Saturday, October 31, 2009

Swine, Whine and Buyin'

This week has brought with it a whole passel of things I don't understand.

1) H1N1

With very few exceptions (stand up and take a bow, Sault Ste. Marie and Brantford!), our government has thoroughly botched the rollout of the H1N1 vaccine. Those two cities had a phone line and website already in place for the seasonal flu shot, which you got by appointment only. It worked wonders this time around, and it made me wonder why everyone else is so far behind. For that matter, why isn't there a database with everybody's health record in it? They could maybe call it something like eHealth Onta...wait a minute...there is such an organization, but it's a giant money laundromat...*sigh*
Anyway, if you aren't lucky enough to live in Brantford or the Soo, you're stuck waiting in endless lines at clinics with extremely limited hours. The way I figure it, you're more likely to catch H1N1 at these shindigs than get vaccinated against it.
And so no, I haven't got my shot. I have every intention of getting the damned thing, despite all the websites telling me it will make me sick/subvert my mind to Big Government/turn my scrotum green/what have you. (Memo to Bill Maher, and I say this with no due respect: I hope you get H1N1 and die.)

Okay, I don't really mean that. From what I've heard, this flu might not kill you, but it'll make you wish you were dead...and I wouldn't wish that on anyone, whether it be my wife or some nitwit with a TV show that people, regrettably, take seriously. I'd like to think Maher's viewers might detect some kind of agenda in his asininity and go researching for themselves...then I think of all the misinformation scattered hither and yon all over the Web and shudder.

2) Hallowe'en

Every year there are fewer and fewer kids trick-or-treating. It's to the point now where it's not even worth buying the candy: most of it will go to waste.

This shouldn't surprise me the way it does. I mean, in an age when you can't even let your little darling walk to school on his own, why would you send him out in the dark? Still, what a huge change from All Hallow's Eve say, 30 years ago, when kids roamed the streets in packs, bringing home Hefty Bags full of swag. (My candy would last months; the chocolate bars would be gone within a day.)

At the same time, Hallowe'en seems to have become an adult holiday while my back was turned. People are now playing dress-up into their thirties and beyond.
Like every other holiday on the calendar, Hallowe'en has become a commercial parody of itself. You can easily blow a hundred bucks or more on a costume you'll wear all of once, and where once we had a simple jack o'lantern, now we've got skeletons hanging from trees, the undead rising from electronic coffins, and such like. What's the October equivalent of bah, humbug! anyway?

3) THE HUGE $1.00 SALE

(or, to put it more boldly,
Click on the photo to be blown away.

This is easily the hottest flyer, front to back, that we've run in at least a year, perhaps two. It couldn't come soon enough. The last six months or so have seen weak ad after weak ad, with maybe one or two items worth buying and the rest just filler. Our competition has been stuck in the same sort of rut. My guess is that everybody's been trying to ride out the recession without losing too much margin on their sale items (every sale worthy of the name is a loss leader)...but the end result is few customers, and those we do get cherry-pick us to death. It's worse in this city. We've got Zehrs, the Real Canadian Superstore, Sobeys, Foodland, No Frills, Price Chopper, Food Basics, and even (wow) a Wal-Mart Supercenter, all within a half hour of our house. Add in a couple of independents and it's easy to see how you can do your weekly grocery shop each week getting everything on sale. Great for the consumer: hell for the retailer.
So this week, kaboom, hot ad. Not pictured on the front page are Danactive 4-packs for $1 (save $2.29).
I booked 3600 units for this and my rep was concerned I had too much. Actually, so was I. After all, this is drinkable yogurt we're talking about here...something that routinely goes out of code sitting on my shelf.

Not this time. This time it just walked out of the store.

I'd forgotten about the chocolate milk paradox. See, when chocolate milk is not on sale, we sell about 50 units a week. When it's in the flyer at 97 cents, we sell 50 units every half hour.
This to me makes no sense. I've said it often enough: if you don't normally buy something, no matter how cheap it is, IT ISN'T A DEAL. And yes, I'll make allowances for people buying the chocolate milk "for a treat"...but they buy sixteen of them. Seriously. NOBODY (except me) buys just one chocolate milk when it's on sale.
Back to the Danactive. Now this is even odder than chocolate milk, because before this stuff went on sale there was next to no demand whatsoever on it. In fact, it was selling just above the threshold I set for discontinuing an item. Now, just because it's a dollar instead of $3.29, it's the must-have item of the year.
It all came clear as I began to hear from literally dozens of people that they were buying this to fight against H1N1 infection. So I guess I'm no better than the government, because damn it all, I'm out of vaccine too.

I'm off for some much needed rest. Happy Hallowe'en, everyone, and don't let the flu bugs bite.


Rocketstar said...

Bill Maher, I love Bill but he is soooo wrong here and it's dissappointing as he is a promoter of science and critical thinking but in this light he for some reason has gone wayward. I think it's his anti-gov/organic/vegetarian type mentality that is throwing him off. Taking the vaccine is a shout out to your confidence in science, this vaccine is made exactly how all of the other MILLIONS of flu vaccines have been made.

This H1N1 is starting to scare me a bit especially with two little kids. Last week 24 kids died.

Halloween, less kids has been our experience the last couple of years until this year, hords of kids but still not to the numbers like when we were kids.

Happy Halloween hombre.

Anonymous said...

Point 2:) I think it matters how many young-uns are in the neighbourhood. Over here where the average age seems to be under twelve, our streets were packed.

Point 3:) We only buy the drinkable yogurt when its on sale. Its just not worth it otherwise, especially when compared to regular yogurt. Use a spoon and save some money. Until it goes on sale, it stays on the shelf.

Now as to overbuying items on sale, yeah I scratch my head on that one too. Not everything can be stored in the freezer!