Monday, November 10, 2008

More on the glamorous life of the self-employed

You know, I'd feel better about my taxes being used to bail out businesses that were "too big to fail" if my own weren't too small to succeed.

And I sure am glad that our beloved leaders in Congress now think a healthy auto industry is vital to the recovery of the American economy. I'd have liked to been at the meeting where they worked it all out... I'd really have liked to seen the parking lot to in order to count the BMW's and Mercedes and Toyota Priuses and Lexuses (the Japanese apparently don't encourage "Lexi" as a plural) parked there.

In fairness, it must be noted that Mr. Obama owns a Ford Escape Hybrid SUV. I would be curious to know whether the family owns any other cars: Mr. Obama would hardly be the first politician, Republican or Democrat, to own an American car for campaign appearances... and a foreign car for everything else. Still, the fact that he owns an American car is an important symbol. (I doubt many of his Hyde Park neighbors own an American car.)

Here's an idea for a new slogan: Buy American... or bye-bye America.

I'm not talking about protectionism. I'm talking about American consumers waking up to what's best for them in the long run.

I had plenty of time to think all of these things through this morning as I set up for the new week. I was in on Saturday for awhile and decided to be "green" and turn the computer off when I left. That meant 15 or 20 minutes waiting for it to boot this morning.... When it finally did boot, the printer announced that it was out of black ink. That shot another 10 minutes.

Time required to put the ink cartridge in the printer: Two seconds. The other 9:58 was taken up in trying to break through the heavy, oversized plastic and cardboard tomb in which the print cartridge is encased. No wonder these things cost $30 or more a pop: The packaging alone must cost $25.


Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

curmy call washington and ask for a bailout. seems like everyone can do it now! tell them you need only two billion and they can slip that through the cracks...

i swear if we bail out these unions i will scream loud enough for you to hear me there!

smiles, bee

Rob said...

I'm all for buying American - or more specifically, for not buying Chinese-made merchandise - but the real problem is in knowing what exactly is "made in America?"

For example, is seems that most of the U.S. automakers' products come from elsewhere, and yet my Honda was made in Liberty, Ohio. Certainly, I understand that the suits behind the robots & assembly-line workers count too, but it can be pretty difficult to "buy American" these days even when you really make a concerted effort to do so.

And then there's the issue of the superior design of many of the foreign automakers... I'm confident that the only reason GM & Ford have finally dipped a tentative toe into the hybrid & alternative fuel tangents is that their Big Oil puppetmasters felt that doing so would give them the perception of being caring & responsible companies. Their handiwork seems like proof enough that their hearts aren't really into it.

Jeni said...

The things that Rob pointed out about the auto industry is a challenge for sure to figure out where a car was manaufactured -with respect to the American made (supposedly) models. But then too, you have the lower incomes classes who can't possibly afford to purchase an American-made unit if they want a new car. That happens all too often -and along with that, sometimes the quality of vehicles from other countries is even a tad better as well. Hate to toss that into the mix but well, sometimes ya know, truth hurts too.
But the printer ink -packaging, costs for that stuff -you never get an argument out of me on your point there! Outrageous! And then, they give you the little bags to pack up the used cartridge in it, to send it back to them to refill it so as to save money. WOW! Wonder what those cartridges would cost if we weren't doing out part there to cut costs, huh?

Dave said...

The boot time is hyperbole right? If not, you need a serious defrag, unused program purge, email compaction, etc. etc. Impressed with the unwrapping time though.

sari said...

Try getting a toy out of a package nowadays. That is true agony.

Rob said...

Jeez, no kidding Sari! Those insidious little wire ties & plastic contraptions are hell on a new Dad's fingers. I finally wised up and started keeping a pair of wire cutters in the kitchen drawer just for toy packaging. Makes you wonder if these silly companies aren't spending just as much on anti-theft efforts as the toys themselves cost! Makes me really appreciate's new frustration-free packaging efforts...

Of course, with nearly all toys, we're right back to that problem of "Made in China." Argh!

Patti said...

Hi Curm,
I hear you on the packaging. It's hard enough for me to do, imagine having a disability and trying to get something like a cartridge out of its package.

(I'm referring to Ralph)

Mother Jones RN said...

I really like that new motto. It's catchy. It's also very accurate. I just wish that American automakers would stop spending so much time looking for handouts, and start using that time to develop better products for the U.S. market.