Cheat Sheet Q & A:
Topic: Consumer Reports:
Rush called into question the users of Consumer Reports. I know you're a fan of them so what is it that you see in them that he doesn't?
Bottom Line: Many have taken exception to Consumer Reports over the years but it’s generally the company who produces an inferior product according to the researchers at CR. First a little back ground about the company.
They have been sued over their reviews 13 times over the years (all by companies that took exception to poor reviews by CR). The result? They’ve won all thirteen cases in court. No company has challenged CR since 2003. But back to the question… What is it that I see?
I can’t speak to Rush’s experience with CR (if there is any). I can speak from my point of view. Simply put – they’ve never steered me the wrong way. I don’t know about you but I don’t have a clue about how to evaluate the overall quality of things like… Washers, dryers, lawn equipment, refrigerators, stoves, etc. It’s remarkable how frequently the most expensive options aren’t the best. I’d rather be an informed buyer than blindly guessing on what’s best. Even with products that I’m fairly astute at evaluating like, consumer technology and financial services, I still compare my finding with their research and find that they’re right on the mark most of the time. It’s also remarkable seeing how often the most expensive products aren’t the best in class.
Simply put Consumer Reports, in my view, is the best information resource for consumer products and services. I’ve been a subscriber of CR for over a decade and use it with regularity. I also frequently gift it to friends and family and believe that you’re well served using them as a resource.
If you have a topic or question you’d like me to address email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
“If you argue with math you will lose” – How ACA is destroying full time employment:
Bottom Line: The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released a breakout of the types of job creation (or destruction as the case may be) and found the following…
For the first six months of 2013:
How does that compute?
We’ve discussed why you can’t take a look at just the jobs number as a static number (or the unemployment rate) and draw a deduction about the level of improvement in the labor market (for this reason) but even I didn’t realize it was this bad.
Lance Reddick (from Fringe – an awesome series btw) is in a current commercial campaign in which he says “if you argue with math you will lose”. This is inarguable. ACA is creating what the Wall-Street Journal is calling the part-time economy. This is the first time in the history of the
No new iThings but what we did get from Apple's event:
Bottom Line: So there wasn’t any secret iThing. It was essentially what it appeared it would be but here is the breakout from yesterday’s Apple event:
The new iPads will be available on November 1st. Apple also provided updates on the new Macs but the highlight of the Mac Talk was the new OS. Apple’s new OS X Mavericks is the first free OS. It’s available for any Mac product via a free download. Here is the direct link to get started: http://www.apple.com/osx/
For any new iThings we’ll have to wait until next year…
Speaking of which. Apple to bring a big screen, frameless, ultra high def internet ready TV to market next year:
Bottom Line: A Japanese analyst has become the latest to step up to the plate and take a swing at Apple TV (an actual TV – not the little streaming box). It’s unusual in that Japanese analysis’s seldom talk up American consumer electronics. But here’s a summation of what he had to say:
He is very specific so maybe, just maybe he knows something.
Amazon.com just raised shipping prices:
Bottom Line: The minimum threshold for Amazon.com’s free shipping had been $25. Not anymore, they just raised the threshold to $35. While this may be frustrating as a consumer, it could also present an opportunity if you operate a business.
Amazon is likely trying to push their customers to their “Prime” service which is an annual subscription plan, at $79, that allows expedited “free” shipping on most products. They’ll look to do this as the are ramping up for nationwide same day delivery next year. While I do believe that local retailers (online or otherwise) should come up with an Amazon strategy, to sell on Amazon rather than fight it, this does present an opportunity.
Consumers don’t like to hear that you have to spend more to get free shipping. Perhaps you could market your free shipping for all purchases or any purchase at $25 or more. If you think you couldn’t afford to be able to offer free shipping for small ticket sizes, know this… The average ticket size of an online purchase is $60. In other words if you can make what you need to make with a $60 purchase offering free shipping – you’ll do well even if you occasionally lose on a small ticket size.
Bottom Line: Going forward when you book airfare you’re going to go through a bit of a background screening before you go to the airport. The
While this seems like yet another effort to collect info about us – I think this one may be justified.
Bottom Line: Quick note – If you’re looking to file your taxes early next year, there’s good and bad news.
The Bad News: Filing will be delayed by two weeks and the earliest you’ll be able to file is mid-January
The Good News: That’s about two-three weeks earlier than this year.
As a result of the Government shutdown the