Monday, November 30, 2009

Where Are The Deals

So Black Friday was down or slightly up or significantly down or .... who knows what numbers to believe these days. But either way, people are not buying much.

But no wonder! Where are the deals? And I mean REAL deals. Not 30% off some drastically high price. Go into Barnes & Noble - sure there are racks of books at "30%" off - but 30% off a $16 paperback is still $11+ - for some paperback book. Hey, show me a good paperback for $1.50 and that's a "deal" - and I'd probably buy it despite my spending being forced to very little this year.

Some might say $1.50 is absurd. But if iTunes can sell a song for $1 then so can booksellers. It doesn't have to be "Free" as one book claims - but it does have to be cheap. The days of throw anything out on the floor and EXPECT people to buy it are gone folks.

Even "Cash for Clunkers" was a bad deal for buyers - people got a govt credit for $4000 but auto dealers sold at higher prices - even Ford attributed their profit to a $2000 higher price per car than the previous quarter. Show me a car for 50% off - that's a deal.

And go into any Wal-Mart, Target, Home-Depot and where are prices really lower than last year ? Most of my groceries at Wal_Mart are from 20-40% higher! Oh, and the size of the package is 30% smaller. The smiling face is gone - it's now "Every Day Higher Prices". Deals ? - none in sight.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

USA in Decline: Welcome to the BCS

Okay, maybe Wall St was worse this year. But in keeping with the total decline of America, the NCAA Bowl Championship Series has to stand out. What could have been an exciting playoff series, simply declined into a whole bunch of meaningless, boring, terrible bowl games. Are Americans that bored with their lives that they are watching this? Or worse, paying $100's of dollars to go see this?

It just shows how low standards have gone in the USA. Let's see, of the "bowl" teams, several ended up with losing records, one with an even record, and a whole bunch with 7-6 records. "Toilet Bowl" is a more appropriate name for these games. But games are now decided by the complex math calculations - you know, the kind that brought us those famous Wall St derivatives (hell, even with an engr. Ph.D, I haven't figured out what a credit derivative swap exactly is or how Oklahoma is better than Texas, or USC, or Penn St, or Utah, or...).

New Years Day used to be exciting for college football fans - all the pageantry of the 4 big bowls and all the great teams played, one after another. But today, there is only 1 decent game (Rose Bowl). I guess sponsors feel they need to spread what little excitement remains over several weeks.

And like so much in America, it didn't have to happen this way. There are 12 great college teams this year and a playoff between them (over several weeks) would have been fantastic fun and yes, even good for business. Plain logic says at least USC, Penn St, Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Tech, Utah, and Alabama all deserve to play for #1.

But now another American tradition (New Years Day football) has been thrown overboard in our "consumer driven" society. No wonder half the country is on Prozac. Meanwhile, my TV is off and I'll write more blogs before it too is discontinued.