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My Turn, Kissing brand loyalty goodbye

"I can't maintain loyalty to any particular store.

"I can't maintain loyalty to any particular store. I rely now on stores where 'the price is right.' Coupons and sales are a great determinate in where I shop," says Deborah L. Davis of Amityville. Credit: Barbara Alper

I am no longer inflexible in liking or buying particular brands. My once-

favorite products like detergents and cleansers, paper products, toiletries and canned goods are being replaced by less expensive store brands.

Why not be flexible in choosing other brands? After all, the manufacturers have bailed out on us. We've all been affected by downsized packaging at same cost or increased pricing. Adding insult, the manufacturers also get rid of products that we've become accustomed to.

I've had to adjust to being without my regular radio stations. My jazz station completely shut down, and another that played R&B merged with a station with a different format. Television programs also are shuffled, and time is spent trying to locate where, what time or even if they're still on now. The affordable department stores that had everything I needed -- Gimbels, Alexander's, Klein's, May's, Ohrbach's, Korvettes, and A & S -- are now defunct, forcing me to find replacements.

I can't maintain loyalty to any particular store. I rely now on stores where "the price is right." Coupons and sales are a great determinate in where I shop. My least-expensive supermarket of choice was taken over by a conglomerate whose prices are now no less than a pricier supermarket that is also owned by the same conglomerate. I never shop there anymore unless there is a legitimate sale.

Some smaller chain stores are often more competitive. Don't be fooled by the warehouse stores that solicit bulk buying; it's not always the best bargain in the face of sale prices combined with couponing.

Another change that was forced on me is paying some of my bills using the Internet to avoid exorbitant late fees or ever-increasing postage.

I project my selection process will continue with more comparison shopping -- even perhaps divorcing some providers with whom I've had long-term relationships. I also have to assess if I'm really getting a bargain from my oil and insurance companies. The alarm company is up next for scrutiny. Maybe it's time we part company, too, if they can't beat more competitive pricing and service. After all, what have they done for me lately?

Yes, in the words of the song by the late Sam Cooke, "A Change Is Gonna Come." I learned to change and keep up with the times when I was forced into a different technological arena, replacing my 35 mm camera with a digital camera. Cellphones common to everyone are still only an "emergency" phone for me. My niece gave me an updated unlimited, prepaid service phone with texting and camera capabilities (that I still don't use). It has proved to be more economical.

Disappointingly, I'm no longer able to do all the things I used to. The change of letting go of responsibilities and delegating to others just as capable has put my superwoman cape in retirement. I pretty much have to accept the not-so-subtle changes that the world rapidly dictates and be not only adaptable to those changes, but initiate some in my own best interest, too.

--Deborah L. Davis, Amityville


Saying goodbye to the wringer

We lived in a second-floor apartment, and I had a wringer washing machine and rinsed my clothes in the sink. I had to climb out the window to hang the clothes.

We had six children at the time, so I washed four times a week. We purchased a home in 1958, and, in 1960, I bought an automatic washer and dryer. It saved so much time and work, and I didn't have to carry baskets of clothes upstairs.

On warm days, I would hang clothes up, but I always had the option to wash at night and use the dryer. This gave me more time to spend with my nine children. Today, people take these appliances for granted.

--Dorothy Primm, Elmont

Fond pre-mall memories

When I came to Farmingdale in 1962, the town had stores for everything you'd need -- appliances, dress stores, children's stores and John's Bargain Store.

Coming from Brooklyn, I fell in love with the small-town feel. I was expecting my fourth child, and this was a perfect place to live and shop. We even had no sales tax.

Then, the mall came to Massapequa, and, one by one, the small stores closed. We even had three supermarkets and a movie theater -- all gone. I would love to go back in time and tell the people about all the things they will lose if they stopped buying at small stores in town.

--Patricia Barbari, Farmingdale

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