Ways To Waste Money

Companies can certainly think up more ways for people to waste their money! What amazes me is that so many people willingly hand it over to them.

What prompted me to write this entry was that I had come across a dustpan and brush set that retails for $18! That’s what this post is about – how crazy it is to pay that price for a dustpan and brush.

I originally had information on the particular set, but I decided not to include it this time for one simple reason. I see no sense in helping someone advertise that item for free. With all the profit the company m ust be making from that price point, they can afford their own advertising.

When you consider that fact that you can purchase a dustpan and brush set for a few dollars at your local supermarket and for a mere one dollar at a dollar store, it seems to me that it’s a little outrageous to spend the better part of a twenty dollar bil on such an item.

Incredible Shrinking Ice Cream Containers

Am I the only who has noticed the incredible shrinking ice cream containers over the past few years?

In my previous entry, I write about the way dollar stores are preserving their profit margins without raising prices – by selling items that are smaller or with less volume.

This phenomenon is not restricted to dollar stores. You can find it happening at your local traditional supermarket too.

I first noticed the problem with ice cream cartons a few years back when the country had some uproar with milk prices shooting through the roof all of a sudden. Since milk is a major component of ice cream, ice cream prices were affected too.

Some clever ice cream manufacturers decided they could fool consumers by holding retail prices and making the ice cream containers smaller! Ice cream was always sold as a half-gallon. In fact, chains like Friendly’s and Newport Creamery used to call their frequent buyer reward programs some variation of “half-gallon clubs.”

After this milk price crisis thing a few years ago, the size of the containers suddenly got smaller by one 1/8. They went from being a half gallon (which is equal to 2 quarts or 8 pints) down to 1.75 quarts or 7 pints.) That is a 12.5 % reduction in size.

Like every industry, it didn’t take long for all the producers to follow suit. Within a relatively small time frame, a century of tradition in the half-gallon ice cream carton was gone and suddenly 1.75 quarts was the standard.

Welcome to the world of paying the same (or worse, more) and getting less.

That might not seem like a big deal. In fact, it may even be a boon to your diet if you only buy a certain number of ice cream cartons (say one every two weeks) and you don’t increase the number of cartons to make up for the smaller size.

Where does it stop, though? I haven’t bought ice cream in several months and I decided to get some the other day. I picked up a carton in the freezer section and something just didn’t seem right about it. It took me a minute to figure it out. I just thought it seemed too small. At first, I thought it was my imagination, but it wasn’t. Guess, what, the ice cream industry is at it again!

The new ice cream container size is 1.5 quarts (6 pints). I started to check other brands. About half of them had switched to the new smaller size. Now, consumers are getting 25% less ice cream per carton than they were getting just a few years ago! What’s next?

Dollar Stores

The rise of the dollar stores is a phenomenon that has been a long time in coming. Many years ago, stores known as 5 & 10’s were very common. The descriptions stood for five cents and ten cents! Can you imagine?

Thank goodness we now have the modern equivalent – the dollar store.

If you don’t have a dollar store near you, it’s worth it to take the drive to find one. The bargains are unbelievable. They have an array of merchandise from grocery to kitchen gadgets, from gift items to party supplies.

One thing I’ve noticed recently though is a bit concerning and something that consumers should be aware of when shopping dollar stores. Since the whole concept of the dollar store is based on the price of each item not exceeding that one dollar threshold, what can the stores do when inflation and higher cost of goods starts to eat into their profits? They can’t raise the prices! That would hey do, call them the “dollar-twenty-five stores?”

That wouldn’t be good PR for them, now would it? Don’t worry, they have found a solution! They simply make the items smaller or give you less volume of something.

I have a great example. I’ve bought the same disinfectant spray at a particular dollar store many times. After my most recent purchase, I noticed something different about it when I took the plastic cap off. The company had changed the shape of the top of the can. With the cap on, the old version and the new version looked identical, though. I put the new can side by side with the old one. They both were the same height.

Upon further investigation, I noticed that the new spray can had only 8 OZ of the disinfectant spray while the old can had 10 OZ! Now, for the same price, I was getting 20 percent less of the product!

Watch for that occurrence next time you are shopping.

Even with the possibility of shrinking product size, dollar stores are still filled with amazing bargains.

Boating Accidents Than Can Be Avoided

Parents are often concerned (and rightly so) when their teenagers and their teen’s friends get their driver’s licenses. Everybody knows and worries about the fact that the large majority of teenage accidents involve alcohol.

Here’s a thought for parents as the summer boating season gets into full swing. Have you ever considered the phenomenon of boating accidents and the role alcohol plays in them? Do your teens frequently go boating with their friends unsupervised by responsible adults? (Notice I said “responsible” adults.)

The Arizona Game & Fish Department has put together an unbelievable materials relating to boating education online. They are an excellent source of information and a great starting point for you to discuss this issue with your teenagers. They’ll like the site because it is filled with videos. You can start with this fact before you introduce them to the site. In the US, over thirty percent of boating accidents involve alcohol. In the state of Arizona, that percentage is fifty percent!

Here is a preview of the videos on the site. They are well-done and high quality.

You can find more videos here:
Boating Operating Under the Influence

It’s interesting that we wouldn’t imagine drivers being allowed on public roads if safety education wasn’t part of the driver’s education curriculum. When it comes to Arizona boating, there is no requirement for an operator to lern safety information as part of a boating education course.

If there were, perhaps more people would realize that drinking and driving on a watercraft is just as bad as drinking and driving in a car. It is illegal, too. Last year, Arizona authorities arrested 350 people on charges of operating a watercraft under the influence of alcohol.

Also, proper boating education has other benefits as well since participants learn many useful things including boating safety laws and rules of navigation, how to avoid and recognize carbon monoxide poisoning, and proper life jacket wear and usage.