Saturday, November 12, 2005

"Yes, Consumer, You'd Better Beware"

I grow weary and more peaved at large corporations forcing to me purchase items that I neither need or want. They never ask us if we want them. They just add them to the product anyway so they can charge us more for something we'd never probably even thought of or requested had we done so.

Case in point: Saw a commercial last night for a new automobile where one doesn't have to turn on the windshield wipers because now the car automatically detects rain. Did anyone ask for that? Did some incredibly lazy idiot write to a car manufacturer and say, "Hey, I'm just too damn lazy and stupid to know how to turn on my windshield wipers when it's raining! Can you make us a car that'll do that for me?"

And naturally, that type of useless technology is going to cost the comsumers "big bucks". All of the OTHER automobile companies will follow suit and make it a standard on all of their cars as well, thus making all of those new vehicles costlier too.

It's sort of like the chip car companies have inserted into their keys for security. You think they help keep your car from being stolen? Nonsense. Any car thief worth his salt was way ahead of this technology. Oh, it may have stopped a few right when that was first started, but it wasn't long until car theives knew exactly how to get around a computer chip being needed to start an automobile.

They say that if you use a duplicate key to start a car without "the chip", it can tear up your auto's computer. This is true; it can indeed harm the car's computer. But if a thief steals your car, he knows exactly how to start the vehicle without a key. He knows exactly how to open that locked door without a key as well. This was just another ploy to make you pay more for a new vehicle. Auto companies purchased most of the companies that made keys and key machines. So now they can charge you from $35. to $100. for an extra ignition key, rather than you going somewhere to buy one for less than $2. The thing about that is, if you buy a new car and the dealer won't give you an extra key right from the start after you pay $20-$30 K for that new vehicle, my advise would be to tell him to "stick it", then go to a trustworthy used car lot and buy a decent car for a lot less. Eventually, these auto companies might just "get the message" that you're tired of the price gouging.

And it certainly isn't just with the automobile industry. Everytime you go to the store you'll see the words New and Improved on a lable "somewhere". It might be at a special price at first, but believe me, if it's new and improved, then new and improved technology, ingredients, testing, etc., etc. has been used to make it so, and somewhere along the line, you, as the consumer, will be paying for all of that, because that's why they're there: to make money for the manufacturer.

How to beat it? Buy Generic Brands. It's as simple as that. Same way with medicines. Aspirin is just...aspirin. Buffered or whatever, it can't be improved upon. It's still the most effective pain reliever bought across the counter. And if you'll look at most any over-the-counter medication, you'll discover that their main ingredients are available very cheaply and in large quantities. Quit buying Name Brands!

And when Coca-Cola comes out with that new Holiday Package, unless that particular store is selling it "on special", you'll pay extra for that as well. In fact, I noticed just today that a 12-Pack of their holiday decorated can drinks had increased over sixty cents. Now, you know for a fact that if you go to Wallyworld and they have a can machine out there that only charges you .30 a can and they're making a profit, and the drink companies are making a profit, them somewhere along the line, you're getting screwed. I dare say that with production cost and all at their volume they might have a nickle a can in the item...maybe.

And one of the biggest money-making ventures out there are pizza joints. I know this for a fact because I worked for one for 4 years. The cost of that great pizza with everything on it would be at least twelve bucks. We figured it up one time, including shipping costs of ingredients, the ingredients themselves, approx. cost of cooking the item, labor, etc., etc. That item they charged $12. for was actually costing the company about seventy-five cents to produce. Lesson here? Buy the ingredients enough to make several pizzas, take them home and make them yourself. All you're paying for is the convenience of sitting in their place of business and having them wait on you. And the next time you DO want to eat there and that waitress/waiter asks you if you want to try their new product, ask them, "If I don't like it do I have to pay for it?" If you didn't come there to purchase that item specifically, then you shouldn't have to pay for it.(And why you're at it, you might also ask the manager why it is that his servers aren't getting a regulated decent rate of pay instead of relying on "tips".)

Finally, well, not really finally, but my final example today would be, commercials aimed towards children. They should be banned, as simple as that. Most parents don't watch the cartoon shows their children do watch, but every 5 minutes or so throughout the show, a child will be subjected to at least that much time focused on a product that some toy company is trying to hack. They'll make that Lego dragon look like he's actually a small android, capable of walking, flying and breathing fire on his own. They'll show that remote control toy never flipping over on it's back or going out of control. Why, those action figures can fight one another without your child's imagination at all! With all the "stuff" these companies try to tell us we should buy, here's one item I'd personally like. A t.v. that totally eliminates commercials at my choice. One that would play music I like when they start to come on, then go back to regular programming when they're done. A recording devise, DVD or VCR either one, that would detect such and pause, then continue as the programming does. It's simple enough. After all, station emits a signal before a commercial starts, then another when the show resumes. There already are devices that can react to those. "Why" haven't they ever been mass marketed? "Why".....because then the manufactuer could not control you.


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