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2681  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost returns next week! [Spoilers!] on: February 06, 2009, 03:15:48 PM
As soon as we saw those frenchies in that raft, I knew they were returning to the crazy french chick. I was disappointed that they couldn't use Mira Furlan to play her young self, but I suppose that would have been too big a stretch. I wonder if she will be back.
2682  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Joe Cocker explained!! on: February 04, 2009, 11:12:28 PM
 nod I'll have what he's having, please.
2683  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: I'm all for gov't agencies saving money, but this is ridiculous. on: February 03, 2009, 11:28:05 PM

Quote from: gellar on February 03, 2009, 07:54:19 PM

Quote from: pr0ner on February 03, 2009, 05:36:12 PM

Quote from: cheeba on February 03, 2009, 09:32:31 AM

Quote from: Alefroth on February 03, 2009, 12:46:48 AM

They are proof that you have paid for the service of having an envelope or parcel delivered from one part of the country to another. They are sticky on one side, and have different values. It's a pretty cool system.
Huh. Didn't know people still did that.

Are you serious?  I pay medical bills through the mail all the time.

Same... I don't think hospitals give you much of an option other than to pay by mail.

gellar

I routinely pay my MIL's medical bills with online billpay. Maybe the bank sends out paper checks. 

I only use stamps for my property taxes and quarterly estimated tax payments, and for the very rare check payment to an individual. I'll bet I don't go through 20 stamps in a year.
2684  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Does anybody really think these bailouts will work?... on: February 03, 2009, 11:21:06 PM

Quote from: Scuzz on February 03, 2009, 10:22:50 PM


$600 million to buy hybrid vehicles for federal employees.


Priuses or Hondas?

Quote

$850 million for Amtrak.


Ah, they wouldn't be Republicans if they weren't taking a shot at Amtrak.
2685  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: It's Tax Time! on: February 02, 2009, 07:03:12 PM
I have resolved to start filling in our CPA's questionnaire tomorrow -- or at least to do my filing, so that I can start on that. My wife's 1099s haven't even started arriving yet, and I won't get my K-1 until the CPA finishes my corporate returns. Once those pieces are in place my wife needs to spend a day sorting her records and filling in her expenses. Making most of her freelance income disappear is a long, tortuous process...complicated this year by the transition into unemployment -- starting her job search, prodding her freelance clients, filing for unemployment, and exploring health insurance alternatives. The good news is that we might be poor enough to qualify for a state COBRA subsidy.

My goal is to have it figured out by March 15 if the CPA and the wife both cooperate. That would give us a month to come up with any payment due. Maybe I'll warm up this week by doing my MIL's taxes, if her lazy son will ever bestir himself to send me her paperwork.
2686  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Here comes the snow on: February 02, 2009, 06:49:08 PM
Last I heard was 4-8" of the heavy wet variety. Oh well. I'm actually going to leave my car out of the garage tonight to let nature wash off the top layer of road grime.
2687  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: I'm all for gov't agencies saving money, but this is ridiculous. on: February 01, 2009, 06:33:47 PM

Quote from: jblank on February 01, 2009, 12:51:14 AM

Quote from: morlac on January 31, 2009, 03:45:24 PM

Quote from: jblank on January 28, 2009, 09:36:31 PM

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D960C7KG0&show_article=1

Quote
Massive deficits could force the post office to cut out one day of mail delivery, the postmaster general told Congress on Wednesday, in asking lawmakers to lift the requirement that the agency deliver mail six days a week.
If the change happens, that doesn't necessarily mean an end to Saturday mail delivery. Previous post office studies have looked at the possibility of skipping some other day when mail flow is light, such as Tuesday.




 Rather than constantly raising rates, they need to address other problems they have, like long lines (who is the genius at the PO that thought it was a good idea to make customers go to the main windows to buy stamps), employees going on breaks when there are 10+ people waiting in line, and the piss poor customer service we taxpayers get there.

Just buy your stamps at the grocery store, it's painless.

I don't go to the grocery store, but because of our substantial shipping from eBay, I have to frequent the P.O. a time or two a week.

Don't they have an Automated Postal Center machine? Clerks are there for the clueless and for people with complex shipping problems.

Our carrier is friendly and does a fine job. Lately I've been using carrier pickup for my shipping, saving myself a daily drive to the P.O. The desk clerks there are all 60+ years old and working in endangered jobs. They are generally competent, but slow and surly. I only deal with them when I need to ship Express and international packages.
2688  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: "This site may harm your computer" - Say what? on: January 31, 2009, 03:21:56 PM
All better now. Must be a new feature isn't ready for prime time. Somebody's face must be red.

EDIT: I just noticed that I posted this in PC Gaming. Boy, is my face red.  icon_lol
2689  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / "This site may harm your computer" - Say what? on: January 31, 2009, 03:09:18 PM
I just googled "AARP insurance". Every single listing for at least three pages in has a link that says "This site may harm your computer." Clicking that link brings up a 502 server error. Clicking on the site link itself (AARP.org has got to be safe, right?) brings up a malware warning page. Tried a different search; same results.

WTF?
2690  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Life on Mars(US) radio on: January 30, 2009, 05:13:26 AM
1973 was one of the best years of my life. I was 16. I had a job, a car, a motorcycle, a series of girlfriends, plenty of drugs, and no responsibilities at all. This was my soundtrack.
2691  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Life on Mars...best show you may not be watching on: January 30, 2009, 05:10:30 AM

Quote from: CeeKay on January 30, 2009, 05:02:58 AM

and it looks like it's back, but now it's on Wednesdays after Lost.

Perfect slot, since Lost is the only other show that I watch. I need to watch this week's episode again. It was one, but I was not paying attention last night.
2692  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Amazon shipping mechanics on: January 30, 2009, 02:51:06 AM

Quote from: Destructor on January 30, 2009, 01:13:26 AM

There's one in Phoenix? Then why don't I ever get my stuff quickly when I order it from them via el-cheapo shipping?

Read my post. What you order determines where it comes from. Amazon does only a fraction of their own shipping.
2693  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: OO off line for a short time on: January 30, 2009, 02:48:29 AM

Quote from: Sarkus on January 30, 2009, 02:02:41 AM

It's just that this kind of thing seems all to common with OO anymore, even though I admit that by "all to common" I mean in comparison to other game sites that have virtually no downtime of this nature.  I freely admit my expectation levels have been raised pretty high as a result.

I thought they had made some kind of reforms after the OOtage to get past that early-90s amateur thing. Every time this happens, they lose a few more lurkers.
2694  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Does anybody really think these bailouts will work?... on: January 29, 2009, 09:58:25 PM

Quote from: Blackadar on January 29, 2009, 09:15:39 PM

that means jobs and that means widespread tax cuts. 

That's a leap of faith that not everybody is going to make with you.
2695  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Amazon shipping mechanics on: January 29, 2009, 09:28:58 PM
A company as big as Amazon has some of its own warehouse facilities, and uses some dropshippers (manufacturers who ship directly to consumers), and probably uses third-party fulfillment centers, too. On top of that, independent companies that sell under the Amazon umbrella have their own fulfillment solutions, too. With their super-saver shipping, they're probably looking for the bulk-rate carrier that's nearest to you. If you order three different items, they're likely to come from three different sources. 

I have just begun to look into farming out order fulfillment. The options are bewildering (although very few apply to a tiny company like me). Storage charges, packing charges, materials charges, daily minimums, returns processing...it gets expensive quickly.
2696  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: I'm all for gov't agencies saving money, but this is ridiculous. on: January 29, 2009, 07:57:36 PM

Quote from: DragonFyre on January 29, 2009, 06:17:48 PM

They're better off cutting down to five days a week, but removing Saturday from their list of days that they deliver. Saturday delivery doesn't make sense since most businesses are closed, and most homes don't really care unless they're getting a netflix disc in the mail.  nod

They should also stop printing so many 'collectable' stamps that very few people really care about. (not stop entirely - just reduce the number they put out) They can't be making enough money off of that.

Actually, commemoratives are a big profit center. Collectors buy them in sheets and then don't use them. 

I used to collect stamps when I was a kid. So many thousands of clever and artistic designs over the centuries, all made for such a tiny canvas...
2697  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: I'm all for gov't agencies saving money, but this is ridiculous. on: January 29, 2009, 03:34:20 PM

Quote from: coopasonic on January 29, 2009, 02:48:01 PM


Between the stamp machine and the automated postal center I couldn't even tell you what anyone working at my post office looks like. I haven't waited in line at the post office in years.

I do 50% of my mailing thru Click-n-Ship, 49% thru Endicia, and 1% at the APC. I only have to deal with humans when somebody buys Express Mail, because the delivery guarantee is only valid if the package is handed to a clerk.

USPS has been threatening to suspend Saturday delivery for as long as I can remember. In ancient times they delivered twice a day, seven days a week, but technology has taken most of the urgency out of paper mail since then. From my perspective as a business shipper, Saturday delivery is the chief advantage of Express Mail over UPS Next-Day.
2698  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Just got laid. Off that is. on: January 29, 2009, 06:24:45 AM

Quote from: Blackjack on January 28, 2009, 08:45:35 PM

I was commiserating by e-mail with a subscriber to the trade newsletter I edit. She was suddenly laid off, and this Friday is her last day so she was canceling her subscription. Here's some of what she shared with me:
Quote
Most of these major companies are cutting back, laying off or eliminating contracts. Times are really tough right now all over for everyone. Here today gone tomorrow. That's how it's happening for a lot of individuals. They go to work on Monday & when Friday comes they learn the worst, no job anymore.

It has happen to me a few time's since 1998. So I'm used to the drill. Here we go again. It's a way of life now. Unemployment at the end of a very good job until another comes along.
The world economy is pretty crazy right now. I'm 43 and have never seen anything like this aside from maybe a few months in 2002 post-9/11 and post-dotcom bust.

+1, except I'm 51, and I hereby declare this economy worse than Jimmy Carter's Arab Oil Embargo and stagflation, the previous post-Depression standard for desperate times. The shit is seriously hitting the fan, folks. May we all land on our feet somehow.
2699  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: It's Tax Time! on: January 29, 2009, 05:43:47 AM

Quote from: EngineNo9 on January 29, 2009, 04:02:02 AM

I did my taxes a couple weekends ago right after I got my W-2s.  I came out nearly even, paid $56 in federal and got a whole $8 back in state. 

I wouldn't mind a stimulus check in a few months either.

Nice. Our situation fluctuates too much, with two home businesses and a real job. 1099s, K-1 income...yeesh. Most of our lives are deductible, but the paperwork is a bitch, and it comes down to how well I manage the 1040-ES payments. I should do my MIL's returns pretty soon for warmup.

My wife lost her job today, leaving 0 jobs between us. If we owe Unc Sam a few $thousand in April, like we did last year, we will be destroyed. I really need break-even or better this year. I wish they were talking about stimulus checks instead of a $10/week giveback. What good is $10 less withheld if you don't have a paycheck?
2700  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Budweiser: King of Beers or Cow Pee in a Bottle? on: January 29, 2009, 05:30:02 AM

Quote from: PeteRock on January 29, 2009, 04:30:39 AM

Quote from: pr0ner on January 29, 2009, 01:39:41 AM

Pete:

Just because your ability to function isn't lessened after 5 beers doesn't mean your blood alcohol level is any less. stirthepot

I didn't say it was.  I merely stated that some handle higher quantities of beer better than others.  5 beers impact me different than sissypants.  Regardless of whether we may have the same blood alcohol level.  But what does it matter? 

PeteRock's blood alcohol content matters greatly if I am planning to drink PeteRock's blood. Currently, I am not.
2701  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Budweiser: King of Beers or Cow Pee in a Bottle? on: January 29, 2009, 05:26:10 AM

Quote from: CeeKay on January 29, 2009, 01:18:54 AM

Quote from: Ironrod on January 28, 2009, 06:28:45 PM

Quote from: Scuzz on January 28, 2009, 05:04:09 PM

I have to agree that Dos Equis is better than Corona...there is a reason people add lime to it...... nod
Negro Modelo FTW.

I walked into the local carryout today and that just happened to be sitting on a shelf right near the entrance, so I took it as a sign and grabbed a six pack.  damn it's smooth.

Have you ever noticed how few Mexican restaurants even serve draft beer? Mexicans have to drink from bottles because they haven't discovered refrigeration yet. A lime in the neck kills bacteria that can cause Montezuma's Revenge. Yet one local Mexican chain (Acapulcos) features both Dos Equis Amber and Negro Modelo on tap.

In tangential news, I made burritos with home-cooked Mexican pot beans tonight. I should have planned ahead and had a few Negros on hand. And no, you may not put that in your sig. It's NAY-gross.
2702  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Budweiser: King of Beers or Cow Pee in a Bottle? on: January 28, 2009, 06:28:45 PM

Quote from: Scuzz on January 28, 2009, 05:04:09 PM

I have to agree that Dos Equis is better than Corona...there is a reason people add lime to it...... nod
Negro Modelo FTW.
2703  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: It's Tax Time! on: January 28, 2009, 06:23:25 PM
What is this word, this "refund"?

We will delay mailing our check until April 15. I'm in no rush to complete the paperwork and learn the extent of the damage much before that.
2704  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Here comes the snow on: January 27, 2009, 06:06:30 PM

Quote from: Chaz on January 27, 2009, 05:58:52 PM

Quote from: Ironrod on January 27, 2009, 04:15:46 PM

In upstate NY, and in my native Michigan, (and I would expect in western Mass as well) winter often holds a snowpack from November through March. The milder coastal climate here has spoiled me -- snow seldom sticks around for more than a week. This year's durable snowpack is very unusual for us. We usually get a few days of thawing between storms, and those are about as likely to be rain as snow.

I spent my formative years in upstate NY until the age of 15, so that may contribute to my love of snow and winter.  Many childhood memories of playing outside in the copious snow, sledding down the two huge sledding hills in the field behind the house, constructing a snow jump at the foot of one of them so that you jumped and landed on the frozen pond at the bottom of the hill...good times.

I had similar experiences growing up in Michigan -- tobogganing, ice skating, ice fishing, snowball fights, all of that -- but my primary memory is of being cold all the time. I have always hated it, and still do. Mild winters were among the reasons we moved to Boston. If I am ever fortunate enough to retire, it will be someplace warm.
2705  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Here comes the snow on: January 27, 2009, 04:15:46 PM

Quote from: mytocles on January 27, 2009, 07:33:15 AM

Quote from: Ironrod on January 27, 2009, 04:55:58 AM

The National Weather Service says....

Quote
SNOW IS EXPECTED TO OVER SPREAD THE REGION FROM SOUTHWEST TO NORTHEAST
BETWEEN 4 AM AND 8 AM WEDNESDAY MORNING. ONCE THE SNOW BEGINS...IT
MAY FALL HEAVILY AT TIMES DURING THE MORNING. SNOWFALL RATES OF 1
INCH PER HOUR WILL BE POSSIBLE AND WITH THE COLD GROUND...THE SNOW
WILL QUICKLY ACCUMULATE ON ROADWAYS.

Guess who has to take his wife to a non-negotiable doctor's appointment at 9:30 Wednesday morning? That's right...the same guy who has to shovel the damned driveway. I hope it starts toward the later end of that timespan.

We haven't set any records for snowfall or cold, but we sure have had a lot of both this year.

I think it is the snow and the cold together that has made it particularly bad this year - there should be some kind of record based on the combination.  I know I am thoroughly sick of both of them.  I'm really sorry to hear you have to clear the driveway AND get your wife to that appointment.  For me, it's not just the danger of driving in the mess, but the worry about the other drivers out there.  I love my 4-wheel drive - if only to be sure I can climb a snowbank to escape some inexperienced idiot sliding toward me. Good luck to you - I feel your pain.  icon_neutral   I know it is terribly selfish, but I'd love me some Global Warming right about now!   nod

And thanks for the update, I knew it was coming but hadn't checked the specifics yet.   thumbsup

As usual, Boston is supposed to be the fulcrum between pure snow and sleet. Since we're a few miles south, we might see more sleet here. Yuck. I would rather shovel nice powdery snow than that dense stuff.

In upstate NY, and in my native Michigan, (and I would expect in western Mass as well) winter often holds a snowpack from November through March. The milder coastal climate here has spoiled me -- snow seldom sticks around for more than a week. This year's durable snowpack is very unusual for us. We usually get a few days of thawing between storms, and those are about as likely to be rain as snow.
2706  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Budweiser: King of Beers or Cow Pee in a Bottle? on: January 27, 2009, 04:06:46 PM

Quote from: BEEFHAMMA on January 27, 2009, 02:17:37 PM


There are a lot of people out there who don't like hoppy bitterness or dark beers. For them, bud, bud light, coors light, etc are good choices because they know those beers are light and of decent quality. What they might not know is that there are a whole bunch of other light beers out there that have a better flavor while still being light lagers. I like Stella Artois and Pilsner Urquell, but you can't find those on taps everywhere. I'll have a Blue Moon on occasion, though I'm not a huge fan of having a slice of orange in my beer...it seems to work as a slice of lime does with a Corona. I also like Amstel Light and Michelob Light. If I'm going for the heavier stuff, I love pale ales and there are a bunch of microbrews around here with some really fantastic IPAs.


That's true, and conversely there are drinkers (like me) who can't abide any thin yellow beer, quality or not. I would no more order a Stella than a Bud, even though I accept on faith that one is better than the other. I drink ales, stouts, and porters. IPA and wheat beer are the lightest summer beers I ever drink. It's purely a matter of preference.
2707  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Here comes the snow on: January 27, 2009, 04:55:58 AM
The National Weather Service says....

Quote
SNOW IS EXPECTED TO OVER SPREAD THE REGION FROM SOUTHWEST TO NORTHEAST
BETWEEN 4 AM AND 8 AM WEDNESDAY MORNING. ONCE THE SNOW BEGINS...IT
MAY FALL HEAVILY AT TIMES DURING THE MORNING. SNOWFALL RATES OF 1
INCH PER HOUR WILL BE POSSIBLE AND WITH THE COLD GROUND...THE SNOW
WILL QUICKLY ACCUMULATE ON ROADWAYS.

Guess who has to take his wife to a non-negotiable doctor's appointment at 9:30 Wednesday morning? That's right...the same guy who has to shovel the damned driveway. I hope it starts toward the later end of that timespan.

We haven't set any records for snowfall or cold, but we sure have had a lot of both this year.
2708  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Im watching gymnastics on: January 26, 2009, 02:44:09 AM

Quote from: pr0ner on January 25, 2009, 07:46:23 PM

Quote from: Daehawk on January 25, 2009, 05:29:19 PM

I watched some video interviews of her. Ya she is sweet and hot. Nice girl. I was just thinking that the older a guy gets the more he needs a gymnast to date smile

Strange thing, coming from a married man.

Us married men often speak hypothetically, trying to fit in with the swingers.

More pictures, and fewer words, might make the point more effectively. Hypothetically speaking.
2709  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Movie: Alien Trespass on: January 25, 2009, 04:09:48 PM
As long as we're on movies today...Alien Trespass could be fun. (Apologies if this was linked before, a quick search didn't turn it up.)
2710  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: 4 MONTHS since my last cigarette! on: January 24, 2009, 09:52:55 PM

Quote from: Mithridates on January 24, 2009, 05:27:45 PM

Quote from: Ironrod on January 24, 2009, 04:11:51 PM

Quote from: kratz on January 24, 2009, 03:14:34 PM

1/3rd of a year today... go me!  I think I'm pretty much over it at this point.

Cigarettes NOT smoked: 1826 
Lifetime Saved: 13 days, 22 hours
Money Saved: $366.00

Yikes!

Keep your guard up. You are vulnerable when you start thinking "Well, that wasn't so bad..." or "I'm on top of it now". I re-started twice after quitting for 3-6 months. It wasn't until I had been off them for years that I could safely treat myself to the rare cigarette without firing up the addiction again.

Why on Earth would you tempt yourself with a "rare cigarette"? 

Tobacco is one of life's pleasures. It's possible to enjoy it without becoming addicted. Very, very difficult, but possible. I bum 2 smokes from a friend on Tuesday nights a couple of times a month. He just left to work in Puerto Rico for 2 months, so I won't have another one until he gets back in March.

But yeah...kids, don't try this at home.
2711  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: 4 MONTHS since my last cigarette! on: January 24, 2009, 04:11:51 PM

Quote from: kratz on January 24, 2009, 03:14:34 PM

1/3rd of a year today... go me!  I think I'm pretty much over it at this point.

Cigarettes NOT smoked: 1826 
Lifetime Saved: 13 days, 22 hours
Money Saved: $366.00

Yikes!

Keep your guard up. You are vulnerable when you start thinking "Well, that wasn't so bad..." or "I'm on top of it now". I re-started twice after quitting for 3-6 months. It wasn't until I had been off them for years that I could safely treat myself to the rare cigarette without firing up the addiction again.
2712  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Budweiser: King of Beers or Cow Pee in a Bottle? on: January 24, 2009, 03:46:06 AM

Quote from: kratz on January 23, 2009, 10:16:00 PM

(on tap, if that matters)

It matters a great deal. Draft beer and bottled beer are two different discussions. Canned beer is not in the running at all (except for the canned drafts with nitrogen widgets).

This topic always makes me feel sad for PeteRock.
2713  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Budweiser: King of Beers or Cow Pee in a Bottle? on: January 23, 2009, 04:48:31 PM
I have to interject a correction: Budweiser is horse piss, not cow pee. It's all about the Clydesdales.

OK, carry on.
2714  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Budweiser: King of Beers or Cow Pee in a Bottle? on: January 22, 2009, 09:04:29 PM

Quote from: depward on January 22, 2009, 06:21:44 PM

If I need to drink cheap beer, I'll drink PBR.  PBR is the best tasting cheap beer... and sometimes I really do just feel like drinking it above choosing a microbrew.  Maybe that's because it was the drink of choice in college and that, after having it so much, I've grown to have a taste for it...

Pabst was my beer of choice when I was a kid. There were no American microbrews then, only national and regional lagers. Light beer had not been invented yet. My parents drank Schlitz, Blatz, Hamms, and Busch, so that's what I was weaned on. When I got old enough to make my own choices I went for Miller High Life and Pabst, or Michelob on special occasions. Eventually I settled on Strohs as my everyday beer. Imported beers were exotic treats. Coors, which was only sold in the Rocky Mountain states, was considered ambrosia.

I can't drink any of those anymore, if they're even still made. I tried a Labatts Blue a few years ago for old times' sake and I couldn't finish it.

In the late 80s I was introduced to Sam Adams Boston Lager, the first regional "craft brew," and the Golden Age of Beer began. Today I consider Sams to be the entry-level acceptable beer (it's ubiquitous in New England), but my beer of choice varies with the seasons. I generally prefer local breweries, and whenever I travel I sample the local beers. If I'm at a party where only mass-market beers are offered, I choose wine or water.  

Bud does not appear above because it never had any place in my rotation. It is a flavorless beverage for people who want to get drunk cheaply on something reliable, but who don't like beer. There is a pub near us that has 12 taps with constantly-rotating draft microbrews and imports, plus 99 different varieties of bottled beer. I almost never drink the same beer twice there because there are so many to sample. Yet, 3/4 of their patrons drink Bud in bottles (it's a sports bar).
2715  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Any small business owners? on: January 21, 2009, 07:03:40 PM

Quote from: Geezer on January 20, 2009, 06:54:39 PM

Quote from: Eel Snave on January 20, 2009, 02:55:09 PM

Well, I'm planning on opening up a computer store.  In our city, there's Best Buy, a medium-sized chain called Milwaukee PC, and then a new one that's opening that's probably going to fail.  I was working at one that was successful for a while, but the owner had made some bad decisions here and there, and it closed.  The store wouldn't be focused so much on product.  It would be focused on service and training, and there's no other place in town that does training except for a Senior Center.

I think this is smart, but I'd take a real look at margins on the retail side before you decide that a retail storefront is a good complement to a training/service business.

IMHO, you should look at your high-profit centers (your training and service) and market the hell out of them.  You could book space into hotels, conference centers and the like for minimal cost, then profit when people show up for your seminars not only with entrance fees, but also with in-home followup, sales of product AT The seminars, and on-demand, in-home service.

You'd be able to legitimately write off an auto lease, not worry about retail overhead or initial inventory, and reach a wider audience because you would be more mobile.



This is good advice. Bricks-and-mortar retail has trouble competing with online stores selling identical products. If service and training are your competitive edge, don't put too much into retail rent and inventory if you must have a storefront at all. You aren't selling an impulse item so you don't need a prominent, high-traffic location.
2716  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Any small business owners? on: January 20, 2009, 03:39:09 AM
Have a marketing/advertising plan before you open.
2717  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Terminator stuff that doesn't make sense on: January 19, 2009, 05:08:40 AM

Quote from: Daehawk on January 18, 2009, 07:54:38 PM


3.The why not shove a plasma rifle up a terminator's ass? Ot hide a pulse pistol in his chest cavity? Better yet just wrap some future weapons in bacon and let the terminator hold onto them? Duuuh.

This is my favorite post of 2009 so far.

Quote from: Scraper on January 19, 2009, 12:58:46 AM


3. I like bacon.
 

I do too! That settles it, then.

The Terminator is about two things: Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Summer Glau. I live for the episode where they meet. It could happen.
2718  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Diagnose my injury on: January 17, 2009, 11:03:49 PM
Old age. It's going to keep getting worse.
2719  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Circuit City up for sale/auction on: January 16, 2009, 10:24:19 PM

Quote from: Blackjack on January 16, 2009, 05:29:26 PM

I do think at some point years ago CC was opening way too many stores, too quickly (presumably to try to compete with Best Buy), and that probably had more to do with running up that incredible amount of debt ($2.3 billion) than anything else. Some time ago they also dumped a lot of more experienced CC employees (I'll have to find links to that news some time later), presumably as cost-cutting. That maybe helped their bottom line but it probably did hurt the customer "experience."

Retail chains have to grow or die. The constant influx of additional cash from new stores covers for mundane results at the mature stores. A mature store in a competitive market is doing very well if its sales increase 5% annually, and that's not the kind of return that draws investors. Especially, as you say, if they borrowed aggressively to grow or the stores are saddled with big corporate overhead costs. The balance sheet of one chain store that I managed had a 7.5% line item for "admin", meaning the corporate office. That is a tremendous drain on operations.

The chains that succeed are those that either keep growing indefinitely (think Starbucks) or manage to outlive their competition and lock up their markets. Those that stop growing try to squeeze more profit out of their mature stores by cutting costs...and ultimately cutting their own throats.
2720  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: It's Cold! on: January 16, 2009, 10:12:07 PM

Quote from: Daehawk on January 16, 2009, 04:54:42 PM

you do not want to know what its like to have to sit on a toilet seat in 7 degree weather while watching your breath in the air.

You say that as if I had never been ice fishing. We dreamed of having a toilet seat.
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