Nov 25
Black Friday Fail Posted by Laura Iriarte

Black Friday line
Photo credit: Shein aka tshein

November 25, 2011 – It’s Black Friday, and I’ve failed miserably at it.

It all started a few days ago…when my daughter, Alexandra, looked through an ad and found an XBox 360 4gb on sale for $100. She thought this would make a perfect Christmas present for her boyfriend. The catch was…you had to be there when the doors opened at 4:00am.

She asked me to go pick it up for her. Now, mind you, I have never participated in this Black Friday madness. Well…I have shopped on Black Friday, but not extreme shopping, not the getting up in the middle of the night when you should be sleeping shopping. But this time I agreed because there are legitimate reasons why she couldn’t go herself, and I know she’s on a budget, and well I love her and all that.

My plan was: get up at 3:30am, be at the store by 4:00am, buy the XBox, be back in bed by 4:30am.

I got up at 3:30am, and arrived at the store by 4:00am(Yes I am purposely not mentioning the store name). When I got there I walked right in, but then hesitated as I realized there was an insanelyyy long organized line of people waiting to go in(I asked later and was told they let them in to line up starting at midnight). I did the right thing and went to the end of the line, which was already moving in.

After I got in to the store I walked back to the electronics section and asked someone where the XBox was, I was first pointed to one area, where the surrounding customers told me that the ones that were left were a higher gigabyte model and were $299. That they only had 20 of the $99 models and they had been grabbed first thing. I didn’t take their word for it though and went and asked an employee, who pointed me to a different area, but they again said, “they were stacked over here, but that’s the first thing everyone grabbed”.

The moral of this story is – plan ahead. If you’re going to do the Black Friday thing, do it right. Or maybe…don’t hesitate and barge right in…

Reconnaissance: Go the day before and scout out what you want. Ask the employees where the item will be placed and how many of them they have.

Arrival: Get there many hours before the store opens and stand in line. Plan to dress warm and bring yourself snacks and entertainment. Make sure your phone is charged!

Action: Once those doors open go straight for your target bargain! Don’t be distracted by all the other pretty displays!

I don’t know if I’ll actually do the Black Friday thing again…I’m more of a Cyber Monday girl…but if I do…I’ll take my own advice. Live and learn…

And did I get back to bed at 4:30am at least? No, I stayed up until 6:00am to finish one blog post and write this one!

Have you ever done Black Friday? Any tips or tricks to share? Please comment below! :)

Nov 25
#Occupy Posted by Laura Iriarte

Smile, March & Occupy

Photo credit: Jim Arnold aka technomonk

November 25, 2011 – 1% of our nation controls all the wealth, and then there are the 99% of us.

Who am I? I am a citizen, a mom, an entrepreneur, and I’m part of the 99%.

We need answers…we need help…we need solutions!

The recent Bank Transfer Day on November 4, 2011 urged people to transfer their money out of banks and move it to credit unions. This was in protest of the banks who are now charging fees for simply using your ATM card.

The countrywide #Occupy movement is history making, groundbreaking, ground swelling evidence that we need change.

The poor are paying too much in taxes…the rich are paying no taxes…that’s messed up! Gas prices are too high. Banks are charging more and more fees.

Where do we start? How about taxes – I understand that write-offs are important and help a lot of people. I understand that our taxes help run our country and are needed. So what is the solution?

No one making under $50k a year should be paying taxes. People making over 5 million should be paying a higher percentage…but still have write offs. Generally we pay 33% in taxes. That’s 1/3 of our income. Over a certain tax bracket they should pay 40% or 50% and still be allowed write-offs to balance it out.

The president needs to regulate gas prices. We need green sustainable energy solutions. I know personally that I used to drive to San Francisco one to three times a week a couple of years ago, but now, with the price of gas, I rarely go at all. It takes me over $54 to fill up my tank, which I do once a week as it is.

That has to be dramatically affecting our economy. I know if it made this change in my lifestyle, that it is happening to others. If people can’t afford to go places, they aren’t spending money and traveling, and that is hurting businesses large and small in the long run. They’re not spending money in those places they might have gone.

Also that top 1% needs to realize that they could do so much good for our country with the money that they have.

I challenge them to take 33% of it and invest in our country’s future.

Use 1/4 for after school enrichment programs for our children. Our overall education scores are lagging way behind other countries. We aren’t number one here people. Our math and science scores are near the bottom, with more and more technical jobs opening up in the future that we won’t have the qualified applicants to fill. We need to fix this.

Use 1/4 for college scholarships for students with a 3.5 or higher GPA. We need those smart dedicated students to run our country. College prices are rising higher and more and more worthy students just can’t afford it.

Take the last half and invest in new business ventures -venture capitalist style. Help our economy by helping the entrepreneurs – creating jobs – and you may just make more money than you started with.

I’m not an economist, or a politician and I realized this may be a simplistic plan, which is far-fetched and could only work if the 1% took up my challenge.

This economy is on my mind, and probably on yours, and we have to think about this, we have to discuss it, we have to find a solution to help this economy and our nation, our children, and yes, the 99%.

Please share your thoughts and comment below! :)