Monday, January 30, 2006

Don't Discount This

Is it just me, or does it seem like everything is on sale these days?

Some stores literally have just about everything on sale in one form or another. 10%, 20%, 50% off! Don't you wonder why they do this? Because they know psychologically we're a bunch of sheep to be toyed with that's why. Like Pavlov's dogs we see a sale sign and think hey, I can save a lot of money on this so I should buy it now.

I'm willing to bet that somewhere a store is having a legitimate sale and trying to get rid of stock, such as an older product they no longer want to carry, but it seems like this is becoming an unusual thing rather then the norm.

I saw an advertisement on television last night where you could get a $200 discount for installing some awning on your home. Have you bought furniture lately and seen the huge sales they offer? Car lots/manufacturers always deal with you and drop thousands of dollars off the price of a new car as long as you ask a few questions.

My question is, why are stores adding this huge markup on their products to start with? Apparently because some of you out there are stupid enough to pay them the full price! Your willingness to overpay by thousands of dollars on products helps them to offer discounts to smarter people.

Seasonal holiday times are an excellent way to see this stupid/smart consumer system in action. The stupid spend hundreds of dollars on decorations leading up to a holiday while the smarter of the flock hang back, resist temptation and head to the stores after the holiday and, like vultures feeding on carrion, purchase the leftovers at a huge discount like 75% off. Sure you have to wait until next year to decorate with your new treasures, but it's a small price to pay for what you save.

Yes, the pun was intended.

Another form of selling trickery that lure the stupid like moths to a flame, is the mail-in rebate. I can't tell you how many times I have bought a product amazed at the price after the mail-in rebate and then never mailed in the dang form.

Since I am notorious for not mailing in the mail-in rebates, I don't have much personal experience in these matters, but I have heard that many times these forms are ruthless in making you jump through a variety of hoops, dotting “I's”, crossing “T's”, cutting something out of the product box. Some have even reported sending all of the requested information into a company only to never receive a dime in return.

I'm willing to bet that your information is then used to send you all manner of SPAM, both electronically and conventional.

Yes, in case you have not guessed it by now, there have been many times that I have been a member of the stupid consumer club. I buy things on sale (how can you not when almost everything is on sale these days?), buy things with mail-in rebates, and felt that happy tingle when I see the large “ON SALE” signs.

Living in a capitalist society I don't foresee this changing anytime soon. Overall it's not really a bad thing, but remember that it's us against them. The consumers against the stores. We want to keep as much of our money that has not already been taken from us in taxes, and they want to transfer as much of our earnings that they can out of our accounts and into theirs.

As long as you know the rules and objective of the game you can learn to play without sitting on the injured bench too many times.

Don't kid yourself though, the game is not the minor leagues, the companies we make our purchases from are playing hardball. They spend a large portion of the money we donate to them on learning new methods to make even more profits.

Think “big oil” is ever going to release their current hold on gas prices? They're making money like crazy at the moment and they show no signs of backing off. Now we get excited if the price of gas is barely over $2.00 a gallon. I can remember when this was considered to be outrageous.

It's a world driven by us, the consumer. We are trying to fight back as we turn to ebay to find more bargains and try to purchase things with prices a bit closer to reality, but in the end you must go into the trenches and do battle with the salespeople.

Keep a firm grip on your wallet and mind. Try not to get too giddy when you see those magical words, “FOR SALE”, and whatever you do, mail in those rebates!

Monday, January 16, 2006

"Hey, look what you did to my pants!"

It would seem that when new things come along that people want, thieves just invent new ways of liberating them from the original owners. If you're paranoid about podjacking then you may want to be more discreet when listening, or now watching, you favorite media experience.

Enter PodLocker. This new device is designed to help you secure your new Christmas toy from others who would like to remove your listening pleasure and give it to the less fortunate. This new device is actually a sleek looking carrying case and security system all built into one.

The PodLocker can clamp to a table or desk with the provided clamping mechanism, or connect to just about anything else with its Master Lock carabineer style combination lock.

I can foresee this to become the accessory of choice on school backpacks.

One precaution though, once you attach something that thieves are hunting for to solid surfaces, these surfaces may become collateral damage. So if you're planning on dangling your status symbol from your britches, don't be too upset when someone comes along and rips your pants off in an attempt to make your pod part of their collection.