Page 1




Confessions of a Shopaholic

pg. 13

1 Woman in 5 is a Shopaholic

pg. 25

Impulse Shopping: A Cure for this Buying Disease

pg. 35

10 Reasons to Purchase New Hardware During a Recession

pg. 43

Think—Don’t Feel—Before You Buy pg. 57 SUB-TOTAL$108.17 TAX



PAST, PRESENT, POST VOID is a publication designed as an exploration of journaling and consumerism—on a personal + social level. Receipts are found, collected and curated as artifacts of an individual’s identity

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YOU 50% ?!?!




Ok. Don’t panic. Don’t panic. It’s only a VISA bill. It’s a piece of paper; a few numbers. I mean, just how scary can a few numbers be? I stare out of the office window at a bus driving down Oxford Street, willing myself to open the white envelope sitting on my cluttered desk. It’s only a piece of paper, I tell myself for the thousandth time. And I’m not stupid, am I? Iknow exactly how match the VISA bill will be. Sort of. Roughly. It’ll be about...£200. Three hundred, maybe. Yes, maybe £300. Three-fifty, max. I casually close my eyes and start to tot up. There was that suit in Jigsaw. And there was dinner with Suze at Quaglinos. And there was that gorgeous red and yellow rug. The rug was £200, come to think of it. But it was definitely worth every penny -- everyone’s admired it. Or, at least Suze has. And the Jigsaw suit was on sale -- 30 percent off. So that was actually saving money. I open my eyes and reach for the bill. As my fingers hit the paper I remember new contact lenses. Ninetyfive pounds. Quite a lot. But, I mean, I had to get those, didn’t I? What am I supposed to do, walk around in a blur? And I had to buy some new solutions and a cute




case and some hypoallergenic eyeliner. So that takes it up to...£400? At the desk next to mine, Clare Edwards looks up from her post. She’s sorting all her letters into neat piles, just like she does every morning. She puts rubber bands round them and puts labels on them saying things like “Answer immediately” and “Not urgent but respond.” I loathe Clare Edwards. “Ok, Becky?” she says. “Fine,” I say lightly. “just reading a letter.” I reach gaily into the evelope, but my fingers don’t quite pull out the bell. They remain clutched around it while my mind is seized — as it is every month — by my secret dream. Do you want to know about my secret dream? It’s based on a story I once read in The Daily World about a mix-up at a bank. I loved this story so much, I cut it out and stuck it onto my wardrobe door. Two credit card bills were sent to the wrong people, and — get this — each person paid the wrong bill without realizing. They paid off each other’s bills without even checking them. And ever since I read that story, my secret fantasy has been that the same thing will happen to me. I mean, I know it sounds that the same thing will happen to me. I mean, I know it sounds unlikely — but if it happened once, it can happen again, can’t it? Some dotty old woman in Cornwall will be sent my humongous bill and will pay it without even looking at it. And I’ll be sent her bill for three tins of cat food at fifty-nine pence each. Which naturally, I’ll pay without question. Fair’s fair, after all. A smile is plastered over my face as I gaze out of the window. I’m convinced that this month it’ll hapen — my secret dream is about to come true. But when I eventually pull the bill out of the envelope — goaded by Clare’s curious gaze — my smile falters, then disappears. Something hot is blocking my throat. I think it could be panic. The page is black with type. A series of familiar names rushes past my eyes like a mini shopping mall. I try to take them in, but specs. She knows I’m looking at my VISA bill. “No reason,” I way, briskly turning to the second page of my statement.


But I’ve been put off my stride. Instead of doing what I normally do — look at the minimum payment required and ignore the total completely — I find myself staring straight at the bottom figure. Nine hundred and forty-nine pounds, sixty-three pence. In clear black and white. For thirty seconds I am completely motionless. Then, without changing expression, I stuff the bill back into the envelope. I honestly feel as though this piece of paper has nothing to do with me. Perhaps, if I carelessly let it drop down on the floor behind my computer, it will disappear. The cleaners will sweep it up and I can claim I never got it. They can’t charge me for a bill I never received, can they? I’m already composing a letter in my head.“Dear Managing Director of VISA. Your letter has confused me. What bill are you talking about precisely? I never received any bill from your company. I did not care for your tone and should warn you, I am writing to Anne Robinson of Watchdog.” Or I could always move abroad. “Becky?” My head jerks up and I see clare holding this month’s news list. “have you finished the piece on Lloyds?”

“Perhaps, if I carelessly let it drop down on the floor behind my computer, it will disappear.”



I have been waiting forever for this sweater to go on sale. Forever, meaning two months - which is a really long time. Since I had a coupon, I was able to get the Black AND Camel colors!!

Umm, have we always had county and district taxes? These sound like made up taxes. This must be a mistake.

I saved FIFTY dollars! That’s enough validation for me. See? I can budget...

This ring caught my eye when I was standing in line. Stores these days do this thing now where they put all these pretty, shiny things next to the line where there’s nowhere else to go. It’s a trap, and I am a victim. (A fashionable victim with a really nice ring that she can wear to work and to school.)


WHITE HOUSE | BLACK MARKET WH|BM #03379 321 W. Katella Avenue Space 136 Anaheim, CA 92804 (714)991-7730 STORE: 03379 REGISTER 001 CASHIER: BRANDI ASSOCIATE: 0000115827 ASSOCIATE RECEIPT COPY ASSOCIATE SALE ASSOCIATE #00000115827 CS Drp Hdwr Tnc, Black, XXS 44.00 SKU 451000394475 1 @ 88.00 44. Associate Discount LS Stripe Drapey Cvru, White w Black, XS 44.00 SKU 451000384933 1 @ 88.00 44.00 Associate Discount 3Q Crop Cardi w Bow, Black, XS 39.00 SKU 451000374965 1 @ 78.00 39.00 Associate Discount SUBTOTAL 127.00 SALES TAX 11.11 TOTAL 138.11 AMOUNT TENDERED VISA/MC/DC ACCT:************3515 EXP: ****** APPROVAL: 015278 TOTAL PAYMENT 138.11 TRANSACTION: 20441 6/12/09 10:13 PM Refer to back of receipt for new 60 day return and 14 day price adjustment policies Be the first to hear about new collections, big sales and special events. Sign up for email at Visit us at SKU 02044103379001031210

20010023520284729039972048762311103048567010100011001010328458700120 20010023520284729039972048762311103048567010100110001010328458700120


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I AM BRO !!!





The Observer, Sunday 26 November 2000


Posh and Becks do it together. Liz Hurley does

cent showing signs of a ‘pathological

it alone and Madonna did it while nine months


pregnant. Jim Goudie, a consumer psychologist at NorRetail therapy has become one of Britain’s

thumbria University, said the stigma of being

most pleasurable leisure pursuits. But the

a shopaholic, and the fact that so few people

percentage of the population suffering from

take the condition seriously, may be masking

the serious medical condition of shopping

an even higher number of sufferers.

addiction is reaching crisis point, overtaking the number of drug and drink addicts in the

‘Our figures would correlate to research done

UK combined.

in the US showing a similar percentage of the population there suffering from shopping

Experts believe 10 per cent of the population,

problems. But with some people feeling that

and possibly 20 per cent of women, are manic,

being a shopping addict is so downright silly,

compulsive shoppers. Most shopaholics are

the true statistics could be much higher.

seriously in debt, and the condition has led to family break-ups, depression, homelessness

‘One of the reasons behind this sudden rise

and even suicide.

could be that shopping has never been so attractive. Shopping centres are beautiful these

Known as omniomania, the condition has

days, absolute wonderlands. Store cards are

been known to psychiatrists since the early

offered at the till and people can obtain hand-

1900s but only now is it reaching epidemic

fuls of credit cards with relative ease.’

proportions. A European Union report recently revealed that up to half of 14- to 18-year-old

Five credit-card companies are in the process

girls in Scotland, Italy and Spain exhibited

of taking Elizabeth, 31, a businesswoman

symptoms of shopping addiction, with 8 per

from Leeds to court. While speaking to The


presents on children and so they as-

Next month the Government will as-

sociated that with pleasure.

semble a task force to look at the problem of easy access to credit for those

‘Empowerment is also an increas-

who cannot afford to repay what they

ing trend among young, professional

are spending. Kim Howells, Minister for

women. I had one woman who bought

Consumer Affairs, said: ‘The Govern-

150 pairs of shoes, shopping gave her

ment’s aim is to protect the vulnerable

a buzz. They take the purchase home,

without inhibiting a good, innovative

feel guilty, then go back out and shop to

market for the vast majority.’

combat the depression.’ Shopping addiction can reach astonishConsumer debt is one of the most

ing levels among the rich - this month

rapidly growing national problems in the

Sir Elton John admitted going on a £40

UK. The National Association for Citi-

million shopping spree in less than two

zens’ Advice Bureaux reported a 37 per


cent increase in calls on the subject in just two years. Last year CAB advisers

Socialite Tara Palmer-Tomkinson is now

received half a million calls concerning

attending Debtors Anonymous after

shopping debts and a year-on-year rise

admitting snapping up seven pairs of

is predicted for 2000.

designer jeans at ‘£300 a pop’. ‘Having spent thousands on clothes, I felt invul-

‘Our debt calls used to be from people

nerable,’ she said. Comparing shopping

who couldn’t pay the gas bill, now its a

to her former cocaine habit, she said:

multitude of consumer debts,’ said an

‘Spending £6,000 in Dolce & Gabbana

association spokeswoman.

was much more satisfying, strutting around the store, being told how drop-

The problem is now being taken

dead gorgeous I was.’

seriously. At Stanford University in California 24 women are involved in a

Adrienne Baker, a psychotherapist and

trial to see whether the condition can

author of Serious Shopping , said: ‘Tak-

be treated by a specific anti-shopaholic

ing illegal substances in excess is one

drug, similar to an anti-depressant.

thing, to shop till you drop arouses only amusement.’


Baker became interested in omniomania after the suicide of a young friend. The girl died leaving ‘a plethora of beautiful, unworn clothes’ in her flat.

“The girl died leaving ‘a plethora of beautiful, unworn clothes’ in her flat.”



I don’t remember where I heard this, but I was once told that using your debit card and keeping less money in your checking account will help to keep you from over spending. But here is the problem: electronic banking iPhone apps. I can still transfer the extra funds through my phone when I’m standing there in the store contemplating an unnecessary bag of Jelly Bellys. Epic fail.

Over the course of college career, I’ve managed to convince myself that coffee, Peanut M&M’s, Reese’s Pieces, a granola bar and a bottle of water are a sufficient meal. The rationalization goes like so: Peanuts are protein and chocolate comes from a bean. Therefore, protein, vegetables, grains, caffeine, and water. As you can probably already tell, I lose a lot of money investing in all of my food rationalizations.

I don’t know if this happens to anyone else, but every time I see Jelly Bellys in the candy aisle, I always buy some in hopes of finding one magnificent flavor - but I never do. And although this happens time and time again, I still buy them...even though I’m broke. Maybe this is why I’m broke. But I used coupons, so I think it balances out.

Coca-Cola. The All-American soft drink. Also known as the liquid that can remove rust from old metal. Yes, Coca-Cola. I am addicted. This addiction, as I’m sure you can imagine, does wonders for both my health and my bank account.


WHITE HOUSE | BLACK MARKET WH|BM #03379 321 W. Katella Avenue Space 136 Anaheim, CA 92804 (714)991-7730 STORE: 03379 REGISTER 001 CASHIER: BRANDI ASSOCIATE: 0000115827 ASSOCIATE RECEIPT COPY ASSOCIATE SALE ASSOCIATE #00000115827 CS Drp Hdwr Tnc, Black, XXS 44.00 SKU 451000394475 1 @ 88.00 44. Associate Discount LS Stripe Drapey Cvru, White w Black, XS 44.00 SKU 451000384933 1 @ 88.00 44.00 Associate Discount 3Q Crop Cardi w Bow, Black, XS 39.00 SKU 451000374965 1 @ 78.00 39.00 Associate Discount SUBTOTAL 127.00 SALES TAX 11.11 TOTAL 138.11 AMOUNT TENDERED VISA/MC/DC ACCT:************3515 EXP: ****** APPROVAL: 015278 TOTAL PAYMENT 138.11 TRANSACTION: 20441 6/12/09 10:13 PM Refer to back of receipt for new 60 day return and 14 day price adjustment policies Be the first to hear about new collections, big sales and special events. Sign up for email at Visit us at SKU 02044103379001031210

300100235202847290399720487623111030485670101000110001010328458700120 30010023520284729039972048762311103048567010100011001010328458700120


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IMPULSE SHOPPING: A CURE FOR THIS BUYING DISEASE by BlondieWrites | Associated Content, 27 April 2006



ticing displays from the stores catch your


eye, and you feel almost driven to check

Impulse Buying is one of the leading

them out. Two hours later, you walk out

causes of death for the American bank

of the mall carrying bags of items that

account and pocketbook. Although the

cost you $200.

pocketbook mortality rate is high, there is a cure for Impulse Buying. Careful

After the mall trip, you head on over to

planning, when taken with

buy groceries. You had in your mind what

the help of family and friends support-

you intended to purchase, and therefore

ing the Impulse Buyer, can cure Impulse

did not make out a list. As you walk up


and down the isles, items catch your attention, and you put some of those

Impulse Buying is a habit, but it's break-

into the shopping cart, thinking this

able. Shopping is a fact of life, though

cannot really hurt anything. After all,

how much we shop is entirely up to us.

the munchies sure do sound good and

We go to the mall, department store, or

you have to eat. You come out with lots

grocery store. Before leaving the house,

more groceries than you meant to get,

had you made out a plan for what you

spending $150 rather than the $70 you'd

were going shopping for? Did you al-

planned on.

ready have an amount of money planned and set aside for purchases, an amount

Now you are hungry, having been gone

not to go past? Was your mind already

hours longer than you anticipated. So

made up not to buy anything but exactly

you go through the local drive through

what you planned upon? If the answers

and get lunch. You give the Fast Food

are "no," then chances are you will end

Spot $15 and head for the house.

up Impulse Buying before you get back

When you get home, you get everything


put away and check out what you've brought home. Looking at the receipts,


you are shocked at the amount you spent


in just one day! You start worrying about

You leave home, intending just to go buy

how you are going to pay your other bills,

some groceries, but on the way to the

and have enough money left to do until

store, you have to drive past the shop-

the next payday.

ping mall. You decide on the spur of the moment to go "window" shopping in the

The next payday roles around, and you

mall. As you walk through the halls, en-

go through virtually the same routine.


But you are at a loss on what to do about


Know before you leave home to

it. Even worse, you cannot figure out how

go shopping how much you need

this continues to happen to you week

for other items before the next

after week.

payday, like gas for instance.



Before you leave home, eat if you

While in most cases, a few instances of

are hungry. Though this might

Impulse Buying will not break you, the

sound silly, this will help you be

amounts spent will eventually become

less likely to want to buy

very substantial. The dollars spent on

unplanned groceries.

an enormous expense quickly. Impulse


Make your mind up before leaving

Buying does not have to be fatal to the

home that you will NOT buy


anything that is not written on

your list. Make your mind up that

How do you cure Impulse Buying? What

you will NOT, under any circum-

can be done to stop this dreaded habit

stances, go past the amount you

from occurring again? Some simple steps

have set for each store or

can eliminate Impulse Buying from your

expense. If this means putting

mind and save your bank account, your

something back, then put it back.


Keep track of what you are spend-

ing. This means how much, where,

when, etc.

Impulse Buying could very well add up to

savings, and your pocketbook! Yes, there is a cure! 1.

Make out a list of all items you

plan to purchase for each store. 8.

Think before you buy. Ask yourself


Clip and take any coupons with

if you need this. Who is it going to

you when you go shopping.

benefit? Is it worth the money?

Why do you feel you need it? The


Decide on exactly how much

bottom line is...think before

money you will spend at each

you buy.

shopping place. For example, what

is the limit you will spend this

There will be times when you see some-

week on groceries? If you need

thing that you feel you absolutely MUST

shoes for example, what is the

have. This might be something you truly

most you will pay for them?

need in your home. If this item seems


more of a luxury than actually needed,

in your spending habits. You must plan

leave it sitting there on the shelf. Go

ahead and you must think before you

back home and think about it for at least

buy. Keeping these two thoughts put into

a day, if not longer. Many times when one

action weekly will keep Impulse Buying

does this, they will find they can live just

from sneaking back in when you are not

fine without buying whatever it was.

expecting him.

The same works for catalogs and online shopping. No doubt you will run upon something you think you just have got to buy. Resist the urge to be an Impulse Buyer and don't do it! Take at least a day or longer to think about it. Do you really need this? Can you afford it? What purpose will it serve you or your family? Chances are, after think-

“Two hours later, you walk out of the mall carrying bags of items that cost you $200.� ing it over, you'll pass it up. THE FOLLOW-UP VISIT

When you go shopping without being an Impulse Buyer, come home and check your receipts and available money left the way you did before when you still

were an Impulse Buyer. You will see a

significant change in your bank account. Your pocket book will live again! Your

bank account will thrive again! But it is

up to you to keep it that way. You must

resist the urge to buy something just to

be buying it. You must keep making a list of what you need to buy and how much you plan to spend EVERY time you go shopping.

Impulse Buying can be cured, but it

can also relapse if you are not careful



I hate taxes. A lot.

Why don’t monitor stands cost $30 anymore? Why do things cost money? Maybe Steve Jobs will donate computers and money to me for my personal charity fund... You think? That would be awesome.


WHITE HOUSE | BLACK MARKET WH|BM #03379 321 W. Katella Avenue Space 136 Anaheim, CA 92804 (714)991-7730 STORE: 03379 REGISTER 001 CASHIER: BRANDI ASSOCIATE: 0000115827 ASSOCIATE RECEIPT COPY ASSOCIATE SALE ASSOCIATE #00000115827 CS Drp Hdwr Tnc, Black, XXS 44.00 SKU 451000394475 1 @ 88.00 44. Associate Discount LS Stripe Drapey Cvru, White w Black, XS 44.00 SKU 451000384933 1 @ 88.00 44.00 Associate Discount 3Q Crop Cardi w Bow, Black, XS 39.00 SKU 451000374965 1 @ 78.00 39.00 Associate Discount SUBTOTAL 127.00 SALES TAX 11.11 TOTAL 138.11 AMOUNT TENDERED VISA/MC/DC ACCT:************3515 EXP: ****** APPROVAL: 015278 TOTAL PAYMENT 138.11 TRANSACTION: 20441 6/12/09 10:13 PM Refer to back of receipt for new 60 day return and 14 day price adjustment policies Be the first to hear about new collections, big sales and special events. Sign up for email at Visit us at SKU 02044103379001031210

400100235202847290399720487623111030485670101000110001010328458700120 40010023520284729039972048762311103048567010100011001010328458700120


001002357290387891101019972048762313892701010011000101032845870012041 010023572903878911010199720487623138927010100011000101032845870012041





10 REASONS TO PURCHASE NEW HARDWARE DURING A RECESSION by BlondieWrites | Associated Content, 27 April 2006


It’s no secret. Many organizations curtail all possible spending in a recession. Budgets are cut, staffs are reduced, and new hardware purchases are often eliminated. During difficult economic periods, cost-cutting measures are prudent, even necessary for companies struggling to survive. But suspending hardware investments can prove shortsighted. Eliminating system replacements and PC upgrades may well worsen an organization’s predicament. Here are 10 reasons new hardware purchases shouldn’t be delayed — even during a recession.

#1: EQUIPMENT STILL WEARS OUT As bad as an economic recession becomes, one fact doesn’t change. Power supplies, hard disks, motherboards, displays, and other components still fail. The laws of physics don’t rest just because the economy is in turmoil. Electrical surges still occur, mechanical failures continue, and planned obsolescence keeps marching along. Simply put, PCs, servers, network components, and other business-critical items will fail, even in a recession. This equipment must be replaced. #2: PRODUCTIVITY BECOMES PARAMOUNT When PCs, displays, or network switches fail, it may be tempting to visit an old parts closet to dig out replacements. Old, entry-level Celeron- or Pentium-powered PCs with 256MB of RAM and rattling power supplies won’t help managers (now often responsible for production tasks, too, due to departmental layoffs) efficiently complete expanded task lists. Nor will such machines enable overworked colleagues to run QuickBooks, CRM applications, or proprietary programs smoothly. Nor will a 15″ CRT enable productivity gains when replacing a 22″ widescreen monitor used to display customer information alongside order entry software. The same is true for network equipment. Outdated hubs and routers were decommissioned for a reason. They were either too slow, failed to operate properly, or didn’t meet the organization’s needs. They certainly won’t improve productivity now, when staff sizes are smaller, remaining employees must absorb the workload of laid-off staff, and stress levels climb ever higher. The subsequent delays and inefficiencies translate to lost opportunities, poor customer experiences, and less revenue.


#3: DOWNTIME IS EXPENSIVE Older equipment fails more often. Outages and downtime are even more acutely felt during tough economic downturns, when fewer staff are available to diagnose the failure, identify appropriate fixes, obtain replacement parts, replace the failed component, and then test the repair. Meanwhile, other employees facing more burdensome task lists are dead in the water. Their productivity drops to zero. Depending upon the situation, a single failure can prevent employees from accessing CRM systems, entering sales, billing clients, printing invoices, answering customer inquiries, processing claims, dispatching service personnel, and otherwise fulfilling critical operations. Sales plunge, revenue is lost, and an organization’s financial standing declines. #4: COMPETITION SUFFERS, TOO When respected economic experts, including Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffet, reveal that they believe growth opportunities exist in a tough recession, your first reaction may understandably be disbelief. Fortunately, though, there are arguments to be made that recessions provide a foundation from which well-managed and wellpositioned companies can prosper. Your competitors are suffering, too. If your organization can leverage their weaknesses during turbulent economic periods, it can capture rivals’ market share. Exploiting weaknesses and maximizing opportunities in tough financial environments often isn’t possible, however, without the proper systems. And hardware investments are usually required to power such systems that enable taking advantage of unique opportunities. #5: MANUFACTURERS OFFER DISCOUNTS Just like everyone else, computer manufacturers are facing hard times. Fourth quarter U.S. sales were off 3.5 percent. A January 2009 Time magazine article questioned whether the PC market will ever completely recover.

Manufacturers are scrambling to develop intriguing new product lines (witness netbooks) and improved, more cost-efficient distribution (including via layoffs and new strategic partnerships). In the interim, deals are available for the taking. Organizations shouldn’t feel obligated to pay a posted online price (even if already discounted) for a


new PC or pay the first price presented for a new bank of rack servers. Due to current economic conditions, sales representatives are more likely than ever to rework pricing for corporations needing new equipment. #6: CONSULTANTS ARE MORE WILLING TO NEGOTIATE Many IT consultants are also now willing to negotiate project pricing (including passing along to clients hardware discounts they’ve negotiated as resellers). Project estimates prepared and delivered even six months ago may well possess more attractive pricing today. While many IT consultants become even busier during recessions (since many organizations choose to lay off in-house staff and outsource technology services), that’s not universally true. Many consultancies may have lost clients (who have closed shop, merged with other organizations, or cancelled or reduced service contracts). Still others may be seeking to diversify their client base or avoid layoffs of their own. #7: RUNNING OLDER HARDWARE LONGER COSTS MORE Trying to squeeze a few extra years out of PCs or servers actually ends up costing organizations more in the long run than does replacing old equipment. According to Info-Tech Research Group lead analyst Darin Stahl, “When you look at costs — particularly around a four- to six-year life cycle — it may seem like you are saving money, but really it’s costing you, because you are going to increase your support costs.” Yankee Group Research Inc. research fellow Laura DiDio concurs. “One of the classic mistakes is [being] penny-wise and pound foolish. Some companies are not prescient enough to say, ‘I’d better keep good records and do regular inventories and asset management to see which servers, of which groups of power users, might need to be upgraded or refreshed sooner than others.’ ” In a January 2008 Channel Pro magazine article, in which organizations are encouraged to replace 25 percent of their systems every year, author Carolyn Heinze added, “In the long run, these older systems wind up costing more in lost efficiencies, compatibility issues, service and maintenance, and downtime.” #8: INTERRUPTING PURCHASE CYCLES IS EXPENSIVE By replacing a quarter of an organization’s PCs every year, for example, companies


ensure critical employees receive new, faster, more reliable equipment annually. Then, the critical employees’ systems can be handed down to the next tier of operations staff. In short, using this method, every employee receives a hardware “upgrade” every year, and no system is ever more than four years old. Interrupting such purchase cycles is expensive, and not only due to the lost efficiencies, compatibility issues, and downtime costs. If an organization waits longer to replace the majority of its users’ systems, out-of-pockets costs spike (instead of remaining steady). Pay now or pay more later. That’s the moral of this entry. #9: NEW APPLICATIONS REQUIRE GREATER RESOURCES Many new technologies — everything from new versions of accounting and bookkeeping software to CRM tools and new server platforms, such as Windows Small Business Server 2008 — have greater hardware requirements than the older platforms they replace. Windows Small Business Server 2008 won’t even run on 32-bit servers; the popular small business server OS now requires 64-bit hardware. Organizations are being forced to upgrade system hardware, as programs become increasingly sophisticated and as Microsoft’s desktop operating systems demand more computing power. Windows XP, for example, required only a Pentium 233-MHz CPU, 64MB of RAM, and 1.5GB of hard disk space, whereas Windows Vista Business’ hardware requirements call for a 1-GHz CPU, 1GB of RAM, and 128MB video RAM, along with 15GB of free disk space. Companies that choose to suspend hardware investments subsequently automatically forfeit the time-saving, cost-reducing advantages many new software applications deliver. #10: EMPLOYEE RETENTION REMAINS A CONSIDERATION Good employees are as valuable as ever. Even though the pool of potential replacement hires grows with the unemployment rate, the cost of locating and training new staff remains significant. When a good employee leaves an organization, his or her department often experiences a slowdown while a suitable replacement is recruited and trained. Worse, vast institutional knowledge can be lost when the veteran employee leaves, never to be replaced.


Fortunately, hardware investments are among the elements that can improve job satisfaction. Rewarding valuable employees with new (faster, more reliable, more modern, sleeker) equipment can go far in reducing frustration, while also confirming an employee’s value and contributions. Awarding new PCs to key workers critical to ongoing operations is a simple step. Best of all, productivity gains usually result, as well.

“Budgets are cut, staffs are reduced, and new hardware purchases are often eliminated.”



Yes, please. I would love nothing more than to win $10,000 cash. Maybe Walgreens will just give it to me since I’m such a good customer...

I decided to quit smoking because : a) It was getting to be an expensive habit b) It’s healthier However, quitting seems to be just as expensive. I might as well keep smoking. At least I’ll be calm as I slowly and steadily go broke...

I suppose I could have just stuck with a paper fan and fanned myself, but that would take so much work and my AC bill is astronomical during the summer. So, I had to buy the fan, right?


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ST E $$$ T ST!


THINK — DON’T FEEL — BEFORE YOU BUY by Larry Dignan | TechRepublic, 27 January 2009

TechRepublic guest post: It may seem like the last thing you want to do in the midst of tough economic times is invest in new hardware. But IT consultant Erik Eckel suggests that trying to coast on failing or outdated equipment will cost you more in the long run. You can find more posts like this on TechRepublic’s 10 Things blog.


(Sorry I couldn’t find this on video anywhere. Instead, you get to read the transcript of a scene between awkward and innocent teenager Nick and his womanizing, clueless — but here, very insightful — uncle Roger, from the movie “Roger Dodger.”)



What do you do all day?

Trust me. And when they’re feeling sufficiently incomplete, you convince them


that your product is the only thing that

What do I do all day? What do I do all

can fill the void. So instead of taking

day? I sit here and think of ways to

steps to deal with their lives, instead

make people feel bad.

of working to root out the real reason for their misery, they run out and buy a


stupid-looking pair of cargo pants.

I thought you wrote for commercials. Nick looks down and shifts his hands ROGER:

inside the pockets of the pair of cargo

I do, but you can’t sell a product without

pants he’s wearing.

first making people feel bad. NICK: NICK:

So … is it fun?

Why not? ROGER: ROGER:

It can be.

Because it’s a substitution game. You have to remind them that they’re missing something from their lives. Everyone’s missing something, right?

In the ultra-good bargain days

between November 28, 2008, and January 31, 2009, I behaved badly. I spent $283.62 on stuff I’m now sure I didn’t



Well, yeah. I guess.


A total of $156.34 went to stores in my neighborhood that were going out of

business. I don’t feel the least bit guilty for the $81.90 I spent on gospel CDs and bible study guides at a Christian bookstore that was closing, and I’ve made excellent use of the hand mixer and bed skirts that Linens n Things was practically giving away. The DVDs from Circuit City have kept me entertained on my many nights spent inside, and they have assisted me in the film dissection and script analysis I’m supposed to use to improve my own screenplays, so I guess about 90 percent of the going out of business sale purchases were worth the money. (The curtains from Linens n Things haven’t worked out so well.)

I spent the remaining $127.28 on a DVD from a store still doing great business,

especially now that Circuit City is gone, a pair of sexy green suede boots, a related green purse, a comfy pair of loafers perfect for ushering, the biggest, warmest, most comfortable fleece sweatshirt in the world, a pair of yoga pants, and about $31 on some other clothing items I couldn’t point out in my closet today.

I can’t even recollect those items now, and yet they and the rest of the items in

my shopping season shopping spree seemed so important at the time. I think about them now because, while I don’t long to be among the throngs of shoppers in Black Friday lines or among those clicking a Cyber Monday mouse, I wish I could do more than what I currently can. I wish my 20-dollar moisturizer hadn’t run out the same day my mom gave me $20 to do something enjoyable. I wish I weren’t dipping into my savings account to cover the expense of overdue repairs on my car. I wish I were finished paying Sallie Mae, or that I had the guts to default on my student loans like most people do. I wish premiums for health insurance plans that don’t cover preexisting conditions cost the same amount that they’re worth.

I don’t know why I had extra cash this time last year, and even if I hadn’t spent

any of it, life probably would have happened and I would have spent the money in a different way. Another “why” is more important: Why did I feel the need to purchase anything?

As I said, I can justify almost all of it. But the sexy green boots and related

purse bother me to this day. (I’m sure it’s no coincidence that the boots were the most expensive single item that I bought this time last year, or perhaps even for the entire year – other than furniture.) I remember waking up one morning obsessed with green boots. I instinctively knew what store would have them. I instinctively knew that they would be on sale. But what makes a woman who doesn’t go out that often think that her life is incomplete without a pair of sexy green boots?

Now, I have nothing against enjoying material things or against supporting the


people who have to endure this great season as retail employees. It’s just that I think Time writer Barbara Kiviat made a good point in her recent critique of big bargains.

“And when they’re feeling sufficiently incomplete, you convince them that your product is the only thing that can fill the void.” She “realizes that part of what got us [into recession] was overspending, and that

that overspending was fostered by a shopping culture that uses cheap goods to hook

people on feeling like they’re winning at something.”

Maybe if I had spent more time in the books and study guides I bought, I

wouldn’t have felt the need for anything else that came after it. Perhaps if everyone

“took steps to deal with their lives” or “worked to root out the real reason for their misery,” fewer of us would (still) be living life laid off.


Past, Present, Post Void  
Past, Present, Post Void  

PAST, PRESENT, POST VOID is a publication designed as an exploration of journaling and consumerism—on a personal + social level. Receipts ar...