Did you ever purchase a package of peanut M&Ms only to bite into one or two that didn’t have the peanut inside?
You feel cheated. You were expecting to experience the great taste of peanut and chocolate, but ended up experiencing a plain M&M.
How about this one?
Have you been to a car dealership to purchase a car lately?
Did you go in with a vehicle to trade-in with high hopes of that vehicle being used as a down payment on a new vehicle, only to have the dealership give you an offer on your trade-in that equaled the price of a bag of M&Ms?
What is that about?
This is one of the main reasons I hate to purchase a new vehicle. I hate to play the car buying game. Now I’ll be the first to admit, a PH.D I do not have, but I know enough to tell when someone’s trying to get one over on me.
My wife and I have been to 6 separate dealerships in the Round Rock area in the past 2 weeks as we search for the perfect vehicle to replace our older, less mechanically superior van. We’ve looked at Dodges, Fords, Jeeps and Nissans in an effort to purchase the perfect vehicle that will make all of the world’s problems go away.
First we talk the salesperson into the best deal they can give us (or the best deal they can give us and still make a huge profit). Then we get into the best APR. Now up until that point, things are going smooth.
Next, we enter into “negotiations” over what I think the trade-in is worth and what the dealership thinks the trade-in is worth.
This is where the wheels fall off the cart.
“Mr. Fairchild, your car has significant mileage, but we’ll make you an offer that you will be extremely happy with.” says the happy little salesperson. “I’m gonna go over here and talk to our finance guy and together, we’re gonna get with our trade-in guy and see what we can come up with.”
This is car salesperson code for “I’m gonna make you sit here and wait for a while, while me and the other guys talk about Sunday’s Cowboys game.”
The salesperson is gone long enough for me to play a game of Texas Hold’em on by cell phone…which really isn’t too horribly long because I’m not really that good at poker.
“We’ll Mr. Fairchild, I think you’re gonna be happy with our offer,” they say, “The condition of the van is good, there are no dents, chipped paint, body frame damage and the motor seems to be in good shape…”
At this point I generally begin to daydream about driving off the lot in my new vehicle. My wife is at my side and the kids are laughing joyously in the back as they examine in giddy wonder the nice, new, shiny machine their dad just purchased.
“The only problem we have with your trade in vehicle is that it has over 100,000 miles.”
“But we want to earn your business, so we’re ready to offer you a good deal on your trade-in.” they say.
This statement puts me back into daydream mode.
“We’re willing to offer you $500 for your trade in.”
My daydream comes to an abrupt stop once again.
“I’m sorry, for a minute I though you said $500” I say.
After all, the Blue Book price for our particular car is $3000.
This is when the sales person offers $750 and informs me that the dealership will be taking quite a beating on the deal, but to earn my business, they’ll take the loss.
“I’m sorry, for a minute I though you said $750” I repeat with what must be a dumbfounded look on my face.
“If we give you $1000, would that seal the deal?” they ask.
This is when I generally get up nice and casual like, tell the salesperson it was nice to meet them and meander on out the door leaving that dealership and heading to the next one in hopes of having a real offer for my trade-in.
“Why must this game be so frustrating?” I think to myself.
The next dealership is pretty much the same, except they offer me a bottle of water to wash down their offer.
On that note, I head home and call it a day. After a whole day of playing the car buying game, it’s time to relax and take in a little Dancing With The Stars with the wife and kids.
Afterwards, I’ll sit down at my computer and research more local dealership’s “special offers”. And as I do, I’ll listen to a Sinatra CD, have an ice cold Dublin Dr. Pepper and enjoy a new package of peanut M&Ms.
Let’s face it, we live in economically unstable times and if we want to get the most out of our money, we are going to need to start saving money. One way to increase our savings is to take the “homemade” route. Today, we can make anything from homemade soap to homemade tile cleaner. One necessity that almost every house needs is floor cleaner, so I want to look at how to make and use homemade floor cleaner.
Homemade floor cleaner has been around since the creation of floors. Perhaps hundreds of thousands of years ago some Egyptian somewhere noticed a stain on her new pyramid floors and set out to figure out how to get rid of it. Thus, floor cleaner was invented. Or maybe some caveman stumbled upon the fact that having clean cave floors landed him a better chance with the numerous cavewomen, so he began experimenting with everything from tree sap to pond water in an effort to cook up the perfect homemade floor cleaner. However the concept came about, there is proof that anybody from any walk of life can produce there very one homemade floor cleaner at a fraction of the price of what store bought costs.
So how is homemade floor cleaner created you ask? The following instructions will help you to transform normal, everyday household items into the best homemade floor cleaner money can’t buy. Try “tweaking” the different ingredients to perfect your very own floor cleaner.
First, we start off with 2 gallons of hot water. You can use a mopping bucket or simply mix the concoction in your sink. Next add ¼ cup of your favorite liquid soap (or detergent). Now add ½ cup of white vinegar (lemon juice will work if you don’t have any vinegar handy). The next step is to pour a few drops of baby oil into the brew. This help to give the floors an added shine and it help to preserve the linoleum and vinyl flooring. Finally, we need to add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. This final step is what will give your homemade floor cleaner is fragrance. Whether you like the smell of cinnamon, mint, vanilla, orange or chocolate, there is an aroma oil to tickle your fancy. This is where you, as the “inventor”, get to personalize the batch of homemade floor cleaner. You can even get the kids involved in helping you make the homemade floor cleaner. It teaches them the art of creativity and frugalness.
Now grab a mop and begin cleaning those floors with your homemade floor cleaner and know that you created a cleaner that is extremely comparable to those store bought brands. Take pride in your creation and share the experience with your friends. Encourage them to make their own floor cleaner as you show them what an efficient and cunning homeowner you are.
They may be serving you coffee at your favorite coffee shop or working in the cubicle next to you.
They might be the police officer writing you the speeding ticket or the little old lady who accepts your money at the courthouse where you pay said ticket.
They are truck drivers, mailmen, beauticians and everyday people each with one thing in common. Each one has the desire and the expertise to bargain hunt.
Who are these finders of the all mighty “good deal”? They are the men and women of these United States who spend countless hours every weekend sifting, rummaging and pushing their way through hundreds of thousands of garage sales looking for what in their mind is greatest find since penicillin.
Or at least the greatest find since the double stacked shoe rack they found last week.
Each weekend sees hundreds of garage sales throughout our local communities.
These tiny outposts of second chances have become a gathering place for the masses looking to replace a long lost toaster oven, coaster set or outdoor thermometer.
Dozens of women who delve into the mysterious world of Bunko come looking for the mother lode of all mother lodes. They search earnestly for that one special item that will earn them lifelong respect and recognition as being the gal who had the greatest Bunko Prize ever.
Newlyweds frequent the garage sale in hopes of finding that perfect spice cabinet on which to display the rooster and hen salt and pepper shakers and the Elvis Presley decanter given to them by loving family members as wedding gifts.
These mini markets of merry mercantile have become recognized as family destinations too.
Children, who normally complain about getting up too early for school, can be seen in the wee hours of a brisk Saturday morning begging their parents for 3 wheeled race cars, headless dolls, stained plush Scooby Doos and the ever popular naked Barbie.
Teenagers can find a plethora of cassette tapes that contain the greatest doo wop legends, country warblers and 80’s hair bands that every existed. These very cassette tapes can be purchased for as little as twenty five cents each.
Teens can also purchase an AM/FM/Cassette car stereo (also twenty five cents) which can be installed in a matter of hours and allow them to listen to the aforementioned plethora of tapes.
College students and their parents frequent the garage sale in an effort to furnish dorms and apartments with the best quality, lowest priced items possible.
Form dented mini refrigerators to slightly soiled multi colored rugs, parents can find the amenities needed to make any college freshman the talk of campus.
Lately, garage sales have become instrumental in helping America stay fit.
Any given weekend one can find the very best in weight loss instruction from the world’s most famous exercise experts. From “Sweat’n To The Oldies” to “Yoga Booty Ballet”, people young and old are sure to find a workout regimen that is right for them.
One can also find workout equipment that far exceeds most modern high-tech machines of today and for a fraction of the cost. Whether it is the cutting edge technology of a Thigh Master or the gut busting (and literally I mean gut busting) Ab Wheel, the very best in fitness equipment can be found at garage sales.
Treasure hunters can spend weeks in search of priceless (or at least in their minds priceless) artifacts that will bring them praise and fame in the eyes of their family and friends. They go the extra mile in an effort to make sure 8 track tapes and Deal A Meal cards never see the inside of a landfill.
Let us take the time to salute and applaud these men and women for thinking outside the box when it comes to getting the best anniversary gift $1.50 can buy and for bringing home the plaid sofa which looks great in the living room even though it smells funny.
Keep up the good work and perhaps I will see you out and about this weekend. I’ll be the treasure hunter searching diligently for the Bevis and Butthead wall clock.
It has recently come to my attention that there is a secret society that exists in the US that we all should be made aware of. Its sole purpose is to cause confusion and chaos in an attempt to rob us of our sanity.
They speak not a word, yet their actions speak volumes. Yes, their very actions can send even the calmest and laid back person into an uncontrollable rage and even to the brink of insanity.
These evil doers are known to society as of the Fraternal Order of Righteous and Grand Oblivious Turners or F.O.R.G.O.T.
They can be noticed a mile away (depending on traffic, weather and cleanliness of your windshield). They are the ones who never turn off their blinker.
These men and women find pleasure in making their victims believe one thing is going to happen while secretly planning to do just the opposite.
They use their one weapon, the blinker, with such skill and cunning that even the most accomplished high performance race car drivers cannot avoid their traps.
You need only be driving down the road minding your own business.
Out of nowhere you will notice a car driving in the lane to the right of you. They are enough ahead of you that you can see their right blinker is on as if the direction they want to go is to the right somewhere in the near future.
Assuming they are about to merge or turn right you pay them little attention. After all, the right blinker is flashing away like a wicked strobe light from a 70’s disco club and you are to their left.
Just then, they whip in front of you with no warning.
You first hit your breaks to avoid collision and then double check to make sure the smell you now notice is from the week old tuna sandwich which your child left under the seat or perhaps an odor that was emitted from you the very second your body tightened up to brace for the impact you just avoided.
“You really bad driver” you shout, hurting the eardrums of the coworkers riding with you causing them to stop concentrating on where the rotten tuna smell is coming from in your vehicle and start concentrating on whether or not the preexisting tuna smell is covering up the smell they too emitted when they tensed up in expectation of impact .
“You really bad driver” is but one phrase that you could use to express your opinion of the driver’s ability though there are several others that have been recorded throughout the years.
Over the next mile or so, you realize that the driver of the vehicle in front of you has not turned off his or her right signal indicator.
You also realize that he or she has had several opportunities by this time to merge or turn right as their blinker indicates, but they instead remain constantly in front of you.
Your blood begins to boil as you turn your cruise control off because the once constant set speed is no longer attainable due to the ridiculous fluctuations in speed (anywhere from 35 to 66mph) of the car in front of you that is quickly becoming a thorn in your side.
The next 5 miles are miserable as you are forced to look at the steadily blinking turn signal as it seems to yell out “prepare for me to veer right, I’m going to turn right, I need to turn right, right…” but never does.
Only once you’ve reached a mental state that would be found worthy of an overnight stay at a mental institution do you decide to make your move.
At the first opportunity, you merge into the right hand lane.
There is just enough space to get past the annoying vehicle and you break free. As you pass you express to the driver how disappointed you are in their driving style, either verbally, via an ever so slight bump on the hooter or by using the international hand symbol for “you’re a bad driver” that you learned from your uncle while looking for a parking place at a college football game in 1981.
This is when they typically begin what is known as “The Big Act”. They act as if they are surprised, even frightened by your accusations and slow down as if to escape a deranged mad man.
The looks on their faces are priceless.
They honestly appear afraid of you and pretend that the whole ritual they just put you through was not intentional at all and that you are the aggressor not them.
They now execute to perfection their escape by pretending to be so afraid of you and the things you’ve been uncontrollably shouting at them that all they want to do is put more cars between you and them.
The blinker is now being used properly in an effort to exit stage right, or in this case exit from the road to the right as soon as possible, probably to go plan their next attack on some poor unsuspecting victim.
You have just come in contact with a member of F.O.R.G.O.T.
These tactics have been used since the Fraternal Order of the Righteous and Grand Old Turners was established in the early 1900’s by small town farmers and ranchers who thought farm to market roads were created specifically for them, and that “city folk” should stay off.
The initial members of F.O.R.G.O.T. soon learned that their wives could cause just as much, if not more, frustration and confusion and women were soon allowed into the Fraternal Order of Righteous and Grand Oblivious Turners.
Let this be a warning. The next time you see a car ahead of you and its blinker does not turn off (left, right doesn’t matter), find an alternate path to your destination. It might very well save your sanity.
A few years ago, I wrote a column about entitlement in our school system. Seeing as how our government is pushing the “Nanny State” mentality as status quo now more than ever, I felt obliged to post it here today. Read. Enjoy.
Whomperjawed. That’s the word used by a 70 year old gentleman I used to work with which meant twisted, off center, bent…in other words, not right. It’s a funny word, but the meaning behind it is timeless.
I’ve used the word many times since first hearing it, and no matter what the situation, it always seems to work perfectly.
Whether in reference to a car which has been in a wreck, “Man, that front right fender is whomperjawed,” or my wife’s cooking, “Honey, the potatoes were incredible, but the meatloaf was whomperjawed,” it always gets the point across.
A quick note, if you choose to add the word whomperjawed to your vocabulary, once the wife figures out what it means, comments like the last one can and will have you eating cereal at supper time for a month…you’ve been warned.
The following is a great example of a whomperjawed situation. A few years ago I had the opportunity to see our public school system in action and I have to tell you, it was slightly whomperjawed. Let me explain.
My wife and I received a letter from the elementary school that our daughters attend. The letter explained that both our girls would be receiving multiple awards. We were excited, just as parents being informed that their child has excelled at something should be.
Our youngest daughter was getting 2 awards. The first was for Citizenship which basically meant that she played well with others.
I thought this award was a little whomperjawed since all students should be playing well with each other. I’m only assuming that those students that did not receive the Citizenship award received licks. They still give licks in school right?
I mean surely they haven’t taken away this much-needed basic disciplinary action from the teacher and thereby handing the very control and operations of the classroom over to the students have they? I’m going to assume not and look into it.
Her other award was for reading minutes (which meant she had met or in her case exceeded the required amount of hours each child is expected to read for the semester).
This one meant a lot to my wife and I because our daughter had been reading every night, even weekends, and we could see how much stronger her reading was getting.
Our daughter loves it also. She wants to read all the time. A big thank you to her teacher.
Our oldest daughter was to receive 2 awards also. The first was for being on the “A” Honor Roll.
I have to tell you, we were ecstatic. She had fallen short of having an all “A” report card for the first half of the semester. A “B” in math kept her from having a perfect report card.
She worked hard the second half of the semester and pulled her math grade up enough to give her an all “A” report card for the semester.
And yes, she still had time to play with her friends, go to the movies, play putt-putt, and spend the night with her grandparents.
So it made me proud to see my daughter strive to make the “A” in math and achieve it. As for the second award, I honestly can’t remember what it was for. I think it too was a Citizenship award (you know…playing well with others).
On the day of the awards ceremony, all of the parents who could afford to take off work, or have the luxury of working from home (this included all the stay at home moms…which let’s face it, is the most under rated yet most rewarding job there is, kudos to all you stay at home moms and dads) were there to see their child or children receive awards.
I myself was glad to be there so I could see my youngest get an award for excelling in the area of reading and see my oldest get an award for having an all “A” report card.
First up was my youngest daughter’s grade. All nine or so classes were lined up in neat lines on the floor.
The Principal and Vice Principal both stood at the front of the assembly area.
The Vice Principal stood just to the left of the Principal. It was her job to shake the hands of the students and give them the awards that they had worked so hard to achieve.
The Principal stood behind a podium and it was here job to read the students name and what award he or she would be receiving.
That was when I saw it.
To the right of the Principal was a table, and on that table was a stack of papers that looked to be 4 inches high. “Wow!” I thought, “There must be a lot of kids who excelled at reading and had perfect attendance.”
Perfect attendance was another award that is always given out at awards ceremonies. A well-deserved award I must say. As the Principal stated, she herself did not even have perfect attendance.
The Principal then started to explain the awards and what they meant so that the parents would better understand.
There of course was the perfect attendance award for those students that had not missed a day of school the entire semester. Rock on.
There was the Citizenship award for good behavior. OK, I guess.
There was the reading minutes award for those students who met or exceeded the reading expectations for the semester. Awesome.
There was the improvement in reading award for the students who had not quite met the class standard but were getting better.
I’m sorry what?
There was the award for improvement in writing for those students that had not quite met the class standard in writing but were getting better.
There was the award for improvement in drinking at the water fountain for those students who had managed not to dribble water on his or her shirt.
OK maybe not.
I could not believe what I was hearing. They were giving awards for both outstanding achievement and for subpar performances.
I’m not saying that improvement in reading or writing is a bad thing. It’s a great thing…keep encouraging them to do better. But by giving an award to a student who is on his or her way to meeting the requirements needed to meet the class average, we’ve set a standard and are now awarding the students for not quite meeting that standard.
Students were receiving an award for almost doing what the average student does. Where is the encouragement to do better? One student falls short of the objective and gets an award and one student meets or exceeds the objective and gets an award.
My oldest daughter’s award ceremony would prove to be much of the same. Before it was over, I believe every student in every class had received an award.
Sadly, it turned out not to be a special day to recognize those students who had gone above and beyond in their class work, but a day created to make sure everyone felt equal.
It was a day meant to teach our children that you don’t need go the extra mile to be recognized as being an outstanding student when you can do less than is expected and still get a reward.
To think of all the awards I could have had for being lazy and performing in a substandard manor (and trust me…I performed at a substandard level in elementary, Jr. high, and high school). I could have a wall full of awards.
That started me to thinking.
Are the students who are on the “A” honor roll being taken out of standard classes and being placed into advance classes in efforts to challenge them to excel even further like they were in my day (not that I was anywhere near those classes)?
Or are the students who are working extra hard to make the honor roll being made to stay in standard classes thus interfering with their learning potential?
Is there going to come a day when our children will be able to graduate high school with grades that are less than average?
My final thoughts are these.
If we continue to award mediocre and even substandard performance then we are destined to teach our children that it is OK to be lazy and not strive for excellence.
We are promoting mediocrity in our students and in society.
We’re basically saying It’s OK not to strive to be the best. It’s OK to just get by. It’s OK not to want to better yourself or your situation. It’s OK not to want to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and chase your dreams because if we continue on this path, no one will have aspirations or dreams of success. We’ll all want the status quo (can anyone say Socialism).
There is a reason sports in America is such a big thing. It allows us to see that striving to be all that you can be, and pushing ourselves to be better actually pays off.
It’s funny, when our favorite team loses (can anyone say Cowboys), we ask the teams, “Why didn’t you try harder?” We tell them, “I know and believe you are capable of doing what it takes to win the big game and be awarded the accolades you deserve because you are the best.”
Yet when our children fall short we tell them, “That’s OK, you did so-so and that’s all you need to do to get your award.”
Wow. To me, that type of thinking is kind of whomperjawed.
Sticky Tudaman: Looks Like J.B. Had A B.M.