Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Skies Stormed...

...away today, torrents of rain coming down as I have not seen in at least a week. It's not unusual to have summer storms in this neck of outermetrsloburbia but it is a bit bit much seeing them this bad twice within a week. It just rained almost as bad as today this past Wednesday. Today, despite the weather, or oblivious to the pending high chance of downpours, I took a drive to a not all that local reptile speciality pet shop today and got stuck in the middle of one heck of a thunder storm, in fact several of them. The roads were flooding and people were driving slow (for a change) except of course for a few idiots in their SUVs who probably believed were invincible in a 4W drive. I guess they just don't realize that an SUV can have trouble breaking in the rain just like any other vehicle. Then there was the Latin Somebody Or Other MC group riding their bikes in the rain. That was just a sight to see, but at least they pulled over under an overpass when it got really bad. Oh well, enough on other people in the rain, back to my mission.

The trusty Corolla handled nimbly despite the rain, and I arrived at the pet shop in one piece. I got just a bit damp running from the car to the door, just a bit though because thankfully the rain had let up just before I arrived there. While there I made a quick purchase of a thousand 1/4" crickets. It was well worth the drive if only because they are so deliciously good when baked into a freshly homemade pie crust. (Of course that's not what I do with em, after all the baby bearded dragons need to eat.) Then I headed to a local pet shop and picked up some other things for my other critters and headed home. While getting out of and into my car there, I had to virtually wade through a puddle that actually came up over the tops of my feet. I got pretty soggy from the ankles down, but somehow the rest of me stayed pretty dry - I guess because I had a small umbrella in the back seat. I forgot about it at the first shop (did not really need it there as there was a short break between downpour), but remembered it at the second one where it was indeed needed as the rain was coming down hard again. It did its job well for such a tiny umbrella as it is. Funny how I did not see one other person with an umbrella as they either ran through the parking lot toward a store or toward their cars all the while getting absolutely soaked. What is it with people? For me, I can say: What a trip. As it turned out, with those storm cells raging on and off, a trip that usually takes about 45 minutes to an hour took me about 1 3/4 hours, but I survived.

Of course, once I got home, the fact that is was wet outside did not phase my wife one bit with regard to her wanting me to BBQ. Truly, she would have given me a break and she would have cooked the chicken and steak in the oven if I had wanted her to, but I decided what the heck I was wet already, and we were both looking forward to some hunks of charred meat. So I took the matches from her (the electric starter on the grill must have been wet because it was not starting anything), and I also grabbed grabbed a bier, then I fired up the grill. I stayed pretty dry by standing in the garage a few feet from the grill as the food cooked, and I just came out to check on it and turn it as need be. I have to admit it was darned good, probably better than any cricket pie would ever taste; and I did not get all that wet since the rains had let up pretty much by then. As for the crickets, the baby bearded dragons sure made those crickets look tasty as they gobbled em down (no not all of em at one feeding, they will last about a week or two). For some reason, unfathomable to me, they seemingly did not care one little bit that the crickets were and kicking as opposed to barbecued or baked into a pie crust. Nope they did not seem to mind at all.

All the best,
Glenn B

Inflation and Balderdash...

...and yes you know I meant to put another word, also beginning with a B, in the title instead of balderdash. I recently went to a modern day drugstore to buy some batteries. You know the type of drugstore, one of the ones that sell everything from pantyhose to pills to popcorn. As for the batteries, nothing special really, just some run of the mill button type alkaline batteries for a small electronic scale, LR44 batteries to be specific.

I asked the price of 3 of these batteries and was told they were $12.95. Not $12.95 for all three, but rather $12.95 each. I was pretty surprised to hear that, and asked the clerk to double check on the price. 'Yep, that'll be $12.95 each, everything has gone up in price because gas went up'. I was flabbergasted, I mean really, could inflation due to the high price of gasoline have made the price of batteries go through the roof too, or was it just price gouging? Since I wasn't born yesterday, and since I really did not need to use the scale except to weigh a few pieces of gold jewelry I am considering putting up for sale, I figured why bother - I could have them weighed another day.

This morning was another day. I signed onto where I had just sold an item in an auction. I guess being on an auction site of one sort or another led me to think about selling the jewelry, and that made me think I had to know the weight of the pieces, and that made me think of the scale, and that brought me back to the batteries and to the really high price quote. So I plugged the term LR44 into my browser. What pops up but several links to sites selling these batteries. I took a look at a few of them, and that made me realize I had been bullshitted balderdashed by the store clerk who told me they were $12.95 each. I suppose this was quite possibly through no fault of her own but likely by way of the fault of the greed mongers who own the store, or simply by way of a glitch in their pricing system. You see I saw them for as low $1.00 each if you bought 1 to 4 of them at a time, and saw them as high as $2.50 each plus shipping. Now don't start to think that shipping would be expensive for them and therefore drive the price up to $12.95 each, because I also found this deal: 50 of them for only $22.00 with free shipping at one site:

That is 44 cents each, shipping included. I would open a battery store if I could get em that cheap then think I could really sell them for $12.95 each on a regular basis.

The thing that gets me the most though is how anyone could be so naive as to believe that a commonplace a battery as is the LR 44 could have a legitimate price tag on it of $12.95 (or $38.85 for three plus tax), and also believe it is the price of gasoline that caused it to go up so high. Are people that friggin stupid? Don't answer that, it will just depress me to hear from someone other than myself that yes they are indeed that stupid. Now don't try to defend this particular clerk by saying maybe she was new to the store and was not familiar with the prices; she has worked there for years, and has been in the photography department where they sell those batteries for as long as I can recall her being in the store. It just boggles the mind that people are so easily manipulated by greed mongers, and that they would be willing to pay stellar prices based on bullshit balderdash.

As for me, I'll buy them somewhere where I can get a reasonable price, like from an online retailer, or from a store with prices that honestly reflect the worth of these batteries. I'll also be going back to the same store wherein I was given the $12.95 apiece price quote, and I'll be taking along a copy of a few of the ads I found to show to the manager of the store. I figure that, and a bit of a speech about how I feel like they tried to cheat me may get me the batteries at a fair price, and maybe get me an apology and some future discounts. If not, I can shop at their competition across the street.

All the best,
Glenn B