Friday, November 9, 2007

Give the Guns Away Free Then Sell the Bullets

There was an article on the web today talking about the price of ink for Kodak printers. And how Kodak was lowering the price on their ink which was overpriced to begin with etc etc. Well whoop-tee-do. It is their traditional approach. They used to give away Brownie cameras and then soak folks for the film. It is the idea that you give away the guns then sell the bullets to make your money. Cheap device expensive consumables. Why is this a surprise?

The worst case I saw for that was with a Lexmark printer I bought. The printer was $67 and came with 2 smaller ink cartridges. The printer was capable of using larger cartridges but they cost $79 a set. The small replacements were $45 a set. So what to do? I went with the larger replacements, getting hosed in the process. If the printer came from the factory with the larger cartridges I would have been better off getting a whole new printer. But it only comes with the small ones so replacing the machine just to replace the small cartridges was not viable. Pretty sneaky these printer guys. But let me tell you the next time they jack the cartridge prices look out. Also if the printer gives me one hiccup of trouble it is out the door too.

What was it Stompin' Tom sang? "The consumer they call us we always get a fair shake. We buy a Fridge that doesn't freeze and a stove that doesn't bake!" He nailed it pretty good if you ask me. And electronics are the worst offenders.

Take IPODs for example or MP3 players to a lesser extent. You can get a 500 meg IPOD that will store 700 songs. Several days worth of music non stop but is that good enough? No sir you need the 1 gig IPOD because you absolutely cannot live with out your top 1440 songs. Who has a list of 1440 top songs? No one. No one has 700 favorites either. I will put money on it no one, except the odd weirdo with too much time on their hands, can even list 700 songs. So what do they need a one gig for? Just cause they can afford it and it is bigger than their buddy's.

Everything is hype these days. They gouge you on the prices and hype it up till you think you can't live without it. Well give your head a shake folks do you really believe the hype?

And Christmas is coming. Hypee Holidays. Watch the companies ramp up the hype. The excited states are teetering on a recession so this will be their last chance to fleece the old consumers before the crunch. Better get the hype in gear big time. An one of their favorite tricks is to give the guns away free and then sell the bullets.

Mortgage Christmas and Hype the New Year...


Tuesday, November 6, 2007


We took the new van out to Banff on the weekend. It was Indian summer in Calgary and we wanted to try out the van. It was not Indian summer in Banff. A mere 80 miles and a few hundred feet in elevation and its winter. It was right cold and snowy out there and there was a wind off the Bow. Wind in the mountains. Aren't they supposed to stop the wind? Maybe it was just the fact that it was colder than we expected that made the wind so cold. The girls did not seem to care. There were squirrels or at least squirrel scents to get them excited as we walked them around town. So they were excited and let everyone know with an impromptu concert.

It will sure be nice when they get that town finished construction. World famous Banff Avenue was all torn up. In fact you could not drive right down the main drag. But since we did not know that there was construction we were pleased to see a reduction in traffic. Usually Banff rush hour runs from 10 am to 2 am. But last weekend traffic was bearable. Its the shoulder season up there too so that helped. The shoulder season is too late for summer but too early for skiing. Just the right time for us semi locals.

We did not get into the shops. We left too late in the day and spent too long walking the dogs around so all we did was grab a quick bite at Melissa's Missteak. One of our favorite restaurants. They specialize in homemade soup and sandwiches at lunch time and we like to go there. I expect that their steaks are good given the name but we are usually there at lunchtime. The food is good the rices are reasonable and the servings are too big. Everything you want in a restaurant. After a late lunch it was time to go home.

We could not find a parking spot in the outdoor lot so we had to park in the parkade. It was free but we wound up on the top level. Now normally I would take the stairs but with two dogs in tow that could be dangerous with leashes and all coming down four flights. You take your life in your hands going down three steps from the deck some mornings. So we took the elevators. And it was a glass elevator to boot. But the girls surprised us they did not panic or get excited, The rode down and back up like a couple of pros. You'd have though they did it every day, Someone had spilled potato chips and they did not even eat those. They were real ladies.

They did not think being left in the car was a good idea and sang a bit then but that is because we were obviously going for another walk and a ride in the funny little room and not taking them. We could have tied them up outside the restaurant but the last time we did that we almost lost Tiara. She chewed through her lead. It would have taken the girls about a minute to replicate the feat. Then we would have had to chase down two hounds in a town full of squirrel scents. No small trick. So the van was the best place for them but I think they would give you an argument on that.

All in all it was a good trip. The new van performed better than I expected (Chrysler sure fixed the cruise control as it kept the speed up on Scott Lake Hill both ways the old van could not do that even new,) The ride was good and quiet. Banff was not it's usual crazy self. And the girls were good as gold, if it would have been Indian summer it would have been a perfect trip.

Sitting back trying to get warm...