News you might could use… today. “Six Black Friday Bargains to Avoid.” Excerpt:
Black Friday is not an official national holiday, but this year we may as well consecrate it as such—the nation's fortunes depend dearly on how much you and your fellow citizens spend on this first day of the holiday shopping season. Don't lose your scruples, though, just because the economy hangs in the balance. Yes, you'll be able to find some great bargains this weekend, especially on technology (Check out this 22-inch widescreen LCD monitor for just $140, including shipping.) But there are many deals you should avoid, too—things that sound like bargains but that on closer inspection are no bargain at all.
In general, don't buy anything that you or your loved ones don't need just because it's on sale. This sounds obvious, but the rule is easy to forget during a shopping stampede. Remember, retailers are counting on your irrationality—the whole point of a "doorbuster" sale is to get you into the store to seduce you to spend cash on more profitable items.
I don’t “do” Black Friday. Never have, never will. Shopping is neither an adventure nor a sport for me. It’s a necessary frickin’ evil… and I’m speaking of the act of acquiring items needed to keep body and soul together… like food, clothing, and beer. Other than that? That’s why Algore invented the internet. I don’t need it if it ain’t on Amazon, Cigar.com, or Despair.com (There are cool management training vids @Despair, if you’re interested in de-motivating your workforce).
(Long parenthetical aside… Once upon a time (in another life) I thought I’d achieved Nirvana. Well, I actually DID achieve Nirvana, but only for about a year. It was at the height of the dot-bomb ridiculouslessness (I just made that word up), I was living in SFO, and I was actually grocery shopping ON-LINE. I forget the name of the establishment (they’re belly-up now, anyway), but they had an extensive on-line “grocery list” to order from… and one could customize, personalize, and save your very own list for re-use from week to week or however often you did your shopping.
The company delivered up until 2200 hrs, six days a week, and the delivery person would bring the bags of groceries right into my kitchen. Well… my groceries weren’t in bags… they were in large green plastic tubs, which the delivery person unloaded onto my kitchen counter while I checked each item off my shopping list as it was placed on the counter. No money changed hands; the transaction was placed on your credit card when you placed your order.
Quality? In a word, yes. Name brand items, always. Fresh, blemish-free produce. More cheeses than a French woman could shake a baguette at. The company never "forgot" or lost an item on my list... ever... and the service always delivered precisely at the requested time. And the delivery guys refused tips: company policy. That's quality.
Inexpensive? Not hardly... one paid about a ten percent premium over Safeway/Ralph's/Kroger prices for the convenience, and I was more than willing to do so. But I was in a minority, however, as the company was out of bid’niz in a year and I was heartbroken. But for a brief shining moment I didn’t even have to go grocery shopping, Gentle Reader.)
(Yes, I know. Neighborhood stores did this sort of thing all the time, back in the day. But I didn’t realize you were old enough to remember that, Gentle Reader. Or maybe you just remember your Grandma telling you about it. That’s gotta be it, innit?)
More news you can use, if’n you’re a beer drinker: A list of “…the top six craft and microbreweries according to the Brewers Association of Boulder, Colorado.” (There’s a second six, as well.) And those six craft breweries produce true American beer. Beers from all six of these breweries have graced the inside of the fridge here at El Casa Móvil De Pennington at one time or another.
Apropos of something... The subject for the post linked above was how to really “Drink American,” aimed directly at the reverse-snobs who’ll only drink Budmilloors. And that term, Gentle Beer-Drinking Reader, originated in another post at the same blog address: “Who Owns What Beers?” We all know Anheuser-Busch was bought by InBev this year, but didja know both Miller and Coors are foreign-owned these days? Ah… but PBR is still American, so you DO have an American-owned red, white, and blue-collar choice, even if the beer itself is contract-brewed… by South African-owned Miller Brewing. It’s just so danged hard to
Buy Drink American these days, innit? Well, not really. If you’re a beer snob.
While we’re on about beer… could this slip o’ the lip be the real reason McCain lost? (0:05)
Nah. Cindy’s in the beer-biz. Couldn’t be.