals, like steel or wrought iron, stone or marble, like granite or fossil, and you can get ones that have glass table tops too along with others that have rich, metal accents.

All of these materials have a fantastic look and because there are so many options, you can easily find one to match any type of décor in those different rooms. For example, maybe your den has like an old world theme to it, with antique furnishings, the whole nine yards. Well, a nice choice for this space would be a coffee table made from wood that has an antique brown finish that even comes with a drawer for easy storage, and to really finish off its look, has lovely scrollwork detailing and carvings. Or, maybe your living room is more up to date and modern than most others, than a fantastic selection for you is one that has a base crafted out of stainless steel with a brush finish that is brilliantly complemented by a beveled glass table top. You could even add a coffee table to your bedroom space if you want. Like, if you have a larger bedroom where you need to fill out a lot of empty space. And, these are just some of the options that are available, for a hassle free way to see the many selections that you could get, do not get in the car and head to your local furniture store. Instead, just log onto the Internet on your family’s home computer for some online shopping. You can compare products and prices at the drop of the hat.

So, if some of the rooms in your home are in need of a nice surface where you can set down and display different items, do not rule out putting a coffee table in there. This furnishing is not just reserved for the living room and would really be a nice addition to any room in your home.