Friday 19 February 2010

Tight Fist Tip #34: Ebay and Amazon Rule

Oxford Street Crips

In every major metropolis there's at least one sketchy part of town that most people avoid at all costs. If you're not familiar with the town, there are a few clues that can tip you off at once that you've left your comfort zone. The place is swarming with fiends, and every corner is trying to provide the next fix. You get cold stares from everyone who passes, and get rudely bumped by passer-bys. Overall, you just get an extreme feeling of discomfort, that the inhabitants of this place are nothing like you. The whole place is different, foreign, and scary.

Yes folks there are certain neighborhoods no conscientious human would ever want to go, especially if you are a Tight Fist. In my hometown of Chicago, Michigan Avenue is a place to induce shudders. In New York, Madison Avenue is creepy. And London is filled with sketchy areas: Carnaby Street, New Bond Street, and the scariest place of all: Oxford Street.

See, these places are so scary to a Tight Fist he does not even notice that there are shops. Instead, he just sees crazy mobs of people millings about, doing their best to knock him off his bike. The reason he can't figure out why the hell they are all loitering is because The Tight Fist only knows about two stores: Amazon and Ebay.* These stores sell everything cheaply, and therefore a Tight Fist is unaware that any other stores even exist. Note that advice fits in perfectly with Tight Fist Tip #11, which states that you should never shop at stores that only sell one kind of thing.
FIght! Fight! Fight!

You might think that the best way to save money would be to shop around, checking many places to find the best price. This is completely true, but since only two stores exist it's totally easy! Just check Amazon and Ebay! I used to waste tons of time 'shopping around' either online or in stores but eventually realized there was no point. Amazon and Ebay just always have the best prices, and there's no usually no need to even check anywhere else.

To give an idea of how cheap Amazon is, they have recently clashed with manufacturers of goods who complain that since Amazon tends to price their items way below suggested retail prices, it undermines other sales of their products. (I still don't understand this logic.) They even have to rely on a supreme court ruling that makes it so Amazon can't display certain prices because they fall below a certain minimum. (Read about it here. This law is so ridiculous it makes me sick, but it really speaks to how other stores just can't compete with Amazon.)

And yes, I know your complaint: But what if truly need my copy of High School Musical 3 NOW NOW NOW? Well the answer to that is to learn some freaking self-control and get over it. If you're absolutely desperate to have some object right away, this is probably an impulse purchase that you shouldn't be making anyway.

So, is the Tight Fist giving us permission to go on an Amazon/Ebay shopping spree? Um, HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND SIR? We all know that no matter what, you still must follow the ultimate Tight Fist rule: DO NOT BUY CRAP YOU DON'T NEED! This rule still stands, and don't forget it. But if you have to buy some crap that you really do need, just go to Amazon and get it over with. Shopping has never been easier.

But one more thing: despite my love for Amazon, the fact remains that Amazon is mostly known as a bookseller, so you might think I am recommending you hit up Amazon for all your literary needs. But actually, as a good Tight Fist you should NEVER buy books on Amazon. I'll tell you why in the next post.

* Note, the following stores get an honorable mention for possible existence: Argos, Wal-Mart, ASDA, Target, and any Dollar Store

Sunday 14 February 2010

Don't Buy Nice Stuff: A Story of Personal Loss

You Won't Love Her Like I Love Her

Yes folks, it's been a while since my last post, but this last month has been a difficult one that has taught even me, The Tight Fist, some important lessons in Tight Fisting. Yes, I was one to lecture all of you about the dangers of owning nice things. I even wrote a whole post about it in Tight Fist Tip #25. But I have a confession to make: I did own some nice things. I got attached to them, and I paid the price. This story is a warning to the rest of you about the dangers of materialism.

It all started with a backpack containing my Ipod and laptop getting stolen a few years ago (a missed signal!), leaving me in dire need of new electronics. Like a good Tight Fist, I searched around long and hard for a new laptop. I compared prices, features, etc, but there was one machine that stuck out. Like a siren's song, the 15" Macbook Pro spoke to me like none other. It was so svelte, smooth and shiny, and owning it would instantly make me part of the hip, cool counter-culture elite. So against my better judgement, I dropped two grand on the laptop, and also bought the newest Ipod to go with it. I loved those machines.

But falling in love only serves to heighten the pain of separation. (There's a nice theme for Valentine's Day.) My pain came about four weeks ago, when I came home to find my kitchen window jimmied open and my apartment stripped of all its electronics. That's right, the world is full of asshole junkie crackhead burglars, just waiting to steal your shiny stuff. My shiny Macbook Pro that was sitting on the table had vanished into thin air, along with my camera and Ipod. The pain of loss was staggering- no more music, no more skype, no more steaming video. I was devastated.

Now, I know very well that people love to steal stuff, and those miserable, sniveling miscreants would have stolen any laptop I could have possibly had to get their next fix. The idiots even stole my worthless wireless router. So while buying cheap stuff may make you somewhat less likely to become a victim of theft, it's no panacea.

But a true Tight Fist has no emotional attachment to any material object, and has ample savings built up at all times. Therefore losing his stuff is a mere annoyance, an unavoidable fact of life. Stuff gets replaced, and life goes on. Fellow Tight Fisters, this is a mantra to live by, and it is the only way to stay sane in our materialistic society.

I have finally replaced my shiny Macbook with a new PC that costs roughly the same as what I spent on my old Ipod, and I'm pretty happy with it. And when it gets lost/stolen/broken I'm not going to shed a tear.