It’s a common theme on Scott Adams blog, the notion that many companies, in order to avoid competing on price, creating buying structures that are impossible to understand, thus hiding true cost.
I think what’s surprising to me is that I’ve only ever heard the term from Scott Adams, but anyone who buys things, particularly corporate purchasing, knows this is common, so why don’t you hear mainstream economists speaking of confusopolies?
If EU economic policy were a soap opera–and apparently, it is–Greece would be the sultry, irresponsible beauty in a tumultuous love-hate relationship with rigid, authoritarian Germany. Obviously after years of tumultuous breakups and teary reunions, this is the season finale where he finally beats the hell out of her during a screaming fight over thier impending bankruptcy, and in despair, she drives both of them, and his prize Volkswagen, off a cliff.
She doesn’t see how this will end well. I don’t either. I never quite understood why the Germans would want to be in a monetary union with basket cases like Spain, Greece and Italy to begin with.
Most of the time when one thinks of a gun shop, they imagine a fairly small and cramped space. At least, that’s been my experience with a majority of shops I’ve visited. Even the larger spaces I’ve seen (outside of the big box retailers themselves) aren’t actually terribly big. So, it’s rather amusing to read about a guy who wanted to open a gun range and gun shop who found an empty big box store to buy.
Perhaps the most unusual use of a former big-box store is William James’s Arms Room gun shop and shooting range, which opened last year in a former Circuit City store south of Houston. Mr. James spent nearly $5 million to buy the 20,000-square-foot space and convert it into a shooting range, a price he considered a bargain compared with building from scratch. The Arms Room offers handgun training courses in addition to traditional shooting practice, all in a popular shopping center anchored by Target Corp. and Home Depot Inc. stores.
“It was sort of providential,” Mr. James said in his Arms Room office, surrounded by antique swords and modern firearms. “I never dreamed of a place like this.”
The local PetSmart & Mattress Giant have both recognized the gun range for bringing in new customers. The Home Depot was willing to go on record before he opened that they had no problem with a gun range in the shopping center.
The only Pennsylvania example cited for a non-traditional use of retail space was a community theater in Harrisburg mall. It’s too bad. There’s an empty anchor store at one of our local malls that could use a gun range. :)
Two stores we’ve been to lately have been mysteriously out of garlic. When it was Giant, I just wrote it off as typically crappy service that they wouldn’t have any out on the shelves or even in the back in inventory. But Wegmans was out, too. That’s just not cool when they are out of something we use so often.
I came home to the wonders of Google to find out if there was some kind of garlic shortage. Considering that it auto-filled “garlic shortage 2011,” I didn’t expect to find news about moderating prices and rebounding production. So what gives? If garlic production is actually going up, and prices are going down, why are the stores out of garlic?
It can be hard for most people to grasp the problems with government spending because it comes in the form of numbers that no one person can really identify with in any meaningful way. You know that $459 billion is a lot of money. And it’s more money than you’ll ever see in your bank account (unless there’s one hell of a bank error in your favor), but just how that compares to trillions of dollars is out of the realm of the average person. So that’s why this video succeeds at putting the issue of the federal deficit in terms we can all understand: liquor.
For those of you who have the luxury of living in what we refer to as Free America (aka places like New Jersey), you may not realize that our state governments wants to help us control our intake of alcohol. For that reason, we have beer laws that forbid us from buying more than 2 packs at a time – unless that is, you go to a distributor, in which case you’re buying a case at a time. We are also only allowed to buy beer from bars, restaurants, and distributors. Many bars have a “take out” section where you can grab a six pack to take home with you.
Wegmans, the most fabulous grocery store in the world, realized that with cafes in each of their Pennsylvania locations, they could qualify as a restaurant-type establishment for a license to sell beer. Under the law, the PLCB recognized that they did indeed qualify and granted them licenses to sell beer. For the consumer, it’s still not as easy as picking up a pie at Wegmans. See, the beer can’t be sold with your groceries. You have to buy it in a closed off area of the store at separate registers. The only thing it makes any easier is that I don’t technically have to drive anywhere else. It still requires two trips to/from the car and two different transactions. They also don’t have the world’s best selection, though it is certainly better than most takeouts near us.
The Malt Beverage Distributors Association, which represents 450 beer distributors across the state, had challenged Wegmans’ license on a number of grounds.
The group says letting Wegmans sell beer would allow other supermarkets and big retailers to horn in on the beer-selling trade by establishing their own eating areas and applying for licenses to serve beer and sell six-packs.
That, the association warned, could put beer distributorships – many of them small mom-and-pop operations – out of business.
Robert Hoffman, the attorney for the distributors, said the ruling puts them at a competitive disadvantage because supermarkets can offer “a zillion things to get you in the door.”
Hear that sound, Hoffman? That’s the world’s smallest violin.
How dare we consumers not be forced by the legislature and courts to buy from the companies who pay his salary! How dare competitors be allowed to offer more and different products! Boo freakin’ hoo, Hoffman. As a consumer, I think I’ll swing by Wegmans this weekend and pick up a six pack or two, grab a bite from their cafe, and knock my grocery shopping out for the week. Next week, I will also get in touch with my local lawmakers and ask them to ignore your lobby because as voters, we want more choice. Hell, maybe I’ll ask them to just consider disbanding the entire freakin’ system so we can buy as much or as little beer as we want at any damn store we want.
I’m going to dispute the notion that gold is a good hedge against the apocalypse. In the event that the US economy melts down so far that buying gold was a good alternative to holding US dollars, then buying canned goods, ammunition, and medical supplies was an even better alternative to gold. The only scenario I can think of in which it makes sense to stockpile a lot of gold is one where you and your household goods are unexpectedly teleported into the sixteenth century. If you worry a lot about this, then by all means, stockpile gold. But you should also probably take the precaution of stockpiling antibiotics and how-to books on dentistry.
I currently have no gold holdings, largely because I’ve been worried about it being a bubble. Of course, I’ve been thinking that since 2005, which had I invested all my money in gold then, I would have doubled it. But I’m wary of buying at the top of a bubble. I would never have the courage to hold gold long term.
I’ve never understood the libertarian fascination with the gold standard. Currently our currency is worth money because the government says it is. Libertarians have long wanted money backed up by gold. But what backs up gold? It’s never seemed to be a good idea to have your money supply dependent on something you have to mine from the ground.
Gold may be a good hedge against inflation, perhaps, but my inclination will be to pump my current cash reserves into the primary asset that is my house if inflation takes off. I need a new kitchen, a new shower, a good bit of exterior work, new driveway, and a once over of the yard by a decent landscaper.
As for preparing for total meltdown? Well, I think I have enough guns and ammunition available for barter to take care of myself pretty well.
I don’t even want to hear about Mike Huckabee polling well. Given how much the GOP’s fortunes have improved just based on outrage over the Democrats profligate spending and regulating (even after 6 years of the same by the GOP), I think the folks that like Mike Huckabee need to be drummed out of the party. I’m all for a big tent and everything, but Mike’s Jesus Juice isn’t something you can build a majority with. I’m fine with having a coalition with Christian conservatives, but religion and family aren’t promoted by big government. Bitter and I continue to live in sin because of the hope and change keeping our household underemployed, with the constant prospect of being unemployed. Makes planning an expensive event months later difficult. I can’t believe we’re the only people in this boat. Apparently birth rates are falling too, since people are afraid to start families because of the economy.
So Social Conservatives need to forget about Huckabee. The Hope and Change is killing family values more than anything.