Blanket Race: Who Is the Best Online Retailer Walmart or Amazon?

As the unexpected warmth of November fades into the routine December chill, I decided we needed to get two new Vellux blankets for a twin bed and a queen. As usual for online shopping, I signed in to Great Canadian Rebates before clicking through to see what was on offer at amazon.ca. They had Vellux blankets in various sizes and in a surprising number of prices. I then checked the prices at Walmart.ca for comparison. I ended up ordering one blanket from each vendor and now the race is on: who has the best price and who will have the fastest delivery—Walmart or Amazon?

Check Prices Before Ordering Vellux Blankets Online or In Store

The first place I saw Vellux blankets in store was at the Sears near me which is closing as the chain is in receivership. The liquidation was starting with just 20% off the original list price for the blankets. I knew that was a bad deal as Sears routinely put all its household linens on sale for around 50% off. So I decided to wait until they were at least 75% off.

Then, I decided to check online. As I suspected, the price at Walmart.ca was more than 50% off the Sears price, included free shipping, and wouldn’t require weeks of waiting and wondering whether the blankets had already sold.

Out of curiosity, I then compared Walmart’s prices with those on Amazon. The pricing on amazon.ca was fascinating: they had different prices for the Twin blankets depending on the colour! Yet all of them were being sold by and shipped by amazon.ca.

Weird!

Who Had the Best Price for Vellux Blankets?

Strangely, each store had the best price on a blanket, depending on the size.
I could get a twin Vellux for 34.99 (ivory) or 38.99 (Wedgewood blue) from amazon.ca. The same blanket was 49.96 on Walmart.ca.

I could get a king Vellux in several colours for 59.96 from Walmart.ca. (A King blanket is larger than a Queen so it gives you extra at the sides and top to cuddle into.) The same blanket was 89.95 and up on amazon.ca.

Who Has the Best Delivery for Vellux Blankets?

By ordering the blue blanket (which suited the room) from amazon.ca, I could get it shipped for free. So I did.

I also got free shipping for the King blanket from Walmart.ca.

Now the race is on: which blanket will arrive first? Or will they both arrive on the same day?

I’ll update this post when they arrive.

UPDATE: Too funny! They arrived within 3 hours of each other. The Walmart one arrived first, then the Amazon one. Both were in great shape and I’m pleased.

A Small Extra Saving from Amazon.ca on Vellux

I also ordered the blanket from amazon.ca after arriving there via the link on my Great Canadian Rebates home page. That means I will get a small percentage of the purchase cost back from GCR. Unfortunately, right now Walmart is not an available store through GCR so I won’t be getting any additional rebate from them.

If you want to join GCR, if you sign up using my referral link, you will get the same benefits as if you signed up directly, but I will also get a small percentage reward for any purchases you make. (I’ll never know who you are, though, or what you bought. It’s just mystery money that appears in my account.) To join via my link, just click on this link to go to their website: Join Great Canadian Rebates and reward yourself and Financial Crooks. Or read more about it in this article How to Join Great Canadian Rebates.

And now I wait with shivering toes for the arrival of my cozy new blankets.


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Do you only check amazon.ca when buying online or do you shop around? Please share your strategies with a comment.

How Can I Protect Myself from CIBC Debit Fraud Through Online Purchases, Mail Order or Phone Purchases?

We have an old chequing account at CIBC which is useful for shifting money into and out of our CIBC Investor’s Edge brokerage accounts. For years, I had a simple “Convenience Card” which I could use at the CIBC bank machines to make deposits and withdrawals. A year or so ago, though, a replacement bank card came in the mail. It’s called an Advantage Debit Card and is branded with both the VISA and the Interac logos.

Why I Disabled the Interac Flash Payment Option on This CIBC Advantage Debit Card

When I first received the card, I saw it had the Interac Flash logo. That bothered me because I never make debit purchases from this bank account. I’m not quite sure whether the Flash and Tap cards are easier for fraudsters to get data from although I’ve read stray comments that suggest they may be somewhat vulnerable.

Given that I never intend to use this option, I asked the service representative at my CIBC branch to “turn off” the Tap option used for Interac Flash. According to the flyer that came with the card, you can also phone the main CIBC number and ask to have the Flash or Tap feature disabled.

So that seemed good and I tucked the card away to use at the bank machine.

Why You Should Read Those Letters That They Mail With Your Bank Card

Imagine my surprise when almost a year later, desperate for something to read within reach of the telephone while waiting on hold because my call “is important” I browsed through the cover letter that I got with my CIBC Advantage Debit Card.

The letter states
“Your CIBC Advantage Debit Card details (for example, card number and expiry date” may be used to make debit purchases online, by phone or by mail order without a PIN or the card being present.” “….you could be liable for losses.”

Say what?!

Don’t they need a PIN or at least the security number off of the back of the card to use it to make a debit purchase?

Nope.

What I Did to Protect Myself from Fraudulent Theft Using My CIBC Debit Card

I phoned in to CIBC to ask them how I could prevent purchases made
“online, by phone or by mail order” without a PIN or the card being present.

Unfortunately, they couldn’t simply turn off those three types of sales.

What they could do was block the use of the card for any and all purchases. In other words, remove the ability to use the card for debit of any kind other than a bank withdrawal from the bank machine or from the teller.

They did this by setting the limit for purchases to $0.00.

Because I will not be using this card as a debit card, I was happy to accept this solution.

What I’d Like CIBC and the Other Banks to Consider

That said, I’d like CIBC and all banks to consider just how weak the security is around this type of card. Given how they have invested heavily in a Chip and PIN technology, it seems bizarre to go back to having anyone who physically steals the card being able to make purchases using it. In fact, anyone who can “borrow” a card long enough to scribble down a few numbers could use it illegally. I know we are supposed to guard our cards endlessly, but I suspect many wallets get left unattended for a few minutes at a time, particularly in large secured offices.

In the meantime, if you have one of these cards and you don’t intend to use it for any debit purchases, consider turning it off. It’s one less thing to have to be paranoid about.


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Do you have more than one debit card? Have you got Tap, Flash and online debit enabled on all of them? What steps do you take to keep your money safe? Please share your experiences with a comment.