Monday, August 5, 2013

Late Night Ramblings: P-Towns coming fast; End of Summer?; Name Brand Ripoffs

It's getting to be that time of summer when I am into a late night groove.  It's one of those things I yearn for during the school year, and have a tough time fighting off once school starts.  I'm sure it's the same with a lot of teachers, and it's definitely one of the perks of being one, though I am still working a couple of days a week, so keeping late hours is not so great sometimes.

Since I am awake, I thought I'd ramble on about some little things whilst they're on my mind...

P-Town's Coming Fast!

It's hard to believe that Provincetown is only four days away. It's seems like so long ago since I was asked to go along, and now that it's practically here I'm both excited and a little nervous about it.  Bottom line is I think it's going to be a blast, though I'm not quite sure what to expect.  You see, I don't really know any of these guys too well, and it often takes time for me to feel comfortable enough to be myself in these situations.  I've just got to go up there expecting a good time and I'm sure by the end of the week I'll be wishing I were staying just a little while longer.

Summer's End in Sight

Here it is already August 6th and I've already been hearing "summer's almost over" from people everywhere.  Well, there's still plenty of time to enjoy, but the end of summer is within sight.  I've been so busy with I don't even know what that I feel like I haven't even had any kind of summer. So far it's been all dribs and drabs, with a lot of being busy with "stuff."  Starting with P-Town, I promised myself that I am going to take the rest of summer by storm.  I've only got two more days of tutoring this week and then I am done until September.

A Rant on Rip Offs - Name Brands

I haven't ranted in awhile and today I feel a need.  I went shopping earlier today in Waldbaums, a local supermarket, and I was reminded once again how our economic system is detrimental to the average consumer.  Manufacturers and service providers have found ways to rip people off at every turn, all for the sake of their own bottom line.

Mostly through marketing, they've convinced the masses that pre-sales, or buying things before they become available, are cool, that having many, confusing choices is wonderful, and that name brands are always better than the cheaper store brands.  Well I don't think any of these things are good.  In fact, I think these companies need to be reigned in a little for the protection of all of us.

Now I know the government, or more specifically the Consumer Protection Agency, can't do much about the brand thing.  People just need to pay attention more to save themselves from that ripoff.  Now sure, there are many name brands out there whose product is the top of the line.  Kleenex tissues, Bounty paper towels, Coca Cola, all of these are superior products and should garner a higher price than their competitors, but there are also many products out there that charge exorbitant prices for virtually the same products.

Case in point: I am a user of Splenda sweetener in my coffee.  I usually buy the larger size bag of it and it usually lasts me a few months.  It's one of the things I needed when I went to Waldbaums earlier.  I had last bought Splenda in April for about $6.99, and in the supermarket today I saw that the price had gone up a whopping $4 in the time since.   That's a huge increase, no?

Right next to the Splenda was the store brand.  The same size bag cost only $3.99, a huge $7 difference from the name brand.  I decided to look at the ingredients of the two packages:

Maltodextrin and sucralose!  Both products are exactly the difference, except the price. I've done the same comparison with medicines, cereals and other products, and found that many store brand items contain the same exact ingredients as the name brand, yet many people will buy the name brand because they think it's better.  Stupid!  Pay attention people!

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