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Turning things on end to achieve results!

Archive for July 2016

Don’t Call Us We’ll Call You

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Obsolete

Obsolete

No, I am not giving you the stiff arm. I am no longer in possession of a traditional land line telephone number.  As of early June I cut the cord to the land line and now we rely on our cell phones.  This move was made easier since our 2 year contract was up and in the past two years the cell phone reception has improved.

This elimination of a seldom used resource saved about $34 per month. This is not a large sum of money but why pay for something that provides no value?  The question you might ask is; what are we going to do with the $408 annual savings? Lucky for you I have a list!  Check it out below.

  • Pay for a modest a weekend getaway – the saving should cover the cost of a hotel for two nights and money for activities. I don’t have to add in dinner as a cost since we normally go out to eat on Friday and Saturday night.
  • Four new tires for one of our cars – not sexy but I would rather have fresh rubber on my ride than a useless land line that only gets calls from telemarketers.
  • Trick out my bike with lightweight wheels – replace MPH that is lost by aging with technology!
  • Drive 4,896 miles for “free” at $2.50 per gallon and at 30 MPG.
  • Buy about eight candy bars per week every year at $1 each. Not recommended but you COULD do it.
  • Sponsor a child overseas for $1 a day.
  • Contribute half of it to a good cause and use the rest to pay down debt.
  • Save the $34 each month at 4% and in 15 years you would have $8,367.10 to blow however you like.
  • Depending on your age, buy a term life insurance policy for $100,000 to $300,000 face value.
  • Get the neighbor kid to cut your grass every other week for six months. I like that idea!
  • Buy a chair for the living room that only you are allowed to sit in like Archie Bunker.
  • Buy a gift for your spouse and treat her like she deserves – unlike Archie Bunker.

Maybe you can find a way to save a few bucks each month and have fun deciding what to do with it. Have a great week.

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Transparency Versus Deception

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Why Charge Extra For Hi Def?

Why Charge Extra For Hi Def?

I recently changed from Satellite TV to a Cable TV provider and this is my story. I had been getting mail from a Cable TV provider for some time and finally decided to make the effort to switch from Satellite.  I could have done this a year ago but the laws of inertia were working in the favor of the incumbent provider.  See my blog about inertia by clicking here.

I called and asked about the $89 per month offering for a TV and internet bundle. This was the lowest tier offered but it was comparable to what we had with the satellite.  After dealing with these larger companies for cell phone, TV and internet in the past I suspected I would not be paying $89 per month but a larger number after taxes and hidden fees were applied.

Little did I know how much these hidden fees and taxes would amount to. Here are the details of my actual monthly bill with my comments to follow after the total is enumerated:

Deception? You Decide.

Deception? You Decide.

Incidentally, with my very first bill that arrived they announced price increases of $1.75 for the broadcast TV fee, $2.00 for the regional sports fee so my new monthly bill will be $43.04 higher than the teaser rate of $89.99 which is almost 50% of the original rate. The taxes and governmental fees of $11.10 are out of their control so I can give them a pass but the rest is deceptive if I can’t get the package without paying the additional fees.  It is like restaurant offering an entrée for a stated price and then charging for the tablecloth, napkins, dinnerware, and a chair to sit on.

Let me go further into the absurdity of some of these charges. They are charging $13.94 for high definition receivers!  Even I, Mr. Late adopter of technology, no longer own a low def tube TV.  I don’t think you can buy a TV that is not high definition and that probably has been the case for three to five years.  Why charge extra for something that is essential?!

I also take exception to the broadcast TV fee and the regional sports fees. They are part of the package and if these are simply charges that are passed on to the customer please include them in the base price.  They don’t sell cars with an up-charge if you want tires.

Despite the additional charges I am still saving about $25 per month and have internet speeds that are double what I had previously so I am satisfied with the switch but am already disappointed that they rolled out another $3.75 in charges on my first bill. That really says thanks for being a customer, now that we have you locked in for two years let the gouging begin.  It is a shame that I am resigned to expect this from a company.  Have a great week, if you can, after reading this.

Written by pacelinebiz

July 24, 2016 at 8:01 am

Favorite Movies

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Lights, Camera, Action!

Lights, Camera, Action!

  • The Great Escape – This is from 1963 and has a large ensemble cast including Steve McQueen, James Garner, Donald Pleasence, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson, James Coburn and David McCallum. It was aired annually in the 1960’s and 1970’s and I grew to enjoy it.
  • Sole Survivor – This was a TV movie from 1970 that was very memorable and made big impact on me when I first watched it as a kid. The ending was what made the lasting impression.  I recently re-watched it and it had much less effect on me.  In fact the main plot centered around a General who was a young navigator on a doomed plane who bailed out and left the rest of the crew flying blind.  This was mostly lost on me when I originally watched it.  It starred William Shatner shortly after Star Trek ended.
  • Wizard of Oz – I liked it as a kid when it scared me and appreciate the comedy scattered throughout as an adult.
  • A Christmas Story – Despite the constant showings around Christmas I still like to watch it.
  • E.T. – I knew it was going to be a classic the first time I saw it and was right. I even insisted that my parents watch it but they were not impressed.
  • Gran Torino – This stars Clint Eastwood and that is all I am going to say about that.
  • Forrest Gump – That is all I am going to say about that.
  • Breaking Away – I saw this when it was released at the local drive in theatre around 1979 or 1980. This was a movie that was about some friends in High School who were going through changes as they graduated.  A bicycle played a part in the plot. Who knew I would become a bicycling nut about ten years later.

I guess that is about I can recall, I am not a movie enthusiast. I have other favorites that are universally liked but these are ones that made a significant impression on me for one reason or another.   If you haven’t seen any of these I would recommend them without hesitation.

Have a great week.

Be Careful What You Wish For

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There is an "App" to replace me

There is an “App” to replace me

In September 2014 I wrote a blog about the push for a $15 per hour minimum wage. I cautioned that it was a very bad idea and described what would happen if it were to be implemented.  You can read about that by clicking here.  As it turns out the push has continued and the fast food industry has reacted well before the rate has reached $15.  Click here to read what a former CEO of McDonalds has to say about this in a recent article.

My prediction of what would happen is coming true and instead of helping those who work in minimum wage jobs or at entry-level jobs near minimum wage it will hurt. There will be fewer entry-level jobs.  Please don’t hail me as an economic genius; this is really simple to anyone who has any business sense.  The technology has been available for a long time and now that labor is becoming more expensive a switch to automation becomes more viable.

At the beginning of June, Chick-Fil-A launched their mobile ordering app similar to the wildly popular Starbucks app. This switch to automation was inevitable and the ruckus that the $15 per hour movement caused simply accelerated the move to machines.  I applaud the move to more technology only because it is a more efficient way to “deliver the goods”.  My wife and I use the app that Panera Bread has to order food and pick it up when we are ready.  It is a fantastic way to avoid the lines and save time. I am worried about where all the low skilled workers, students and people looking for part-time work to augment their income are going to find employment.

Have a great week.

Written by pacelinebiz

July 10, 2016 at 8:01 am

Ten Things To Do Next Weekend

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Summer

Summer

We are approaching the mid-point of summer and perhaps you are running out of ideas for what to do keep things fresh and different on the weekends. Good news; I have a list of ten things you can do that you probably haven’t thought of that might interest you.

  1. Go fishing – why not? Sitting on the shore under a tree sipping a beverage with some tunes on and snacks of your choosing is a lot like being on the couch. On Monday you can tell people you went fishing and impress your friends for having diverse interests.
  2. Complete a home improvement project. Choose something that will not take too long but still can brag about. How about put up a clothes line in the back yard? You can say you are doing your part for conserving energy and if you do it right it can double as a runner for your pooch.
  3. Go to a flea market and browse. You can people watch, find a treasure and snack. That sounds like a winning combination and your spouse might like it too so the bonus points will rack up.
  4. Go to the city park and take in a free concert. You are supporting the arts and being community minded. That is another great way to sound more interesting to your friends. Pretty soon they won’t think you are a boring Neanderthal who only watches baseball.
  5. Take a trip to the town down the road and go to their local museum or other attraction. You might learn something and then you can also eat at their local restaurants that might be new and different. Your spouse may also like this.
  6. In case it is going to be a rainy weekend plan to clean out your garage, closet or basement. You need to do this any way and if you clean out your closet you can donate the clothes to charity. After you drop off the clothes you can have lunch or dinner and the nearby eatery.       You deserve it you were charitable!
  7. Another good idea if it is going to be a bad weather weekend is to make that old recipe that takes too long to prepare during the hectic week. If no recipes excite you, bake bread for the first time or the first time in while.
  8. Paint your bathroom or other room to give your house a little extra pop for the rest of the summer. Small things can make a big difference.
  9. If you are able in your neighborhood, have a small bonfire and invite your neighbors to an evening of trash talking and bragging how great you were back in the day. Of course there will be food and beverages to kick things up a notch.
  10. Work on a craft project to get a jump on Christmas gifts. Nothing says I love you more than a handmade sweater, quilt or if you are less ambitious a couple of pot holders. If you are old enough, you can relive your youth and make the kids some tie dyed T-Shirts.

I hope this list will get you thinking of things to do for next weekend. Have a great week preparing for something different.