Milk weirdness

So I’m a comparison shopper as you can probably imagine.  I regularly go to 3 or 4 stores during the week.  Since all of our grocery stores are within a mile or so, the dollars you can save by shopping at the places with the lowest prices on the various stuff are more than worth the pennies it takes in gas.

I usually take a kid or 4, and we make it an adventure.  Plus, this gives us plenty of places to look for coins :-)

So while I was out today I noticed some weirdness in the prices of milk.  While I was out at Walmart earlier in the week, I noticed that milk was $2.48 a gallon, so I put that on the list to buy there.  But when I went to buy it today, I saw that only Vitamin D and 2% were $2.48.  1% was like $2.69 and skim was $3.00!  So that’s weird but not unheard of.  But then a bit later when I was at Sam’s club, I noticed that skim was $2.62, with 1%, 2% and Vitamin D all progressively more.

In other words – the complete opposite?  That made no sense.  I could believe it if you explained it to me that the extra fat in the 2% and Vitamin D made it more expensive.  And I suppose I’d consider believing if you explained it to me that the extra fat came naturally and it cost more to take it out for the skim or 1%.  BUT I’M CERTAINLY NOT GOING TO BELIEVE BOTH OF THOSE!!!!!!!

In non-related news, while I was at Meijer, someone had left a $5 bill in the cash return of the self-scan machine.  I waited for someone to come back and claim it but nobody did, so since there was nobody really to return it to, I kept it.  Too bad that doesn’t count for the change race!

Turkey Croquet

Family and Friends:

I would like to invite you to the inaugural 1st Annual Miller Family Thanksgiving Croquet game.  I apologize for the short notice and I’m sure it is only this lack of appropriate notice that will prevent you from dropping everything and making it to Cincinnati for this amazing experience and not piddling concerns like “flying across the country” or anything so trivial.

When: Thanksgiving, sometime about 3 pm or so, depending on how long it takes me to able to walk again after playing in the Turkey Bowl earlier in the day.
Where: Our house, Cincinnati Ohio
What: Croquet course, carefully designed by master course designer Dan Miller
Obstacles: Our neighbors’ dog Max will at least hopefully be on a leash so as to not run and poo all over our yard, but if he’s outside he will still probably bark non-stop.  Also the very thick coat of leaves and the decomposing parts of the shed that we tore down a year ago that are still sitting around the back yard.

Hope you can make it, and if you can’t, feel free to take part in your own associated croquet matches and we’ll make this the biggest Croquet Day yet.  Take pictures and we can share!

Exploiting inefficiencies in the secondary BTFE market

Could there be a more boring post title?

But yet, read on, gentle reader, and I think that you will be intrigued by what I have to say. For awhile, I have been interested in some of the ineffeciences in the second-hand Box Tops for Education (BTFE) market.

For those of you without school-aged children, BTFE are found on various food products (typically your General Mills / Betty Crocker products but some others). You clip them out and send them in to your kids’ (or any participating) school and then the school turns them in for 10 cents a box top. So far, so good.

Here’s where it gets interesting. If you do a search on ebay for BTFE, you will see that many times they sell for more than 10 cents a box top. In some cases, MUCH more than 10 cents – I’ve seen them go for over 20 cents per box top.

Why do people pay that much? Here’s the only thing I can think of: many times schools will have a pizza party for the class that brings in the msot box tops. So Mommy and Daddy don’t want to take the time to actually clip these, and little Janie or Junior simply MUST have their class party. So they buy them off eBay and send them in.

Recently my co-worker Kerry (again, not to be confused with my sister Kerry) and I noticed that there seemed to be a spike in the raw cost per BTFE on eBay. And we found that twice a year (I believe on 10/31 and 3/30), the schools have to send in their box tops to the Box Tops folks. So many times, schools will send out reminders to parents to send them in. Which in turn reminds them to check eBay and buy them.

A few times, my local Meijer has run promotions where if you buy a certain number of products, you get certificates for 100 or 120 box tops. You can read some of my reports here or here. On the last one, we decided we would hold off on selling our box tops on eBay until October, when we thought the prices would be at their peak. Our coupons for 120 box tops each ($12 face value) sold for about $17 each, though counting Paypal and eBay fees, it wasn’t as great of a deal. But still not bad given for the most part, we paid about $6 for the certificates (not to mention all the food that we picked up alongside)

But even though the October date just passed, I am still seeing pretty good rates for box tops. I have set up an RSS feed that I subscribe to with my handy Google Reader. It searches for only BTFE that are Buy it Nows. So I periodically look for good deals. A few weeks ago, I bought 75 BTFE for $5 shipped (6.67 cents per box top).

Then today I was alerted to a certificate for 1000 box tops selling for $89.99. eBay has sent me a 10% off coupon, so I decided to take the plunge. So it cost me $80.99. I think that I can turn around and sell it Buy it Now for $119.99, which, after fees (handy eBay fee calculator), will net a handy profit of $27.46

I’ll keep you posted!

License Plate

So… my license plate is broken. Well, the plate itself is not broken. But one of the screws / bolts that holds it to the car has come out, and so it hangs down.

My car kind of looks like that. Well, minus the fact that my car hasn’t been completely smashed up. Oh, and it’s not that kind of car at all. Hmm and I don’t ride around with a pair of gloves in my hood and the hood up. And my license plate is Ohio instead of Washington DC. But that’s kind of what my license plate looks like.

So, this has been going on for a few months now. I have it on my list of “things to do some day” to fix this, but have not really gotten around to it because it’s not a big deal for me.

But for some reason, people love to stop me while I’m driving to point this out to me. I’m sure they are just trying to be helpful, but what are the odds that this has just happened and I’m unaware of it? At least one guy mentioned something like “I’m sure you probably already know this but…”. The other day, as I was driving to work, a big truck stopped. It looked like he was trying to turn left across traffic so I was inching up to allow him room to turn into the shopping center (I was stopped at a red light). But no, he yelled at me again and wanted to let me know about my rogue license plate.

I find it odd that the impetus for me fixing this is likely to NOT be the actual license plate itself, but just to stop people from pointing it out to me.

And yes, for those of you who live in Cincinnati and see me on a regular basis, please point this out to me whenever you see me and my car. Because you’ll think you’re being funny, but in fact, you’ll be like the 500th person to point it out which will make you, in the immortal words of Jerry Seinfeld, quite LAME!

Dear NFL Network: SHOW THE FREAKIN GAME!!!!

So last night I was watching the Browns game on websites of questionable legality. That is one advantage of the fall baby – I take the first turn of the night by having him sleep on my chest while I watch football. Works at least 2 or 3 nights of a week!

So anyways, I am not sure if the feed that I was watching was the same as what is shown on the actual NFL Network, but it SUCKED!

Several times (at least 5) they would cut to studio analysts blathering about whatever. Now that is annoying in and of itself, but okay fine. But then they would continue talking WHILE THE ACTUAL GAME WAS GOING ON!!!

Several times they had the camera on on-field roving reporter Solomon Wilcots and you could (barely) see the game being played behind him.

I’m not sure who the ad wizards are that came up with that one, but it’s quite possibly the most annoying thing this side of basketball “annoyo-cam”

Blogger conversion

Okay – I am still in the process of converting things over to WordPress from Blogger.  I now have the RSS / Atom feeds working, so those of you who are my loyal Google Reader feeds can now have your Dan Miller once again.  Used this link to put a few lines in my .htaccess files as none of the plugins seemed to be working.

I am still working on getting the old images and internal links working.

Had a kid

Yup.  Had a kid.  Well, mostly it was Carolyn that had the kid – I mostly just sat around and watched. It was a boy and if you’re reading this you probably have already seen the announcement I emailed out. If you haven’t, then it’s probably because I don’t have your email address.

Also, this is my first post on our new blog, on the new web host with the new blogging software. We’ve moved from Blogger over to WordPress. I will probably (possibly? maybe?) write more about this a bit later on after I figure more stuff out. For now, I need to go get Carolyn’s blog working over there before she yells at me.