Start early

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Here comes the flood…

The flood of corporate emails from CEOs and marketing departments and advertising agencies, etc., that are pleading, begging, everyone to “shop early” and “shop often” because of the supply chain issues and the possibility of products not being in stores in time for Christmas.

The basic message, “Buy now. Spend money now. Give us your money now.”

Anyone else baffled by this? I have seen tv commercials pleading the same thing. I see internet ads extolling the “virtue” of shopping now so you don’t lose out on gifts for the holiday.

Not sure if you have noticed (you probably have, you’re not blind), but Christmas started two weeks ago. I am not talking about the “early in, early out” stores like Costco and others that bring in decor early. I am talking about the fact that stores are already promoting “Black Friday” sales.

It makes me curious, though. If I shoot my shot now, what happens when I see something in a month, or two, that I want to get at that time but I already blew my budget because I panicked and bought early, like they would like me to? Oh, wait! That’s what they want to happen. They want us to spend out money now and then forget that we already spent our budget and then overspend as the season continues. They want us to spend the money we don’t have because they enticed us early and often, created a panic buy situation earlier than ever, and then when it comes time to get what we really wanted instead of settling for something we bought early we get ourselves into buying that we can’t afford.

I see what you’re doing here. Unfortunately, so many people don’t have any idea what is going on.

Guess what will happen when we get closer to Christmas? All that product sitting out there on those boats will magically show on shelves everywhere. Just like it would have in every previous year.

Manufactured crisis? (LOL pun intended) It might very well be.

So, are you going to spend your money early or are you going to hold on to it in hopes of actual products you may want (and probably even better sales to get rid of all that stuff that came in “late”?

Lemons

The Super Bowl ended up not being that super. There wasn’t much of a game, the halftime show sucked, and a good majority of the commercials were not entertaining. The whole thing just left me with a sour taste in my mouth. I am sure some people were happy with the results, but overall it was a lackluster event.

But, there were a few standout commercials that were worth watching. In fact, they were worth watching then and I think they are worth watching now. Three that stood out for me:

“Last Year’s Lemons”

“Certain Is Better”

Those were the ones I enjoyed the most. How about you? Did you watch the Super Bowl? Did you see he commercials in the week before the game? Did you skip the whole thing altogether and just ignore the fact that it was even on?

Ad-versary

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Facebook, you are doing it to yourself. The revolt against you and your policies, oh and your very very underhanded and sneaky use of people’s data, are going to do you in. You still have an audience, but people are growing tired of being suspicious of everything you do in the background and they just want some safety and privacy from your all invasive practices.

No one wants to be bombarded by advertising. No one wants to be tracked everywhere they physically go and no one wants to be tracked where they go digitally either. So, this little deal you got going on here shouldn’t fool too many people…except that it likely will.

Perhaps Apple is actually trying to protect people and their data. Perhaps they are just making room for their own tracking and advertising. I haven’t a clue. But what I do know, is that I like the way Apple has shown that they are trying to protect people’s data. That goes a long way in trust, something Facebook doesn’t have and likely won’t have (for sure from me).

Facebook is scrambling to adjust over new alerts coming from Apple in the near future that will let people adjust how they get advertising from Facebook by opting out of tracking (or in, depending on how you view this approach). In essence, it will block tracking data so you don’t get “personalized” ads. I am all for that!

Actually, I don’t like ads at all. I’d rather not have my feed filled with ads that some company thinks I might be interested in. I could totally do without. I’d even consider paying a small fee to go ad free. But, at the same time, if I am going to pay a fee to not see ads I would also expect that I am not going to be censored for my views, thoughts, beliefs, etc.

Apple and Facebook have taken an adversarial approach to how they are going to work together and I like it. Big tech and other companies should have to fight over customers and the more people make them work for their dollars the better off we are as consumers. But we as consumers need to be smart about how we give our business to these companies in order to make them compete for it, otherwise we get all-encompassing monopolies who then dominate the marketplace and make up new rules and charge ridiculous fees because they have no one to oppose them.

I like what Apple is doing here. I hope they aren’t just trying to make space for their own scheme. But for now, I am glad to see Facebook about to take it in the nose for their privacy and data collection practices.

They actually deserve it.

Boosting BS

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There is a commercial out there on TV and probably on your streaming service that has me questioning the whole validity (not that I didn’t already) of credit scores, and the credit services in general.

Have you seen it? The commercial from Experian that says if you go to their site you can get a “credit boost” and raise your credit score simply by following the instructions once you have logged in. *disclaimer: I have not logged in to do this because I don’t need to, so I don’t know the exact steps.*

It’s all a marketing ploy.

As a reminder, this is one of the “big three” credit monitoring services, a for-profit company, so they are one of the companies that reports to other companies about your financial status and health.

Now, they will give you a “boost” for nothing.

Seems weird to me and causes me to ask a several questions: What good are credit scores really if a company can just “boost” it? Are they artificially inflating the numbers to make you (and of course, them) to look better in the consumer’s eye? If they aren’t artificially inflating the numbers, then are they artificially suppressing the numbers in order to give you the “boost” you supposedly deserve?

We are told that your credit score will go up over time if you manage your money well, pay your stuff on time, keep your credit usage level low in regards to your income, and not have companies always inquiring about your credit. This can only be done over time. So, if they can boost your score then time really doesn’t have to be a factor in calculating that credit score.

If they are artificially inflating the number then your credit score really means nothing in regards to accuracy since it doesn’t really reflect your true score.

If they are suppressing your true score so they can gift you a “boost” then your credit score really means nothing in regards to accuracy since it doesn’t really reflect your true score.

Since your credit score has always been based on time and actual financial transactions, either of the two actions above would mean the company is being dishonest about your credit score. Doesn’t it? I can’t think of any other conclusion.

So, either Experian is full of sh*it or your credit score is actually meaningless.

What do you think? Can you think of another conclusion based on this so called “boost”?

False Advertising

several scissors

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It’s really nice when a store advertises an item will be on sale and then when you go to the store to buy they don’t actually have it.

I went to Costco over the weekend to get an item that was in their sales flier that was good on items between Dec. 13-24th. It’s an item they have nearly all the time and its not an item that is in high demand – Wahl Clippers. I don’t believe there are that many people out there chomping at the bit to buy a set of these things (there are a bunch of long haired men running around these days, so I mean, come on…)

Anyway, I go to the usual place they are at the store and they are nowhere to be found. What I can find, however, is eight different types of electric toothbrushes and replacement heads and three different items for women’s hair styling. I check all the usual places for the clippers and I even check where they have a couple of men’s items on the end cap of the aisle. Nothing. Not anywhere.

Hmmm.

I ask. “We don’t have any in stock right now.” REALLY? You advertise it and then don’t have any? You normally have the item and you don’t have any? Something is fishy here!

I need a haircut and I am not about to pay to have someone buzz my hair for me. I keep it short. Like real short. It is probably about at 1/8th of an inch right now and that is too long!

Looks like I’ll be ordering from Amazon.

Pizza shenanigans

close up photo of person holding pizza

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Did that title get your attention? I know it does me! I love pizza and so I get excited just thinking about it. Well, that is until I start thinking about the shenanigans going on at the local Little Caesars.

I am sure you are well aware (and if you aren’t then you really aren’t a pizza fan) that Little Caesars advertises a special deal they call the “Hot & Ready.” Essentially, you can get a basic large pepperoni pizza just about any time (because they always have them prepared, thus hot and ready) for $5.99. This is advertised EVERYWHERE!

Why am I explaining what a Hot & Ready is? If these people love pizza like they say they do, then they already know this information.

So, our local Little Caesars benefits from a national advertising campaign but doesn’t actually offer the advertised price. Why? Well, apparently there are two types of stores, corporate and franchise. One is owned by the company and the other just has the name and product licensed to them. As such, the franchise stores can decide on their own what to price the products at.

Imagine my chagrin the first time I walk into our local Little Caesars store and ask for a Hot & Ready and expecting to pay $5.99 and then get charged $6.99. Yeah, that’s right, pure shenanigans!! When questioned why the response was “We’re a franchise and we don’t have to sell pizza at the corporate and advertised price.”

Well, okay then, Ms. Snotty McSnotterson.

From then on, let’s just say the pizza didn’t taste quite as good…and I drive out of my way to find a corporate store.


 

Yes, I realize it is only a $1 but it is the principle of the whole thing that bugs me. Anyone else do something simply for the principle of it?

Enough already!

There is a disturbing trend going around social media these days and it bothers the heck outta me. I just don’t have all the time in the world for you, nor you me, so let’s keep it to one or two, not the whole story.

Social media has gotten this idea that people want to see a “story” about other people’s lives. Like I have none of my own, so I should see every aspect of someone else’s. So, Facebook and Instagram (yes, they are the same company) have instituted this “story” aspect where people can post multiple photos/videos that are chained together to tell a story. I hadn’t really payed much attention to these “stories” until just before the end of the year and then the end of the year came and I wish I hadn’t started in the first place.

You see, the stories have turned into a place for people to dump all their stupid photos. Instead of just spamming their account with endless photos that people wouldn’t normally see, now they post them all in stories and force everyone to look at them (or at the very least, tap through them). One person I follow posted (guess-timating) 70 photos to sum up their year. I don’t need that kind of crap. I don’t have that kind of time. I don’t have that much interest.

What’s worse, is businesses are using to sell their freaking products and I am just as stuck watching the commercial on this platform as I am on tv, only here I can at least “fast-forward” to some degree. Ugh, I don’t like it.

Social media was supposed to be a WINDOW into your life (no matter how fake it was), not your whole life! Oh, and commercial free too! Let’s get a grip here. If you are going to use “stories”, let’s keep it to one or two, three max. Don’t overwhelm people with your life.

I mean, really, we don’t care that much.