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Shopping has evolved since the first shopping experience back in 9,000 BC when people exchanged sheep and cattle as a means of trade. In 800 BC the first markets came into existence in Greece. Markets were brought inside within structured stores by the 1700’s when the first mom and pop stores opened up in the United States. These family-owned businesses and drug stores had items such as groceries, fabric, toys and tools available for sale. A century later, the department store made it’s debut. Bloomingdales, Macy’s, and Sears were the first large retail businesses which are still in business today, nearly 200 years later. Transitions for shoppers also became more refined with the payment process and tracking sales. In 1883, the first cash register was invented by James Ritty, making checkout easier. In 1920, the credit card was introduced as a means of payment. Expansion for retail was inevitable. It wasn’t long afterward that the first mall opened up in 1922 in Kansas City. In 1956, the first indoor shopping mall opened up in Edina, Minnesota which is similar to the malls we have today. Several stores clustered together were all found in one place for the delight and convenience of shoppers. Malls also naturally became a venue for socialization with friends and family. Large retail stores, known as “big box”, opened in the 1960’s including Walmart, Target, and K-Mart. One stop shopping became available to shoppers saving time and cost. In the 1990’s, e-commerce launched with Tim Berner’s invention of the World Wide Web. Amazon, one of the largest e-commerce businesses, was established in 1995. Over the last 30 years, e-commerce has become an efficient way to shop as access to the Internet has become incorporated into society.

With the expansion of e-commerce, one would think that there would be a decline in the business for retail stores. Retail and online business work hand-in-hand to generate more business. Businesses who use multiple channels to advertise and sell products are able to target more customers. Physical stores still have excelled at earning 80% of business sales the last 5 years, while 80% of customers shop online. Online businesses offer the convenience of 24/7 shopping, shopping from anywhere, and reminding customers of what they’ve search for, re-targeting consumers with online ads.

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How-To Phrase It: And You Can Quote Me PODCAST

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Hi, this is Clean Up Dallas with Culture and Kindness and today is June 6, 2020. Today’s podcast is: How-To Phrase It: And You Can Quote Me.

As you all know, it’s good to stay current with the latest news, or the “buzz”. And when it comes to knowing what is going on, you want to be the first to know. The top stories from the top sources—or if it is juicy enough, from any source. That’s right. The latest gossip, the good, the bad, the ugly and everything in between. It’s what keeps many going, even at the expense of another person’s life and reputation.

How do you distinguish what is gossip and what isn’t? The trick is knowing the difference between what is proper to talk about and what isn’t. If it is someone’s personal business or a sensitive matter relating to another person, there really is no excuse or positive reason to share it with another. Still unclear of what is acceptable and what isn’t? Here’s an example. Julie is talking to Mary about Joannie’s wedding coming up. She mentioned she is so happy they are getting married. That statement is not gossip as long as it is not a secret that they are getting married. It is a generic statement stating happiness for the couple. If she starts talking about details of Mary’s life, what she is doing, or scorning about why they shouldn’t get married, then that crosses the lines of gossip. Gossip can be on anything. It usually revolves around taboo topics such as sexual topics with regards to another person, financial matters, relationship issues, or medical information. Don’t assume that it is ok to talk about these things with another. It can be very hurtful, especially if it forms the mind of another person or becomes public knowledge. There are several types of gossip. Here are some definitions.

Gossip is the spreading of a truth or unconfirmed fact about someone

If a story is already circulating then it is a rumor. A rumor is a currently circulating story or report of uncertain or doubtful truth.

Slander is spreading untrue information about someone to damage their reputation.

If is published in print or online and is a false statement about someone then it is called libel.

And Propaganda is information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.

All of these can cause defamation. Defamation of character is damaging the reputation or name of someone which can happen through any of these civil offenses which could be taken to court in a lawsuit. Talking about someone is not a light matter. Taken to an extreme sharing information about another person can severely damage a person’s life even to the point of suicide or murder. And you can quote me on that.

One way to determine whether what someone is sharing is gossip or not, is to check a few key things. Is the person sharing it with the good-will of the person it is about? Is the information necessary? Is the person you are talking to the source? Are they reliable? Why are they sharing the information? Is it for their popularity at the expense of another? How will you benefit from hearing what they are talking about?

If what they are sharing does not meet these or you feel uncomfortable, cut the conversation off and if it continues walk away. Telling the person that the information would not be appreciated by the person it is about,  is one way to indicate that what they are sharing is inappropriate.

How do you prepare yourself for propaganda? It may not be as frequent as gossip, but it is gossip and defamation at a larger level when it targets a specific person. The person’s name doesn’t even need to be named to do damage. Propaganda is a biased opinion which is spread to promote a point of view. In worse cases it can be taken to every retail store, business, public and private venues, and organizations. Many retail stores are easily swayed to use their businesses as a means to support opinions that have absolutely nothing to do with the business. Yet, although this may seem highly illegal, the only way to find justice is by a civil lawsuit, and in many cases it would prove to be a futile effort. For an average person, this type of “gossip” spreading through propaganda can cause discrimination, shut down opportunities for work, cause homelessness, targeted hate, organized crime, hopelessness and more. One would think in huge cases like this, someone would stand up, but as with any gossip or selling of information, it can snowball like an avalanche and gain steam to become the popular voice regardless of the details or meaning behind it. There is something wrong with society when this goes against one individual without means for defense and such damage is done. Business owners and managers of any business should really take a look at what they allow in their business. Significant fines should be placed on them, besides the fact that customers should refuse to shop at stores that do this. The personal social platform should not be at the retail stores. The stores are there to sell the products they have and maintain their brand image. Several stores claim by promoting propaganda from the community it supports their business as they become a hub for the latest update—at the expense of the life of an innocent party. This is a real issue in the DFW area and probably not just in DFW but throughout our country. It is taking Freedom of Speech the wronggg way, and for all those who have participated either on the business end or as customer eagerly wanting the latest morsel of juicy news as they shop, the quote needs to go elsewhere.

Quote me on it, there’s a lot of clean up to be done with the standard in DFW. Besides the news and who’s talking, phrases need to be set aside and highlighted. What phrases do you use when you communicate? We easily can slip into derogatory remarks, discriminatory name calling, or other phrases which can be said and hurt others. Cleaning up the expressions you use can really make a difference in the people who are around you. Why cut people up? Use words of praise frequently and politically correct ways to speak. Discriminatory name calling can often be thought of as racial, but it can be sexual, belief related, intellectual, about social status, or a number of other things. People love to make fun of people for some reason, mostly for popularity and to build their ego, or as a way to control or empower another person. This verbal injury blow is a form of abuse, especially when it is repeated. It is easy for it to catch on with others and suddenly another person is isolated out as a target to be made fun of. You are in control of what you say and you have the power to make a positive impact with your words or to negatively impact someone.

Soap and scrub the dirty words and phrases which are of bathroom humor, sexual humor, racial in nature or other lower standards. Speaking well increases your social standing with those who want to be around you, as well as professionally.

Not everyone sees the damage they cause as much as they seek being cool and their seek own popularity. Instead of speaking and listening to the latest hearsay, why not get to know the target and find the good qualities to speak about instead. It’s better to win friends who may be different than you by taking time to understand them rather than slamming them down with gossip, insults or name calling. Reach for the higher standard by finding acceptability and compromise rather than mocking others to tear them down.

And if you hear any of this, don’t let the cat get your tongue! Speak up and politely correct when you hear comments such as these. Here are some suggestions of ways to stop gossip:

  • Change the subject
  • Say something positive about someone who is the target of the gossip
  • Confront the gossip by pointing it out
  • Point out missing information
  • …and you can also turn gossip into prayers

Just saying—saying it better by speaking well about people is where winners are at. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything. But how you phrase it and what you say matters.

And you can quote me.

Interested in improving your relationships in how you speak? You won’t want to miss the podcast Tongue Tied on June 24 which will discuss the importance of speaking well. We also have 2 excellent books selected for our book club this month which give tips on improving your conversations and speaking well. Clean Up Dallas with Culture and Kindness’ book club this month on June 27. The first book discussion will be held at 2pm on Facebook live as we try out the new video Meeting Group for our chat and discuss The Lost Art of Good Conversation A Mindful Way to Connect with Others and Enrich Everyday Life By: Sakyong Mipham. Following this at 3pm, we’ll discuss this month’s second book  30 Days to Taming Your Tongue. What you SAY (and DON’T SAY) Will improve your relationships by Deborah Smith Pegues. Be sure to RSVP to join the discussion!

Follow Clean Up Dallas with Culture and Kindness on Facebook and WordPress and on Twitter @cultureofkind

Shop for these books on related topics…See these affiliate recommendations!

The Power of Encouragement at Work

As I was at the library recently, I found a book which I started thumbing through which had several inspirational messages about encouragement and teamwork. Encouragement really is about having an optimistic outlook and perspective, whether it is for ourselves or others. Encouragement always focuses on the positive with the intent to breathe energy and bring hope to a situation. Here are three takeaways from the book, The Power of a Positive Team by Jon Gordon:

Cheer each other on. When you encourage each other, you make one another stronger and you make the team stronger.

Reframe your thoughts as you ‘get to’ rather than you ‘have to’. Whatever you think might be tedious, or a drudgery, can be endured easier when you change your thought process that you ‘get to’ do it and see it as an opportunity rather than an obligation. There are probably others who exist who do not get the chance to do whatever you might ‘have to do’.

Failures are just part of the road. Look past failures to what you are becoming. Challenges are opportunities for growth. Sometimes it may take failing many times before reaching a goal. The story isn’t finished yet.


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The Power of a Positive Team: Proven Principles and Practices that Make Great Teams 

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Business Matters

No one knows the experience of a service or product better than the buyer who just purchased. Today it is common to allow the customer the option to fill out a follow-up survey after a purchase. Business may offer an incentive to customers if they provide feedback. While businesses receive all kinds of feedback, negative feedback can be the most valuable to a business. Rather than seeing this as an attack, they can use this information to improve their business. It can bring to the forefront problems they were unaware of that need to be addressed which can identify destructive factors or help increase revenue.

Customer feedback is shared online, through email, telephone, and on forums. It is important to respond to feedback and especially negative feedback as soon as possible. Customers need to know they are heard. Generally, those customers who are submitting feedback ‘offstage’, through email or phone, are seeking the chance to vent, are searching for answers, and want resolution. Those submitting comments ‘on-stage’ are wanting to also be heard, but are looking for an audience to share their complaint publicly to. Responding with a short reply of empathy and assurance followed by an offer to further discuss by phone, is the best way to handle onstage communicators. By taking these public posts offline with a phone call, businesses can further address an issue and handle concerns.

While most corporate level representatives provide customer service placing value on the customer, such is not the case in many retail environments. Retail employees have brought the culture of ‘me-ism’ to the workspace. Rather than fostering a basic level of respect, gossip spreading about customers and insults to customers are common. Bending over for the customer is unheard of most of the time. Repeat customers who should be valued are shunned with propaganda fed in by people outside the business. If approached about this, associates deny what was just said. Ethics standards are not upheld by managers. The employees stay employed with very little correction.

One has to think what is really being marketed. Why do customers not see this as tarnish to the reputation of the business doing this? Who would want to continue to shop at a store where employees are rumor and gossip hounds trying to gain popularity for their store by damaging the reputation of someone? This should be discouraged. It adds to the digression of our culture, affects business standards, besides just not being kind. Are there really this many ill-informed minds in retail? Yes. Without correcting it, it will worsen. The best solution is to fire these types and have stronger management.

If management is unethical and allows unethical practices, the business will be unethical in all kinds of matters. It may yield short term success, but is guaranteed failure over time. It is overdue that corporate gets involved in cleaning up the politeness and respectfulness in stores by enforcing it. Without valued customers, the business would not exist. Although retail stores may not offer the big bucks, most pay high enough to expect politeness and appropriateness from employees. After all, it is a job, not an inconvenience to the employee to be employed and receive a check.

If retail employees may be bored and feel the need to gossip, then give them more work. If they are angry at their position, then reiterate that this is what they agreed to, or the door. Managers need to be more firm with employees who are destructing their front line. There are plenty of people ready to replace them. By hiring more polite, trained, part-time employees as backup to replace them, quality can exist and the trash taken out. Regardless, clean up is needed. There is a lack of accountability that exists from keeping employees who are impolite and damaging to the business. Training programs on customers service are built into many businesses, but if they aren’t enforced, they are useless. Being able to hire employees who truly believe in the value of customer service, is hard to accurately screen for, but managers should be able to identify if an employee is using their position in a damaging way. Those who place business matters first, are of value to the company and help build business with happy customers.

This applies to those in corporate environments as well. There is a need to enforce a greater level of respect in any workplace. A culture of kindness and respectfulness breeds a positive work environment, higher productivity, and business success. Letting rudeness become the standard should be frowned upon. It is everyone’s business to clean this up, not necessarily all the time through verbal correction, but through example. Each person is in essence their own business too. If we all maintained our business at a higher standard, what a better place it would be for everyone.

View these books online! Shop Amazon!

Customer Culture:
How Fedex and Other Great Companies Put the Customer First Every Day

by Michael D. Basch

Carrots and Sticks Don’t Work:
Build a Culture of Employee Engagement with the Principles of RESPECT

by Paul L. Marciano

Play Nice: Playground Rules for Respect in the Workplace (The Sandbox)
by Brigitte Gawenda Kimichik JD and J. R. Tomlinson

Mastering Civility: A Manifesto for the Workplace
by Christine Porath

The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace
by Ron Friedman PhD

Team Building: Proven Strategies for Improving Team Performance
by W. Gibb Dyer Jr., Jeffrey H. Dyer, et al.

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