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Every Friday, I post a small insight into running Curio City and/or Blue Hills Editorial Services. My most recent posts are directly below. You can also start with the first post, or use the subject labels to the right to home in on particular topics. Feel free to comment on anything that interests you.
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Friday, September 25, 2009

For Richer & Poorer

September goes out with a rock-‘em sock-‘em week. The numbers below tell most of the story. I spent more money on inventory this month than in any previous (non-Christmas) month. None of my new merchandise is doing much yet, but that’s to be expected. It takes time for the Internet to absorb a new product page.

Panther Vision forced my hand by rolling out a third-generation cap, available (so far) only in black. I combined a case of those with a reorder of other colors in the “old” style. A couple of days later Panther unexpectedly landed a container of Power Caps in several more colors, rendering most of my $1,000 reorder obsolete before it even arrived. By way of apology, Panther let me place a small order for the new-style caps at their big-order price, but it still put the kibosh on my new-product acquisition plans for now. I have paused to catch my breath.

Are you here to read more of my health insurance soap opera? Well, I fiddled with it a little bit. The first step in determining whether we can get state subsidies is figuring out our annual income, which is bloody hard to do. Anne was employed for a month. There was a check for unused vacation time. Then she got unemployment checks, but not every week; she had to skip checks in weeks that she reported freelance income. I have kept track of the estimated taxes due on her freelance income, but not the income itself, so I had to guess at that for Q1 and Q2. Did I remember to include her parttime teaching salary? Half of my Kraken Enterprises salary won’t be earned until Q4, so I have to guess at that, too. Whatever profit Kraken reports at the end of the year also counts as personal income. The number that I finally came up with for our combined gross income is only accurate to within 15- 20%. We should earn about half of what we made last year.

The “good news” is that we might be in the sweet spot…poor enough to qualify for subsidies, but not so poor as to actually be, you know, poor. I might have time to explore Commonwealth Care later today…or it might slip into next week.

Last Tuesday I came into a little money from an auto insurance refund. I deposited that check on Wednesday, intending to apply it toward debt. On Thursday a collection agency dunned me for a medical bill that I never intended to pay (some faceless clinic doctor that I’ll probably never encounter again)...but since the bill was almost exactly the same amount as my windfall, I figured I might as well buy peace. This morning I wrote the check and sealed the envelope, relieved to be fully paid up at last. An hour later the mailman brought us another medical bill. The hospital charged Blue Cross Blue Shield $617 for an X-ray. The hospital settled for the $270.85 that BCBS allowed for the procedure. As it happens, our deductible reset on Sept. 1. With the copay, we are responsible for $270. BCBS paid the remaining 85 cents.

For this coverage, we pay $925 a month. What’s really funny is that they really should not have even covered the 85 cents. Our deductible doubled this month.

So now I have another unpayable medical bill on my desk, twice as large as the last one. Oh well, it won’t go to collection for at least a few months.

Enough of this depressing health care crap. Here are the rosy September numbers:

Total income: +72.5%
Total COGS: +42.2%
Payroll: +108.3%
Net Income (Profit): +1,076.9%


Total income: +18.6%
Total COGS: +15.5%
Payroll: +25.0%
Net Income (Profit): -36.7%

I'm still far below my ultimate goal of earning minimum wage, but do you know anyone else who’s making 25% more than LY?

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