Charlie's Blog: Shop


My wife and I lament on a daily basis the hardships involved in trying to find quality products in a world where greedy corporations stick it to the consumer after exploiting all the cheap labor they can find overseas. If human life has become so cheap, it is no surprise that companies will also cheapen their products while expecting their customers to pay the same prices for these inferior goods. But there are some companies and entrepreneurs who reject this decline into cheapness and still retain a commitment to quality and value for the dollar. So, we recommend these companies and products simply because we believe in them, and we receive no payment for these endorsements whatsoever. We just love these things and hope they will remain in the marketplace which is why we are recommending them. If you buy them, we can keep buying them.--C.

Big Lots is an unusual store because they sell items that we were overstocked or closed out in other stores. The selection is always changing, and you might not be able to buy more of a product. When customers find something they like, they will buy all of it in bulk. Paired with coupons and sales, Big Lots offers many great deals on a variety of products. It is one of our favorite places to shop.

If you are a regular listener to Coast to Coast AM, then you already know about C. Crane radios. C.Crane makes the best radios for receiving AM radio. If you love talk radio, you owe it to yourself to get a C.Crane. The reception on these things is amazing.

Bustelo has two great virtues. The first is that it has incredible kick. The second is that it is cheap. This Cuban coffee packs a lot of punch and flavor, and it can be enjoyed regular or espresso style. Forget Starbucks and go with Bustelo.

Carhartt makes awesome work gear and apparel. I prefer them for hats, coats, and pants for casual wear. I think they make the best winter gear.

We drink a lot of coffee, and the Chemex is our preferred method of making it. The pot and method are simple employing the pour over method, but for some strange reason unknown to us, it produces a more flavorful cup of joe even from cheaper brands of coffee.


I have been wearing Dickies work clothes since high school, and I absolutely love them. I love the work pants and wear them on my job. All my regular T-shirts are Dickies. I love their button down shirts. It doesn't matter if you buy them new or from a thrift shop, these clothes offer durability and value.

EZ-DUZ-IT Can Openers

We discovered this product after much frustration with Chinese made can openers we found at Walmart that would open two cans and quit on us. So, I went searching to find a quality can opener like my grandmother had, and we discovered this great brand that is still MADE IN THE USA and still the same quality you used to know and love before the world went to crap.


This is a company that makes meat substitutes. I enjoy the chicken tenders in veggie wraps.


Gun nuts debate various brands, but I prefer Glock for dependability. These handguns are simple, and they just work.

Klean Kanteen

I own three canteens from this company, and I highly recommend the wide mouth water bottles. There are other water bottles out there, but the narrow openings make them difficult to clean. The wide mouth Klean Kanteens are easy to clean and highly durable. I have gotten a lot of mileage out of my canteens so far, and they have endured well.

Merkur Razors

I believe in using a safety razor over ridiculously expensive cartridge razors, and Merkur is the razor that I use. I prefer the long handled version, but they offer a wide variety of razors for your shaving needs.

Oreck Classic Vacuum Cleaners

Oreck makes a wide variety of products, but the only one I love and use is this one:

This is the Oreck Classic Vacuum Cleaner, and the one we own is a refurbished one we bought from a shop for $80. It is the best vacuum cleaner we have ever owned. It doesn't have a bunch of fancy attachments. It takes bags. And it just works unlike those space agey clunky ones you buy from Walmart that cost more than the Classic. The thing is superlight and has great suction. Pair it with a Shop Vac for nooks and crannies, and you are set.

Pabst Blue Ribbon

This will be a minority report as my wife is not a fan of the stuff preferring Guinness, but I can literally say I have been drinking this stuff since I was seven years old when I woke up on Saturday morning and got hammered on my dad's beer with my little brother while watching Scooby Doo. The flavor of that beer was immediately agreeable to my young palate, and the memory of it never left me as I journeyed down the paths of commercial crap like Bud Light and into the snobbery of the craft beer movement. You always go back to your first love, and for me, it was PBR. The flavor is still the same as it has always been. My wife admits that it is the best cheap beer, and that, Gentle Reader, is an ENDORSEMENT. If you just want to drink a beer and don't mind the blue collar taint of this brand, you can't go wrong with Pabst Blue Ribbon. And, remember, Heineken is for white collar wimps.


Publix is my wife's favorite grocery store. Their prices are comparable to Walmart, and you can save a lot of money if you take advantage of 2-for-1 specials. Plus, the customer service is superb. Publix has a reputation for doing right by its employees and customers. I can honestly say it is a pleasure to shop at this store. It reminds me of how grocery stores used to be before Walmart ruined the industry. I also despise Whole Foods for being an expensive rip off. Publix is the perfect balance of quality and low prices with friendly customer service.


Once upon a time, I went to my cell phone carrier to buy a Motorola Razr flip phone when the guy talked me into buying a Samsung instead. I have to admit that phone was a quality purchase. I used it for a few years until it was about to snap in two. Since that time. Samsung has developed a reputation and a following for making quality electronics at a decent price. I don't do smartphones, but I have been satisfied with their Convoy flip phones and their Chromebooks. I recommend Samsung over Sony and Apple.


Skechers have some really nice looking shoes and some shoes you wouldn't wear to a chicken fight. But we have to admit one thing. They are very comfortable shoes. We have owned various pairs of sneakers, dress shoes, and sandals, and we have always been satisfied with them.


Sports apparel can be a very expensive proposition especially when you consider that those big name products are made from the same stuff as Starter. Starter is cheap and always available at Walmart. I don't recommend the footwear, but the clothing is awesome. My $10 Starter fleece jacket has held up for years under some averse treatment and remains a staple in my wardrobe. I wear their technical fabric tops as T-shirts under my work clothes, and they are superb in the hottest of conditions. In the end, the only real difference between Starter and Under Armour is the branding and the price.


There are cheap watches that are too cheap to wear. There are expensive watches that cost more than automobiles. Then, there are Timex watches that take a licking and keep on ticking for less than $30. They have a wide variety of styles to choose from. I have worn them since high school, and I find them superior to anything else.


Tofurky makes great meat alternatives for vegans and vegetarians. Whether it is a sandwich or a Wellington, Tofurky makes quality meat substitutes. Then, there is the classic tofurky for Thanksgiving. They make me forget that I am vegan especially around the holidays.