We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Wednesday, February 3. 2021
Today I stopped at Costco after working at the food bank. I had to buy some things, but most importantly I had to return the laundry detergent I'd purchased. Naturally, not being aware of anything besides price, I'd bought a brand I was familiar with, but for some reason was on sale at a rate considerably cheaper than Costco's house brand. Seems like a deal. Until Mrs. Bulldog said "No, return it." So today was return day.
As I stood in line, I noticed the 3 people ahead of me having their returns rejected, which I thought was odd. I've returned a few things to Costco, and it's rarely a problem especially if you have a receipt or plan to use the credit immediately (as I intended to). When I got to the desk, I was told that Governor Murphy had passed a "Hoarding Law" which meant certain items couldn't be returned because they were deemed "essential" and the government had worried in March that hoarders would purchase large amounts to gouge prices. Laundry detergent is on the list.
Now, I really have no problem with price gouging. It's part of the natural turn of events in certain crises and will usually help increase production (which eventually drives down prices) and services to the areas which are impacted by a crisis. I don't even have a problem with hoarding. I'm not likely to do either of these things, but if others want to, that's their gig, not mine. But now I'm stuck dealing with this detergent and the ire of Mrs. Bulldog, clearly an event our governor, who is obviously kindly and greatly more intelligent than everyone else in the New Jersey area, doesn't care about. Actually, I'm less concerned with the ire of Mrs. Bulldog and really was more concerned with the people I noticed who were distraught because they'd purchased things they didn't want/need and just wanted to return them.
I should be clear that my Costco isn't exactly in a really wealthy part of my county. Lots of locals, many who probably have been very adversely affected by Covid, shop here. So seeing them getting upset at the counter didn't surprise me. But it's just an annoying example of how politicians insert themselves into everyday lives and make life difficult. Sure they "mean well" - but they rarely realize they are hurting the people they are trying to help more often than not.
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Another unintended consequence of our ruling masters' superior intelligence and judgement:
“Hero pay” forces store closures in California
Kroger Co. will close two Southern California supermarkets in response to a local ordinance requiring extra pay for certain grocery employees working during the pandemic.
The decision announced by the company Monday follows a unanimous vote last month by the Long Beach City Council mandating a 120-day increase of $4 an hour for employees of supermarkets with at least 300 employees nationwide and more than 15 in Long Beach.
Kroger said it will close a Ralphs market and a Food 4 Less on April 17, the Press-Telegram reported.
The pay raise applies only to certain grocery stores and employees, leaving these stores at a competitive disadvantage with stores not required to raise salaries.
With the closures, the politicians have succeeded in killing jobs and reducing competition by giving people fewer choices for where they shop.
BTW, several more California municipalities think this is such a good idea that they are contemplating the same policy.
Once upon a time one would have wondered how this decree could pass Constitutional muster?
Imagine what our economy might do if government simply got out of the way? The resulting prosperity would be mind boggling.
Imagine what our economy might do if government simply got out of the way?
Why imagine? review 2017-2019.
I only feel sorry for those in line who did not vote for that governor, not the ones that did......
I starting working for Costco in 1987 when we had only about 30 warehouses.
Costco was and is a very liberal organization, both employee and customer centric. That has changed a somewhat over the last three decades, but not much.
Costco, to its credit, does liberalism right, sans the political correct nonsense. It takes care of all levels as fairly as possible in a for profit organization. Fair pay, fair benefits for all, controls on CEO pay on down. They are about as quasi social-capitalist as can be.
I remember Jim Senegal coming to the Miami Lakes warehouse personally to see a manager who was very ill and not getting care on the HMO. He took the guy off the med plan and had the company picked up all the costs. Of course, we were a fraction of the size then. I am not sure that would be repeated today, and guys like Jim are slowly getting squeezed out by the new $first crowd.
If all of corporate America were operated like COST the nation would be in a far different place today I dare say, and I am about as far from a liberal as you can get......
There are two kinds of "liberal"
1. Progressives, who feel "liberal" thought should be forcefully engaged through law or social change (of various types).
2. True Liberals - or Classical Liberals - who feel change happens naturally, and is voluntary, and can be done 'the right way' (whatever that may be).
I'm a Classical Liberal. That is, I believe in markets, free exchange, limited government. I believe Costco is probably closer to that than the Progressive standpoint.
There is another aspect, which has to do with race and minorities, which really doesn't fall into either category, though. In other words, using your 'power of business' to generate change. Hiring minorities, for example. Well, that's happening, and that's a good thing. And it's a positive step forward on many levels.
Where it tends to fall apart is when the Progressive view becomes "If you agree that these are positive things, let's enshrine them in law." Well, you lost me there. Positive things happen because positive people make positive steps forward. Enshrining things like that in law tends to piss people off and create division.
My recommendation: take it to some large public water fountain amongst the state office buildings and dump it in. If the state government wants it kept, they can keep it.
I recollect one time, many decades ago, when the Daily Californian distributed free shampoo samples with the daily paper. Some advertiser's bright idea.
The fountain in Sproul Plaza on the UC Berzerkley campus was quite bubbly.
In 1973 I took a business class taught by a man who had been an executive for the company that Costco bought and turned it into present day Costco. He made so much money from the sale that he retired and taught college business classes just for his own enjoyment.
One of the things I learned from him is that original company sold 75% of their inventory in Oct-Nov-Dec because of Christmas shopping. Consequently the value of the stock would dip considerably after Christmas and into Summer. So every year he bought stock in the Summer at it's low and sold it in December at it's high.
During "The Great Toilet Paper Drought" of early 2020, Costco couldn't keep toilet tissue on the shelves. Costco knew that at some point, demand would fall back to normal. They did not want to be inundated by returned toilet paper, so they put up signs that it could not be returned.
That is the basis of this law.
But there's a big difference between a business protecting its interests and saying that if you're buying insane amounts of something you can't return it, and a law which prevents you from returning one jug of laundry detergent, a bottle of shampoo, or some other small item.
A company has the right to reject a return. The government doesn't have a right to tell companies what they can and can't take back.
If they did, then they have the right to tell you what to buy, too. Which they can't. I know, I know someone will say "insurance". Well, I won't go into the details of how auto insurance actually makes some sense and probably represents the exception that proves the rule. The ACA, on the other hand, was defined as a tax to avoid that whole problem.
Up here in Canada, restrictions came down in December as to how many persons could foregather for Christmas. As in essentially none unless actually living in the house. My solution was that we and all our offsprings should organize to shop at Costco at the same time - I called it the Costco Christmas. Mentioned it to our doctor (phone visit) and he refined it by suggesting we all meet in the toy aisle. Didn't happen, but should have - at least it would have been legal.
They don't mean well . They mean to control you : well .