Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tina Finally Puts Out for Cheap Bastid

OK so this post is more than 13 months in the making. On June 15, 2010 I wrote a post called “Tina’s a Bitch”. It was all about being excessively frugal at the grocery store. It went on at length about Tina’s Burritos and how the regular price is 3 for $1 but that they had been on sale for 4 for $1 and even 5 for $1. When they went back up to 3 for $1 I quit buying them. I sure showed the bitch. Here’s the link:

Funny thing is that I noticed that a lot of people quit buying them when the sale price was done. Of course, that might have something to do with the fact that I am one of the few non-Hispanic customers at our Stater Brothers grocery store.

So every week for the past 13 months I stroll past the freezer with the Tina’s Burritos (it’s just down from where we pick up our weekly frozen pizza—Stater Bros. store brand for $3.99—as good as DiGiorno’s but a couple of bucks cheaper). I check the price. Yep 3 for $1 again. And then I flip the finger at the freezer just to be ornery. I’m sure that there have been a few raised eyebrows and laughs in the room where the security cameras are watched but what the hell.

So I am here to loudly proclaim that this week, yes folks this week, Tina’s Burritos are 4 for $1. I spotted it in the weekly ad flyer that I check out online each Wednesday—and Tina’s is something I always check for.

We just got back from the store. I spent $5 on Tina’s Burritos—most of it on the “Red Hot Beef” which isn’t red hot and may or may not be actual beef. But they’re frozen, they come out of the microwave pretty good and a couple of them make a decent lunch. From the look of the freezer case it seems as though quite a few other customers have had the same idea.

Hot damn! We’ve got enough to last a while—unless step-daughter Meg suddenly develops a Jones for Tina’s, and pretty soon I can go back to flipping off the display again. It’s just one of my ways of protesting the “high” price of food. And yeah, I know that the difference between 3 for $1 and 4 for $1 is 8 cents apiece. But a quarter each is my value point.

So I’m going to close this and pull a couple of Tina’s out of the freezer for an afternoon snack. Then I’ll look around for my Tums.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Crapperhead Gets His Pout On at Giants Game

Have you ever had your kid get a good pout on? Arms crossed, lower lip jutting out, glowering.

Here's a kid who managed to do all this on TV while at a major league baseball game with his Dad. It all started with a foul ball hit into the stands. Seems like the guy sitting in front of him managed to knock the ball down and the lady next to him dove for the ball. The kid got furious.

In fact, it kind of reminds me of so many people and their sense of entitlement and their destructive pouts when they don't get their way (tea partiers or Republicans anyone?).

Anyway the TV announcers had a good time with it as the video clip shows. And they even sent a couple of balls down for the kid, who brightened up noticeably when they arrived. Kind of like a kid who throws a tantrum in a store over not getting a toy until Mom or Dad gives in.

Why call the kid a "crapperhead"? Hell, if I had a nickel for every time my Dad called me or my brother a crapperhead when I was growing up, I'd be long sense retired.

Like the time we were playing catch in the back yard and my Dad points to an open crank-out window, "Now, don't either of you two crapperheads throw the ball into that window," the old man admonished. Yep, you guessed it, after about 3 throws who winds up and smacks the window breaking it? Well, Dad of course. But we knew better than to laugh! Much.

And, this kid's a crapperhead!

Here's the video from Major League Baseball:

Penises, Vibrators and Cars

The other night, while sitting out on the balcony with my wife talking about our day, we got in a bit of a discussion about my job as a car salesman.

Seems like she wasn’t too fond of my description that a 50’ish female customer I was working with was driving a $37,000 “vibrator”. (Actually, she has a 7-year old Nissan 350Z convertible).

“Wait a minute,” I said. “You’re getting irked at the notion that this woman bought a car 4 years ago and has admitted that it was her ‘bright and shiny toy’ that she ‘just had to have’ to indulge her late middle age desire for a ‘go-fast convertible’.”

“But let me ask you something…you don’t have any problems describing a guy that age who has a Corvette as owning a $40,000 penis do you?”

“Well, no,” my bride replied.

“It’s the same thing,” was my response.

Yeah, it was the same thing. Men have been doing that for years with ‘Vettes and Mustang Cobras and Mitsubishi Evo’s and Dodge Challengers and big, bad-ass, jacked-up trucks. Women do it too. It has to do with our image of our masculinity or femininity or the idea that we’re 40 plus and want to feel young.

And yeah, somehow or another these vehicles are tied into our sexuality—our attractiveness, our desirability. I’ve never had the cash to indulge that fantasy, nor the inclination.

So what’s this all about? Well, I had this customer the other day. 50’ish, female and wanting to buy a new, sporty car. No problem. Until she told me later in the day over the phone that she had a trade-in. OK, still no problem. An ‘07 350Z convertible. Still no problem. $8000 “upside-down”. Potential problem. Only $2000 available for a down payment. Yep, potential problem.

To make the long story short, when I was finally able to get her to come in so we could appraise her car. In actuality, she was nearly $10,000 upside down. Oops.

Now, a car dealer can do some legerdemain sometimes with how to assemble a deal structure so that it works for a customer with substantial negative equity. It’s a lot harder today than it was 3 or 4 years ago, thank goodness. Things tightened up with car loans at the same time they did with home mortgages—and for the same reasons.

Turns out, she still owed over $19,000 on a vehicle she bought 4 years ago that’s worth less than $10K. And there’s still 3 years to go on the loan. Oops! Great big Oops!

You know what bugs my butt though? This person bought a middle-aged ego-booster. She’s tired of it. It’s not big enough. But lady, it’s not my fault! It’s not my fault that you screwed yourself by agreeing to a 7 year loan and that you paid new-car price for a car which was 3 years old when you bought it. It ain’t my fault! Yeah, when I had to give her bad news, she got mad. At me!

She got mad at me when I told her that she had a 7 year loan (she thought it was only a 6 year loan—but hmmmm, I can do that math…she’s made 49 payments and has 35 to go, yep that’s 7 years). She didn’t believe me. “Well ma’am,” I said, “that’s what it shows on both Experian and TransUnion so what I’d suggest is that you check your original contract to make sure.”

But that’s OK, you need to be miffed at someone and there’s only so much that you can beat yourself up and you have to do that privately rather than in my office. And, I’m not the first guy that you’ve tried to do this with. I imagine that the other dealers you’ve gone to have told you the same thing. I mean, we can do it. We can get you out of the car, but it’s going to take more like $6000 down. But your payment will be over $100 lower. And she got mad at that. But that’s OK. That’s the nature of the business.

Hey, if you’ve got a testosterone toy or an estrogen machine, that’s cool. Make sure that you set yourself up to succeed when you’re tired of driving it. And, although you may have gotten screwed without getting kissed, you were a willing participant. Plus, I’m not the guy who did it to you. I’m the guy who’s trying to help you get out of it!

Just remember—it’s a car! It’s not proof that you’re a hottie or a stud. It’s transportation. There’s no status that’s conveyed to you by the car you drive.

Here’s a YouTube of one of my favorite all time car commercials—give it a watch, it’s funny.