All posts by Taylor Davis

Holiday Shopping – In Store Or Online?

Thursday is Thanksgiving – Happy Thanksgiving everyone! And then the real fun begins: Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales!

Will you be out early on Friday, or even late on Thursday, looking for the best deals? Or are you waiting for Monday and hitting up some Cyber Monday sales? Or doing both? Tell us all about it!

As you know, this week is when the holiday gift-giving season really gets rolling. In fact, this holiday weekend shopping is expected to be bigger than ever, with 74% of Americans planning to spend on either Black Friday and Cyber Monday, according to finder.com.

The average adult is expected to spend $483.18 this holiday shopping weekend, which equates to $90.14 billion — up $30.57 billion from 2017’s spending of $59.57 billion, according to finder.com.

And who says men aren’t shoppers? At least for the holidays they are. (you can include my husband in that category!) According to finder.com, some 77% of men say they plan to shop over Black Friday and Cyber Monday, versus 71% of women. In addition, men are expected to spend nearly double that of women, budgeting an average $626.44, compared with $342.50 for women.

Now for you Black Friday shoppers, here is some interesting info from blackfriday.com (yes, there’s actually a website dedicated to Black Friday!):

  • In 2017, 11% of Black Friday shoppers started shopping before 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Another 11% began at 6 p.m. An additional 25% started at 10 a.m. or later on Black Friday itself.
  • During Black Friday weekend 2017, 64 million shopped both online and in stores; 58 million shopped only online and 51 million shopped only in stores.
  • In 2017, Black Friday was the most popular day for in-store shopping (77 million shopped in store on Black Friday 2017).
  • Heading into Black Friday 2017, consumers said they were looking for deals on the following: Tablets/laptops/PCs/TVs (27%); clothing (24%); smart-home gadgets (15%); toys (15%); gift cards (11%); and travel (8%).

If you’ve ever wondered where the terms Black Friday and Cyber Monday came from, here’s a little history lesson, from skimlinks.com: “Black Friday” was first used to describe the post-Thanksgiving shopping frenzy in the 1960s by newspapers in Philadelphia. At the time, the newspapers felt the massive crowds in stores and insanity in the aisles were comparable to the original “Black Friday”: a stock-market panic that followed the collapse of the price of gold on September 24, 1864.

Cyber Monday, meanwhile, was a pure marketing term created in 2005, to take advantage of the growing online shopping market.

OK, so whether you shop in a store or online, please remember to record all of your holiday shopping purchases. And take special care recording your online purchases (since we know you’ll be doing a lot of Cyber Monday shopping! LOL).

Here are our best tips for recording online purchases.

  • Online purchases may come in one or multiple shipments and don’t always include a packing receipt. Consider printing out your email/order confirmation so you can refer back to it when reporting your purchase.
  • If your items do come separately, please scan them as you receive them.
  • If an item arrives with the UPC barcode covered by another label, try carefully peeling off that label and scanning the UPC barcode on the item (or manually enter the barcode number if the barcode is damaged).
  • If you buy something from the website of a retailer that also has a storefront, make sure to report the trip as an online purchase. For example, if you order something from Walmart’s website, select “Walmart .com” when you record the purchase (whether the item was shipped directly to you or picked up at the store).

Have a very happy holiday, and I hope your holiday shopping experience is a good one!

Honoring Our Veterans

Sunday, November 11, is traditional Veterans Day, although it will be officially observed on Monday, November 12. As I’m sure you know, this holiday is dedicated to those who served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

So we all need to make sure to honor the veterans for their great service to this great country!

Important! If you are a veteran, or if you know a vet, please make sure to take advantage of the many free or discounted meals and services for this holiday. See the links at the end of this blog posting.

Here are some interesting facts from history.com:

  • 16.1 million living veterans served during at least one war.
  • 5.2 million veterans served in peacetime.
  • 2 million veterans are women.
  • Of the 16 million Americans who served during World War II, about 558,000 are still alive.
  • 2 million veterans served during the Korean War.
  • 7 million veterans served during the Vietnam War.
  • 5.5 million veterans served during the Persian Gulf War.
  • As of 2014, 2.9 million veterans received compensation for service-connected disabilities.
  • As of 2014, three states have more than 1 million veterans among their population: California (1.8 million), Florida (1.6 million) and Texas (1.7 million).
  • The VA health care system had 54 hospitals in 1930, since then it has expanded to include 171 medical centers; more than 350 outpatient, community, and outreach clinics; 126 nursing home care units; and 35 live-in care facilities for injured or disabled vets.

Veterans and active duty service members – Please visit these websites and see all the offers that are available to you:

Discounts and Veterans Day deals:
militarybenefits.info/miscellaneous-discounts-veterans-day-deals-veterans/

National Restaurant Veterans Day deals:
militarybenefits.info/veterans-day-discounts-sales-deals-free-meals/

Local area promotions, categorized by state:
militarybenefits.info/local-area-veterans-day-deals-for-veterans/

Additional website listings of Veterans Day offers:
www.veteransadvantage.com/blog/discounts-benefits/veterans-day-2018-food-freebies-veterans-and-active-duty-personnel-part-i

themilitarywallet.com/veterans-day-free-meals-and-discounts/

Thank you, and have a great weekend!

NCP Named One Of The Top Places To Work On Long Island!

We’re very proud to announce that we’ve been named a 2018 Top Workplace by Newsday!

(Newsday is a daily newspaper that primarily serves Nassau and Suffolk counties and the New York City borough of Queens on Long Island.)

We’re thrilled to have been included on the list, and thankful to all our associates, who made this possible.

The list of winners is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey. The anonymous survey measures several aspects of workplace culture, including alignment, execution, and connection, just to name a few, according to Energage, the company that administered the survey.

“Top Workplaces is more than just recognition,” said Doug Claffey, CEO of Energage. “Our research shows organizations that earn the award attract better talent, experience lower turnover, and are better equipped to deliver bottom-line results. Their leaders prioritize and carefully craft a healthy workplace culture that supports employee engagement.”

Again, we are thrilled by this designation!

We want to thank all our NCP associates, as well as our panel members, who’ve helped us become a better company.

Have a great weekend!

Get Out And Vote!

As I’m sure you’re aware, the midterm elections are on Tuesday, November 6. I have just one request: Please vote!

I think we’ve seen how much an election can change things; so no matter which side of the political aisle you’re on, it’s so important to go vote. If your state has early voting, get out there now! (Unfortunately, New York State, where I live, does not have early voting.)

As an NCP member, you know how valuable your opinion is. Well, the same is true for elections. Your vote – along with the votes of your family, friends, and neighbors – can help determine the direction of the country.

Voter turnout in the United States can fluctuate, depending on the type of election. In recent presidential election years, about 60% of the voting eligible population votes, while about 40% votes during midterm elections, according to fairvote.org.

We are very fortunate to be able to vote. So, please exercise that right and pick whomever you believe will do the best job for your town/village, county, congressional district, state, and the country as a whole.

Here is some useful voting information:

Have a great weekend, and please remember to make your opinion count by voting!

Not an NCP member yet? Sign up at join.ncponline.com.

Halloween Facts

Don’t be scared, but Halloween is right around the corner. Have you purchased any treats yet? Once again, I’ve recently bought a few bags of candy, but have already dipped into them. I must gain control of myself! LOL.

What about you? Have you bought anything for Halloween yet? If so, what? And what’s your own personal favorite Halloween treat? Let us know by leaving a comment!

Anyway, we love our trivia – especially holiday trivia – here on the NCP Blog, so let’s get to it!

These interesting facts are from womansday.com:

  • Which six states produce a majority of the holiday’s pumpkins? According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 2014 the top pumpkin-producing states – Illinois, California, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, and Michigan – produced 1.31 billion pounds of pumpkins. (We went pumpkin picking this past weekend and bought a lot. I think we alone bought a million pounds!)
  • Where did the Jack-O-Lantern phrase come from? The name Jack-O-Lantern first originated from an Irish folktale about a man named Stingy Jack who tricked the Devil over and over again. When Jack died, he was forced to walk the Earth with only a carved-out turnip and burning coal to help light his way.
  • Who started the black cat superstition? The superstition that it’s bad luck for a black cat to cross your path comes from the Protestant beliefs of the Pilgrims. They disapproved of anything associated with witchcraft, and some believed the legend that witches could transform into black cats and back.
  • What were the top candies of 2017? Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups were the most popular Halloween candy, while other favs included Snickers, Twix, Kit Kat, Nerds, Sour Patch Kids, and Skittles. (Those are some of my favorites, too! What about you?)
  • How much do parents spend on Halloween? In 2013, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated there were 41 million trick-or-treaters ages 5 to 14 in America. Parents spent an estimated $1 billion on children’s costumes combined. By 2014, that number nearly tripled. And according to the National Retail Federation, Halloween party-goers spent an estimated $2.8 billion on costumes overall.
  • What is one of the holiday’s most-produced candies? It’s candy corn! Since its invention in 1898 by the Herman Goelitz Confectionary Company of Fairfield, California (now known as the Jelly Belly Candy Company), candy corn has become very popular — so much so that today, nearly 35 million pounds of the stuff is produced each year.
  • How big a consumer holiday is Halloween? Halloween is a big business. So big, in fact, that it’s the second-largest commercial holiday in America, with Christmas being the only one to surpass it in sales. According to the National Retail Federation, consumers spent $5.8 billion on Halloween in 2010, and by 2015, that figure jumped to nearly $7 billion.
  • How much do Americans spend on Halloween? According to the National Retail Federation, 64% of Americans celebrated the holiday in 2015, and they spent an average of $74.34 per (adult) person on candy, costumes, and decor. (I know we also spend a lot.)

Have a great weekend, and also a great Halloween!

Not an NCP member yet? Sign up at join.ncponline.com.

NCP Sweepstakes – Send Us Your Shopping Info And You’re In!

Like almost everyone else in the country, I’m playing the lottery this week. After all, the current Mega Millions drawing is estimated to be $970 million. And the current Powerball jackpot will be worth an estimated $430 million.

Unfortunately, the odds of winning Mega Millions were 302,575,350 to 1 as of Thursday, according to USA Today.

Now I know the odds are long, but I keep telling myself I’ll be the lucky one. LOL!

If you want a better chance of winning something, just be a regular participant on the panel!

NCP has an amazing variety of sweepstakes, which are awarded weekly, monthly, and quarterly, and yearly.

Best of all, participation in these sweepstakes is easy: As long as we receive your weekly transmissions, you’re automatically entered into the following sweepstakes:

  • $25 Weekly Sweepstakes (50 winners)
  • $200 Monthly Sweepstakes (30 winners)
  • $20,000 Cash Giveaway (1 winner per quarter)
  • $500 Super Scanner Sweepstakes (20 winners per quarter)
  • $500 Panelists of the Year Sweepstakes (10 winners per year)

In addition, the Pick n’ Win sweepstakes is NCP’s exciting monthly contest where you’re in control. Each month we feature drawings for an array of amazing prizes. Use your reward points to give yourself an entry into a drawing. Enter as many contests as you want as many times as you want! (Note: The points you apply toward a prize are not credited back if you don’t win that prize.)

For more details, visit our Pick n’ Win Page.

Well, good luck to everyone who’s playing the lotteries. And let me know if you’ve ever won something in the lottery.

Have a great – and lucky – weekend!

Not an NCP member yet? Sign up at join.ncponline.com.

It’s Cyber Security Month

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, so it’s a great time to think about staying safe and more secure online. (The National Cyber Security Awareness Month, now in its 15th year, was created by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance.)

As previously posted, a few months ago I was the victim a scam, whereby someone was trying to get into my bank account. So I now take security very seriously, and you should, too!

Here are some tips from mcafee.com to help you stay secure:

  • Create complex passwords. Creating strong, unique passwords for your accounts is the best way to keep your personal and financial information safe. You can use a password manager to help you store and create strong passwords for all of your accounts.
  • Boost your network security. Make sure that your connections are secure; use a password-protected router that encrypts your data. Be careful using free, public Wi-Fi, which is often unsecured.
  • Use a firewall. Even if your network is secure, you should still use a firewall. This an electronic barrier that blocks unauthorized access to your computers and devices, and is often included with comprehensive security software. Using a firewall ensures that all of the devices connected to your network are secured, including devices like smart thermostats and webcams.
  • Click smart. Don’t invite danger with careless clicking. Many of today’s online threats are based on trying to trick you into revealing personal or sensitive information for fraudulent purposes. (I sure know about this now!)
  • Be a selective sharer. Be cautious about what you share, particularly when it comes to your identity information.
  • Protect your mobile life. Mobile devices face new risks, such as risky apps and dangerous links sent by text message. Be careful where you click, don’t respond to messages from strangers, and only download apps from official app stores.
  • Practice safe surfing and shopping. When shopping online, or visiting websites for online banking or other sensitive transactions, always make sure that the website’s address starts with “https”, instead of just “http”, and has a padlock icon in the URL field. This indicates that the website is secure and uses encryption to scramble your data so it can’t be intercepted by others.


You may want to take this opportunity to change your NCP website log on info. Remember, last year NCP strengthened a number of our security policies, including asking all of our panel members to change their passwords. As part of the update process, panel member passwords had to:

  • be different from your old password
  • be a minimum of 8 characters long (maximum of 64 characters)
  • include at least one number: 0-9
  • include at least one letter: a-z
  • include at least one special character listed here: !@#$%^&*._-

Thank you, and have a safe and secure weekend!

Not an NCP member yet?Sign up at join.ncponline.com.

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

Now that we’re a few weeks into autumn, it’s time to start thinking about all the fall home maintenance tasks that should be done before winter begins – and with the way time zips along, the cold and darkness will be here soon enough! My husband and I like to get an early start on our fall chores, since there’s so much to do.

So here’s a checklist from forbes.com that you might find helpful:

(Note: I know many readers may live in warm climates or may not live in a house, but hopefully there are useful things mentioned here that you can do to maintain your living space.)

  • Care for trees and shrubs.
  • Rake leaves, so the leaves on a lawn over winter don’t inhibit spring growth.
  • Clean gutters and downspouts.
  • Make exterior repairs. Look for any signs of damage on the roof, siding, and foundation.
  • Seal gaps so cold and critters don’t enter.
  • Check walkways, railings, stairs and the driveway for winter safety.
  • Stock up on winter supplies.
    • Check the condition of snow shovels and ice scrapers; replace as needed.
    • Pick up a bag of pet- and plant-safe ice melt, if needed.
    • Restock emergency kits for car and home.
    • If you use a snow blower, have it serviced and purchase fuel.
  • Shut off exterior faucets and store hoses so the freezing temperatures don’t damage anything.
  • Add weatherstripping around the frames of windows and doors to keep the house warmer and to cut energy costs.
  • Check safety devices.
    • Test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors; replace batteries as needed.
    • Check the expiration date on your fire extinguisher and replace if needed.

And a few others – which my husband is big on doing! – from houselogic.com:

  • Clean and stow your lawn mower.
  • Remove garden hoses from faucets so the hoses don’t freeze.
  • Drain your sprinkler system.

Along with doing those fall chores, one other thing is very, very important: Don’t forget to record your fall-related purchases! So if you buy a rake, record it! If you buy gas stabilizer to winterize your lawn mower, scan it! You get the picture …

Have a great weekend! Let me know if you have any fall maintenance tips and tricks. I’d love to hear all about them.

Not an NCP member yet? Join the fun by signing up at join.ncponline.com!

New PSC Hours For Phone Calls

As a marketing company NCP is constantly collecting and analyzing the data you provide to us. We are also constantly analyzing internal information, as we look to improve our internal operations.

One of the things we measure is the Panel Support Center’s call and email volume as well as the social media contacts. Our analysis found that most of our panelist contacts are through email or social media, and that phone calls usually occur during a particular window of time.

With that in mind, NCP has decided to modify the hours the PSC is available for phone calls. Here are the revised Panel Support Center Hours:

Phone Support
Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET

Social Media/Email Support
Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET

Don’t Forget: NCP Is Now On Instagram
As previously announced, NCP is now on Instagram, the photo and video-sharing social networking service. Check us out at www.instagram.com/ncppanel/.

Let us know what you think of our Instagram site!

Thanks, and have a nice weekend.

Not an NCP member yet? Just sign up at join.ncponline.com!

The New TV Season Is Starting Soon

Come Monday, the new broadcast TV season will “officially” begin. I’m pretty excited to see some of my favs coming back, including (sad to say) the final season of “The Big Bang Theory.” And there’s a lot of other good shows to watch (such as “This Is Us,” “The Good Doctor,” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” etc., etc., etc.!)

Which shows are you looking forward to watching? Whether they’re new or returning shows, let us know!

There are a lot of TV viewers out there. According to Nielsen, there are an estimated 119.9 million TV homes in the U.S. for the 2018-19 TV season.

The number of persons age 2 and older in U.S. TV Households is estimated to be 305.4 million, which represents a 0.3 % increase from last year. Increases in U.S. Hispanic, black and Asian TV households were also seen, due to estimated increases in population growth.

Additionally, the percentage of total U.S. homes with televisions receiving traditional TV signals via broadcast, cable, or via a broadband Internet connection connected to a TV set is currently at 95.9%.

Big News: NCP Is Now On Instagram!
The old expression, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” is certainly true. So we are excited to announce that NCP is now on Instagram, the photo and video-sharing social networking service. Check us out at www.instagram.com/ncppanel/.

Have a great weekend everybody!

Not an NCP member yet? Join the fun by signing up at join.ncponline.com!