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Jan 23 2009

2009-1 – Justus & Jill lead (d2cd1ed3b11eafd8327fcfce74c35fdd.mp4)

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Jan 23 2009

2009-1 – Justus & Jill lead

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Jan 23 2009

The Universe Made Simple

This telescope searches stars for you, shows videos about the stars, and even gives audio information on each of the stars and celestial bodies as you look at them. Not to mention, there is no real human intervention needed!

I can’t help it. I had to add this cause it is so cool!

pd

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Jan 23 2009

Dirty Little Secrets of ‘Out-of-Business’ Sales

Do ‘closeout’ sales mean the lowest prices? Not always. And where did all that extra merchandise come from?

Lori and I were discussing this as we walked through Linens and Things in Rockville, MD, just days after their closing. I pointed to a number of items that had been:
1 – Tampered with, opened and repackaged imperfectly.
2 – Were not from the Linens and Things store that were really junk.
3 – Items from a whole different store, including a whole alcove with a private company renting space for a full featured little rug store there in Linens and Things that only accepted cash!
4 – And lastly, my favorite, I pointed a ton of items that were OVERPRICED at the current 30% off price! They were actually marked up, then marked down and they were at that time over the original Linens and Things price!!!!!

So, read on and WATCH OUT!

pd
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They’re seen as either big-time bargains or big-time scams. What really goes on at a “going-out-of-business” sale is something in between, according to experts.

“Consumers think this is the time for bargains. That’s not true,” said George Whalin, president and CEO of Retail Management Consultants.

Thousands of retail stores are expected to disappear in 2009. But most big chains don’t run those out-of-business sales themselves – Linens ‘N Things, Whitehall Jewelers and, most recently, Circuit City, all hired liquidation firms to handle the process for them.

The liquidator buys the merchant’s inventory and sets final clearance sales. They guarantee the store’s creditors a payment upfront, and need to sell enough merchandise to recoup money for themselves.

“Would I love to offer a 60% discount and be out in two weeks? Yes. But it’s not likely,” said Jim Schaye, CEO of Hudson Capital Partners LLC, one of four firms managing the liquidation of electronic retailer Circuit City.

He said he and the other liquidators needed a “fairly sizeable” recovery in order to help Circuit City repay its creditors.

“We want to make sure everything is fairly priced,” he said. “Do we get it right every time? No.”

Because the liquidators don’t want to lose money, it’s not uncommon for clearance sales to begin at 10% to 30% off for the first few weeks, with deeper discounts staggered over the period closer to the end of the closeout sale.

However, Whalin said liquidators sometimes set those discounts based on manufacturers’ prices – which can be 10% to 15% higher – rather than the price at the store when it closed.

Consequently, he said, consumers could end up paying more than they would have just before the “out-of-business sales” signs went up.

“This isn’t necessarily right. It’s almost a scam and there’s nothing illegal about it,” said Marshal Cohen, chief retail analyst with NPD Group. “Buying at a liquidation really is caveat emptor.”

Cohen’s suggestion to consumers: “You’ll get the absolute best prices a week before [a retailer's] liquidation sale start.” – assuming you can get to the liquidating store ahead of the sale.

Andy Gumaer, CEO of Great America Corp., which also is handling Circuit City’s liquidation, said his company is setting discounts off the store’s price prior to liquidation. He said he would honor prices in Circuit City’s final sales circular.

Liquidators looking to make a few extra bucks sometimes sneak in goods that aren’t part of the merchant’s original inventory and add it to the mix, according to Whalin.

“This happens frequently in furniture liquidation sales,” he said.

Hudson Capital’s Schaye, who was involved in closing out Mervyns and Linens ‘N Things stores, said he’s aware of stores that added merchandise, but that he personally “doesn’t like the practice.”

Cohen said liquidators also go all out to make products less identifiable as “refurbished” or “previously opened.”

“Just be aware of that because most liquidation sales are final,” Cohen said.

One thing common to liquidation sales is that the discounts grow as the liquidators near the deadline for closing the stores.

“Anyone who has looked at liquidation sales knows that they are staggered over time,” Edgar Dworksy, a consumer advocate and editor of Consumerworld.org. “This isn’t new.”

He advised consumers to do their research. “Is a 10% discount at Circuit City better than anything else out there? Don’t buy if it’s not because you have zero percent return rights [in a liquidation],” he warned.

In general, Dworsky cautioned that he wouldn’t “put anything past liquidators” when it comes to “playing a game with pricing.”

Gumaer’s advice to bargain hunters is that they have to decide themselves when to bag a deal.

“You have to take a chance. You can wait for better discounts, but the product may not be there,” he said. “In truth, consumers dictate the discounts. If products aren’t selling, we’ll go deeper.” (CNN Money)

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Jan 23 2009

Love your job? Then save it!

If you’re worried about getting laid off, here’s some consolation: So is everyone else. Follow these do’s and don’ts to raise the odds that your job stays, well, yours.

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DO take credit… but don’t “walk around with a big neon sign that says I’M GREAT,” says career coach Marie McIntyre. “Look for opportunities to let people know what you’re doing.” One good strategy: Create a paper trail by copying your boss on e-mail (selectively!). And periodically take the initiative to send a summary of what you’re working on.

DON’T ask for a raise or a promotion. Be patient, and be grateful for now that you’ve got a job.
DO volunteer for more work. Companies are making cuts, so someone needs to pick up the extra work. Do it with a smile, and you’re a dream employee.

DO arrive early and stay late. This is obvious and no longer optional. Make your commitment visible by pulling long hours. Also, lay off the text messaging or personal calls during business hours.

DON’T telecommute. “[Bosses] tend to fire people they don’t like or don’t know,” says Stephen Viscusi, author of “Bulletproof Your Job.” Working from home or part-time makes it harder for your boss to know you, so avoid it if you can.

DO chat up your boss and your boss’s boss. If you’re at the cafeteria, strike up a conversation. “Executives love to talk about business, and they’re often as uneasy talking with you as you are with them,” says McIntyre. Be ready with a question, like “I just read about something our competitor’s doing. What’s your take on that?”

DON’T be eccentric. Now’s the time to fit in completely. “Buy some Crest White Strips. Look like you belong there,” says career expert Stephen Viscusi. “Don’t wear perfume or cologne, because maybe you’re wearing the perfume of your boss’s ex-wife.”

DO feel your boss’s pain. If you feel as if you’re being marginalized, talk with your manager and find out what his or her priorities are these days. Ask your boss, “What are your biggest goals right now, and how can I help?”

DON’T be high maintenance. Even if layoffs are necessary, they can also serve as an excuse for companies to fire people they wanted to get rid of anyway. Why? The most frequent issue is attitude: People who are demanding, difficult, or whiny, or otherwise take up too much of their manager’s energy, are the first to go.

If you need something from your boss, there’s a right and a wrong way to ask. “Use the magic phrase, ‘I really want to make this work,’” suggests Deborah Brown-Volkman, a career coach who specializes in counseling financial services professionals. Be clear you’re committed to finding a solution that helps the company. “The worst approach is ‘I don’t have this, I don’t have that,’” Brown-Volkman says. Instead, show how your business will benefit from a fix. If you can’t, then let it go. And always be ready with a solution or two.

The bottom line: Make your boss’s job easier, not harder.

DO stay informed. Set a Google alert for your company so that you’re up on what’s going on. You’ll have a better sense for when layoffs are coming. Plus, smart employees know how their piece of the business fits into the larger picture of what’s happening at the company.

DON’T gossip about the company. It’s tempting to compare notes with co-workers, but obsessing about your fears will only distract you from being productive. “It’s a diversion of your energy, and whatever answers you’re coming up with aren’t that helpful,” says Haberfeld.

DO a self-review. Try this exercise: Imagine your boss, your boss’s boss, and the HR director all sitting in a room, categorizing people. What are they going to say about you? How much do they value your work?

DON’T panic! There may still be a way to save your job if your boss tells you you’re being laid off. “These are the words you always hear: ‘Listen, we have to let you go – it’s a numbers thing,’” says Viscusi. He suggests negotiating and offering to take less pay or work fewer days in the week.

“If they still say no,” he says, “now you’re calling their bluff, allowing yourself to open a bigger severance envelope.” That’s because if a company has trouble explaining why it fired you, there’s room for you to sue for wrongful termination. Some managers might decide it’s easier to throw some money in your direction now than risk losing more down the road.

By Yang: Fortune Magazine


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Jan 23 2009

100 Best Companies to Work For

Find the best companies to work for in 2009 near you! This is a state by state rating system from Fortune Magazine.

I am adding this for all you guys out there reading my blog. Click through below and you will find a state by state search for all the best companies that are looking to hire. Go through this list as you look for your next job close to home!

pd

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Jan 23 2009

How to buy a flat-panel HDTV

With technologies improving and prices falling, could it be time for an upgrade? Get ready, get set. This great guide from Fortune Magazine helps you actually think through what TV is best for your sized room, the distance from the set, the type of signal you are receiving and much more. I find myself in the market for one right now with their sudden drop in price, so I plan to use this for my own research!

pd

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Jan 23 2009

2009-1-19 – Our Belated Christmas Due to the Move

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