Saturday, May 7, 2011

MHA/Oil/Margins

The following PR is brought to you by the Middleborough Historical Association.

2011 marks the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War.  One aspect of the war, which is not often brought to light, is the volunteer work of women on the home front.  In 1861, just months after the war began, the U.S. Sanitation Commission was created to coordinate the efforts of women who wanted to contribute to the war effort of the Union States during the Civil War.  The women raised money, collected donations, worked as nurses, ran kitchens in army camps, made uniforms, and administered hospital ships and soldiers’ homes.

Join us on Saturday, May 14, to learn more about the women’s volunteer efforts when the women of R.I. Battery B  Civil War re-enactors  present a dramatization of the Providence Ladies Relief Society tea meeting of 1863, to collect donations for the war effort.  This is a return visit of the popular event held thirteen years ago at the  M.H.A. museum.

Tickets are needed to attend the tea meeting dramatization (complete with tea and cookies and of course you may bring your own special tea cup) to be held in the Carriage House at 11 a.m. and again at 2 p.m.  Since their is limited seating, it is advisable to order your tickets ahead by calling 508-947-3394. Tickets are $5 for M.H.A. members and $7 for non members. Please indicate which seating you plan to attend.  Tickets will also be available at the museum grounds on the day of the event.


I am never really one to feed into the collective angst of the various environmental factions - especially the more radical renegades of the ilk - over the aspect of oil/gas exploration specifically domestic exploration and development. With the ongoing “crisis” over fuel expenses the primary concern should be one of the economic viability of Jane and Joe public being fiscally solvent and that is where the President can step in. Time to lease out some off shore oil contracts and open up other areas that have been closed to drilling and risk the occasional and what appears to be rather isolated incidents like that of The Gulf. The Executive Branch could also require that not one drop of oil taken from our lands leave this country.

Would be nice to see a reward - a very dynamic reward - offered for the individual, company or conglomerate that could come up with a viable alternative to our dependency. In the next ten or so years crucial decisions will have to be formulated on both current policy, alternatives and long range policy and an enticement is always a great motivator. Might even have to do it as a Manhattan Project for energy.

Meanwhile it will only get worse with a roller coaster ride based on speculation, international crisis - teal or perceived- and consumption especially from the Asian markets. Every two steps forward in a price rise will only lead to one step back. Prices will climb and economic growth will be muted.

I was rather confused - a real easy task as you can imagine - over the recent water restrictions in Middleboro. According to what I scanned you cannot wash you car. Now what about someone like myself who has a special protection sealant on my car. I cannot take it to the car wash since the brushes provide potential damage. The sealant allows be to avoid waxing and all I have to do is hand wash, rinse it off by hosing it down and then dry it with a cotton cloth. Maybe this was a misprint in the paper or I am just reading it wrong?

The MG&E is an issue that just will not go away.

Hack holidays of Bunker Hill Day and Evacuation Day have survived a House vote. This was an issue our local “Team” of representatives voted against.

The kiss and hugs crowd is showing incredible distain for the collective bad manners displayed spontaneously by Americans (and others) for celebrating the death of OBL. Saw another talking head on TV today wringing her hands over our thirst for vengeance. I consider it rejoicing over justice finally being achieved.

Charm pricing is the idea of advertising something for $8.99 rather than $9. Some of this is the result of language since in English we read left to right and what sticks in our mind is the first number.

Another thing to generally ignore is volume purchasing at the super market. The buy five for $5 since in virtually all cases - unless advertised - you will get the same $1 price buying just one.

Virtually everything is negotiable on large ticket items especially furniture. Just ask for a lower price especially if you are spending a bundle. Many times furniture is a 3X item meaning it is boosted three times over cost.

When I get my car serviced with an estimated cost that goes into three figures I routinely ask for a 10-15% discount and have never been refused. This is especially true at shops such as Midas who will negotiate off their estimate. Just ask especially since this is a highly competitive market.

Clothing is an item that is also marked up substantially especially at a boutique store. Margins are usually in the 60% range which means that $100 dress (I take an 8 and BB a 14) has a profit of $60 and a cost of $40. A few years ago my wife - The Lovely and svelte Cynthia - was faced with a dilemma over purchasing four dresses with a budget that said three. I spoke to the clerk and said “We’ll write a check right now for the three most expense dresses if you toss in the fourth one gratis.” Sale was quickly consummated.

Electronics use to have a similar margin to clothing but that has changed dramatically in the last five or so years. You can still get a 15-20% markdown but it may take a real effort.

A great way to negotiate is if you know someone in the same purchasing situation as you are. If you and a friend are in the market for a similar plasma TV or car then negotiations will be eased and discounts greater.

What the internet has done is to make comparison shopping and true cost readily available with a bit of research - and it is not isolated to the big ticket items like cars.

I’ve started to watch the School Committee meetings on channel 20 and am getting the impression that many of the usual suspects have already bailed or are in the process of bailing out. I also get the distinct impression that the previous superintendent was not exactly a top of the line leader.

The Red Sox are not the worse team in baseball and talent wise may just be the best but they are a total disappointment at this point. The old “Fire in the belly” seems to be totally absent from this group and the performances are lethargic with what appears to be a “Let the other guy do it” attitude. Maybe it was too much money?

6 comments:

North Slope Rigger said...

Several years ago I attended a fund raiser in Quincy for Lynch and DeNucci was there. Guy was wonderful with his stories and signing autographs. But the performance of his office was lacking and that is now apparent with all the information surfacing on his management skills.

Now as far as poor performance will they ever get to .500? If the C's and B's were wiped out in the playoffs the Sox would be really in the target zone.

Mick said...

The B's look real good right now having won 8 out of the last 9. Their next game is Saturday Night @ 8:00pm.

Mick said...

From my years in Quincy I will tell you that Paul Harold was a great politician. He cared about the sick & the elderly and he was a great friend and as genuine as they come. He could tip them back with the best of them too!

bogofree said...

Harold. Where did he always hold court? There was this place on Adams Street maybe around Furnace Brook Parkway and he'd always have a function going on at that place.

I actually met the guy through two lawyers I knew named Sydney Ober and Paul Sobol. Real salt of the earth those two.

Mick said...

Are you talking about the Neighborhood Club or the Fowler House? Paul lived on Furnace Brook Parkway down by Wollaston Beach where he took care of his ailing mother until she passed away. Paul was a real person who ran with me at the "L" Street Running Club. We also did many road races together only if they had a keg of beer at the finish. He was a true gentleman!

bogofree said...

I'm sure it was the Fowler House. Since I worked at Boston Gear and later Howard Johnson's we had people that lived in the area and knew him. When did he pass? About ten years ago?