Consumer: Holiday deals and best paper shredders

October 19, 2011

For instance, Nordstrom is offering free shipping on most orders - no matter how small - as well as free returns.

It's following a similar move by catalog retailer L.L. Bean, which got rid of its minimum-order requirement for free shipping in March.

Raymour and Flanigan is letting customers go four years without paying interest on their purchases. That's the longest interest-free period it's ever offered.

Sears is not only matching the cheapest prices customers find online, it's giving customers an additional 10% off the difference.

Plus , more and more brick-and-mortar stores like Bed Bath and Beyond are matching prices with online-only merchants like

And, if you get the right manager, Staples will do the same.

Best paper shredder

Security expert Robert Strang says to avoid identity theft.

"Buy a shredder. Shred your old documents, shred your old bills, your bank statements, anything that comes in with your name, your address, or any personal information."

So, Consumer Reports tested 19 cross-cut paper shredders - which slice both vertically and horizontally - so your documents are hard to reassemble.

The shredders range in price from $40 to $270.

By far the best shredder was a $270 Staples machine, which can handle at least 22 sheets at a time. It has a pull-out drawer that's easy to empty, and it shreds CDs, DVDs, and credit cards.

For far less, a $90 Royal is also a good choice. It can't handle quite as much paper, but it also has a pull-out drawer and is very easy to use.

Keep in mind, paper shredders used to be a safety hazard. Kids could stick their fingers in the slot and get injured by the sharp blades.

The newest shredders Consumer Reports tested have much narrower slots designed to prevent this, but it's still a good idea to keep shredders out of reach of young kids.

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