Inspiration For You
by Randy Mitchell
Our economy is still struggling. We see it everyday with continued layoffs, further drops in the housing arena, jittery stock markets, and a stubborn unemployment rate that doesn't want to budge. All of these are coupled with the most negative political atmosphere since the gloomy days of the Great Depression. Money affects everything we do. Like bright sunshine or a dark, ominous cloud constantly floating overhead, money represents a huge part of what drives us from birth until death. It's the reason why most roll awake in the morning, draining 95% of the population's minds with periodic worry. However, companies continuing to put the squeeze on us financially aren't helping to pull our society from the financial doomsday course it's traveling on.
Like so many, I've been watching how companies are giving us much less for the money we spend. Slowly, and they're hoping invisibly, they've been putting a little less in that can of beans you buy, the piece of cake your sweet tooth craves, and the amount of tread on those new tires you just slapped on your aging Ford or Chevy. They're thinking we don't notice, but we do. And as a result, my buying habits are constantly shifting to the vendors and producers of goods and services that I feel still give me the best bang for my buck.
Up until recently, most of the grocery items I buy have been at the red-and-white themed store known as Target, or Tarjea' as many refer to it. It's always been a good discount retailer, giving many like me an alternative to the crowded parking lots of Wal-Mart, which I'll admit, I loathe going into. For years, the prices always seemed fair, stores clean, and the staff normally friendly. But, having that annoying micro-eyesight when it comes to sales stickers, I've started noticing the slow growth of their price points. I'm kind of a creature of habit and tend to buy some of the same items on a routine basis; so when my favorite gourmet cheese dip went from $2.99 to $3.99, individual cake slice grew from $1.99 to $2.99, roll of paper towels leapt from $.99 to $1.19, and gallon of purified water rose from $.89 to $1.09 within the span of a month, I started taking notice. But, the main difference is that the amounts inside these items have shrunk. Look at a bottle of water or 2-liter container of Coke. Before, their total quantities would almost rise to the rim, now their noticeably an inch lower, or more. And that bag of cheetos or gallon of ice cream you can't live without, they're filled with more air than ever before. Again, the geniuses who control product manufacturing and distribution think the consumer isn't watching, but believe me, we are.
Did you see the news lately about the wonderful banking industry? Although they've changed their minds (see the link below), Bank of America tried charging customers $5 a month for using debit cards. Really? And this is for what? The right to spend the money which WE, your customers, already own and just happened to allow your institution the privilege to house. What's next, a charge to speak with an actual human being inside your lobby while purchasing one of your interest-bulging CD's? Think back to the archaic days before ATM's, when customers were forced to go inside and utilize banking employee's valuable time. The banks sure found a way to make money back then despite us dirtying up their lobbies, now didn't they?
This overcharging and ripping off the consumer is soaring out of control. Yes, yes, the costs of doing business are skyrocketing thanks to the geniuses in Washington with their ever-increasing regulations and uncertainty in the political landscape, but, does the consumer always have to bear the brunt of others mistakes? Overwhelmingly, Americans are the finest people on earth. Most pay their taxes, abide by the laws, and do their best to be good citizens. We expect those in power, either in government or private industry to behave the same, treating the consumer with the respect deserved, and earned. So why is it they're always pushing the limits with us? What makes them think the masses and population as a whole are playful items they can toy with like a child lost inside some video game? And what gives them this right to play God with the money we earn through our hard work, blood, sweat, and entrepreneurial abilities? They think we're somewhat helpless, and will always go the way of the trendiest ads on TV. But, never forget, we the consumer hold all the power and are the ultimate authority. Our checkbooks, and our votes, hold the golden keys.
Just like everyone else, I'm only one person and have limited ways of fighting back. But, what companies never seem to remember is the consumer always has a choice. It's called the free market, capitalism, and the right to choose just who, when, and where we do business; the very economic principles of what America is all about.
So, when you push that steel buggy with those annoying clanking wheels down the food aisle next time, take a long, hard stare at the items you're purchasing. Feel their weight, shake them, and if you can see the amounts inside their plastic containers, compare them with your last purchases. The results might surprise you. And it's a very sneaky way to grab those hard-earned nickels and dimes you have rolling around inside your pocket.
Bank Of America Article
"Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life" from
A Serious LawRead Article »
Inspirational Writer and Author of
"Sons In The Clouds"
As a writer and avid movie fan, I love the powerful energy behind words. Words capture and cling to people in a dramatic, poignant way - and live deep inside us all. It doesn't matter if those words are written or spoken; all of us have tales yearning to be shared with each other.
A few years ago, I drove past my childhood home in Texas: a nostalgic place where tender childhood memories still reside deep inside me. I remember those hot Texas summer nights hanging out with my sister, friends, spirited pets and my girlfriend who lived across the street. This happy snapshot transported me back in time to endless, steamy nights as we watched July 4th fireworks, ate homemade ice cream on the front porch, and cooled off at the local lake.
My childhood feels like it happened just yesterday -- innocent moments taken from my carefree youth. These memories comforted me and carried me to a place where I longed to stay – a peaceful haven where I could escape my hectic ‘adult’ life. These idyllic, cherished memories were the inspiration for my first novel, "Sons In The Clouds". My long-time career as a pilot and love of aviation are seen through my main characters, Andy and Wade, who serve as Navy pilots in the Vietnam War.
"Sons In The Clouds" exposes emotional drama that showcases the vulnerable fragility of human nature. The belief in God serves as the problem-solver -- a pathway to the truth -- a light to be used when the problems of man cannot be solved, and becomes a way to expose weaknesses in those appearing to be strong. I breathe life into my characters in believable, exceptionally REAL ways. A strong theme interwoven throughout the pages is that “love conquers all” – as seen through the unfaltering, devoted commitment between my male characters and the women they leave behind.
My female characters show courage and strength in the face of adversity. Despite the fact that she doesn’t know whether her husband is alive or dead behind enemy lines, Rebecca (Andy’s wife) remains strong and never falters in her devotion to Andy.
Rebecca’s character represents war-time brides (both past and present). I wanted to show the strength, love and courage of these brave women whose loved ones were sent off to the Vietnam War. They faced harrowing fear on a daily basis, and relied on their faith and love to get them through their darkest days–- hoping and praying that their husbands returned home safely.
Most inspirational fiction readers today aren’t interested in G-rated books. "Sons In The Clouds" is a modern inspirational story that encompass spiritual themes where faith and love triumph over the brutal ugliness of war. My characters instill a hope-filled message to my readers long after the last page is read.
To purchase your copy, go to Amazon
For media inquiries about Randy Mitchell and "Sons In The Clouds", please visit www.theinspirationalwriter.com or email Mitchellrandy1@msn.com.
Book video available here: www.youtube.com/watch
Receive the newest devotional each week in your inbox by joining the "Inspiration For You" subscription list. Enter your email address below, click "Go!" and we will send you a confirmation email. Follow the instructions in the email to confirm your addition to this list.