Inability to Deliver Quality

There used to be a time, when Business promoted itself as giving Quality products, for reasonable Prices.

USED to be a time.

Sure as hell isn’t anymore.  From the gas prices to even our Politics, where our Prime Minister doesn’t lose any sleep over Governing, but does over worrying about Political Surprises.

Was shopping today, at Thrifty Foods.  They used to be our go to store, for groceries, and yeah, their prices were a bit higher than the others, but the quality was there.

Least when Alex Campbell ran the show. Now it is owned by an operator out of Ontario  SOBEYS.

So much for quality.

Tonight I thought I’d get Mom a treat. They had all butter apple turnovers on sale for $3.49 for a package of six.  Sounds good and yummy, right?    WRONG!

Now the girl at the bakery made them sound super delicious. All Butter and filled with the best premium apples.  170 grams for $3.49 isn’t cheap but hell, a nice treat for Mom, or so I thought.

At the checkout, well they rang thru at $3.99 which isn’t a big deal, but hell, I am tired of being screwed over by Big Businesses.

We checked and sure enough they had screwed up, so under the Ring Thru Fair Practices or whatever it is called, we got those delectable taste treats for Free.

Sounds good right?  NOPE!

I’d have been better off to not purchase those six little darlings. I mean to begin with, the crust or pastry dough was tough. It wasn’t flakey at all, and if I didn’t know they were Apple, I’d never have been able to guess it from eating one.

Like excuse me, but having a turnover, usually implies that inside is some sort of filling.   NOT AT THRIFTY FOODS!

Hell even when we stopped at Macdonald’s for a McFlurry, they couldn’t get that right either.  I mean come on, you charge $3 for a full size item, at least fill it to the brim with ice cream, not 3/4 of the way. And don’t go leaving a huge gap in the center that you could put your fist into.

So what is up with business today? 

What happened to actually delivering the product, as promised?

Why aren’t they doing it?

David I think has the answer. He says it is because we simply accept it, and don’t complain enough about the crap we are paying good money for.  He is right, I mean okay we complained about the wrong price, and I will complain about the quality next time I go to that store, but it is true.  We accept this kind of bogus business, when the truth is, we shouldn’t.

Guess that is why we get people like Stephen Harper in charge of Government, and why we get grocery stores like Thrifty Foods.  

WE SIMPLY DON’T EXPECT BETTER ANYMORE.

Credit Crisis

It is by far the hot topic of the day. From every news organization, to every pundit & so called expert, they talk about the credit crisis that is gripping the world. They talk about how Banks don’t have enough money to loan out, which in turn is slowing consumer spending. The buzz word is ‘cash flow’ for businesses, such as General Motors who is facing a cash crisis, as is Ford and a host of other huge conglomerates.  Yet what does it all mean for you and me?

Unemployment for the USA is up, yet they say in Canada it is holding steady, whatever the hell that is supposed to mean.

Employers have now cut their payrolls for 10 consecutive months.

The U.S. Labour Department also issued a sharp revision to September’s job numbers. The government said 284,000 jobs were lost in the month, much worse than the initial estimate of 159,000.

August’s initial estimate of 73,000 jobs losts was also revised downward to reflect a loss of 127,000 jobs. (source – CBC News)

To begin with, do we truly know the depth of the problem facing the world’s economies? I mean I know you can be off a bit in figuring out statistics, but take a look at those numbers. The estimate for September was off by what, 120,000? Then look at August, an error of about 50,000 and I start to wonder, are the initial estimates being deliberately kept low? How the hell do you make errors of such magnitude, and call yourself a proper analyst? If polls can be within 3 to 4%, why are job estimates so far off?

It also makes one wonder about the other stuff, such as that Canada is holding steady, or when your finance minister tells you that Canadian banks are safe from failing, because our regulations are different. But are they?

Then there is this whole credit crisis talk. I wonder, if perhaps it too is a made up piece of bullshit, because the banks have gotten greedy. I mean let’s be honest here, is this a credit crunch for us, the Middle Class, and wage earner, or this a credit crunch for big corporations that have no fiscal restraint? I mean look at how AIG, one of the largest insurers out there, handled its income. While it required a taxpayer bailout of $85 Billion, was seeking another $40 Billion, it sent executives to a resort, for unwinding. Now I don’t know, but if I am hurting for cash, I sure as hell don’t go begging for a family handout, then take some of that money to pamper myself with. I mean, if I need the money, it is for bills, for something important, yet here is Corporate America paying out not just for fancy resorts, but continuing to pay out for bonuses, and other perks, to the upper echolon of their company.

Banks can’t pay their depositors their money, but they can afford to live in mansions, and go on trips in the corporate jet, rather than taking commercial economy flights?

Whatever happened to living within one’s means?

I have been in business since eleven years of age, and no, not what you would call a roaring success at it either. I have had my failures, some rather big ones, but one thing I do know, is that you can’t get ahead of your income. Sure you get desperate, but the truth is that you have to live, within the income level you have. You can’t keep borrowing money, without having a way to pay it back, yet over the last few decades, it seems we have forgotten that.

Business in its drive for more profits, have convinced us to abandon our ideals, that we do need to have what we want, now, not later. And it is that mantra, that has created to today’s economic mess. Yes, we do need to change  how we do business, by going back to tried and true methods. No more easy credit, for everyone. That includes big business, like General Motors and Ford, and it includes Government as well.

We need to re-establish what is a priority, and what isn’t. Frankly things like education, health, and security need to not be the scapegoat during financial crisis, but things like the Arts, like Sports do need to take second position on the spending trough. Most definately we need to curtail Pork Spending, if not eliminate it all together, but we need to start being fiscally responsive. To give credit to someone working at minimum wage, who has a bad track record of keeping a job, is one stupid move that needs to stop. At the same time, giving credit to businesses like AIG who show no effort to cut pork, is just as stupid.

Credit is supposed to be something one earns, not a right, not automatic. It is a privilege, that needs to once more be made into one. It is a reward for doing your job well, for saving, for keeping your expenses in line. Not a way to educate your kid on how to control money either. We really need to stop believing that what we want, is a right and that we should have it now. There never was talk about a newly weds buying a house after the expensive honeymoon, but that they would have to save for it. That isn’t how it is today, and that really, is what needs to change.

I work for a living, and I have to admit it, at times it is hard to balance the month’s expenses with the things I’d like to own. Yet I have to do it, and live with what the wife & I earn. There are responsibilities that have to be met, before we can consider the luxuries of life. I have a 91 year old mother, a dog, and they rely on me to keep them warm, keep them fed, sheltered, and at ease. I can’t do that by buying every new thing that comes along, or even in buying new staples like a washing machine every two or three years. I dont need to drive Mom to the Doctor’s office in the latest Lexus or Volvo, nor do I need to take the dog to the vet in a big gas guzzling SUV.

Sure, I like my toys too, and we have a fair number. Yet not one is bought on credit, and my bills are current. The cell phone bill, hydro, cable, are all up to date, and I own my computers outright. The only thing we have on credit is the scooter, so Dave can save gas money. And I have the next four payments on hand, in case. It was a tough decision, but one that made sense, and that is what credit is for.

It is to get what will save you sufficient money, over the long haul, when you can’t put out the big bucks yourself. Credit is about buying what is needed, that one can afford. The money saved in gas, will make the minimum payments, so it is a trade off. It costs us nothing out of pocket, and in the long run, will put money into our pockets. To use it for an extra computer wouldn’t save us money, would take money out of our pocket, so we don’t do that, despite the temptation. And that is the big difference from the old values, and today’s.

The simple truth is, credit it for what is needed, that we can’t afford now. It is like the scooter we bought. It saves not just on gas, but has a lower insurance rate. It also saves wear and tear on the ca, which we need for taking Mom to the Doctors; It also cuts down on Dave being an errand boy for his job, because you can’t take much on a scooter. So the bottom line is that it is a benefit, worth the interest being charged. Now to go out and buy something we don’t need, like a new dryer, isn’t. The old one works fine, uses a bit more energy, but not loads. We switched to cold water on the washing machine, and so again, why get into debt for something with more bells & whistles than we need?

That is the real credit crunch, the insane need to buy, without really taking into account of whether we truly need it now, or not. Banks have been too free with it, as have big corporations, and the end result, is that too many people have bought too many things, at one time. They don’t have the income to pay for it, the rates go up, and they lose what they bought, and suddenly the banks are out of cash. We have been conditioned to believe that new is important, that making do wtih what we have till we can afford new is wrong. And that is where it comes down to values. We are forgetting, it is a lot more gratifying to earn the cash to buy something new, than to just sign for it on credit. It really does make a difference.

Is there a credit crisis? NO, but there is a VALUE CRISIS.