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Old 13-01-2007, 14:48   #31
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I only buy from ebay "stores" with high feedback. I have had nothing but positive experiences.
I'll never buy marine wire from a brick and mortar again. I bought 100' of 14 gauge marine wire for 16 dollars this fall. I've compared it to wire i bought at west marine, the only difference is the "west marine" brand name.

I've never bought from an ebay store without a return policy.

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Old 13-01-2007, 15:45   #32

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Same here. This guy has 12,000 good comments. I suspect he might be good enough with customer service to get around the original point of this post. I just couldn't believe they sold something with used motor oil in it as a food processing product. Scary.

Oh, and Acoustic... thanks for that link on the other site with some decent looking grinders. I sure wish I found those before I bought this thing.

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Old 13-01-2007, 16:10   #33

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Guys, a couple of short years ago, Cingular (a combination of merged corporations) bought out AT&T Wireless from AT&T, who had just one year before started MMode, a second and separate GMS cellular division. So having sold two cellular companies off, AT&T announced a year or two later they'd be starting up a new one because their customers still wanted to use one company. And, while Cingular spent billions for the buyout, and then spent maybe a billion more "harmonizing" the logos and advertising and all...

...The average sucker paying a $45 monthly cell bill probably paid an extra $7 a month in order to generate those billions spent on administrative nonsense. Now, this year, AT&T has, haha, bought out Cingular's stock and will be renaming the company....AT&T Wireless again, and spending literally another billion dollars to promote the change, hang new signs, etc.

Net effect? Management screws around, and the customer winds up paying about 20-25% more for the product, so some numbnuts pretending to be management can play these games, which just AREN'T good business for the market or the customers or even for the business in the long term.

This is nothing new, this is why the economy in the US has gone to hell in a handbasket. Gamers at the top manipulate things, suck the life out of them in huge payouts, and somehow, no one says "Stop!". No one.

Anyone remember grabbing a burger and fries at a local luncheonette, greasy spoon, or burger shack in the 60's? Yeah, well, now they are gone and 10% of every fast food dollar gets sucked away to a franchise hq so they can advertise the franchise expense that no one needed when you just ate at the corner luncheonette! So once again, modern economics neatly steals an extra 10% out of every dollar you spend, so someone ten states away can pocket money for...doing what? Hiring a clown?

All the Chinese are doing, is what the Rockefellers and all the robber barons did in the 1800's. Following the Good Old American Way, which no doubt had another name back when the British were so fond of debtor's prisons that they had to empty them in Australia.
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Old 13-01-2007, 16:22   #34

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Agreed. The Chinese certainly aren't to blame. It's been this way for a while... only now people are too weak/uninformed to stand up to it like they used to.

This stuff goes on unchecked.
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Old 13-01-2007, 16:41   #35
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And what about...

"Yeah, well, now they are gone and 10% of every fast food dollar gets sucked away to a franchise hq so they can advertise the franchise expense that no one needed when you just ate at the corner luncheonette! So once again, modern economics neatly steals an extra 10% out of every dollar you spend, so someone ten states away can pocket money for...doing what?"

And what about the 61% of every dollar I earn being yanked out of my hand for gas tax, rental car tax, airpot tax, income tax, phone bill tax, utility tax, sales tax, cable bill tax, workers comp tax, business equipment tax, dog license tax, excise tax, property tax, social security tax, tire fee/environmental tax, etc. etc. etc. so some government hack can send my money to some lazy ass slob with eleven kids, each with a different last name, who has not worked a day in her life and does not plan to.

I actually kept track two years ago and in one year I paid 61 cents of every dollar earned on taxes. A 10% franchise fee to own a successful business model/chain such as a Dunkin Donuts seems very reasonable compared to my 61% in taxes for which I get minimal benefit other than a strong military. Unfortunately that military is being used and abused currently and is tapped out...

A 10% franchise fee is less than what I spend on marketing costs for my business. That 10% franchise fee goes to national print and TV marketing. I cetainly can't duplicate that for 10% so it seems like a good deal to me....
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Old 13-01-2007, 16:58   #36
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My original statmenet wasn't answering anything. It only poses a thought that it is a little more complicated and the result is that to some it works, to others it doens't.
I'm sure it's not because you are lazy and don't work as hard or smart. So what is the reason?
The same reason why you didn't buy a million dollar vessel and someone else can. It depends on what you can and do earn, it depends on the countries dollar, it depends the importance of the item in question, it depends on the use and so on. Why can't I afford the $10K unit.(this is hypothetical illistration of course) Well firstly, $10K to you is about $15K to me. My countries dollar is much lower than yours. So I am handicapped right off the bat. We have substantial import duties, taxes, freight costs, and much higher markups because we don't have the volume of sales in this smaller country. So your $10K becomes more like $20K to me. Then there is the difference in what an average income is and the overall cost of living is. Cost of living equates to what I have left in my pocket after food etc, critical expendature in other words. So maybe, just maybe, your $10K takes you 6 months to save and maybe my $20K takes me a year to save.
And lets face it, even though you knew the possible outcome of the product or had had a poor deal in the past, you were still tempted to take the cheaper option. Why? cause money in anybodies country is hard earned.
So you see, there is a complex issue behind the scenes. If we could all afford the expensive stuff, no one would be getting China and similar countires to build cheap junk. It's all about supply and demand. If someone demands it, someone will suply it. If someone supplies it and no one demands it, the supplier goes broke.

Once again, no answers, just ponderings.

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Old 13-01-2007, 17:21   #37

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Acoustic... I hate to disagree yet again, but do you really think your 61% is going to poor people? Let's review a document from a researcher at NYU. Here is a quote:

It might be more difficult to defend continuation of the federal government's commitment to
financing economic assistance to the poorest Americans if such assistance were a major cause of
Washington's budgetary problems. But it is not. Federal support for AFDC (including emergency
assistance and employment and training services for AFDC recipients) in FY 1995 will total
about $18 billion – only 1.2 percent of the federal budget. In 1995, the year-to-year increase in
Medicare spending is greater than total spending on AFDC and related programs.

The total for all of the major means-tested income support programs (AFDC, SSI, Food Stamps
and the Earned Income Tax Credit) is of course higher – about $85 billion in 1995. But even this
total represents only 5.5 percent of federal budget outlays.

What this means is that the other 92.5 percent of your taxes are squandered on millitary spending, government agencies and salaries, prisions, law enforcement, federal bureaus of blah blah blah, and other waste. The poor are only responsible for 5.5 percent of the money you lose each year. Hardly the villians you percieve as being responsible for taking 61% of your money. Granted, these are old numbers. I didn't have all night to dig up the latest, but you are just spouting whatever the news and/or government and/or people around you told you to think. Where are the numbers? Where are the facts? I keep bringing up real numbers. I don't see so many on your end of promoting capitalism and our form of government. In no way am I trying to attack... I just get a little excited about this stuff and I'm more trying to show that your statement about poor people being responsible for your tax loss is not mathematically correct.

I'll agree with the defense spending.

In the post above, you say that these taxes are too much... yet you cheer and cheer some more for our current form of government? I don't see the logic. The current government and corrupt industries are exactly the people who are stealing your 61%. You have the facts all backward, according to what the data for the federal budget states. Have you looked at the budget?

Terribly sorry, again... don't mean to offend. It's just that you're not looking at the numbers. Just like the numbers tell the reality a boat's seaworthiness, so too the federal budget numbers tell the reality of where your tax dollars go.

Source of NYU paper:

The Impact of New Federal Budget Priorities on America's Citie

Here is a handy quick-reference graph of federal spending. Note they also say that 6% of the buget goes to means-tested entitlements (the poor you mention in your above post). Where does the rest go? Defense, Medicare, Social Security, paying off our mis-managed budget deficits, etc... So, it's not the lazy slob collecting welfare that's eating up your money. It's General so and so, Grandma, and lousy politicians and controllers in the nation's capitol.

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Old 13-01-2007, 17:24   #38

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If you're in the 61% tax bracket...I didn't think they quite went up that high anymore, by most standards we'd call you rich. And in need of a better tax strategist. The scams at the ballparks and airports ("but we have to pay a license fee" yeah, sure, ignore the huge volume of captive traffic that would let a reasonable fee disappear) are just more of it. At a certain point, I just refuse to pay. Eight dollar hot dog? Ten dollar beer? Fifty dollar ballgame ticket? No thanks, I don't need 'em that badly. I don't see any need to pay some ballplayer five million a year simply because he plays ball real pretty. Someone else wants to, they're welcome to be a fool and do it.
But the justification that a "franchise fee" is only replacing bucks you'd have to spend anyway, is specious logic. Sure, some places need to advertise. But luncheonettes and greasy spoons never did, they relied on *local* traffic and passersby and reputation, and never spent a buck on that. If I want a burger, I'll try anyplace with a clean table and a grill in the back--and I'm not going to clip newspaper and TV ads to find one, it'll be either the first one I see, or one that someone points me to. In those markets--the franshise fee is simply a stupidity tax.
Dunno what your business is or what kind of franchise fees you have to pay, but if the deal didn't include telling you how to keep taxes under sounds like they're not giving you a good deal.

"If someone supplies it and no one demands it, the supplier goes broke." Nice concept but totally outdated. In this market, someone decides "All I've got is a pile of sand" and if they say "And nobody wants it" they remain poor. The New Breed of Rich are the ones who say "I've got a pile of sand, and here's why you MUST HAVE IT AT ANY PRICE!" and then they go on to create a demand by "marketing". That's how MacDonald's sell hamburgoids. The burgers are a disgrace, but the Coke machine is kept scrupulously adjusted (syrup mix is something a lot of places try to cheat on), the fries are great (even if they lie about what's in them) and the one cares about, because McD's is not in the food business! Nossir, they are the largest TOY COMPANY in the US. The toys they advertise for kids make the kids say "I wanna go to MacDonnas!" and the family caves in on the rest.

And until a year or so ago, they actually had uniformly lousy cofffe in the US. IIRC there was an article in the papers about coffee last week, and thye mentioned that McD used to have 60 different blends (across the US) until they "upscaled" their coffee this year. Dunno about 60 blends...but it all tasted like old socks.

Now, I'm not all against marketing....I just think there's a fine line between marketing and pushing drugs. Southland Corp (aka "7-11" stores) in the US is one example of ingenious marketing. They give the coffee away to the franchise stores for free. Free. And they tell the stores, after 20 minutes, throw it out and make a fresh pot. Most of the stores do, since the coffee is free and the customers are coming in because we know there's FRESH COFFEE all the time, round the clock. (The stores pay for each *cup* they sell, so things work out in the larger picture.) But, the marketing and franchise policy are cleverly set up so the store no longer has a reason to make cheap old coffee. (AFAIK no one else works that way with franchise coffee.) Instead of trying to blackmail parents by screaming kids, or some other clever marketing con game.

And Dunkin Donuts? (Are these alien names to you?<G> One hopes so!) Another big corporation that seems to have become just a financial holding company, rather than a dedicated business trying to be the best. Seems like everyone I know has commented about their coffee going downhill in the past couple of years, even while the US market for upscale coffee and Starbucks (cough, cough) has gone insane.

It's a world gone mad here in the States, it really is.

Dunkin Donuts...
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Old 13-01-2007, 18:06   #39

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Wheels: Sorry there guy... I wasn't asking why you personally can't buy the fictitious item. I coudn't buy it either. What I was doing was asking a few questions as to why you, or I, or many of us can't buy a simple durable good made in our own country anymore. Wages never rose, the durable goods went up, so we're left buying the Chinese stuff in this country if we're not particularly wealthy. I was asking the question about why we couldn't afford these things when our parents and grandparents could because I was trying to show the relationship to the decline in living standards for the vast majority of people (not the top 5% of earners). Wasn't directed at you, my friend. Sorry for any misunderstanding.
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Old 13-01-2007, 18:08   #40
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Interesting Thread

Just got back from reading the Wikipedia article Sean mentioned, and it confirms my conclusion that an anarchic state is preposterous. At the most benign it has many aspects of libertarianism, an amusing daydream about having both unlimited personal freedom and an isolationist national security, but wholly impractical to seriously consider implementing in the modern world; in its most applicable form it resembles Socialism, which will require the very restraints on behavior and freedoms it tries to achieve. Many Socialist states continue to limp along, but their economies cannot be sustained for another generation assuming the same government entitlements their unmotivated and unindustrious citizenry has become accustomed to, and the tax burden on the productive citizens is burdensome at best and punitive at worst. (Example: if the US pulled its military forces out of most of Europe, now that the Cold War threat of Soviet expansionism is gone, France's economy would collapse within ten years under the burden of having to provide for all its own defense). France finally got its unemployment rate under a stiltifying 11% around the year 2000, but it's still almost touching 10%. Compare that with a current US rate of around 4% (virtual universal employment: everyone who wants a job can have one). I don't mention Communism because I think it is self-evident it is a failed political/economic philosophy with a bloody human rights record. China, the only Communists left, is running, not walking, to open markets and democratic reform as more and more of the Old Guard Maoists in their leadership die off.

Back to Anarchy (or "Anarchism," as those looking for respectability will refer to it). It won't work on anything higher than a tribal level: once the population rises above just a handful of individuals, you're going to need some kind of a government. Somalia was mentioned in the Wikipedia article as a place without a recognizable government for the last few years, and it's been a hell-hole.

Aspirants to utopian societies be warned: the flaws of human nature make whatever well-thought out system you devise imperfect as soon as the first human being sets foot on the property. The truth we don't want to face is that we're deeply flawed, and need government to rule over the individual. The egalitarian experiments in the US, in Utica, New York and other places, all failed miserably. Most of the religious communities that tried a "moral perfection" route have died or are dying because they can't reproduce or people just couldn't behave in the perfect ways their creators invisioned. Socialism and Communism brought only tryanny and genocide on a mind-boggling scale.

The only example I know of any successful self-sustaining community, albiet on a rather small scale, that preserved any level of expression of personal freedom is the Israeli kibbutz, or agricultural community. But the new generation is abandoning the kibbutz for the promises of the city, so their existence is threatened, as well. Seems it's not such a paradise after all.

I'll take the combination of representative republicanism on the political side, combined with a capitalism tempered with a core of Judeo-Christian ethic, for an economic system, such as exists in the United States. Imperfect sure, but delivers the most opportunity and freedom to the greatest number of people, as history will attest. No promises of ultimate outcomes, just open opportunities. If you want to trade your freedom for a steady paycheck, you get to to that. If you want to become an entrepreneur (you go, Sean), you get to give that a shot. If you fall on your face, that was the risk you took. Many of small means have become stunning successes by beginning small, being industrious, and climbing to success slowly over time. The ones without that drive and persistence and self-discipline still want to rise, but choose lottery tickets as their vehicle.

Amen to Acoustic: much of the dissatisfaction of we Americans comes from a lack of perspective: we are so affluent, and only compare our situation with the Joneses, not with 75% of the world's population, in whose eyes we walk as princes on the earth. Much of our economic struggle comes not from a lack of earning potential, but from the lavish lifestyles we desire, which commit us to two-paycheck families. We own more house than is necessary, drive more car than is necessary, wear one-hundred dollar tennis shoes, and pamper ourselves to no end. In 1967 the US tipped from a production economy to a consumerr economy: we bought more than the value of what we made. Consumerism as grown like a wildfire since.

Heeding Thoreau's admonition of "Simplify, simplify!" would do most of us untold good.
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"Man must have just enough faith in himself to have adventures, and just enough doubt of himself to enjoy them." G. K. Chesterfield
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Old 13-01-2007, 18:37   #41

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Six "meat choppers" as they apparently are called now, who knew. No country of origin listed for them but at least some of them have no paint.<G>

sausage grinder Meat Grinders - Lycos Shopping has it!

And more as "sausage makers", including one from "the Czech Republic" which apparently is what some of us still call Czechoslovakia.<G>

Deluxe Sausage Maker - Meat & Poultry - Specialty Tools - Kitchen & Bar Tools - Sur La Table

Sean, are you sure horribly old used burnt soy oil from restaurants wouldn't pass as motor oil? I mean, maybe that's just the Chinese version of Cosmoline.
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Old 13-01-2007, 19:41   #42
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vegetable oil spoils, I doubt it would ever be used for long term lubrication of anything... of course... used motor oil... but yeah, spoiled vegetable oil definately has a distinct smell
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Old 13-01-2007, 20:01   #43
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I was a little worried at the direction this thread took from the beginning, but I am impressed, yet not surprised at the calm intelligent conversation that progressed.
There is no question that there is a serious disconnect between the haves and have nots in this country. There is also avery clear disconnect between those who are running things, and those who are governed. It is unfortunate. Anarchy is not the answer. A dictatorsip is also no answer. "Of the people, by the people and for the people" has become The people shall be led by the ruling class. Can an average middle class person even run for president?
Currently our economy is directed by cheap imported products, meant to appeal to those who have a hope of saving enough to reach the American dream. It is also severely effected by the outsourcing of jobs, including semi skilled positions, to countries who have a much lower standard of living.
So, what is the answer? I happen to lean towards Socialism when it comes to human rights. Food, shelter, and medical care are basic human rights that should not be refused any person on the planet, and in my opinion, it is criminal to do so. Capitalism has it's good side. I enjoy knowing that I can have more than I need if I choose to work for it. But, those things are becoming increasingly out of reach. When the general standard of living becomes so high that the lower standards are out of reach for a large majority, it is not a matter of "Keeping up with the Jones'", but a matter of keeping the heat on. In this area, there are no homes for sale under $325000. To qualify for a loan for one of these homes, and these are not in desireable neighborhoods, you would need to make over $100000 per year. The large majority of jobs in this area are paying well below that. The people who would live in such neighborhoods, are generally in the $35000-$50000 salary range. Now for the crux of the issue. This means that in order to have a basic house, in a less than desireable neighborhood, you will need two average incomes. With the current abusive practices that most employers exibit, it becomes necessary for a couple to dedicate an average of 50 hours per week to their jobs. If they have decided to have a family, who takes care of the kids? And, what do they have left after working 8 hours, and commuting 2 hours? And, this is just to break even. Then add to that the fact that these $15 an hour jobs generally don't offer health coverage. So, how much is health coverage for a famiy of 4? If you are paying less than $1000 a month, you are getting a deal. It is criminal to allow investors to come in, raise housing values to an intangible level, then those same investors, also turn out to be the local employers, and refuse to pay a living wage so that the victims of this false inflation can have a standard of living.
Back to the outsourcing issue. It is pretty bad when people from "Super Power" countries are moving to "Third World" countires so that they can make a living. It is becoming common place for EU residents to move to India for work.
The frightening effect is that those who attempt to hang on and produce quality domestic products, can not compete. Finding skilled labor who will work for $8 an hour is not going to happen. It is a far more complex problem than I can solve, but as long as people tolerate the production and sales of inferior products from China or wherever, and as long as we, as a nation, continue to allow the disconnect between the haves and have nots to dictate our lives, we are screwed.
I admit I do not understand the attitude of the IPod generation. I have lived off the grid. I have managed to live off whatever I had, and yes, I have often lived beyond my means, but when all you purchase for the week is gas and groceries, and on Friday, you have to put the gas on a credit card to get to work, there is a problem. Is it really unrealistic to expect to have a roof over your head, food on your table, and the ability to go to a doctor when you are sick if you work 40 hours a week, and have a decent education? FWIW, in Northern California, if you are not making over six figures, you can forget entering the housing market. You can forget weekends at the lake. You can forget having anything in your life beyond dying at your desk. Like anything, there are work arounds, but the sacrifice is not reasonable. How can anyone reasonably expected to live their life commuting 4 hours a day, in a car that is questionably reliable at best? And, the job market does not support the cost of living in most urban areas. How does that make any sense?
Get what you pay for? You would think, but the dark side of capitalism is you do not always get what you pay for. You get what you were sold. If people had the integrity to stand behind their products, and the pride to care about the name they attached to those products, it wouldn't matter if it was from China.
I like the pile of sand analogy. Absolutely. This represents the current lack of responsibility that most manufacturers feel for the products they produce. Is the first question a company asks before launching a new product "Will it work?", or is it "What will our liability be?" I think the latter. It is a problem with society as a whole, but society is led by the actions of it's government. Since, as a result of human nature, greed will always rear it's ugly head, it is necessary for a responsible government to intervene. It is necessary for a responsible government to say "You have to pay people enough to live where they work". "You have to provide health care for these people", "Your products have to live up to your representation". Unfortunately, our current leadersip is more along the lines of "From our perspective, everyone should be able to live on $6.25 an hour", and "You have to warn people that your product might hurt them".
And, for the sake of making this boat/cruising related, Those of us who have chosen to live on a boat rather than a studio apartment in the inner city, and who hope to take off and cruise on a shoe string, are not doing so as a result of the american dream, but in spite of it.
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Old 13-01-2007, 20:10   #44
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Originally Posted by ssullivan
I ordered a meat grinder for our galley so we could grind up our own ground venison, etc... .
Sean, are you a Bambi basher? Poor little thing.

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Old 13-01-2007, 20:13   #45
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Speaking of doctors I could go on about that...............................

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