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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, February 21, 2014

Forward Into the Past!

Staples advertised the Samsung Galaxy S4 for a penny because the S5 is due out next month. My wife insisted that I get a Galaxy because that’s what she has – and what do I know about it? -- so I’ve been watching the price ever since Best Buy offered it for free over Christmas. One cent was close enough to free; I finally leapt into the 21st century with a newly-obsolete smartphone!

Staples turned that 1-cent telephone into a $231 Amex charge. The mobile phone business ranks right up there with car dealers and mattress salesmen for opaque accounting and must-have add-ons (Case! Screen protector! Extra memory! Accident insurance!). After all rebates and refunds are applied, and not counting the ink cartridge that I tacked on, that $231 shrinks to $91. But Amex isn’t going to see it that way.

How does Massachusetts get away with collecting sales tax on the nominal $600 retail price? Staples listed a $49.99 retail with a $49.98 credit on the receipt. Even though I only paid a penny, I can understand paying tax on its true $50 value. But $600? Come on. Has anybody ever really paid $600 for this phone? AFAIK the state doesn’t tax the pre-discount prices of any other merchandise.  

Verizon’s going to get a cut, too. Our phone bill increases by $35 a month after some hocus-pocus with the account. Curio City’s phone bill just went from $15 to $50/mo.  

Of course, now I’m $231 farther away from paying the corporate registration and tax prep fees that were this month’s goals. The phone was at the bottom of my list of needs for this year. But hey, it was only a penny!


Google says my top social referrer last month was Pinterest, followed by Facebook, Blogger (that’s you!), Naver (?), and Ning (??). That reinforces last week’s conclusion that I really have to invest some time in understanding Pinterest, as much as I cringe every time I think about it.

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