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Pampered Chef: How many use a laptop?

  1. cheesehead

    cheesehead Novice Member

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    Laptop at show - good idea or bad?

    I am a new consultant and have already done a couple of successful shows. However, i am finding that even though I love doing the shows and all that goes into a show - I hate when it comes time to add up orders and then figure out the hosts benefits and totals. In the few shows I have had, I have already had a couple of errors...one guest did all of her own math and I "trusted" it was correct. Once I got home and entered it into PP, I saw an error and she had overcharged herself by over $10 and was no longer at the $50 mark for the free cookbook. Another order I goofed on some addition and overcharged someone who wrote a check by about $1.50. There was another guest error who didn't include one of her items and carried her totals to the columns and I just worked off that to add the tax and shipping. So she didn't get an item she orginally wanted (and I have since added it to another order).

    Anyhoo, I know I could have caught the guest errors by just double checking, but I assumed they had done it correctly - I have learned not to assume anything anymore! ;) But this is what I am thinking about doing for my show this week... I loaded PP onto my laptop and plan to key in each guest and their order as they bring me their order form. I will only type in their name and order - none of the other info. Then when all the guest orders are in, I can sit down with the host and have exact sales numbers and have all of her benefits right in front of me to plug in her order to.

    Here is where I am wondering if this is a good idea or bad idea... First of all, will the guest feel like I am taking up too much time by using a computer to punch in the item numbers?
    second - is it worth my time to enter all the info into PP when I would have to reenter it all on to my computer at home that I transfer my orders from online.
    third - am I making too big of a deal out of a simple part of my business?

    What do you think? Should I just do it as a test run at my show this week to see if it goes better? Has anyone else done this and if so, how does it go over?
     
    Aug 22, 2005
    #1
  2. chefbilyeu

    chefbilyeu Member

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    When I got my laptop, I was hesitant to bring it to shows because I thought any possible recruit leads might be turned away in thinking that to be a consultant, you must have a laptop. However, I find that showing possible leads how EASY PamperedPartner is to use, and how easy it is to submit shows has actually been a positive thing, and I just let them know that I didn't use a laptop in the entire first year of my business, and that it is by far not a necessity.

    I love having it at my shows. I set it up ahead of time, and when each person is called up to check out, I enter just their name and order, and then give them the total. I used to be the same as you, and make mistakes in error, or trust the host totals. Now, I don't have to worry--the computer does it for me, and it's accurate every time. I show the guest the total, then write the total on their order form--I don't even put the column totals in anymore, just the Product Amount B (unless they are past host, then I fill out Subtotal A, discount, and Product Amount B) Sales tax on adjacent line, then Grand total, and that's it.

    I actually find this to be faster, since I'm not adding up each individual column. Plus, if they have a credit card, I can put the numbers right into the computer, and don't have to worry about the paper copy floating around anywhere. I re-affirm the numbers with the guest to make sure they are correct. I think they feel safer about that also.

    This is just my opinion--give it a try, and I think you'll find it works out great!
     
    Aug 22, 2005
    #2
  3. pamperedbecky

    pamperedbecky Legacy Member

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    I think a laptop is a GREAT idea. I've had the same problem....I get home and enter it into PP and realize a guest made a mistake, or maybe even me when I've calculated something. I think it would save so much time if I brought a laptop to shows. I know one consultant who does this (and I'm pretty sure there are some on here who have too) and swears by it. My next computer we purchase is going to be a laptop and I can't wait. RIght now there are some great deals out there because of back to school stuff. But if you already have it, TRY it! If you don't like it, you could always go back to the old way. Personally, I think it'll be faster and more accurate. And I think we'll look even more professional. Be sure to tell people, though, that you don't NEED a laptop to do this job. You just happened to have one. You don't want to scare away anyone interested in the oppty.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes. :)
     
    Aug 22, 2005
    #3
  4. Chef Becca

    Chef Becca Novice Member

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    It's fabulous!

    I take my laptop to shows and it makes life so much easier. It does help to avoid errors and there are lots of other benefits too.

    For instance, if it is a past host who's placing an order you already have all of her information in the computer so you can just look her up immediately. Or if someone comes to you and says that they want you to call them in 3 months to possibly have a show, then you can go into contact management at that moment and put in an action item for 3 months from now so that you don't forget. Same goes for product adjustments or customer care. You can put those into pampered partner right then and there.

    And like you said - it gives the host correct benefits right then and there including who is booking a show.

    Someone asked about taking more time because you'd then have to input orders at home but here's the fix to that. Simply backup your pampered partner on your laptop to a disk. Then when you get home insert the disk into your home computer and do a "restore from backup". What this will do is transfer all of your information from your laptop to the home computer. Then vice versa..once you're ready to leave for a show, backup the home computer and restore to the laptop. Piece of cake. =)

    The "restore from backup" option is in the same menu as the "backup" option is.

    Another really cool thing that you can do if you take your laptop is...if you have WIFI (wireless internet) on your laptop and so does your host you can get onto the internet while you're at her house. This means if the show is ready to close that night - you can submit it from her house. Or if someone says they are a past host and doesn't have their number...you can go to Consultants Corner and look it up immediately.

    Very cool stuff! =)
     
    Aug 22, 2005
    #4
  5. pamperedbecky

    pamperedbecky Legacy Member

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    How cool! I want a laptop SO badly!

    By the way.....did anyone notice that all who replied to this original question were named Rebecca, Becky and Becca???? Just thought I'd point that out...very strange!! :)
     
    Aug 22, 2005
    #5
  6. rhonda4554

    rhonda4554 Guest

    I love my laptop!!

    I got a laptop for Christmas last year and have taken it with me to my shows ever since! I love it! I used to come home from a show and have to get the orders into the computer before I went to bed. Now since I do it at the show, I get to bed about 45 minutes earlier! No more mistakes, either! And I tend to remember to ask them about booking, opportunity, etc., and I pay more attention to how close they are to getting a free product when that is the special. I think it is because I am not so preoccupied with doing the math correctly. This IS my computer, so after I have closed a show with a hostess (usually from home) I just print out all the receipts on PP paper and mail 'em out to her. I haven't bought the triplicate forms in over a year! I use a kitchen show order form (that I found somewhere) at the show, enter the info in the laptop when I am figuring their orders, let them take home the outside order form, and tell them that they will get their "official" receipt with their order from the hostess. No one has ever, ever complained. Trust me, they are worth the expense...plus it is a nice tax deduction!! :)
     
    Aug 22, 2005
    #6
  7. Chef Becca

    Chef Becca Novice Member

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    Good Name

    That is too wierd about who responded to the post!

    It's because we all have a great name - haha..

    And have you ever noticed that Rebecca, Becca and Becky all take on such different personalities? I mean really...think about someone else you know named Becky or Rebecca and then try to flip it around...doesn't work does it?

    haha...
     
    Aug 22, 2005
    #7
  8. BethCooks4U

    BethCooks4U Legend Member Gold Member

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    I carry a laptop and decided to stop for a while to cut down on what I carry. Two shows and I had it back again. When I first started and didn't own a laptop I made a few mistakes in the math and again made a mistake without it! Now I tell the guests that "I'm calculator illiterate and the program that PC gives me does all the math - so no worries about tax and such! AND I paid for the laptop with my first few months commission". It's all true and they love it!
     
    Aug 22, 2005
    #8
  9. Tash

    Tash Member

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    You Read my Mind :D

    My Husband is a Mac guy to the bone, and PP does not work on Macs so I have been using my Uncles computer to submit my orders. Well we are moving this weekend so I will not be able to just pop over to my Uncle's place to submit my ordes. I went out today to get a laptop primarily to be able to use PP but I was wondering if anyone used theirs at thier shows. I too am as dum as dirt when it comes to math so I figured it would help speed up the check out process and I would not be so nervous that I am going to make mistakes.

    I think it is settled then, my laptop is going with me from now on. :) :)

    I do have one Question though for anyone who knows. Is there a way I can transfer the info I have on my Uncles laptop to my laptop so I have those shows and info?

    Thanks for your input

    Tasha
     
    Aug 22, 2005
    #9
  10. DZmom

    DZmom Veteran Member

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    Backup to Disk!!!

    Back up your PP on your Uncle's laptop to a 3.5 floppy then when you upload PP onto YOUR laptop you just stick the disk into the drive and click on Utilities at the top of the PP screen. Then click Restore from Backup and all your info should be on your laptop exactly as it is on your Uncle's. :D
     
    Aug 22, 2005
    #10
  11. DZmom

    DZmom Veteran Member

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    I Want A Laptop!!

    I would love to get a laptop to take to shows. My director recommends NOT doing this since she feels that it could discourge potential recruits. I still want a laptop to take with me though. I believe that it would cut down on the time I spend adding and re-adding totals and get everyone through the "CHECKOUT" more quickly.
     
    Aug 22, 2005
    #11
  12. ShanaSmith

    ShanaSmith Veteran Member Silver Member

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    I have been using my laptop at shows for about a year now. I love it! You can back up the info off your Uncles system to a memory stick ( or pen drive... portable memory) You will need to install the program on your laptop, then do a restore. The restore from back up function is in Pampered Partner, under utility. You just select the drive from which you want the data backed up. The pen drive is a good way to back up your data so you don't have to worry about a crash. I think you will really like having it at your shows, it cuts down on your time entering things after you get home.

    hope this helps,
    Shana
     
    Aug 22, 2005
    #12
  13. Tash

    Tash Member

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    Thank

    Thanks Shana and DZMOM.

    I was worried I would not be able to save the info I have on my U machine. I am relieved to know that it won't be an issue.

    I can see how using a laptop at shows might be cause for concern as far as recruiting goes, however on the other hand I think it shows a level of professionalism and technological advancement that other companies might not have and it may even appeal to someone who is thinking of the business.
    Ya just never know :p

    Take care and thanks again.

    Tasha
     
    Aug 22, 2005
    #13
  14. cheesehead

    cheesehead Novice Member

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    I played around with the laptop and my PC last night and tried to see if I could back up the "fake" info I entered on the laptop onto a disk and then upload it back to my PC and it wouldn't let me. PP wouldn't give me the option of selecting my disk drive - it just wanted me to use the hard drive that I had previously backed the data up on. I thought it just wasn't possible to do.

    However, after reading what you have all posted today, I must have done something wrong. Do I have to backup the info on my PC to a disk and then it would allow me to upload from disk???

    I would like to play around with it more tonight but my husband needs the laptop. Does anyone know if this is my problem?

    By the way, thanks for all the great feedback to my original post! I am definately going to bring my laptop to my show this week and look forward to not feeling stressed over the $ part and figuring out the host benefits!
     
    Aug 22, 2005
    #14
  15. I have used my labtop since day one because I'm so bad at math! I've had only positive comments about having the laptop, and it also saves me needing to worry about order forms. I use outside order forms, if anything other than the laptop. I know I'd mess up the orders, and it makes everything look so much simpler without the calculator and scribble marks! Easy to change orders, etc..I love it.
     
  16. chef_leeanne

    chef_leeanne Member Silver Member

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    I too have used my laptop from day one! I can't imagine doing it any other way! Often guests have commented how neat it is that I can bring my laptop to shows and take care of business so easily! I also think they feel more confident with the accuracy it provides.

    I also have my screen saver set up as a slide show with pictures of my grandkids, nieces, nephews etc... the guests love that. I always catch them looking and smiling then seeking me out to explain who is who. :p

    Lee Anne
     
    Aug 22, 2005
    #16
  17. DZmom

    DZmom Veteran Member

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    Aug 22, 2005
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  18. DZmom

    DZmom Veteran Member

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    Yes, you must backup to a disk not the hard drive. Backing up to the hard drive is NOT a good idea. If your computer were to crash then all your info would still be lost since you would lose the original AND the backup!! Back up to the disk and then Restore from Backup
     
    Aug 22, 2005
    #17
  19. cheesehead

    cheesehead Novice Member

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    I have tried to back up to a disk - meaning a cd...not a floppy - but it will not allow me to. Is it an accurate assumption that I have to save to a floppy disk or zip file only?? That kind of stinks if that is the only option as the laptop doesn't have a floppy drive - only cd. And I don't have a zip file on either.

    Oh well - worse case senario is that I just reenter the show info when I get back home. And that would be much easier off of the laptop than off all those darn order forms!
     
    Aug 22, 2005
    #18
  20. DZmom

    DZmom Veteran Member

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    CD Backup

    To back up to CD make sure that the "other drive" button is clicked in the Destination area of the Backup box. Under the Choose Backup Destination side of the backup box click the d: drive in the drop down box on the bottom right hand side of the Backup box. This will be the CDROM drive. (It may say g: drive instead of d: drive.) Then click Backup.

    Contact me via Y! Messenger and I can walk you through it if you have problems!!
     
    Aug 22, 2005
    #19
  21. ChefLaurel

    ChefLaurel Member

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    Neat!

    What a great idea! I am a new consultant - Sept 8th is my first show (I have 2 catalog shows going on right now!) and I have not even tried PP - just installed it and hoped we'd go over it some more in training. I am a serious "Mathphobe" and have been worried about keeping my numbers straight at a show. Since my first show is my own, I started it in PP and played with a few fictional guests (Jerry Garcia and Bob T. Builder) and it is SO EASY! I will totally bring my laptop to the shows!

    My question is about receipts - someone said that they printed them out when they got home - but don't receipts come from the HO with the order box, regardless of which method you use to submit them?

    I love the idea of using an outside order form, and then putting them right into PP - you can personalize that form however you need to!

    I also liked Lee Anne's idea about the slideshow screensaver - I thought I might make one up with PC images :) Especially since I am new, and only have the starter kit...

    Thanks for such an AWESOME tip! I love this group!

    Laurel
     
    Aug 23, 2005
    #20
  22. chefmary

    chefmary Member Gold Member

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    Laurel:

    HO does not provide receipts; they are always provided by the consultant. Using the triplicate forms, you'll be able to give a receipt to each guest at the show. Starting Sept. 1, however, there will be a packing slip provided for each order so that the host can more easily sort the orders when they arrive at her home.

    Hope this answers your question!

    Mary
     
    Aug 23, 2005
    #21
  23. kimcooks4u

    kimcooks4u Member Gold Member

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    What laptops ($ and brandnames) do you recommend for our business?

    Has anyone found a great deal on laptops? or Do you recommend a certain brand name? I plan on investing in one but have no idea where to start. I only want to use it for PP and going online....NO kids games ughhh! Any advise would be very helpful! Thanks!
     
    Aug 23, 2005
    #22
  24. janel kelly

    janel kelly Advanced Member

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    I think my husband went online to walmart.com I think and found a laptop for under $600. I'm so glad I have one to take to my shows. It makes checkout time much faster and more accurate for me. Plus I can see how much in benefits my host is getting right there.
     
    Aug 23, 2005
    #23
  25. kitchenqueen

    kitchenqueen Member

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    You can also check out www.ubid.com - we wanted to replace the digital camara we have now for a better one so we just bought a new digital camara that retails for $400 for only $150 from that website. Alot of manufacturers put refurbished products on there and you can buy them with a hefty discount. You can find a ton of laptops on there! Take your time and shop around. HTH!
     
    Aug 23, 2005
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  26. Cindycooks

    Cindycooks Veteran Member Silver Member

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    I could not do it without my laptop! I think the hosts like seeing their benefits right in front of them - they know there are prob no mistakes and are impressed with the technology! Also - I have alot of files handy that I pull up if needed or if someone has a question. The other night, a guest needed a replacement part, and I was able to pull up the document, find the number of the item and get it ready to send. And I do make a point of telling potential recruits that a laptop isnt necessary, I just choose to do it this way. I know that doing it by hand is simple too, I just have never been a math person, and this makes me feel more comfortable and is so fast!
     
    Aug 23, 2005
    #25
  27. :confused: Are you talking about the Sales Receipt that is blank on one side and has the guarantee verbiage on the other? I got a few in my starter kit but can't seem to locate them on my supply page. Any ideas?

    I am very happy to hear that everyone uses their laptop. I am planning my first party on September 1st and was just refusing to do it without using my laptop. I am also considering taking my printer. I know its a bunch to carry but I thought it might be a nice touch to present the receipt right away. I have a wireless printer so it's an easy setup.
     
    Aug 23, 2005
    #26
  28. noradawn

    noradawn Guest

    They are called Pampered Partner receipts on the supply order form.

    I LOVE my laptop! I've done a couple shows without it, and regretted it each time. Also, I used to take a printer, but it didn't seem like it liked beng transported around. I often had problems with it, and that seemed to hold things up. I'm much happier, and it's much easier for me, to just print the receipts at home and mail them to the host. When I gave the receipts out at the party, I then had to create another document so the host would know who ordered what.
     
    Aug 23, 2005
    #27
  29. Sk8Mom209

    Sk8Mom209 Advanced Member Gold Member

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    Love the Laptop but

    learned the hard way to keep my eyes on it at all times! The 2nd or 3rd show I brought it to it was set up in the kitchen and I was doing the demo in the living room. When the host filled the pitcher of lemonade with ice and water she left it on the counter in the kitchen. As you have probably already guessed, the kids found the pitcher and got carried away with the plunger and spilled the entire pitcher into my brand new laptop. Thankfully, by the next day it was booting again and except for a few sticky keys it is working fine now.

    Other than that, I cannot imagine doing shows without it. I put in the customer name order and payment info fillin everything else when I get home off of the order form.

    I cannot believe that I did shows for 9 months without it!
     
    Aug 24, 2005
    #28
  30. Laptops

    I was wishing that I had a laptop after all of this conversation. But, I did want to share that I've heard other consultants who use their laptop as part of the display..posting anyone of our mouth-watering pictures from the website to encourage people to whatever (sign/book/etc) as their screensaver. Again, remind potentials that it is NOT necessary. Letting potentials know that we can afford the "extras" is a good thing in my opinion.
     
    Aug 24, 2005
    #29
  31. Chef Becca

    Chef Becca Novice Member

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    Replacement Parts

    Hey Cindy - just reading your post about the replacement parts order form. Just wanted to make sure you knew this...

    You don't HAVE to use the paper order form.

    Under non-commission orders (where you place supply orders) you can do replacement part order forms via pampered partner. You simply put in the customers address under "replacement shipping" and if they give you cash or a check put it on your pc debit card/credit card or use the customers personal credit card. I didn't realize this option was even on pampered partner for the longest time but it's great.

    For instance, last night I had a man show (it was super fun by the way) and this guys wife had told him to buy a new slicer (and he demonstrated the motion that it makes so that I knew which one he was talking about, haha) and it was the egg slicer. She said the wire had broken and needed a new one. So he was pleasantly surprised when I informed him that he could just order the wire frame & not have to order an entire new egg slicer. So I just went under non-commission orders, did a replacement part order for the wire frame - put in his shipping address and charged it to my pc debit card because he gave me cash. Too easy!

    You probably already knew this but just thought I'd shrare! :)
     
    Aug 24, 2005
    #30
  32. Tash

    Tash Member

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    Just a though

    I got mine from Best buy, it was a good deal but what I really appreciate is their product replacement plan. You pay extra for this but it is worth it. I bought a gameboy for my nephew and it broke after about 1 year, they mailed me a gift card for the entire amount. So I was able to get him the latest version.

    I figure that if I am lugging my laptop around (as it is designed for ;) ), I am still at a higher risk of something happening to it, also apparently the most common problem are power surges, which whipe out the mother board, with this plan they will replace the computer outright.
    They also have a no interest 12 month option so you can get it and pay it off as you earn your commission. Most CC's have card insurance that covers loss or theft, so if you buy it with the CC and you loose it or it gets stolen, you are covered.


    Moral of my story is....yes I have a point :p , although I might of been able to get a cheaper option elsewhere, I like the piece of mind. Just something else for you to consider if you are going to buy one.

    Tasha
     
    Aug 24, 2005
    #31
  33. rwesterpchef

    rwesterpchef Advanced Member

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    Bringing a Laptop to Shows

    Yes, I use a laptop at my shows. Having paying a $27 difference at the very first two shows (combined) because I fat-fingered the calculator, I decided I'd let my laptop do it the "dummy-proof" way.
    1) I can confirm the number of line-items with the number I see on the receipt, ensuring that I keyed everything.
    2) I don't have to go home and do duplicate work by entering it when I get home.
    3) I can use it as a recruiting tool by usually saying something like "Most consultants start by simply bringing a calculator and manually tallying your order. After just a couple of months working Pampered Chef part-time, you can afford to buy your own laptop and use at your shows."

    Also, ALWAYS bring a calculator in case of computer glitch, dead battery crisis, anything. Having a backup is better than not being caught offguard with technical difficulties.

    AND, my laptop fits neatly in the Show-to-Go!
     
    Aug 24, 2005
    #32
  34. ChefSandyK

    ChefSandyK Member

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    Show to Go

    Rita, you have yours already? You go, girl! Is it as wonderful as I'm hoping? Is there room for SA pieces?

    Congrats again,
    Sandy
     
    Aug 24, 2005
    #33
  35. Sk8Mom209

    Sk8Mom209 Advanced Member Gold Member

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    WooHoo!

    Rita - you so girl! I just received the new TTA tote, it is so much nicer than the original!
     
    Aug 24, 2005
    #34
  36. ChefSandyK

    ChefSandyK Member

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    I got one!

    Okay...I couldn't resist. Was so excited about the buzz on here...had to get one so that I don't have to fight the silly adding machine at shows anymore. For those of you still looking...STAPLES is having an unadvertised sale on Compaqs....really powerful notebook for $500. Worth looking into if you are interested in using it for the PP software, etc...

    Have a great day,
    Sandy
     
    Aug 25, 2005
    #35
  37. pamperedbecky

    pamperedbecky Legacy Member

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    Which one did you get? There are so many different models and memory, etc. I get so overwhelmed when I start browsing the ads for laptops because there are so many choices! Thanks for sharing that Staples is having a sale on them. We have a friend who is SO knowledgable about computers keeping his eyes open for us because I want one! If I have another big commission check (August's should be about $625.....woo hoo!!!), which I'm expecting I will, that will be the next purchase I hope. :D
     
  38. Cindycooks

    Cindycooks Veteran Member Silver Member

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    Target has the cutest little laptop bags - I could not resist. All colors, dotted, striped....just thought I'd let you know!!!
     
    Aug 26, 2005
    #37
  39. ChefSandyK

    ChefSandyK Member

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    Staples sale

    Becky,
    I got the M2105US. I also got a wireless router (also on sale for 1/2 price) so that I can go wireless...and work downstairs while watching my son play. I love technology! :D

    Have a great day,
    Sandy
     
    Aug 26, 2005
    #38
  40. LuvStoneware

    LuvStoneware Member

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    I honestly find that using my LT at my parties, I have more time to talk to those who are interested in the business. I put all the sales in and zap ready to sit and talk about them joining my team. Its awsome. I could not close my show without my LT.
     
    Dec 17, 2005
    #39
  41. pamperedbecky

    pamperedbecky Legacy Member

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    AFter having NO time to research laptops because I've been so busy, I've recently had a little time to devote to it and I'm finally getting ready to buy one. I'm so excited! It's a gift from my hubby for my birthday and Christmas. We're going to do the wireless thing too and I can't wait! That's just so cool. My next show isn't until mid-January, so I hope it's up and running by then. Do those of you who use one at shows enter all the guests info right then and there too? Like addresses and stuff? I wonder if that would take too much time? But then that sort of defeats the purpose of using one at shows because then you'd have to go home and enter that stuff anyway. :)
     
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