Elect Great Savings This Presidents’ Day Weekend!


Honest, Abe. We cannot tell a lie. The truth is we’re giving you 45% + an EXTRA 15% OFF every one of our already ridiculously low prices on window blinds and shades during our 2018 Presidents’ Day Sale this weekend, Saturday, February 16 thru Monday, February 19.

Save a lot more than a few Washingtons on everything on our site, along with additional price slashes and free upgrades on select Roman shades. So for scores on your favorite window treatments, treat yourself to some time this holiday weekend on SelectBlinds.com!


Is Red the Color of Love for Monkeys, Too?

Home stager Roz Erlewein @stagerroz suggests adding some love to your kitchen table with a Valentine’s Day-themed tiered tray. Love-themed mugs and bowls can be used, and how adorable are the red and white measuring cups filled with little hearts? Be creative!

We’ll answer that in a minute, but first, here’s another stumper on Google search: Is it Valentine’s Day or Valentines Day?

Since February 14 is named for Saint Valentine, it’s his day, so the possessive “Valentine’s” (apostrophe s) is correct. And did you know that Valentine’s Day is also known as the Feast Day of Saint Valentine, a celebration of love and romance? (Chocolate hearts anyone? BTW, Valentine’s Day is the third biggest holiday for chocolate sales, behind Easter and Christmas and just ahead of Halloween.) But I digress. So how did red become the color of love (for people and primates)?

The color of fire and blood, red has long been associated with passion, desire and love. As well as energy, war, danger, strength, power and determination (all elements of any great love story, right?). While red is the traditional color given Valentine’s Day, just as there are many types and definitions of “love,” so are there different colors associated with it. Which brings us to the real purpose of today’s blog — using different, nontraditional colors and ways to set your valentine’s heart aflutter.

Pick from a palette of almost any color: red for white hot, fiery physical love; pink for calming, joyous love; violet for magical, mysterious love; blue for sincere love; green for balanced, healthy love; white for pure love. Then apply it to your unique style. Here’s a little inspiration from a few of our favorite Inspiring Decorators here at SelectBlinds.com, as well as some great DIY ideas from Pinterest.

Our friend Tori Dahl from The Dahl Farmhouse shared her love of blush, the “it” color for spring, in a few unique touches for Valentine’s Day. The candy hearts tray on her coffee table is the sweetest!

Who says you have to make your bed, says Tori? Rumpled sheets, mismatched pillows and a pop of red on black and white can be just enough of a hint for your Valentine to “Be Mine.” (Put a twinkle in their eye, too, with simple patio lights on the headboard.)

We sincerely love the blue hues here from diyshowoff.com.

Looking for a unique, nontraditional gift? If money is no object, here’s an amazing list of 12 lavish travel experiences designed to lavish your love on that special valentine. Passport not up to date? Why not pull down the shades at home (like one of our romantic romans) and settle in for some chocolate-covered popcorn, a bit of the bubbly and a romantic movie?

designer reserve light filtering roman shades in chili pepper

Spice things up on Valentine’s or any day with one of our Designer Reserve Light Filtering Romans. In addition to Chili Pepper (shown here), they come in lots of reds, as well as dozens of other colors and patterns.

Or how about this tasty twist on the traditional candy heart? LOVE these laser-engraved messages (“spud muffin!!!!”) Brit Morin pinned on some of her hubby’s favorite foods!

laser engraved fruit

OK, getting back to the monkeys. In a 2014 study by researchers at the University of Rochester, they found that female monkeys showed a strong bias toward images of the hindquarters of male monkeys, but only when a red frame was placed around the picture. This led the researchers to the conclusion that, to their knowledge, “it’s the first demonstration of an extraneous color effect in non-human primates.”

So this February 14th, go wild! Experiment and celebrate with extraneous colors while enjoying the Feast of Saint Valentine’s.

paper napkin heart

Tori Dahl and her husband made this adorable paper napkin heart she found on Pinterest. Follow your heart and use any extraneous colored napkins to create one of your own! Need some more inspiration? Follow Tori @dahlfarmhouse.com.

National Trivia Day: Fun Facts About Window Treatments

The Venetian Blind. Impressionist painting by Edmund Charles Tarbell (Source: Pinterest)

We love trivia here at Select Blinds, so we went in pursuit of some fascinating and fun facts about window treatments to share in honor of National Trivia Day (who knew?). Here’s what we found.

Venetian blinds, or what we commonly refer to as traditional slated window blinds today, did not originate in Venice, but were brought there by merchants who carried out trade expeditions with Persia between 1100 and 1500. Well before the time of Christ, the Egyptians used reeds from river banks to craft blinds. Animal hides were also used, because they created a cooling effect after being soaked in water. Tough maintenance of the hides caused shades to evolve into fabrics, which created a similar effect and protection.

Marble (!!!) window coverings were one of the oldest to be discovered and were found in the obliterated city of Pompeii, constructed with slats to divert the sunlight and create coolness. These slats also served the purpose of providing some amount of privacy and protection from inclement weather. The marble slats are believed to have been replaced by wood in later years.

During the construction of the Great Coliseum, the city of Rome turned very dusty. Citizens hung damp cloths over window and door openings to prevent the dust from entering their homes. Later, a retractable canvas called a velarium (a type of exterior shade still used today), was used to shade spectators in the Coliseum itself. This was the beginning of what is now popularly known as, you guessed it, Roman Shades.

Shutters soon made their way to the shores of the New World, and quickly became popular in the New England region of the U.S. To keep cool, mansions in the plantations of the American South had white-painted shutters installed, hence the name ‘plantation shutters.’

First appearing in Europe in Holland, window shades, the predecessor to roller shades (which were first manufactured in New York in 1858), started appearing in American homes and public buildings around 1780. Made of translucent cloth or paper, their decorative, hand-painated designs could be seen by both the building’s inhabitants and those passing by outside. Designs during the mid-nineteenth century were applied to shades by copying, tracing, stenciling, or pouncing (piercing translucent paper over an original image that is later used as a template), which produced higher-quality images. And here’s a truly fascinating fact: Long before he would create his works of art, Pierre-Auguste Renoir painted window shades (although, sadly, none remain)!

Light It Up for the Holidays!

holiday hair

It’s the time of year to sparkle and shine, so thought we’d share some fun ways we’ve found to light up this most festive season. Don’t forget the batteries!

According to a segment on ABC’s Good Morning America last week, Christmas tree hair and eyebrows are lighting up social media. (You can even Google tutorials on how to create a towering tree on your head. The secret? A soda bottle!) For more news on the holiday hair tree trend, check out today.com.

christmas tree hairstyle

Photo by Nadwa Yono on today.com

Not to be outdone, fellas, you can get in on the holiday hair action, too. Got a beard, bro? You’re good to go!

Pinterest first showcased the decorative possibilities of pineapples last year, and they’re popping up everywhere again this year. They’re great for the office, as a centerpiece for your table, or a welcoming accent in the entryway. So simple to make, even I could do it. (Tip: Find one with a smooth bottom so it sits evenly and straight.)

And speaking of edible de-lights, this deliciously simple cupcake is sure to light up your taste buds. Check out more creative holiday cupcake designs and recipes here.

holiday cupcake

Have any other bright ideas for Christmas decor? Leave us a comment and let us know. Happy Holidays from everyone here at The Blinds Spot!

#christmaspineapple #christmastreehair #holidayhair #holidaytrends #christmasbeards

#beardbaubles #christmascupcakes #pineapplechristmastree #christmaslights


Warning: New Study Finds 2 Kids Injured Every Day by Corded Window Coverings

“Child injuries in the home are preventable. Protect the ones you love.”

Rick Steele, Founder/Co-CEO/CMO, Select Blinds

In a new study published earlier this week in Pediatrics medical journal, researchers report that nearly one child dies every month and about two are injured every day in window blind-related incidents.

From 1990 to 2015, nearly 17,000 children younger than 6 were treated in emergency rooms for window-blind related injuries, according to the latest research. The study analyzed data from two national databases that showed most injuries were minor and did not require hospitalization; the most common injuries involved being hit by a falling window blind, or when a blind was pulled onto a person.

However, entanglement in window blind cords — which accounted for nearly 12% of all cases — was associated with nearly 80% of 726 hospitalizations and more than 94% of 271 deaths of children during that period. Kids like Gavin Walla, who almost strangled to death when, as a toddler, he became entangled in the cords of a window blind in his home.

The biggest tragedy, though, is that these deaths and injuries could have been prevented by switching from corded to cordless window coverings. A voluntary safety standard for window covering manufacturers has been in place since 1996. In 2014, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission unanimously approved a petition to develop a mandatory standard (still in the rule-making stage) that would eliminate window blind cords that are accessible to children.

In 2017, the Window Covering Manufacturers Association proposed revising the voluntary standard to require “stock” productsbe cordless or have inaccessible cords. This would apply to pre-made blinds purchased in stores or online. (Corded blinds would still be available in custom products.) The updated voluntary standard awaits final approval, but the WCMA said companies selling window coverings in the US and Canada will likely be required to comply by the fourth quarter of 2018.

SelectBlinds.com is proud to have been in compliance with the voluntary standard since 2015, when we became the only online window coverings retailer to offer a cordless version of every product we sell and as a standard (free) feature on many. And why we continue to support the efforts of the CPSC, WCMA, the study’s author, Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and other advocates in promoting the use of cordless-only products.

But we need your help. If you’re a parent or frequently have young children (and pets, who can easily become caught in cords, too) in your home, please:

  • Consider replacing any corded window treatments with cordless ones. Look for the Certified Best for Kids label here on selectblinds.com and in retail stores when shopping for shades and blinds.
  • Join the #GoCordless movement to become better aware of — and share — the dangers associated with corded window coverings.
  • Take a few minutes to review our window coverings safety tips to help keep a child from becoming entangled in dangerous, dangling window blind cords in less than 60 seconds.


Warming Hearts with Holiday Hearths

Photo courtesy of Julie Lancia, The Design Twins

Nothing says the holidays like family and friends gathered in front of a roaring fire. Adding to the warmth are mantels and hearths adorned not just with carefully hung stockings, but decorations rich with family tradition, touches of nature and perhaps imaginings of Christmases yet to come.

I’ve never had a home with a fireplace to decorate, but I’ve always been enchanted by — and a little jealous of — my friends who do, so here are a few ideas to welcome ole St. Nick as he emerges from the chimney. I bet with festive fireplaces like these he’d forget all about the milk and cookies!

My friend Julie recently posted this amazing pic of her fireplace on FB. (Wish I had room to share all of the pictures of her beautifully decorated home she took.) Is that not one of the most incredible collections of nutcrackers you’ve ever seen? They are her son’s, she told me. Her sister started it by giving him his first for his first birthday, which is just a few days before Christmas. He turns 17 this year, and with other friends and family taking his aunt’s lead, now has more than 80, which Julie lovingly displays each year. (I think she’s going to have to find a bigger mantel soon!)

Photo by Julie Drzewicki Rubis

One of our favorite Inspiring Decorators here at SelectBlinds.com is Cynthia Harper. This season the owner of Esty shop Harper and Arrow decided to use vintage brass candlesticks on her mantel, grouping them together to make the most visual impact.

“Every year I like to incorporate at least one vintage item on my mantel,” she says. “I believe vintage items connect us with Christmases past, and they remind us of those who’ve lives were lived before ours.”

She also suggests incorporating natural elements from outdoors, things like fresh greenery, eucalyptus and wooden branches, to add warmth and texture.

We also asked The Design Twins, Jodie Kammerer and Julie Lancia, how they were sprucing up hearth and home.

“Keeping with tradition this year,” Julie said, “I decided to return to a classic palette of green and red. Large poinsettias flank doorways, simple evergreen boughs frame archways, banisters and doors. Unadorned small Christmas trees in baskets are found in almost every room, making the house feel like an evergreen forest. Bright red comfy pillows and thick woven blankets invite friends to grab a cup of cocoa and sit awhile next to the roaring fire. It’s fun to finish with details like red boots and a traditional sled adorned with evergreen and vintage skates. These pieces add charm and character to the holiday scene. Now it’s time to sit back and let the festivities begin!”

Photos courtesy of Julie Lancia, The Design Twins

How do you decorate your holiday fireplace? Please share your favorite ideas with us in the comments here on The Blinds Spot! We’d love to hear from you!

Kids and Cords Don’t Mix

October is National Windoe Covering Safety Month

October is National Window Covering Safety Month, and we’d like to remind you: Kids and cords don’t mix.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), corded window coverings are one of the top five hidden hazards in American homes. Children ages 14 months up to 9 years can become entangled in dangerous, dangling window blind cords in less than 60 seconds. That’s why we’re totally committed to kids safety.

The Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC), safety advocates, and government safety officials recommend that you only use cordless window products in homes with young children. Select Blinds is the only retailer to offer a cordless option on all of our window shades and blinds, with many products where cordless comes standard at no extra cost. (Check out our FREE cordless options here.) Cordless is the safest kind of lift system for environments with little ones (and fur babies, too). That’s why we’re proud that so many of our cordless lift systems are Certified Best for Kids by the Window Covering Manufacturers Association (WCMA).

Here are some tips to help protect children and pets from the dangers of unsightly and unsafe corded coverings.

  • Replace window blinds and corded shades with cordless products, or those where cords are inaccessible. If completely replacing corded window coverings is not an immediate option, the proper installation and use of safety components such as tensioners, cord cleats, breakaway tassels and inner cord stops are available to help make your current blinds and shades as safe as possible, until you’re able to upgrade to a cordless option.
  • When shopping for cordless window coverings, be sure to look for the Certified Best for Kids label to easily identify products best suited for homes with young children. We make it easy at Select Blinds. Any time you select a corded feature, you’re prompted with this warning:
    Corded lift features are not deemed Best For Kids. Any accessible cords pose strangulation hazards to children and pets. Please choose cordless lift systems homes where children and pets will be present.
  • When window cords are present, check and double-check on a regular basis to make sure they’re out of sight and out of reach of little hands. Shorten or move them up and away, so that they’re inaccessible and can’t form dangerous loops. Then check again. Cords with safety tassels, breakaway cord consolidators and even cords tied up high in cleats have been involved in numerous accidents involving children.
  • Move all cribs, beds, furniture and toys away from walls with windows and window cords.
  • Join the #GoCordless Movement for Life at selectblinds.com.
  • If you have corded coverings and children in your home, enter our No Strings Attached contest for a chance to win a free cordless covering of your choice.


SelectBlinds.com Go Cordless Contest

For more information on window cord safety, visit www.windowcoverings.org.


Certified Best for Kids

Calling All Pannapictagraphists!


Photo courtesy of Kate Hubbard

Do you know what day it is? No, not Hump Day. It’s National Comic Book Day! (Seriously? Who comes up with these?) And a pannapictagraphist is a comic book collector, who takes collecting comic books very seriously. Think a typical scene in Stuart’s comic book store on “The Big Bang Theory.”


GIF from Culture War Reporters

Thor may be hot, but comic book collecting is even hotter. Diamond Comic Distributors, the largest comic book distributors in North America, shipped material worth around $45.72 million in August, including comic books, graphic novels, trade paperbacks and magazines. Comic-Con conventions continue to top attendance records year over year, with more than 180,000 attending this year’s Comic-Con in New York alone. Popular public Facebook groups like Comic Book Collecting, have hundreds of thousands of members. Tons of websites, including the Comic Book Collecting Association (a non-profit international organization made up of comic book enthusiasts who share an appreciation of the history, artistic merit and significance of the comic book medium as an important element of popular culture), ComiXology, ComicList and My Comic Shop are dedicated to detailed analysis and summaries of popular series, as well as weekly comic releases, and tips on collecting and selling comic books. Obviously, the Big Bang Gang is on to something.

A Comic Awakening

The comic book collection bug, however, wasn’t always such a big business or a big deal. Although comic books have been published for more than a century (beginning with the Platinum Age of comics from 1897-1937), the notion of comics as collectible art was celebrated by a disperse community of individual collectors. Even during the Golden Age of comics (1938-55, which featured the first appearance of Superman [Action Comics #1 in June 1938] and the first appearance of Batman [Detective Comics #27 in May 1939]), before the late 1960s, virtually no specialized comic stores existed. A few collector-based retail establishments had taken root, most notably Pop Hollinger’s retail and mail order shop for new and used comics. But it wasn’t until the Bronze Age of comics (1970-79) when Denver, Colorado-based retailer Chuck Rozanski acquired the high-value “Mile High Collection” — 16,000 comic books dating from 1937 to 1955 — in 1977 and slowly began releasing select editions into the marketplace.

During the late 1970s to early 1980s major comic publishers like Marvel and DC Comics began publishing material that was intended for sale in specialist shops only. When Marvel tested the new comics specialty market with the title Dazzler in 1981, the comic sold an astounding (at the time) 400,000 copies. Thereafter, comics publishers have been targeting more and more of their titles to collector audiences, with features such as limited editions, the use of high quality paper, or the inclusion of novelty items.

The Big Boom

From roughly 1985 through 1993, comic book speculation reached its highest peaks. This boom period began with the publication of titles like Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen. With the subsequent success of the movie Batman in 1989 and again in 1992 with “The Death of Superman” story line, the mainstream press began focusing on the burgeoning niche market and its potential for making money. Features appeared in newspapers, magazines and television shows detailing how rare, high-demand comics such as Action Comics #1 and Incredible Hulk #181 (the first appearances of Superman and Wolverine, respectively) had sold for thousands of dollars, with Superman #1 breaking the $1 million mark.

Turns out we have a few serious collectors here at Select Blinds who were kind enough to share some of their fantastic collections with us. To them and all pannapictagraphists, happy National Comic Book Day!


The Amazing Collection of Ryan Hicks, one of our front-end developers here at Select Blinds. If you’re as impressed as we are, Ryan runs a comic collecting Facebook community/company in his free time. Connect with him at Collectors Choice Comics to talk comics or comic grading.


Holy Pannapictagraphists, Batman! Check out Ryan’s top Wolverine books (from left to right): • Wolverine #1 from his first series, signed by the entire creative team including the creator of Wolverine himself. There are only 2 known 9.8 copies signed by all these guys in existence. • Incredible Hulk #180: This book is the first cameo of Wolverine on the last page. • Incredible Hulk #181: One of the most famous comic books of all time, first full appearance of Wolverine signed by the entire creative team. (This books is one of my prized possessions.) • Incredible Hulk #182: Second full appearance of Wolverine.


And his collection of First Appearance books (from left to right, top to bottom): • Amazing Spider-Man #14: First appearance of the Green Goblin. • Amazing Spider-Man #129: First appearance of the Punisher (signed by entire creative team). • Uncanny X-men #266: First appearance of Gambit (signed by entire creative team). • Fantastic Four #52: First appearance of Black Panther (signed by Stan Lee and artist Joe Sinnott). • New Mutants #87: First appearance of Cable (signed by entire creative team). • New Mutants #98: First appearance of Deadpool (signed by Deadpool creators Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza). • Tomb of Dracula #10: First appearance of Blade (signed by writer Marv Wolfman). • Amazing Spider-Man #194: First appearance of Black Cat (signed by writer Marv Wolfman). • Incredible Hulk #181: First appearance of Wolverine (signed by entire creative team). • Iron Man #1: Not first appearance but first Iron Man in his own title (signed by Stan Lee). • Amazing Spider-Man #252: First appearance of Black Suit which later turns into Venom (signed by Stan Lee, artist Ron Frenz and writer Tom Defalco). • Star Wars #1: First Star Wars in a comic book (signed by inker Tom Palmer and writer Roy Thomas).


Set of action figure comic variants produced by Marvel, hand-drawn to look like action figures of their respective actors/actresses. This entire collection is graded 9.8 (except for 2), and the top two rows are all signed by their original Star Wars cast member.


Some of Ryan’s favorite original sketches. These are all one of a kind and all hand drawn: • Doctor Strange by original Dr. Strange artist Frank Brunner. • Bishop by creator of Bishop, Whilce Portacio. • Back to the Future homage with Archer and Lana by Archer Lead Character Designer, Sam Ellis; also signed by Back to the Future movie writer/producer Bob Gale. • Spider-Man/Venom/Carnage by Venom artist Sam De La Rosa. • Thanos by Andy Carreon. • Wolverine vs SabreTooth by Izik Bell. • Ant-Man knocking out Hulkbuster by original Ant-Man and Iron Man artist, Bob Layton. • Rocket and Groot by John Beatty. • The Joker by George Perez.


One of the comic-related displays at Ryan’s house.

Wearing White After Labor Day? Why Not?


Growing up in the Northeast, the cardinal rule about not wearing white before Memorial Day or after Labor Day was strictly enforced, with the possible exception of wearing white gloves and white patent leather shoes (the horror!) for Easter if it was late enough in April.

Now – thank goodness – anything goes when it comes to wearing white. And while my grandmother would roll over in her grave, I, for one am grateful that the rule has been relaxed (especially since I now live in Arizona, where we’re still seeing triple-digit temps in mid-September!). Faced with several more weeks of white-worthy temps, I got to wondering how this “rule” got started.

It appears that after Labor Day was declared a national holiday in 1894, the ban on wearing white was the practical culmination of the natural change of seasons along with standards devised by old-money society matrons that trickled down to middle-America via the fashion industry. Here’s how.

In pre-AC America, residents in large, trend-setting northern cities donned cooler white and light-colored cottons to help ward off the stifling summer heat that set in after Memorial Day. Those who could afford to escaped the city and headed for cooler ocean or mountain climes, packing their summer seersucker and white-themed “resort wear” with them. When cooler temps returned after Labor Day, summer wear was packed away and folks started bundling up in heavier attire more suited to weathering the winter.

This natural phenomena did not go unnoticed by the dowagers of decent society, who decided that since Labor Day was the end of the summer social season, fashion sense dictated it should also be the official end of wearing white. This was done not so much to assert their fashion-forward sensibilities, but rather as a guise to weed out and ostracize the nouveau riche from their old-monied circle. Wearing white after Labor Day made social climbers who didn’t know the insider’s rules an instant target, and subsequently were quickly snubbed and shunned by polite society.


Enter the fashion industry’s role in spreading the rule to the masses without money. Summer white-themed fashion spreads were featured in the pages of New York-based magazines like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Cosmopolitan by Memorial Day, followed by fall fashions that were all the rage on their pages just before swimsuit season was over. So by the 1950s, the message to middle-class America was clear: white clothing was divine come Memorial Day but definitely de rigueur after Labor Day.

It’s interesting to note, however, that whatever its origin, the Labor Day rule has always faced challenges, even in the ivory towers of high-fashion. As far back as the 1920s, legendary designer and fashionista Coco Chanel made white a year-round statement.


“It was a permanent part of her wardrobe,” says Bronwyn Cosgrave, author of The Complete History of Costume & Fashion: From Ancient Egypt to the Present Day. And the trend continues to be embraced by today’s fashion élites.

“Fashion rules are meant to be broken by those who can pull it off,” continues Cosgrave, adding white “looks really fresh when people aren’t expecting it.”

Even the Emily Post Institute notes:

“Of course you can wear white after Labor Day, and it makes perfect sense to do so in climates where September’s temperatures are hardly fall-like. It’s more about fabric choice today than color. Even in the dead of winter in northern New England the fashionable wear white wools, cashmeres, jeans and down-filled parkas. The true interpretation is wear what’s appropriate—for the weather, the season, or the occasion.”

Know where else white is always in season and style? On your windows. Check out some of these iconic looks.


10 Tips for Safe, Secure, Happier Online Shopping

In the wake and uncertainty of the Equifax hack, you can still shop assured on selectblinds.com! The IT pros here at SelectBlinds.com want to make you happy by reminding you that:

We hope you’ve taken steps to find out if you were impacted by the Equifax breach, and to protect your identity and information going forward. In the meantime, here are 10 tips to make your online shopping experience easier, and how to keep your identity and financial information safer.

1. Make sure your computer is secure. If your computer isn’t protected from malware (malicious software), you’re just inviting hackers to steal your financial information, passwords and everything else you store on your computer or do online. A simple Google search for “computer security software” is all it takes to find a program to meet your needs.

You also want to make sure your computer’s firewall is on. If you use a wireless network, it needs to be encrypted, so hackers can’t access your information.

2. Never shop from a computer on a public network. This may seem like a no-brainer, but public networks are not as secure as your own, so you risk others seeing your information. Avoid making any financial transactions (shopping, banking, etc.) on a public network to help keep your information and identity safe.


Need more speed to check out faster on shopping sites? Consider getting a faster internet plan, or downloading more memory.


3. Check the site’s URL. To tell if a site is secure, look for the little padlock icon in your browser’s URL bar. You can also tell if the site is secure by looking for an “s” in the URL address: https://. Non-secure sites and pages begin with http.

4. Shop with trusted e-retailers you know. If you’re a fan of a traditional brick-and-mortar retailer whose reputation is, literally, on (the) line, chances are you can trust their web site. Visiting a new site? Read the reviews. At selectblinds.com, we’re super proud of the fact that we’re the highest rated, most reviewed online blinds retailer, so you can be sure we’re not going to jeopardize that by putting our customers’ information in jeopardy.

On the flip side, beware of “shady,” suspicious sites advertising ‘too good to be true’ offers; as the saying goes, they usually are. Disreputable online retailers often use the old “bait and switch” scam to lure customers by running a ridiculously low price promotion and then, when you go to add the item to your cart – surprise! – it’s “out of stock,” so they try to sell you something else.

5. Only use credit cards, rather than debit cards. Credit cards represent an extension of credit, while debit cards draw directly from your bank account. Hackers can do much more damage to your finances with your debit card info than with your credit card number. Also, Consumer Reports recommends using just one credit card, or a payment service like PayPal, for all your online purchases. This way, if a hacker does get your account information, you only have one credit card company or service to deal with.

6. Beware of extra charges. Shipping, of course, is the biggie, so be sure to check the fine print on what qualifies for “free shipping” (not everything does, like most over-sized items). And before checking out, read the retailer’s return policies thoroughly. Many charge restocking fees for returns – some up to 25% or more. But typically a fee of 15% of the price you paid for the returned item is standard for specially packaged products, like electronics.

7. Don’t use a site that asks for more information than necessary to complete the sale. Providing basic information including your name, billing and shipping address, phone number, email address and method of payment is part and parcel of online shopping. But if a site requests other information, click delete! NEVER supply your bank account information, social security information, or driver’s license number. Some companies ask questions about your interests for marketing purposes, but these and any on-site questionnaires should always be optional.

8. Check the site’s privacy policy. Does the retailer resell, rent, or share your information? Check the policy to understand how exposed your information may become, or how it may be used. Many sites (like selectblinds.com) clearly state that they do not share, sell, or rent consumers’ information; others say they own your info and can use it however they choose. Shop with companies that respect your privacy.

9. Create a unique password for each site. Most e-commerce sites give you the option to create your own account. This makes sense for e-retailers you shop from frequently (but not necessary or recommended if you’re a one-time buyer), so you’ll need to create a strong, unique password. Be sure to follow the site’s prompts for creating a password that meets their security requirements (number of characters, cap/lowercase letters, special symbols, etc.).

10. Always check the company’s shipping terms. Ever found a great price on something online, only to get to check out and see the shipping charge is as much or more than the item itself? It happens. Exorbitant shipping fees, especially on small orders, can turn a shopping bargain into an expensive mistake, so read your options carefully. Look to see if order tracking and insurance is provided. Understand what carriers the retailer uses and how packages are delivered (direct to your door, drop off at curb, by appointment, signature required, etc.), and be particularly cautious if the item won’t be shipped within 10 days.

Happy IT Professionals Day! Today’s tips brought to you by the madcap members of our incredible IT Team, who are always inventing ways to better protect your information and privacy on selectblinds.com!