The Truly Productive Member Of Society

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       To have an ethical foundation and moral character is key to being a successful and productive member of society.  The individual who chooses to make his actions known, regardless of their outcome, is indeed far more superior than the individual who chooses to take action in secrete and behind the backs of their fellow countrymen.  
       
~Mitchell Collin Fairchild
  October 14, 2013

M&M’s And Trade-Ins

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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.”

Daydream over.

“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.

Handy-Dandy Floor Cleaner

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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.

What Indiana Jones Is To Archeology, Bargain Hunters Are To Garage Sales

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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.