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Obsessed with value?
Old 12-02-2004, 01:02 PM   #1
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Obsessed with value?

Have you seen those lines that form at stores when they have some big sale going on? * People waiting for hours, traveling great distances, and jumping through hoops to get 75% off something they don't really need?

I always thought I was above that until Dell lured me with a couple of computer bargains recently. * I took pride in not having upgraded my computers in a couple of years (I used to upgrade every six months or so). * My old computers were perfectly functional in every way, except one -- they couldn't play the latest games.

I don't even like playing computer games, and I haven't played one in 8 years or so. * But I found the need to upgrade very compelling -- I wanted the option to play these stupid games even if I had no need.

And then came Dell. * Offering coupons and their refurbished outlet. * *I found last year's desktop model in their outlet equipped with a powerful graphics card and a kick-butt CPU. * Only $300. * Would have cost me at least $800 at a computer store. * Sold! * $300 gone, but my itch finally satisfied.

And then I found some more Dell coupons. * $750 off any $1500 laptop. * I've got a bunch of laptops, all perfectly good for how I use them, but hey, I could play the latest games on these new laptops, and I've never seem them this cheap before. * Sold!

Oh, look, another coupon. * I guess I should get a new laptop for my wife too. * Sold!

And so it went for a week or two. * A few grand later, I had three new laptops, a new desktop, two new laser printers, a photo printer, and a few other gadgets to boot. * All for about 50% of what I thought was fair market value. * Some of them justified by ideas of either selling them on eBay or by selling my old gadgets to offset their price, making them effectively free.

In short, I went temporarily insane. *

And I know it's not just me. * I see thriving sites with 100,000's of members who are just as compulsive about finding value.

If these things were readily available at the prices I paid, I wouldn't be the least bit interested. * It's the idea that I bought low with the opportunity to get out even or better that compelled me to purchase. * And I'm really impressed by the sales and marketing tactics used by Dell -- they feed off this bargain hunting impulse by artificially raising their list prices and giving you the opportunity to game their system in an effort to find/create the best bargain you can.

Why am I telling you this? * Mostly as a cathartic act, to purge this compulsion from my system. * But also because I think a lot of us hit ER through a compulsion for value, and I thought it'd be nice to share the dark side *
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Re: Obsessed with value?
Old 12-02-2004, 02:33 PM   #2
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Re: Obsessed with value?

Rock, most "collectors" I know have gone further overboard than mere bargain hunters. There's a lot that can be fun about collecting -- the hunt, the research, the bargains, the appreciation, etc. But unless you're really preserving important artifacts for posterity, I think collecting is feeding neurotic tendencies.

I could give you some horor stories about people I know who collect LARGE objects.... Even books can get nuts, but we all have our weaknesses.

I'm leaning towards catch-and-release collecting. All the fun of an archaeological dig, but without the museum to store stuff.
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Re: Obsessed with value?
Old 12-02-2004, 02:39 PM   #3
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Re: Obsessed with value?

I have the same desire in terms of upgrading my computer. Laugh all you want, but I'm using a 6-year old computer at home (Pentium II 350 Mhz) to do word processing, spreadsheets, and even surfing the web (on dial up). It works just fine, and so I haven't found the need to upgrade it (except for adding more ram).

Now I'm in the market for a lightweight notebook, simply because I'm really never home. I'd like to be able to jot my thoughts down quickly, or work on side projects while I'm waiting in line somewhere. A sophisticated PDA with a large screen might satisfy my needs, but I'd probably need a new desktop with which to synchronize the PDA and to upload programs to it.

Any thoughts? And Wab, if you wouldn't mind, could you post the link to the page where you find these refurbished Dell deals? I wouldn't mind perusing them.
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Re: Obsessed with value?
Old 12-02-2004, 02:51 PM   #4
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Re: Obsessed with value?

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Now I'm in the market for a lightweight notebook, simply because I'm really never home. *I'd like to be able to jot my thoughts down quickly, or work on side projects while I'm waiting in line somewhere.
I'm pretty impressed by the Dell Inspiron 700m. * About 4lbs, very vibrant display, and I nabbed mine for around $700.

Quote:
And Wab, if you wouldn't mind, could you post the link to the page where you find these refurbished Dell deals? *I wouldn't mind perusing them.
I feel like a drug pusher, but I guess it's better than being a user....

Go here:
http://www1.us.dell.com/content/defa...n&s=dfh&~ck=bt

Select the configuration you want using their search tool, and then start refreshing at exactly 40 minutes past the hour. * *There's a lot of competition for this stuff, including many who resell the stuff on eBay, so you have to develop a feel for how Dell peppers their inventory with bargains and how to be the first to nab it. * It's an art. * Dell has funky tiered discounts and coupons that will stretch your math skills.

Once you find a config you like, check the coupon sites (fatwallet.com, techbargains.com, etc) for discounts. * Today's deals aren't that great, but there may be better coupons tomorrow, and Dell often offers additional discounts on the weekends (see what I mean about "art?").
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Re: Obsessed with value?
Old 12-02-2004, 05:17 PM   #5
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Re: Obsessed with value?

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I'm pretty impressed by the Dell Inspiron 700m. About 4lbs, very vibrant display, and I nabbed mine for around $700.
Now that's an impressive deal. I'd love to pick one up for that price, but I'm sure it will take a couple of weeks of watching and waiting to pick one up.
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Re: Obsessed with value?
Old 12-02-2004, 06:00 PM   #6
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Re: Obsessed with value?

Quote:
I'd love to pick one up for that price, but I'm sure it will take a couple of weeks of watching and waiting to pick one up.
I should have posted my confessional a couple of days earlier. I recently canceled an order for one at $640 (still going through withdrawl ).

I just played the Dell game to see what they had a few minutes ago, and the cheapest I could find was $884. Not bad, but you can certainly do better if you're patient and slightly obsessive.

These are typically brand new systems, BTW. They call them refurbs, but most of the time they are simply canceled orders -- never opened.

Is it just me, or do you hear the siren song on the BargainMaidens?
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Re: Obsessed with value?
Old 12-02-2004, 10:34 PM   #7
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Re: Obsessed with value?

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That cup of coffee cost me $2500. :)
Speaking as the provider for a 12-year-old whose sole reason for marriage is so that her spouse is available to care for her pets... what the heck kind of wedding budget can come in UNDER by $2500?!?

I feel like Steve Martin in "Father of the Bride". Oh, well, back to the retirement budget spreadsheet.
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Re: Obsessed with value?
Old 12-03-2004, 02:45 AM   #8
 
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Re: Obsessed with value?

Warning : Some of this may be off topic.

First, in our house we have 4 TVs, all bought used or
as floor samples. Total investment about $100.
We have one VCR (a gift) and no DVD player. Our computer is
pretty up-to-date, cost was $399 for the complete
sytem after rebates. I am not a "techie". Just cancelled
my cell phone, no cable and no dish network, etc.

As far as acquiring "stuff", I love a bargain, but I almost
never buy unless I think I can sell and make money,
even on those items I intend to keep. This is hardwired
into my brain and annoys my wife as she buys a lot on emotion (women!). It's her money, but this tends to clutter up the house. If she does sell, she does not always
maximize her pricing/profits. It bugs me because I'm
thinking finances 24/7 and she hardly gives it a second
thought. True love can overcome all of this stuff.
Anyway, hoping to train her at some point

John Galt
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Re: Obsessed with value?
Old 12-03-2004, 06:59 AM   #9
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Re: Obsessed with value?

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what the heck kind of wedding budget can come in UNDER by $2500?!?
Earlier this year my wife and I got married, just the two of us at DisneyWorld. *Entire package ran about $3000 and that included the honeymoon. *She didn't want a big wedding and saw no reason to blow money on it. *I love that woman! * *
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Re: Obsessed with value?
Old 12-03-2004, 07:01 AM   #10
 
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Re: Obsessed with value?

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Speaking as the provider for a 12-year-old whose sole reason for marriage is so that her spouse is available to care for her pets... what the heck kind of wedding budget can come in UNDER by $2500?!?
Nords,

The wedding was $17.5K - I told her $20K was the limit (budget) and anything she didn't spend, she could have in cash. (An incentive so to speak) - That's how she remembers it. So I owed her $2500
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Re: Obsessed with value?
Old 12-03-2004, 07:31 AM   #11
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Re: Obsessed with value?

Sticking with the marriage thing for just a minute...

DH and I got married for the grand sum of... get this... $46.00. We were married in a civil ceremony before a judge in Colorado. Fee breakdown: $20 for the license, $20 gratuity to His Honor, and $6 for two certified copies of the marriage certificate. The rings were free, as I got his mom's, and he got my dad's.

The reception (held at our house a month later) cost less than $300, and people said it was the best they'd ever been to.

Back to the topic of value...

I've decided that the best value for me is getting exactly what I want at a reasonable price.

I'm still in a full-time job (about 5 years out from ER), and taking hours and hours to research every purchase over $100 or so doesn't make sense.

On the other hand, my wants have diminished so much over time that I think I'm still saving money.
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Re: Obsessed with value?
Old 12-03-2004, 09:05 AM   #12
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Re: Obsessed with value?

Sorry Wab, have to comment on wedding cost. I am aiming to keep it under 10K. Small (100 people) and not extravagant. We are renting a hall from our community centre and get a caterer to provide a simple 3 course dinner. We are buying our own booze and hired a family friend's kid to tend the bar (don't worry he is 24). One of my aunts is baking a small wedding cake (she used to be a chef) as a gift.

In contrast with my bro who is also getting married this month, his wedding affair is a 300 people, $85/plate. My parents will help but not much. The bride's parents will help but not much. The latest I heard that he and his bride are taking LOC to pay for it.

Jane
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Re: Obsessed with value?
Old 12-03-2004, 09:44 AM   #13
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Re: Obsessed with value?

Quote:
Sorry Wab, have to comment on wedding cost.
Jane, there are two things that really cause my value-obsessed molecules to vibrate violently: paying for large pompous parties, and paying for expensive jewelry, especially diamonds.

These are the two things in which marketing campaigns have become deeply embedded into our social fabric. Females are indoctrinated from a very early age to buy into this stuff. I know it's a battle I will never win, so I simply grit my teeth and pay the bills for these two items. Smiling the whole time, of course.

And in case it's not common knowledge, when two white people get married, the bride's parents tradtionally pay. When two asians get married, the groom's parents tradtionally pay. When a white guy marries an asian, there is no tradition, so the white guy pays.

I spent about $20K, and I still haven't stopped buying diamonds.
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Re: Obsessed with value?
Old 12-03-2004, 10:04 AM   #14
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Re: Obsessed with value?

Quote:
...his wedding affair is a 300 people, $85/plate.
$85/plate!!!!!!!! *eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek. *

Please let me have boys.... PLEASE!!!!!

Shouldn't surprise me, though, I guess. *We had friends get hitched in Chicago, and I think the reception had to be a MINIMUM 40k or the place wouldn't host it. *

The Mrs. and I got married five years ago (tomorrow is our anniversary), and I don't think the whole shebang (church, reception, dress, bling-bling, yadda yadda) cost much over 6k. *Thank heavens for small-town Iowa. *We had around 200+ folks at our shin-dig.
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Re: Obsessed with value?
Old 12-03-2004, 10:11 AM   #15
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Re: Obsessed with value?

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And in case it's not common knowledge, when two white people get married, the bride's parents tradtionally pay. * When two asians get married, the groom's parents tradtionally pay. * *When a white guy marries an asian, there is no tradition, so the white guy pays.

I spent about $20K, and I still haven't stopped buying diamonds.
Ah Wab dude I feel for you...it is a cruel world out there You can trade horror stories with my brother. At first his bride's parents (Chinese of course) insisted the he (and my parents) paid for the whole thing. Not just pay for the wedding, the bride's parents also insisted a certain sum of dowry to be given to them. They said it's tradition. My parents were adamant and said "We are not going to give any dowry and if we are to pay for the whole thing, then we are going to choose a cheaper hall".

It was a circus back and forth and finally it was decided that we would go with the hall that bride's parents picked (expensive!), both parents would contribute and the young couple would cover the rest.

Rest assure that eventhough my fiance is white, he is not paying for the wedding himself. We (him and I) are paying for it. At first we weren't even going to buy a diamond ring (all I want is a nice, simple white gold wedding band) but my mom gave me one of her diamonds...(I don't even wear it for fear of losing it)

But that said I know lots of women who loves jewelry so I can't give you any words of comfort). Good luck to all the men out there - not sure how you can get out of this one.

Jane
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Re: Obsessed with value?
Old 12-03-2004, 10:28 AM   #16
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Re: Obsessed with value?

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And in case it's not common knowledge, when two white people get married, the bride's parents tradtionally pay.
The interplay of "traditions" can cause a lot of amusing stories. *A good friend of mine from grad school days is originally from mainland China where a lot of the Chinese traditions have been left behind. *However his wife is from Taiwan where they still keep the traditions.

A common thing as part of the Chinese wedding tradition is that the groom and his family must go and get the bride from her family. *So, even though his wife (fiancée at the time) and her parents were staying with his parents they got a hotel room the night before the wedding so he could go and "collect" her. *I think this is a carryover from the old days where brides would often come from the "next" village and be brought by the groom's family.

So, on the day of the wedding he goes to the hotel to pick up his bride and knocks on the door. *She asks with the door closed "Who is it?". *My friend getting annoyed with all this "tradition stuff" says, "Who do you think it is?" *This went on for a bit until he finally said, "It's me XXX. *Were you expecting someone else?" *I had to work hard to keep from bursting out in laughter.

Another wedding tradition (Chinese but also Japanese) is that everybody, I mean everybody, comes up to the head table and pours the couple a drink. *They then toast. *The problem is that you'd be incredibly hammered if you drank every toast so there's a bucket under the head table to pour the drinks away. *My friend though is incredibly nervous because his mother has pushed him to make a speech later in the evening (he's shy about speaking to groups) so he's not dumping the drinks. *His speech was incredibly amusing but too bad for his new bride that he had to be carried out at the end of the evening.
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Re: Obsessed with value?
Old 12-03-2004, 03:43 PM   #17
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Re: Obsessed with value?

Hey, Jane, I didn't realize your groom-to-be was a gui-lau (sp?). Let me know when you have kids, and I'll share some hapa stories with you
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Re: Obsessed with value?
Old 12-03-2004, 05:20 PM   #18
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Re: Obsessed with value?

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The interplay of ''tradition'' can cause a lot of amusing stories.................
......So, on the day of the wedding he goes to the hotel to pick up his bride and knocks on the door. *She asks with the door closed ''Who is it''. *My friend getting annoyed with all this ''tradition stuff'' says,''Who do you think it is'' *This went on for a bit until he finally said, ''It's me XXX. *Were you expecting someone else'' *I had to work hard to keep from bursting out in laughter.
Hyper, I think you missed out the best bit which is the ''Show of Love'' before the parents and family let her leave the house.''If you love me then you will eat this one hundred year old egg........with chilli sauce........If you love me you will eat this stinky tofu with treacle sauce.......If you love me you will stand on your head........If you love me you will have written a love poem to read to me in front of everyone......etc etc''

Quote:

Another wedding tradition (Chinese but also Japanese) is that everybody, I mean everybody, comes up to the head table and pours the couple a drink. *They then toast. *The problem is that you'd be incredibly hammered if you drank every toast so there's a bucket under the head table to pour the drinks away.
Chinese tradition also is for the Bride and Groom just to take the smallest sip, barely wet their lips and then pass the remainder of the drink to the Best Man, so that it is he who gets hammered on the Bride and Groom's behalf!!!

Quote:
Hey, Jane, I didn't realize your groom-to-be was a gui-lau (sp?). *
Gwei-lo (male), Gwei-por (female)


Quote:

Rest assure that even though my fiance is white, he is not paying for the wedding himself. We (him and I) are paying for it. At first we weren't even going to buy a diamond ring (all I want is a nice, simple white gold wedding band) but my mom gave me one of her diamonds....(I don't even wear it for fear of losing it)
Support your plan, Jane, my wife and I paid entirely for our own wedding so as to avoid any possible interference or bickering over the ''where, what, how and how much''. Worked perfectly for us, good luck to you!

Quote:

But that said I know lots of women who loves jewellery so I can't give you any words of comfort). Good luck to all the men out there - not sure how you can get out of this one.
There is no way out of this! No woman who truly desires a diamond ring, whatever the reason or motivation, will ever EVER be truly happy without one. I say that after trying, failing and ultimately buying some (1.5 carat highest grade solitaire on a platinum band plus 2 earrings, each with ten 0.5 carat diamonds in a twist) for the big event. To be fair though, she wears the rings every single day.

Quote:

....the bride's parents also insisted a certain sum of dowry to be given to them. They said it's tradition. My parents were adamant and said ''We are not going to give any dowry and if we are to pay for the whole thing, then we are going to choose a cheaper hall''.


Jane
After a bit of hard bargaining, I eventually paid a dowry of one small gold coin, a bag of gold coin chocolates, a bottle of brandy, a kilo of ''Dragon's Eyes'' and a kilo of Abalone. I think they just wanted her off their hands, but I still think I overpaid.....hahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!

Aside from air fares for certain relatives, which we paid for, and some hotel costs, the most expensive elements were my wife's 5 different dresses for the day.


Quote:

$85/plate!!!!!!!! *eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek. *

Please let me have boys.... PLEASE!!!!!
Try US$110 for a 15 course banquet when 1 quarter of the folks leave after the Shark's Fin Soup, now that is painful!!!


Along with all the seemingly silly and funny traditions that persist, at least the ''Lai-See'' is still alive and well.


Simon888
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Re: Obsessed with value?
Old 12-03-2004, 06:59 PM   #19
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Re: Obsessed with value?

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Speaking as the provider for a 12-year-old whose sole reason for marriage is so that her spouse is available to care for her pets... what the heck kind of wedding budget can come in UNDER by $2500?!?
Hmm..there has been some inflation in the intervening years, but my wedding took place on Goleta Beach, and cost $50 for a hippy minister. He and all the guests were stoned, so after the I-do's we all went swimming then back to one guy's house to gorge on roast pork, brownies and Andre Cold Duck.

Presently marriage is taking on a little water, but bilge pumps still ahead. Besides, I am not sure that paying more would make it last longer.

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Old 12-03-2004, 09:49 PM   #20
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Re: Obsessed with value?

I met my DW while we were both working in a dishroom. Our wedding cost $25. For the honeymoon we hitchhicked across the country (Illinois to the West coast) and back. We started with less than $10, did odd jobs along the way, and came back with over $30. That was 1975. We haven't hitchhicked or done yard work for dinner in a long time. I can't say that I miss it, but it was definately an experience I value.
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