Reader Dan and a Simple Shopping Survey

This is a first post for me as a member of Angry Bear contributors. I have several posts full of pretty charts, ground breaking medical news that I believe will impact health care and environmental issues together, and more of course on WTO GATS, but decided to keep this simple and everyday. Up to this point cactus has corrected my html errors with grace and patience, but now I am responsible for the look. Score one for ownership. This one has no html quirks.

Mrs. Dan and I had to shop for a new stove. We did have one with a glass top but it cracked a few years ago, and tops carry limited warranty anyway. We looked for one of the old-fashioned kind with electric coils, and discovered that no matter where we went, big or small stores carried only ONE stove that had electric coils out of extensive inventories of glass topped stoves. Our lonely choice was half to a third the price of comparable stoves, but did not have the automatic setting to 350 degree F. with the on switch, and had a couple manual knobs instead of digital mechanisms.

The price of the model we bought was the same at two stores who carried our choice, one a national chain and the other local. We bought at the national chain because installation was ‘free’ (true for us as immediate consumers), taking away the old stove was $10, as part of the sales tax free day in MA it was offered that day with a 15% sale price reduction plus 10% off as part of an advertised regular special, and then the common 5% savings from the uncollected state sales tax for that day. If this sounds like the Fed budget discussions, do not go there.
With the $190 savings Mrs. Dan bought a couch day bed for the office (which somehow cost more than $190, but I am a child of the 21st century, so it is to be expected). I was struck by the preponderance of gadgets at twice to three times the cost in the Gilded Age of kitchens. Granite counter tops are the rage.

Over the last two years, for $40,000, we had a new shingled roof (hired), renovated the laundry room, re-painted the downstairs walls in a striking bold color scheme, new kitchen floor (hired), re-finished old oak flooring, new forced water boiler, more insulation, and re-painted the outside of the house with new fascia boards and new screens for the porch. I have two sons and a daughter who spent time from far parts of the US to provide paid labor and expertise, but I am still able to paint 35′ up a peak.

It did not dawned on me that this accomplishment could be unique to a degree and old-fashioned. Hands on is quite valuable if you can try and creates value other than buying the work, and the money lost from ‘work’ as vacation (self-employed) for me is outweighed by the value of doing and connection. Adventure vacations are fun, but I think this marks many things for family values that no adventure vacation can touch.

Score one for ownership of work, family, and values. This old progressive is glad to join the fray.

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