Monday, September 14, 2009

Husband and Wife Die... Let's Count Their Money?

I came across an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer about a couple who apparently killed themselves in a knife fight over the weekend. Pretty sad and gruesome news, and I feel terrible for the kids who have lost both their parents. Definitely not something you want to hear about.

Speaking of things you don't want to hear about, I was really baffled by some of the extraneous details that were included in the article about the deceased, Robert and Sophia DiAndrea. Please feel free to tell me if you think these are really necessary bits of information, and tell me if you've ever even heard a news report talk about these types of things before (these are actual statements from the article):

-Robert was a $44,860-a-year supervisor of water conveyance systems for the Water Department, hired on May 27, 1997, city records show.

-Hired by the school district on Oct. 23, 1993, Sophia was a fifth-grade teacher who made $81,617 a year, school records show. She had worked four years at Anne Frank Elementary School, at 2000 Bowler St., an eight-minute ride away.

-The DiAndreas bought their home for $138,000 on Jan. 31, 1997, city records show.

Do those details seem bizarrely out of context when talking about a husband and wife who died? I just don't get it. The rest of the article is well-reported, giving a snapshot into their lives, but the financial data seems to come out of left field. Would the journalist have reported how much they both made if it were not public information? Or what if they were a low-income couple? Maybe it's me, but I don't feel the need to count someone else's money after a vicious ending to their lives.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Why Best Buy Might Want to Reconsider Its Own Name

A recent commercial for Best Buy pointed out something that I noticed recently about the big box electronics store. But what they pointed out isn't exactly something I'd call a selling point or a sensible marketing message.

Their latest commercials feature a hapless customer standing on a podium in front of a stadium full of energetic Best Buy salespeople who want to help answer questions. One of the responses to a question posed by the customer is that 'Best Buy will match any competitor's prices'. And herein lies the problem.

On two recent occasions, I was shopping for electronics products. First was a digital photo frame for a birthday present for my wife. I went to Best Buy and bought the frame that I thought my wife would like. The next day I did some price surfing on the internet and found out that Wal-Mart's price beat Best Buy's price by at least 20% (I apologize, I don't remember the exact prices). When I found this out, after having already bought the frame from Best Buy, I went back and got a credit for the difference in price back to my account, but only after having to stand in a long line at customer service. Not a good way to start.

Then, I recently was looking for a Flip video camera to have on hand for when my son was born (3 weeks ago tomorrow!). I shopped around the prices, and, lo and behold, Wal-Mart beat Best Buy again, this time by about $10. Not a lot, but it made my decision that much easier. Mind you, I'm not normally a shopper at Wal-Mart because I'm not a huge fan of their stores, but hey, if I can save a few bucks... why not?

My point here... if Best Buy were really trying to do a service to its customers it wouldn't offer to match any competitor's prices... it would truly offer the "best buy" in the first place.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Why Women and Cell Phones Don't Mix

At least once a day, I am privy to this delightful situation:

(insert most annoying ring tone you can think of)

That goes on for about 5 seconds. Then it's a woman's voice:

"Oh, is that my phone ringing?"

Then it's a mad scramble to try to find the phone in the depths of the abyss otherwise known as the pocketbook. (Have you noticed how big women's pocketbooks have gotten lately? Whatever happened to discrete, dainty purses?? Sorry, I digress.)

Phone is found, then it's:

"Oh! It's (insert name of person she talks to every day)!"

"Hello? Hello? HELLO???"

Pause, look at phone.

"Oh I missed it."

This kind of annoying nonsense probably happens at least 19,000 times every second somewhere around the world.

I would love it if somebody could explain to me a rational reason as to why no woman can carry a cell phone in her pocket, or on her belt loop, or elsewhere on her person, and not stash it deep inside the bag. Quite frankly, it's never a man who hears his phone ring and goes through this routine of not knowing if it's his phone or where his phone is. Or, let me clarify that... if it is a man who goes through this routine, he's usually 70 years or older, in which case we'll let him pass because he's earned the right to lose his phone at that age. But no excuses for young or middle aged women for these shenanigans!

Let's get some cell phone etiquette classes, shall we?