Showing posts with label Smart and Final Extra. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Smart and Final Extra. Show all posts

My Ode to Coffee {Smart and Final Ambience Giveaway}

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

This sponsored post and giveaway are inspired by my sampling of the new Ambiance line of coffee by Smart and Final. *Contest is now Closed - Congrats to #27, Kalea!*
"Over second and third cups flow matters of high finance, high state, common gossip and low comedy. Coffee is a social binder, a warmer of tongues, a soberer of minds, a stimulant of wit, a foiler of sleep if you want it so. From roadside mugs to the classic demi-tasse, it is the perfect democrat."            ~Author Unknown
I'm sure you're all dying to know how I feel about coffee. You could skip straight to the bottom for the gift card giveaway, but you'd be missing out on a chance to get to know me better!

I didn't start drinking coffee until I was in college. I've always liked the smell of the beans and a fresh brewed pot, but before I went away to school I couldn't take the taste. Even when I started drinking it, it wasn't really because I wanted a cup of coffee. It started, like most people I knew, as a tool for cram sessions or a way to wake up after a long night of partying, er, studying.

Before I learned to appreciate the taste and recognize a bad cup of coffee, I drank mine like Clarence, a character in one of the best movies ever made.* "It's not a good cup of coffee unless the spoon stands up." The sugar to liquid ratio was totally skewed toward sugar. My teeth feel gritty just thinking about it.

I've become a bit of a coffee snob in my old age. We prefer to grind our own beans, only drink flavored coffee and always have an assortment of creamers and half and half in the fridge. Also? I don't mix flavors. If my coffee flavor is creme brulee, the creamer has to be, too. French Vanilla and Hazelnut do not go together and never shall the two mix in my mug.

Speaking of mugs, I have two favorites. There's my everyday mug that I went to several Starbucks to find, and my Copco travel mug. I don't let anyone use them so don't even ask.

Coffee Break! from Flickr via Wylio
© 2011 LenDog64, Flickr | CC-BY-ND | via Wylio

Does anyone remember that TV show from the early '90's Grace Under Fire? In one episode, Grace's neighbor, Nadine, got into a fight with her husband Wade over how she takes her coffee. "Doesn't he know I like my coffee taupe?!" That's me. I can't drink my coffee unless it's a certain shade of taupe.

I also have pretty specific tastes when I go out for coffee. Most people stop offering to go on a coffee run when I'm around because I will hand you my drink order on a Post It note. Yes, I am that person.

I may have gotten a late start, but now coffee is a big part of my life. I usually start my day with it. I've had meetings over a cup. I've made new friends, reconnected with old friends, caught up on life, laughed, had serious discussions and read great books with a cup of coffee nearby.

I love my coffee. I need my coffee. I crave coffee. I have driven out of my way for coffee. Coffee!!!!!!


I've told you my coffee quirks, now you tell me yours. I have a pretty cool prize up for grabs. Smart and Final wants you to get addicted to enjoy their new Ambiance coffee. 

You'll get the same gift basket I was given with a sampling of their 6 flavors AND a $150 gift card. $150 goes a long way at Smart and Final (more on that later). So how do you win? Easy:

Prize: One winner will receive an Ambiance coffee product gift basket and $150 Smart & Final gift card.

Rules/ways to enter:
1. Comment here with your favorite coffee moment, quirk or your beverage of choice.

2. You can earn extra entries for tweeting about this giveaway and using the #MyAmbianceMoment hashtag. Leave a comment with a link to your daily tweet (one tweet/extra entry per day).

3. Post the contest on Facebook and leave a link.

4. You don't have to follow me, friend me or Smart and Final to win. There are 14 other bloggers doing the same giveaway and all links are being Tweeted and posted on the Smart and Final Facebook page.

Sample text: "Enter to win an Ambiance Coffee gift pack and $150 gift card from @smartfinal #MyAmbianceMoment Pls RT!"

5. You know the drill, no contact info, no entry.

6. I'll post the winner here and on Twitter after I've used

7. Winner has 24 hours to respond or I'll choose another.

Deadline: Tuesday February 8th, midnight PST.

Good luck!

*If you can tell me what movie that line is from you'll be my new BFF.

Smart and Final Extra, Revisited

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I had an opportunity to shop at Smart and Final Extra a few days ago. I haven't been there in ages, mainly because we have a Costco membership and I didn't see a need to visit another 'big box' store. I'm pleasantly surprised with the changes they've made to attract 'regular' grocery shoppers. 

The fact that they own Henry's Marketplace, one of my favorite stores for produce, is a big plus for me. I can definitely see myself going there to take advantage of really good sale items. Their prices are in line with the stores I shop in now and fit with my goal of keeping our grocery budget in check.

More check-ins at Smart & Final Extra
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What I liked about Smart and Final Extra:
1. They accept coupons!
2. You don't need a card for the in-store savings.
3. The prices are competitive.
4. The produce section offered a wide variety.
5. I can shop there 'normally' but also go in for the large sized items I'd typically buy if we're ever having a party (without the long lines!).
What I'd suggest as future changes:
1. Expand the store circular to include more of the Smart Savings items. It will make for more thorough coupon matching.
2. Expand their social media profile and start to work with frugal bloggers on a regular basis.
3. The website could be a lot more user friendly.
4. Printable coupons and a partnership with
5. E-coupons and/or mobile coupons that can be scanned straight from a smartphone.
6. Even though I could effectively plan a party and shop there, Costco still has a slight edge in that I can order a custom cake, the baked goods selection is huge and I can bring home a hot meal or heat and eat meal.

I forgot to ask Chris (who was super helpful) about their coupon policies. I'd like to know two things:
1. How they handle a coupon that is more than the cost of the item eg: if I have a $1 off coupon for a .99 item, will they adjust the coupon down to be .99 or will I get the penny overage?
2. Are shoppers allowed to use multiple coupons for the same item in one transaction eg: I buy 8 boxes of granola bars and have 8 coupons, will I have to make separate purchases? (some Target stores do this and it's a HUGE turnoff)
I'm really impressed with the changes I saw and will be following the progress to see what other ways Smart and Final Extra will be improving their stores. 

How about you? Have you shopped there recently? What did you think of the store and do you have any suggestions to add? 

*Thank you to Smart and Final Extra for the gift card used to make my purchases. I'm not being monetarily compensated for this post. The gift card did not influence my opinion of the store.
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