Sunday, October 3, 2010

Home (in)security

When it comes to home security - GET A BIG FUCKING DOG!

A big intimidating dog. It doesn't need to be aggressive, just needs to bark loud at people wanting to jump your fence.

If you are going away for a while

1. have your neighbor or a friend park their car in your driveway (not garage) every so often.
2. Go to the hardware store and buy timers to put on your lamps so they turn on and off at intervals.
3. Get someone to retrieve your mail (thats a big one).
4. If your going for a LONG time, get someone to mow your lawn.

I worked in the security industry for over 10 years. There is typically a 500% markup on all electronic devices. They are ALL flawed and will either not work properly or be crazy senesitive. Technicians are extremely lazy and expensive, they cost the company roughly $30p/h and you will be charged about $75-80 p/h. As an example - For a monitored security system - you will pay somewhere between $1500-$6000. The actual cost to the company is about $300 (incl installation time charged by tech). Monitoring will cost $300-400 a year. The cost to the company is $25. And after all of this, the alarm will activate like crazy for false alarms (bugs, heat, cold etc) which creates extra charges on your home phone bill and insane charges for having to get a patrol car to respond. The police more than often will not respond to an alarm activation. I had the rare case that they said they would respond to a priority 1 duress alarm, and called back 6 HOURS LATER asking for the address because they lost it and were going to check it out.a

Security systems are NOT preventative measures. The do nothing other than alert you to the fact you have been robbed, at which point, you are helpless. It is an absolute criminal industry, and yes I couldn't take trying to do the right thing in that environment so I left.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

At 2 Grand a pop, Apple's doing alright.

I have read that if you want to buy anything expensive from Apple on their website you can save 15-20% . Log in/create an account, go customize whatever it is you want, then go to checkout, but do not buy it. Do nothing. Just close the window and do nothing else on their site for about 7-10 days. You should then get a call from Apple offering a deal if you buy then and there. I am currently waiting for my call from Apple to see if this works. If not, I will remove this post because I have no time for hearsay.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Or Just Never Rent A Car... That's Even Better!

Anytime you rent a car, look out for the gas trick. Typically, the policy is that all rentals come ready with a full tank of gas. If the car happened to not be full (lazy employees/busy day), the employee would just say "so, the meter's at 3/4 tank, just bring it back at the same." This sucks for the driver, because you can't really estimate distance against the meter level, so you'll likely come back with too much gas, which they keep. Or, you come in under, which they charge you ridiculous rates to refill. Or, you drive around the block wasting gas and time to spite them 'cause your meter's too high. Lesson: always request them to fill up the tank and just wait a few minutes.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

My anniversary is coming up...

I have been informed by an employee at Bath and Body Works that they will take back anything... even if it's been used... even if its practically gone. You'll at least get store credit. If you manage to keep the receipt, you might even get your money back. All you have to say is it started to bother your skin. Imply that you think you're allergic to it or something, then it's a done deal, they're not allowed to say no.

Also, there are always $10 off 30 coupons sales associates can use, if you don't have one all you have to do is go in, fill up your bag with $30 worth of stuff, go to someone and say you had completed a survey you thought there was a coupon but you forgot it...if they say no, say oh well and put the stuff down, they will almost always say oh okay I can give it to you this once. They don't want to lose a sale, the CSL's have to make certain numbers and when its lotions you are selling every dollar counts.

Free Bottle of Water

Convenience charges are everywhere nowadays. I bought a $3 bottle of water at the DFW airport in Dallas a few weeks ago. I still feel like a chump when I think about it.

If you're at a rave, festival, or a concert or something and don't feel like paying $5-$20 for a bottle of water, which is how they make the majority of their income, tell a member of the staff (preferably an organizer [they shuffle around a lot and talk on walkie talkies]) that you were given some kind of pill and now you're feeling dehydrated. The last thing any place wants is a hospital run and any possible resulting lawsuit. If you get the right kind of person, they might even lift a couple of bottles for you. There are a lot of shady people out there so why not (sorta) profit off of the known existence of the scum that can be found in crowded public locations? 

(No) Smoking Allowed

In my travels, I have discovered that depending where you are, smoking rooms cost more or less than other-wise identical non-smoking rooms. Hotel workers have said online that their hotels sometimes remove the ashtrays from rooms and stick an Air-Zone in there. This makes it "non-smoking". So if the smoke doesn't really bother you that much, just go for the cheaper of the two... because if you're in a not-so-reputable hotel, all the rooms are probably smoking or non-smoking depending on who is asking anyway.

Buying A Car

I'm always amazed at how easy it is to get a rock bottom price on a car, especially new.

Once you've chosen the car you want, go inside the building and let the salesman show you his offer. Tell them you're going to go to another dealership (preferably the same size or bigger) and see if you can get a better offer. The next price you get will likely be unbeatable. Follow through anyway just to be safe.

With used cars, you will want to find two nearly identical cars at different dealerships. Follow the process above, though you might have to go back and forth a few times.

If you don't give your last name or phone number, they'll feel extra compelled to give you a reason to come back. Dealerships would rather have you be their customer than someone else's, no matter how little they make on the deal. Also, you'll be better off doing business in person. All in all, this should only take a day.

Free Air

To get free air (for your tires) at Shell gas stations, press the button on the side of the pump three times. The pump will start without you having to insert any coins. I assume this is the only benifit when working at Shell stations...who needs dental when you never have to worry about your tires being low! Plus with how much you're paying for gas, the air should be free. Sorry for the southern social observation comedy there.