Category Archives: Freethought

Random Thoughts Because I Miss Writing But Can’t Manage a Full Post

I miss writing on this blog, but I find every time I start to read about topics I’d like to post on I get angry. And then I quit. Who likes to be angry? Not me, I assure you. Instead of a full length post, I’m just going to throw a few things out there:

1. Not wanting to be pregnant is not a reason to not have sex. That’s ridiculous. Sex can be wonderful, and can generally be considered a healthy part of life including when there are no procreative intentions. This goes doubly for straight cis men who say women shouldn’t have sex if they don’t want to get pregnant. I don’t like to be all, “you don’t get an opinion,” but you cannot possibly understand what it means when you say that.

2. A human growing inside a uterus is not a baby. It isn’t. It’s an embryo and then a fetus (at one point it’s a zygote, but we’re not usually aware of it at that time).¬†

3. Try to become more aware of your own privileges. I’m not saying put yourself on a scale of privilege, but when you start to respond to someone’s story with, “Well I…” stop. Think. Are you trying to negate their experiences with your own? What might differ between you two? Are you adding to the discussion or are you simply trying to overwrite it?¬†

4. Today I volunteered at a women and children’s shelter for people in abusive relationships. The women I met there are amazingly strong. I feel lucky to have been able to spend 2 hours with them, and I hope my time there did something positive, even if it was just to give someone a chance to talk about whatever they wanted.

5. I am damn lucky that if I ever need to, I can stay with my mom. And if I ever need it, I have many people I can borrow $ from.

Apparently breaking a bone has something to do with preventive or primary care… or not.

However you feel about the ACA, arguments like this are not doing supporters any favors:

healthcare

You cannot ask a 20-something, “What happens if you break your leg?” Hear her response of, “I intend to take personal responsibility for that.” Start in on the emergency-rooms-must-treat laws, then throw out, “The. . . ACA is designed to reduce that most expensive kind of treatment by incentivizing primary and preventive care, because emergency room bills add up fast, and certainly not all of those charges incurred . . . would or could be paid.”

True: ERs cannot refuse you because you are uninsured or cannot pay.

True: The young person that breaks their leg may not be able to pay their bills out of pocket.

False: Primary and/or preventive care has something to do with this example.

False: The ACA will somehow reduce “that most expensive kind of treatment” when someone suddenly breaks a bone.

The emergency room thing is true, and had the journalist presented the idea that paying for insurance will prevent unpaid bills from effectively being foisted on taxpayers outright, that’d be fine. Instead, we are introduced with, “ERs cannot refuse care” and led into incentivizing primary and preventive care… Sorry, is there a vaccine to prevent us from breaking bones? Because if so, I’d like that, please.

The only way this works is if we’re not talking about “young invincibles” and are instead talking about the elderly population prone to osteoporosis.

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JCP Customers Choose to Pay More Money for the Same Products

I am not much of a shopper, but when JC Penney announced a one low price model I was intrigued. I started to enjoy shopping at JCP because I knew that, unlike at the majority of other similar stores, I would get the best price (not including clearance pricing) on that item possible no matter when I made my purchase.

Never would I make a purchase and then discover the next day that it went on sale for 40% off *cough*Kohl’s*cough*. Never would I feel pressured to make a purchase because there is a chance it’s at its lowest-ever price. Never would I have to feel annoyed at the mind games they play with shoppers with coupons, sales, doorbusters, and the like.

Unfortunately, it would seem that most American consumers like to have the wool pulled over their eyes. They prefer to feel like they are getting a good deal over actually getting a good deal. The most recent evidence of this is JCP’s rational pricing disaster. Long time customers expressed anger that they no longer got special slips of paper to carry in to the store to get “low” prices. Scandal!

JCP fired Ron Johnson, the person behind the one low price model, and has returned to inflating prices so they can make it look as if they’re charging you less (when really they are charging more – got that?).

Maybe the advertising strategy failed to reach the right people, or maybe too many American consumers like being tricked into paying more while feeling like they’re paying less. Regardless of the why, I’d like to show you the what. You may not realize this, but by demanding the situation of price discrimination and fluctuation that comes with sales and coupons, JCP shoppers effectively raised the price they will pay.

Case in point: American Living dress.

I needed a dress for a wedding. I saw an American Living dress that I liked, and purchased two in two colors. One is the clearance version – from last season and in blue. The other is the full priced version – this season and eggplant/purple although a blue was available. The dresses are nearly identical.

I’m showing you the blue dress for contrast, but the eggplant dress illustrates the pay-more-while-pretending-we-pay-less phenomenon all on its own thanks to a handy little thing called a sticker.

Blue Dress:

Original Price: $55  Clearance Price: $26.99

Eggplant Dress:

Original Price: See photos below. Bought on sale at price: $59.99

This is a photo of the eggplant dress price tag.

Eggplant Price tag - at first glance

If you look closely, though, that $80 is a sticker. So what’s underneath?

Eggplant price tag MSRP

Cross out with black marker all you want, JCP, we can see what’s going on with a little brightness and contrast adjustment on the photo. That’s an $80 price sticker on top of a $55 MSRP.

Want to see the blue dress sticker? No tricks and games here:

blue price tag

Okay, so what did I pay for that eggplant dress?

Receipt

I paid $59.99 during a 25% off sale. I paid more for that eggplant dress than the $55 MSRP. That’s what coupons and sales do. Stores can’t count on a set amount of revenue from the items they sell, so they end up charging you more. By refusing to bask in the luxury of knowing the price of an item, JCP shoppers complained their way into higher prices.

Yes, this is one example, and yes, I haven’t proven statistically that this is what happens. I admit those weaknesses, but do you really doubt the truth of what I’m saying? The only way a place like Kohl’s can offer the same shirt for a range of prices between $6 and $12 is if their “sale” price is actually close to where they want their profit margin to sit.

If you’re wondering, I plan on returning the eggplant dress (keeping the blue) and closing my JCP account.

In case you want to see the dresses:

Eggplant American Living DressBlue American Living Dress

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How Many Times has the World Ended?

I have a pretty cool graphic to share with you from OnlinePsychologyDegree.net. I know that URL might make you a bit skeptical, but it’s worth seeing. It’s pretty cool.

As you know I scoff at all the end-times predictions out there, mostly because they are always based on very silly ideas. This graphic makes it abundantly clear I’m right to feel that way. Fool me once and all that. I do have to say I’d be interested to hear just how many times in Western history the end of the world has been widely predicted and believed.

Please Include Attribution to OnlinePsychologyDegree.net With This GraphicEnd of the World Infographic

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