Sunday, October 23, 2011

I've Been Sold

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A friend of mine likes to tell me that his father once said "there is a big difference between buying something, and being sold something."  In the midst of our yard improvements, we decided that in order to speed along the proces of planting tulips, we needed a tulip planter.  I thought we had one and couldn't find it when I looked, so, I decided it was a figment of my imagination, and that we would get one on our next trip the the home improvement store.  I had been using a hand auger that a neighbor had loaned me, but found the holes were too big for tulips.  In the home improvement store, I found that there were no tulip hole diggers, but rather, there was an assortment of tools that looked kind of dubious to me -- like they were the next big thing that didn't really work that always comes along every five minutes, it seems.  The price on this neat contraption was also way beyond what I thought a hand tool should cost, as well.  I looked as sort of a last resort, for hand augers,  They didn't have any of those either.  The holes were a bit big, but it worked.  So I decided I would buy and try this neat-o contraption, having no other choice at the moment.  I went to use it the next day, and guess what, it worked like shit.  As a matter of fact, rather than making my work easier and better, I had to spend more time and effort to deal with the problematic device than in actually accomplishing anything.  I went back to using the auger.  A little while later, my wife found the tulip hole digger I was looking for earlier.  I used it, and it worked perfectly.  I vowed to take the other useless tool back to the store.  I wondered why the store would sell such a useless contraption, when there is already something on the market that works well.  I theorize that perhaps some purchasing agent bought a whole bunch of these things in China super cheap.  Of course, they would be cheap, because they do not work.  So, in order to unload this useless crap at inflated prices, they remove all the good workable tools off the shelves and substitute these things.  A person comes into the store with a shopping list, and instead of finding what he/she wants, the person finds what the store wants to sell them.  The choice is either to accept what is offered and buy that product, or to spend more time going to other stores trying to find the actual thing that is needed.  Often there is somebody there (a spouse, usually) saying, "come on, get that thing so we can go."  So, the impulse buy becomes another item that clutters the garage.

Two different products designed to do the same job.  The green one on the left does a relatively good job, is very simple to use and maintain and accomplishes its task.  The yellow one on the right was an impulse buy brought on by a home improvement store that advertises itself as "do-it-yourself."  It is more complicated to use, has a high upfront cost, and needs ideal conditions in order to be effective.  In short, it is a huge FAIL!  The store offers only the chioce of the substituted product and not any other choice in order, I think, to sell the public something they don't want or need in an impulse buying decision.  In short, instead of offering people what they want to buy, people are being sold something that the store wants to sell.Friday 21 October 2011Friday 21 October 2011Friday 21 October 2011Friday 21 October 2011

As I toil in the garden, I find it is a great way to give myself time to do some thinking.  Lately, in the world, mainly in the west, we have been facing an economic downturn brought on by two wars, government overspending and Wall Street greed.  Protest movements have arisen on all sides of the political spectrum decrying government corruption, high taxation and erosion of personal mobility.
The other night I watched a documentary -- Inside Job.  I've come to the conclusion after seeing that film, and I think many people around the world feel the same way, that not only should the people who brought on the worlds largest economic crisis since the great depression should be serving extensive jail sentences for fraud, but they should also be force to pay back every dime they ever made and, at the very least, should not be in control of the worlds financial institutions.  Not only should the greedy bankers and financiers should be sent up, but also the regulators who enabled them and failed to do their jobs.  However, the investment banks that destroyed the worlds economy, and had to be bailed out by the tax payers, got huge bonuses, and are in control still, as are the inept regulators.  Also, it seems, national politics in the United States is dominated by the same people who want to sell the voting public on the idea of granting unlimited power to the very same people who have worked hard to destroy the world economy.  This next national election, I'm afraid, may turn out to be an impulse buy we cannot take back to the store.

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