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Monday, November 23, 2009

Wal-Mart musings

I never shop at Wal-Mart. OK, I did once a couple of years ago when I needed an electric razor in a hurry. But otherwise, no.
The merits and demerits of the place abound. One lady shopper thinks it’s a great place and although being "whit*e trash central," it has tons of stuff that is cheap and "the grocery department rocks."

Another shopper didn’t like the greeters and called them "door nazis."
Then, another shopper said: "I finally had to leave in a near panic attack. The crowds, the noise, the people, the screaming babies, phones ringing off the hook, no one ever answers the damn phones in electronics!!!" It sounds like she may also have seen some of the customers shown in photos on the internet about "people of Wal-Mart."

As far as Wal-Mart having cheap stuff, remember that they are a huge importer of products from China that are known for being cheap in price and quality. You get what you pay for in life; if you want bells and whistles be ready to fork over.

I’ve talked to people who think electronics at Wal-Mart are a bargain. Are they? The guy who used to run the Philips TV account with Wal-Mart says the pressure from Wal-Mart to lower prices got so severe that they had to take short cuts in quality to meet their requests. Cabinets became thinner, remotes were made more basic, etc.; anything to lower costs. Finally, Philips had to go to Asia to manufacture because the $1 to $2 per hour wages paid to Mexican workers in Juarez in the ‘90s made the sets too expensive for Wal-Mart.

Levis’ jeans are another example of the demands of Wal-Mart. It’s a story similar to Philips. In short, those cheap Levis you pick up at Wal-Mart now are not your daddy’s Levis.

Wal-Mart will always do well because there are those who have no choice but to shop there. There are also those who like cheap stuff whether they can afford better or not. I hear complaints from those who say, "They are running small retailers out of business!" A moment later they are headed to Wal-Mart to save a dime.

As far as I am concerned, Wal-Mart will never see me, especially during the madness of the holidays. Well, MAYBE if I am again in a hurry and need an electric razor.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Coen brothers latest film and some flops

I saw the latest Coen Brothers’ film today. It’s called A Serious Man and is showing at the Camelview Theater in Scottsdale.

It’s a good movie but pay attention to the story at the beginning or you will not understand the ending. It takes place in 1967 and as usual I was looking for mistakes like a 1972 Ford Mustang driving by. It wasn’t until late in the film that I caught one and my rock buddies would easily have caught it too: The lead actor was complaining about receiving the Santana album "Abraxas" from the Columbia Record Club. I’m sure most of you have heard it, it is a great album like most of the work from Carlos Santana.

Unfortunately for the film, that album was released in September, 1970, a year after Woodstock and three years after 1967. Sorry Joel and Ethan, it’s in my 33 1/3 collection and I checked it.

The latest AARP Bulletin lists some famous flops. Here are a few of the significant ones. Remember these losers?

The Ford Edsel. I remember it well, a Tech Sergeant I worked for loaned me his once and I thought it was really a great car. I was wrong. Ford lost $350 million on it the couple years it was out. It must have been the push button gears in the steering wheel.

Then there was the Susan B. Anthony dollar from 1979-1981. They looked just like quarters and were mistaken for them by many.

"New" Coke: Why would a company who was number one in soft drink sales in 1985 change their formula? Dumb and double dumb. It quickly was changed back to the original.

DeLorean car of 1981-1982: Only 9,000 were made, it’s biggest claim to fame was being in the movie Back to the Future. Occasionally, one of these chrome beauties will be seen on the street.

Remember when Geraldo Rivera opened Al Capone’s vault on TV in 1986? We all tensed up at what might be in there as the door swung open. There was nothing but a couple of bottles. It was a disappointment but at least it was honest.

Michael Jordan’s baseball career: He found out quickly that hitting a baseball was harder than hitting a jump shot. It helped the Arizona Fall league though, as Mike drew 7,000 fans to a game that would ordinarily draw 150.

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Monday, November 09, 2009

Prayers and some lesser stuff

My prayers go to those affected by the unfortunate situation at Fort Hood last week. God bless and take care of our guys in uniform.

The White House is showing its inexperience by publicly denouncing Fox News. Anyone possessing political savvy knows that you never give ammunition to your adversaries. The White House has chosen the opposite tact and it is backfiring. Fox News has a strong following and their denouncement by Obama has only made them more popular.

NPR has been running a survey asking listeners whether they support the White House or Fox. As of this morning 86% favor Fox, 13% favor the President, and 1% is undecided.

Yesterday I stopped behind a painting contractor at a red light at Shea and the Beeline Highway in Fountain Hills. On the back of his trailer was written in foot high bold letters "PLEASE DON’T TELL OBAMA WHAT COMES AFTER A TRILLION." Even the most humorless Obama supporter has to enjoy that one. If not, get a life.

I thought that "Cash for Clunkers" was supposed to get buyers to trade in their gas guzzling heaps for economical cars. Some did but the 11-5 Republic front page story reveals that many of the new vehicles bought were also gas guzzlers that got only marginally better mileage than the trade-ins. Are we to believe that owners of old Ford F-150 guzzlers would actually buy a Prius? Not likely, somebody in Washington was lacking in common sense.

The government is investigating these reports and says that information was probably entered incorrectly by dealers and the fuel economy figures are probably outdated. Uh....... yeah.

From Columbus, Ohio.......Some residents are complaining that police officers are telling residents in crime infested neighborhoods that if they don’t like it, they can move. One City Councilwoman has received 20 complaints.

Whether it is correct behavior or not, I’m sure some officers eventually figure enough is enough in crime laden neighborhoods.

Geraldine Ferraro was surprisingly on Fox News last night and carried the title of "Fox News Contributor." Yes, it was the same liberal Geraldine who ran for VP with Mondale in 1984. I guess leopards do occasionally change trheir spots.

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