December 17, 2008

Conversion (Edited to Include Giveaway)

My mom and I have been shopping together for a long time. We have several different shopping destinations, we have a particular route we take through each store, and we have particular places we stop for lunch. It's all established. But there has been a change. It is such a huge and significant change, my mom still hasn't adjusted even though it's been well over a year now.

My mom loves Marshalls, T. J. Maxx, and Home Goods, but all three stores used to send me off the cliff of despair. I used to go through picking up a picture frame, a baby outfit, a kitchen utensil, a book---but then I always ended up putting everything back and leaving with nothing except a disappointed, unfulfilled feeling. It happened so often, I developed an aversion, and my mom ended up shopping there only when her fashionable friends wanted to look for clothes.

I can't explain what happened to change my mind. Did it start with the mother-in-law dishes? I think maybe it did. I was looking for some Good Dishes to use for company, and I wanted them to be something my mother-in-law would approve of---but something I'd enjoy using, too, and something fun to buy. Since my mother-in-law and I, ah, differ in our personal styles, this task seemed a challenge. I checked Target: meh. Walmart: meh. The mall: meh meh meh meh meh Food Court meh meh.

My mom wanted to check T. J. Maxx and Marshalls, and I was resistant. But there they were at T. J. Maxx, the dishes of my dreams:
Johnson Brothers British Castles pattern. From ENGLAND, which makes everything automatically better. And perfect in every way: definitely Good Dishes, but fine for everyday use; definitely to my tastes, but also to my mother-in-law's. But check out the PRICE: even on Amazon.com, $120 for service for four, and that's down from $200. YIPE. Go on, guess how much they were at T. J. Maxx. Go on. No, I'll just tell you: $56 for service for four. Still a pretty penny, but about the same price as the NON-England sets I saw at Target and Walmart and didn't even LIKE.

The next time we went is I think when I found the super-soft blankies Henry liked, and the next time after that is when I found the $2 measuring spoons that are my reigning favorites, and then I found a really pretty magazine holder:



So then me and T. J. Maxx were B. F. Fxx, pretty much. I still wasn't much keen on Marshalls. But then---I found the Swistle-colored purse accessories. I still LOVE those. I also found two Melissa and Doug puzzles there, and a Maisy DVD, and a pair of Converse tennies for William, and a pretty mirror, and...well. You know how it goes: it starts out as an innocent flirtation, and before you know it you're two-timing Target. Or three-timing. Or four-timing, once I'd found a British Castles serving platter, a set of juice glasses, three pictures for Elizabeth's room, a Hello Kitty journal, and a pack of Maisy notecards at Home Goods.

And so a year has quickly passed, and meanwhile my house has changed. Take a look at this corner of my living room:


I have drawn an arrow to each thing that was purchased from T. J. Maxx or Marshalls. Metal antique-finish oval decorative mirror on chain? ARROW. Old-fashioned drawing of lady with parasol? ARROW. Metal antique-finish round clock? ARROW. Old-fashioned drawing of birdie? ARROW. Nothing was more than $10. Oh, wait---the mirror might have been $11. But the bird picture was only $5. (Also, could you please tell that FERN THING to BACK OFF?)

This is the last day to order from Amazon.com with the free shipping and still get it before Christmas. If you still have some shopping to do, I suggest waggling your eyebrows in the direction of my new flings.


Edit: Okay, I feel a little dumb because I was thinking T. J. Maxx and Marshalls were just Remarkably Similar (also: I thought "Marshalls" had an apostrophe in it), but it turns out they are, like, basically the same store, owned by the same people. And those people explained it to me very politely and then asked if I would like to give away a $25 gift card to either T. J. Maxx or Marshalls, and I know you guys are not exactly rolling in the big bucks so I said I would.

Normally I wouldn't make a contest over so quick, but some of you are probably worrying about holiday shopping and so I want to get the gift card to you before the holidays if possible, and so I'm only going to have the contest until tomorrow morning. If you live near a T. J. Maxx and/or a Marshalls, leave a comment on this post by 8:00 a.m. U.S. Pacific Time on December 18th, and tell me which store you'd rather have a gift card to. I'll use a random number generator to choose a winner and we'll get that gift card on its way.

131 comments:

d e v a n said...

cute stuff!!

Shelly Overlook said...

I've never been a huge TJ Maxx fan but came to love Home Goods when we finally had one in FL. Now I am a Home Goods junkie and wouldn't you know, TJ Maxx is right next door. If I can get there without kid in tow, it's bit of heaven to snoop around and find the hidden treasures.

Kim said...

Every once in a great while I cheat on Target with one of these places, but it's SO hit or miss! If I am in a mood where I don't mind scrounging through things or waiting in ridiculous lines, then fine. And I have found some great deals on random things I didn't know I needed until I found them. But I will admit I'd have a serious problem with Home Goods if I had one near me. I went there with a friend in FL this summer and almost lost my mind. Luckily I didn't have room in my luggage to bring a lot home with me.
You could post a picture of those blue dishes every day and I'd never get tired of looking at them.

Natalie said...

I am still not a fan of Marshall's or Ross, but TJ Maxx has been my pal ever since I found my cute little Kathy Van Zeeland purse there.

Firegirl said...

"Food court meh" made me literally guffaw!

I heart that magazine rack SO MUCH.

We have Kohl's here and I feel like you originally did with those stores. Now you've convinced me to give it another try.

I'm snowed in today so off to Amazon I go!

samantha jo campen said...

I always go to Marshall's for fun decorative pillows (look expensive but so AREN'T expensive) and Home Goods for holiday serving dishes. TJ Maxx is great for kid's stuff, bags, and luggage. Aw, now you're making me want to go shopping again!

Kathryn said...

Ha! The cliff of despair (he has very strong arms)

Why is it that everything English is better? It's so true! Especially an accent. On a man.

Elizabeth said...

I love TJ Maxx, I always find the best picture frames from there. So I choose TJ Maxx! awesome.

Annika said...

Marshalls! MARSHALLS! You know what's weird? I have always loved Marshalls and hated TJ Maxx. And yet, same store.

samantha jo campen said...

I'm down with either, really.

Melinda said...

I would LOVE the TJ Maxx gift certificate. My local store remodeled and combined with Home Goods. It looks very swanky but it seems to be slightly more expensive now which is a bummer.

el-e-e said...

Oh, Marshall's for me, please! What, the TJ Maxx/Marshall's people just casually CALLED YOU UP after reading your post?

You are even cooler than I thought!

FattyLumpa said...

Oh, how great that they are doing this!

PS - Marhsalls!

Heather said...

I have two T.J. Max-es within a 10 mile radius. Gotta go with the TJ!

Nowheymama said...

I just came back to tell you that I linked to this post, and the T.J.Maxx/Marshalls people had been here and you'd edited the post in the interim. Those are some fast-moving PR people! And heck yeah, I want a Marshalls gift card! I'll spend it on the chocolates I just posted about.

Becky said...

I haven't really "discovered" the TJ Maxx in our city, but between this entry and my neighbor's insistence that it is the BEST STORE EVER I might have to give it a try. ;-)

Danielle-lee said...

Oooo, now I need to go to TJ Maxx and Marshalls. Sheesh, will the shopping ever be done?? Btw, love the swistle-colored purse accessories. Would LOVE to snag me some of those!!!
Please enter me in your contest! I'm needing to be a winner these days. :)

Andria said...

De-lurking just to comment and enter to win.
How lame am I? ;-D

I love TJMaxx. It's a weakness next door to my other weakness: Barnes & Noble. Which has another weakness inside (besides the books): Starbucks!
I could spend hours in that one shopping center...

Jen said...

TJ Maxx for sure! Looking for great baby bargains!

HollyLynne said...

I'm so jealous of your deal on the Old British Castles dinnerware, I've been coveting that pattern FOREVER! The magazine holder is gorgeous too, very Liberty-esque (also British which I agree, is always good!)

PS: I just ate a helping of my "Apple Cinnamon Version of Swistle's Baked Oatmeal" and OMG TO DIE FOR!

Secret Mom Thoughts said...

I love Marshalls. I would love to win the gift card. Marshalls along with Target is one of my shopping weaknesses.

Kristi said...

I've tried Marshall's once or twice and didn't love it. You've inspred me to give it another chance!!

Karen said...

I have 2 of both of these stores within 15 miles. One shopping plaza the Marshalls is better and the other TJ Maxx is. I didn't know they were the same store though. Huh.

Little-Bit said...

I love TJ Maxx! I can spend much, much kid-free time just browsing, ogling at things and just dreaming of the day I can buy Breakable Stuff.

Meltini27 said...

I LOVE T.J. Maxx. Most of my home is decorated from that store. Also thanks for the Arrested Development tip yesterday :)

Robin M. said...

Marshalls is about a mile from my house and I love it!! I can find something for everyone there, and with this, I could find something for myself!! :)
rlm2496[at]yahoo[dot]com

The Gori Wife said...

Marshall's, Marshall's!! Woo Hoo for snappy PR people...

Heather said...

Marshals for me please

Erica said...

OOH! A giveaway! You're so awesome, Swistle. I wish T.J Maxx and Marshalls read my blog.

If I win, I'd like Marshalls, please.

Lisa said...

Oh - I have a TJ Maxx right near me - that $25 would go to good use! How fun!

Ashley said...

I have a love of TJ Maxx as long as it has nothing to do with clothing, I can't stand to try to find anything to wear there, but the home goods are AWESOME! I found my absolute favorite Olive Oil there recently, My grocer carries it for $16 a bottle, TJ had it for $7! So yeah, if I win, TJ Maxx pretty please :)

Hannah said...

When I was in elementary school I had a friend who always informed me that she got her clothes at TJ MAXX. The way she said it was the way you would say the name of a chic out of the way botique in Paris. She was clearly a sophisticate. Whenever I was clothes shopping with my mom I would wistfully thing of TJ MAXX, and imagine what it would be like if I had enough money to shop there. I was very dissapointed as an adult to discover that TJ MAXX was basically the same thing as Ross, where I was used to shopping. Even still, whenever I see a TJ MAXX I feel a little wistful. All that Marshall's conjures up is that "open, open open!" lady from the old Mervyn's commercials. I'm a complicated soul. Which I guess is my way of saying I would choose TJ MAXX.

PS: Hi! I like you're blog a lot.

Danana Banana said...

I too am leary of what's available at TJ Maxx or Marshalls. Maybe a gift card is just what I need to give them another try!

beejo said...

I would like TJ Maxx if I win! Thank you! :)

Jodi said...

Your walls look marvelous!

And don't feel bad, you would be surprised how many stores are owned by the same parent company.

each of the two said...

Hello?!!! Marshalls!

Have you SEEEEEEN that they carry designer shoes!

*gets off shallow horse*

Mary mhash621atyahoodotcom said...

Gotta love Marshalls! We have a MEGA Marshall's- hellooooow mother ship!
Thanks!

Snoopyfan said...

I found some really cute flip flops at Marshalls this past summer and it was the first time I had stepped foot in one in FOREVER! I do heart TJ Maxx though, just no time to go there without the wee ones. Would be nice to go get me a new purse or some shoes....

Shelly said...

Ooh!!! Pick me, pick me!

Courtney said...

Oh YES! Marshalls please!

Liz said...

In St. Louis, there is a T.J. and Marshalls RIGHT NEXT DOOR to each other. gulp. My mom and I hit T.J. and Marshalls almost on a weekly basis and after I bought my house I couldn't get enough! I am actually running to HomeGoods after work today to look for Christmas presents :)

If I win, I would be elated with a gift card to either store :)

velocibadgergirl said...

Oh, squee! We have a Marshalls and a TJ Maxx. I got the best baby shoes EVER for my cousin's kid and my favorite jacket at Marshalls. Got the shirt and shoes I wore for the interview for the job I have now at TJ Maxx.

Since we have both, I will let you surprise me if I win (unlikely).

Thanks for the great giveaway!

BTW, also? This is totally out of nowhere, but you know how a jillion years ago you posted tips for coping with a household of five kids? One of the tips was to never walk through the house empty-handed, to always grab something that needed to go to where-ever in the house you were heading.

I just have to say, I have used that tip and it is Teh Awesome. And I always think, "Yay for Swistle!" when I remember to do it :D

ktjrdn said...

I've found smoe stuff at TJ Maxx beofre, but not so much at Marshalls. But, since I no longer live anywhere near a Marshalls, it doesn't particularly matter anymore.

Katie said...

I don't know how you all do it! I would go with my friends in high school and suffer through it never finding something for me. I hadn't been back to one since I moved away until a neighbor told me she had seen a bunch of Wiggles tapes for $4 and thought of my son. Well, I had to go look after that, right?

I wanted to cry! So crowded, no organization; CHAOS! Yikes. I did find one tape and a sweater for an upcoming family photo and some onesies for the littlest, though. I was surprised.

Still, why can I never find anything and everyone else raves? Guess I know where to shop for everyone else.

SP said...

I love shopping with my mom. We have our own habits and routines too. I love to shop in general but I love to shop with her the most. Our shopping personalities just click.

Marshalls is closest to me.
Pretty please?

Lippy said...

I have a TJ Maxx around the corner from work. Shopping is the cure to spending time with a barfy toddler.

DCMomma said...

Ok, I am going to have to suck it up and go shopping at one of these places, b/c I have seen people get such insane deals there! Love your pics and products purchased!

Kelsey said...

With $25 I know I could find something at the Marshalls up the road from us. And I LOVED the arrowed living room print - also I think we need more stuff on the walls over here.

Mommy Brain said...

I fell in love with TJ Maxx when they stopped me from looking shabby at a wedding for just $12.99. $12.99!!!

Both stores are great but I would probably want to spend $$ at TJ Maxx first.

Megan said...

i pick marshalls! Thanks!

Ms. Flusterate said...

Either is fine with me as I live near both and maybe I could win? Tomorrow being my 30-10th birthday?
Well, if not...cool giveaway just the same!!
melissa

Sara said...

Hmmm... Marshalls! My husband freaking LOVES that store. Maybe I should give it another chance... you have convinced me!

kirida said...

I used to confuse Marshalls with Meryvns ever since I saw that commercial where the woman stands outside the store at five in the morning and says, "Open-Open-Open!"

But there is a Marshalls near my house so yeah Marshalls!

loomis said...

I love Marshalls and your blog!

Leticia said...

Marshalls

Hotch Potchery said...

When I was in junior high my parents bought all my clothes at TJ Maxx, and I am still scored. PURPLE polystery pants for a 12 year old. Are you kidding me?

But, $25 is $25. And, the they emailed you about your post? That is very cool. Oh, and we have a TJ Maxx here.

Choral said...

Marshalls please!

cindi roo said...

Thank you for your help over at Jenn's.

Thank you nice lady. May all your Christmas things be shiny and bright.

Cindi Roo

Gerritnow said...

Hey, I love your photos..they are really nice...

plaka said...

Marshalls...great variety...shoes, home, kid...

caleyadams said...

TJ Maxx. The slutty step-sister to Target. But how I love it so!

-R- said...

I love TJ Maxx/Home Goods. I didn't realize Marshalls was owned by the same company. I would love a TJ Maxx gift card!

Stacy said...

I <3 me some Marshalls :) Thanks!!

mew said...

Marshalls, please! Thanks!

Amy said...

Lucky enough to live close to both a Marshalls and TJ Maxx...with a Homegoods not too far away either. Great finds there BTW!

Susan C said...

I'll say TJ Maxx, because our old one closed and they opened a new one somewhere else. I haven't been there yet, good excuse to try.

Kira said...

Marshalls, please.
Thank you.
(Does politeness earn extra chances?)

Anna said...

TJ Maxxx, please!

CSC said...

T.J. Maxx! I was not a huge fan but have recently caved and now am a fan!

CourtneySamantha at aol dot com

Rayne of Terror said...

I was at TJ maxx today! And I found just the thing I had been looking for for months! A huge basket for shoes ( hubs wears a 16 so it's got to be a big un) for only $25, which is super for a giant basket.

arbee said...

T. J. Maxx - looooooooooove their jewelry! (and purses! and shoes! and! and! and!) :)

Merry Christmas!

suddensilence said...

TJ Maxx :) Swistle, I totally relate to this. I was the SAME way with the "meh" feelings about TJ Maxx, and my mom was like yours and always loved TJ Maxx/Marshalls. (And HELLO, I had no idea they were basically the same store. Huh.)

Anyway, like you, I fell in love with TJ Maxx this year. I got such cool art pieces for our walls after we painted them TiVo orange. I found an awesome cast iron dutch oven. I could go there every day now!

~ Wendi

Allyson said...

I love TJ Maxx...almost as much as I love the adjoining Home Goods. Ahhh, love.

Not Your Aunt Bea said...

We have both where i live and I love it! Though I have never been into Home Goods and am not 100% sure we have one. Great finds! Gotta love that!

Lylah M. Alphonse said...

My husband has a Marshall's obsession... he always has to "just stop in to see what they have." Now, when I do it, I find... nothing. But when HE does it? Gorgeous boots for our kids, a sweater that suits me perfectly, my all-time favorite chef's knife, a perfect present for his mom, random German bubble bath that he remembers from his childhood... I tell you, he has THE MARSHALL'S GIFT.

So, I would love to be able to win him a Marshall's gift card!

squandra said...

Marshalls, please! Wheee!

brooke said...

I do love a good Marshalls purse!

SNW said...

ooh ooh - TJ Maxx... I have to be in the "mood" - but once i get started it's dangerous!

ya ya's mom said...

oh marshalls...love that place!!!

Marie Green said...

I was just at tjmax today! If I win, I'd love to have a gift card for there!

Paige said...

Yep, you have to be persistant at these stores. They are not for the weary.

I have both near me! Either one would be awesome!

Claire B said...

I feel bad delurking just because you have a contest...but TJMaxx please!

Deborah said...

Never had much luck at TJ Maxx, so unless I have my own conversion experience, I think I have to go with Marshalls:)

Melissa H said...

Cool! I think i like TJ Maxx better. Exciting update!

Jules said...

The last time that I went to TJ Maxx, I hit the jackpot. It was a Very Good Time.

(gives cloying, over-the-shoulder glance to random number generator)

Hillary said...

I once got a lovely pair of pants at TJ Maxx.

Luke and Jake said...

Great blog! Umm, I love me some Marshalls.

Sarabella said...

I live near a TJ Max. I would love a gift card.

Misty said...

Marshalls.

Please and thank you.

Stacy said...

WooHoo! I live near both and would be happy with either...but do kind of prefer Marshalls. Good to know about the apostrophe!

Anonymous said...

Oh, yes, please! TJ Maxx. Thank you!

Misha

cat said...

I feel the same way about those stores as you used to feel. I pick up a few things but always leave empty handed. Maybe a gift card would be the first step in mending our broken relationship (mine and the stores - cause you know, you and I are just fine) (not that you know me or have ever met me - I was speaking in a strictly internet sort of sense).
Or maybe I was speaking with any sense at all.

Mary said...

I love Marshalls. I'm not a huge fan of TJ Maxx though. I don't know why because they are like the same exact store. Maybe because the Marshalls here is bigger?

Julie said...

I love Marshalls and HomeGoods. Great Places to find special little gifts. And I hear you about putting things back. I do that all the time at those stores! What the heck?

SheLikesToTravel said...

ooh, fun! I like both stores... but Marshalls is closer. I'd LOVE a card to that store.

Elizabeth said...

Pick me! I love both but TJ Maxx is closer.

Love your blog...

Jen in MI said...

TJ Maxx cause it's closer!

Anonymous said...

the maxx, please!

Anonymous said...

the maxx, please, not anonymous this time, tho!

fairydogmother said...

I didn't know that TJ Maxx and Marshalls were owned by the same people either! I wonder if my Marshalls aversion is just something I arbitrarily made up somewhere along the way? In any case, I prefer TJ Maxx over Marshalls for some reason (and not just because there is one down the street from my neighborhood Target). Maybe I'll have to give Marshalls a second chance some time though!

Bring A. Torch said...

B. F. Fxx! Love it! My T.J. Maxx is right next to a Ross, which makes for shopping near-nirvana.

Chez Bacon said...

Ohh! Fun! Marshall's, please!

Isn't it funny how they are so hit or miss? The marshall's near my mom's house is a Bazaar of Fabulous: Coach bags, Seven jeans, Cole Haan shoes, Marc Jacobs perfume. The one near me has, like, American Eagle second quality last season, with holes.

Melis said...

Marshalls! I don't like having to drive clear across town to TJ Maxx only to find out I can buy the same stuff closer at it's sister store.

Steph said...

T.J. Maxx Please! Thanks for being so shopping flexible and finding all this cool stuff!
sfooy@wowway.com

Anna said...

ooo...random number generator...pick me!

Heather said...

There's a TJ Maxx close by, pick me!

Bethtastic said...

ME! T.J. Maxx is close. Thanks Swistle!!

desperate housewife said...

T.J. Maxx for me! Come on, lucky number 108!

Hairline Fracture said...

My mom gets a lot of great stuff at both stores. I have too, but I have to be careful not to buy things I don't need since it's SO CHEAP!

If I won a gift card, though, I would have a lot of fun looking. (TJ Maxx, please!)

Southern jezeBelle said...

TJ MAXX PLEASE!

I love all of those stores AND ross...which is the same company as well. I like to travel to all of them if I see something I need/want because I'm bound to rack up all that I need.

Yipppie for fun giveaways!! (My tj often has seven jeans and lilly pulitzer!)

Mommy Daisy said...

Oh, how very nice. They must be right on top of the google searches to have found your post so soon.

We have a TJ Maxx here. I would love a gift card.

maureen said...

I like TJ Max. Thank you for having a giveaway. I found you through the Sundry blog! Happy Holidays.

Mary A. said...

TJ Maxx here, though if I win, it means I have to make a left out of the world's most poorly designed shopping center. At Christmas time. Blurgh.

Monique said...

TJ Maxx please!! I know just who to spend that card on, if I were to win! Dear Mom has been the best support and friend this year, and my poor budget cannot support what she deserves.

Jennifer H. said...

Oooh, I'd be happy with either a Marshall's or a TJ Maxx gift card! Pick me!

Anonymous said...

There is a T.J.Maxx super close to me, but I've never even been in it! I don't have the money for shopping at fancy places like that lol. A giftcard would teh most awesome excuse to finally go in there!

Since I'm " Anonymous" I figure I should leave my name. It's DeAnna, & I'm a big fan ofyour blog :)

Amy said...

I never used to be a fan of either store, but then I found a Swistle colored quilt (I didn't know it at the time) at Marshalls for only $39 including 2 shams. Love it!

Libby (adlib) said...

Oh, man, I love both stores, but there is a Marshalls closeby. Well, closer than T.J.Maxx, anyway.

confiance said...

ooo, Marshalls, as that is where I managed to find my awesome Jessica Simpson sling back pumps for only $15 that I wear whenever I need a moral boost.

Chaya said...

Marshalls- I found some really cute stuff there last summer, to my surprise!

Kate said...

Funny, I always thought that TJ Maxx and HomeGoods were the same store- I always find the same items at each and they're usually located right next to one another. Huh. I would love a gift card to TJ Maxx though- our local Marshalls is a wee bit dirty and dimly lit.

Ami said...

Loves it, TJ Maxx!

Jen said...

found this just in time to enter

Kathi A said...

I love going to TJ Maxx, but only if I have lots of time to browse. Thanks for the contest!

Diane said...

I love TJ Maxx!

Cam said...

We live right next to a Marshalls that carries great shoes.

beach mama said...

Did I make it into the contest? It's 8:50 am here in Jersey...that should make it out there.
Love both those places!! Marshalls is closer to me.

Summer said...

I would love a Marshalls card

ChefSara said...

i'd use either one we have one of each fairly close...

Elizabeth said...

I'd go for the TJ Maxx. I'm not sure why but I have this idea that it's just slightly better than Marshalls. Everytime I go to Marshalls I feel like I'm wading through flea market. Although they have nothing on Building 19 (if you have those near you).

alseedus said...

I would love to have the T.J. Max card:)