In basic economics class, students learn different meanings for words they already know, like “demand” and “elasticity.” As an economic term, elasticity is the degree to which demand for a product is affected by a change in price. For example, the demand for luxury items is often elastic. If the price of a Caribbean cruise doubled, fewer people would opt for that vacation. On the other hand, the demand for salt is inelastic.
If the price of salt doubled, or even tripled, consumers would likely buy the same amount. Part of the reason for that is that the price is so low to start with, and the other reason is that most people consider it to be a necessity.
We teach our children many very detailed things about Santa Claus. He lives in the North Pole and employs elves to make toys for the children of the world, or at least for the nice ones. On Christmas Eve, he magically visits the home of every deserving child delivering toys by sliding down the chimney, even in homes that do not have a fireplace. His magical journey is made possible by eight reindeer pulling a sleigh (and lots of toy cargo). We learned these things from our parents, but where did they and their parents learn them?
Here’s an innovative charitable idea right on time for Christmas, or any other time of the year. Next time you upgrade vehicles, why not look for an opportunity to give away the weakest member of your vehicle fleet rather than trade it in? In many families, especially those with teenage or young adult drivers, a vehicle upgrade has a ripple effect of upgrades down the line.
By the time you get down to the vehicle that you no longer want or need, there might not be much left in terms of trade-in value. On the other hand, if there is someone in your church or neighborhood who needs a vehicle, a working set of wheels would represent a major lifestyle improvement.
This is a win-win opportunity without serious loss to the giver. Chances are the vehicle that you are discarding would not produce a big trade-in allowance, so you might reap only slightly lower payments as a result. On the other hand, donating your vehicle to a tax-exempt organization can yield income tax benefits next spring.
One more thing to be thankful for this season is the ease of travel in our day. Just one hundred fifty years ago, if part of your family moved to the west coast it was a grand farewell. “Have a nice life, and we will look for a letter next year if you survive the journey.” Now you can catch a plane tonight and have breakfast with your family on the other coast tomorrow morning.
The change of seasons is not a big deal in Florida. Residents in Brevard County often need to look at the calendar to remember that we have moved from summer into fall. Yet it is still a good idea to let the changing seasons remind you to look into routine maintenance, particularly parts that call for annual check-ups. Consider these tips from your Melbourne, Florida auto repair shop.
Summer is our big rainy season, but it’s always a good idea to check your tire tread, and it’s especially important to check before driving north for any winter holidays. There is an easy trick for do-it-yourselfers to check tire tread depth using only a penny. Insert the penny, head first, and if you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, then you have less than 1/16 of an inch of tread. That is not enough for wet driving conditions.
There are too many dehumanizing institutions in our lives these days. We have all had the experience of getting stuck on a circular voicemail maze that feels like it leads to nowhere. Oligopolies or near monopolies like communications and cable television companies are particularly notorious for forcing their customers into the system rather than treating their customers like individuals.
Auto repair facilities that represent the manufacturers are another place where we feel like livestock in a corral rather than people who matter. Lately even small acts of humanity and consideration from a vendor will provoke intense gratitude and loyalty because this kind of behavior seems so counter-culture in so many of our marketplaces.
Here is a story that illustrates the point. Last week at Cassels Garage in West Melbourne, a customer with a thirty-five year history at Cassels stopped by to ask for advice. That is a telling detail. How many shops do you know that can keep a customer’s loyalty for decades? This customer had a relatively new riding lawn mower that was not starting consistently, and he was just looking for his mechanic to recommend a lawn mower repair shop.
Here’s a week in the life of Cassel’s Automotive. As you read this story, try to imagine getting this level of attention from any dealer that sells and services cars.
A customer came home from a trip and brought his truck into the shop because it had bucked and jerked intermittently while pulling his “fifth wheel” camper trailer. During a scheduled appointment, the technicians at Cassels Garage checked the fuel and computer systems and test drove the truck about forty miles, but found nothing.
Brakes are an all-important safety feature of your vehicle, and it is important to maintain them properly. An appropriate maintenance schedule depends on usage. Obviously a New York City taxi driver puts more pressure on his brakes than the typical soccer mom or suburban commuter.
The title might seem oxymoronic at first glance, but it can be true. When you were a kid, you stressed over anything that was unpleasant, like going to the dentist or not getting your way. Most young adults stress over things that are disappointing, like unexpected household repairs or vehicle maintenance. read more →