31 JUL 05: WIN OR LOSE?
So, you may be asking, what have I bought during the Georgia tax-free holiday weekend? Well -- I told my landlord my rent was tax-free. It took him a minute to figure out that joke....
Always looking for ways to save seven or eight cents on the dollar, I traveled to Columbus Park Crossing to see what tax-free bargains were available. My trip found not all business owners are smiling this weekend - and some of them actually live in Columbus.
After visiting the landlord's office, we went to a bread store on Weems Road. Bread in particular and food in general are NOT tax-free. So your children may go back to school starving, but their notebooks will look nice.
Then we reached Columbus Park Crossing -- or as Men's Warehouse calls it in a commercial, "Columbus Park." A thunderstorm was moving in as we arrived, so we might have been safer parking than doing any crossing.
Old Navy was busy on this afternoon, but not as crowded as I've sometimes seen it. When there's no doubled-back checkout line blocking your view of beach games on the rack, it's light.
I tend to shop for "needs" more than "wants" on a trip like this, and Old Navy didn't have the tax-free clothing I needed. There were running shorts, but not in the colors I need to balance out my wardrobe. If I don't find inexpensive gold shorts soon, the pair I have may become transparent.
(Yes, I have a "rainbow" collection of running shorts. That way, you can't accuse me of color discrimination.)
Down the sidewalk at Sears, the turnout was moderate. The colors of shorts still didn't match my needs. And as I went up the escalator to check the second floor, the power went out for several seconds. I thought I'd already had enough exercise for one day....
Sears used to sell Apple iMac computers on Macon Road - but no tax-free computers could be found anywhere in the new store. It was almost as if those colorful computers had morphed into decorator washers and dryers.
With thunder rumbling and a light rain falling, I walked on to "hh gregg" - and was amazed by how empty the store was at about 5:00 p.m. Stereos, refrigerators and flat-screen TV sets are NOT tax-free. And the movie theatres separating this store from Sears might as well be the Continental Divide.
"I thought you sold computers," I said to a salesperson at hh gregg.
"We used to," he answered, "but there wasn't any money in it." Have they become too low-priced for this store to sell? That'll teach them to mark down microwave ovens to $35 during last year's grand opening.
With the rain falling harder, I didn't have an umbrella with me. But I didn't bother to buy one on sale near the door at hh gregg -- because who knows how much they might have cost....
I scampered back to Sears, as a couple of other people scampered through the rain in the opposite direction. Where is the Columbus Park Crossing shuttle carts at a time like this? Where is a METRA bus, which could make some fast money on rainy days at this complex?
After a bit of shelter at Sears, I moved closer to my car my walking into A.C. Moore. Not even this art supply filled with seemingly tax-free school supply items had a big late afternoon crowd. Maybe the presence of Halloween items on sale in late July repulsed some people.
Even closer to the rain-soaked car, I stopped inside a shoe store. "Can I help you with anything?" asked an attendant at the relatively quiet store.
"You can get the rain to stop," I suggested. Sadly, this young woman was not a certified meteorologist.
My four-pair shoe collection (dress, running, court, slippers) is in good shape right now, so I decided not to buy any tax-free shoes. At last I raced back to my car, having bought a grand total of nothing. Well, there was a day-old cinnamon roll from back at the bread store - so I drove across town and back to spend 28 cents.
So going into the final day of tax-free shopping, I've bought nothing tax-free at all. Places I presumed would have colorful shorts and computers on sale do not. Maybe the "Big Yard Sale" over on Broadway will have them today - as if the person living there would charge sales tax, anyway.
E-MAIL UPDATE: The indirect source of Saturday's entry about Fred Phelps and his touring picketers wants to set something straight:
How are things? I hope all is well. I just wanted to clarify a comment attributed to me on your blog. I did not suggest WRCG's listeners do anything. My comment to Robbie Watson was something along the lines of: people who disagree with Rev. Phelps fall into one of two categories. Either they want to ignore him so he doesn't get any more attention than they feel he deserves... or they want to give him a lot of attention to expose what they consider to be his crazy beliefs.
That's pretty much how it went. Sorry if I caused any confusion or chaos... just wanted to make sure we got that right.
Have a great weekend,
That's Blaine Stewart of WRBL. After what happened with Bill Madison and Port Columbus, I should know better than to trust the things people say on TalkLine - even the hosts.
Normally I'd do a quick wrap-up of weekend news at this point - but instead, we have a quick wrap-up of a strange weekend at the church I attend:
+ A presiding elder gave a message declaring some people are so stubborn about their religious beliefs, "you could blow up a case of dynamite under them and they wouldn't change." This man lives in Chambers County, and apparently didn't hear about the Bill Madison fuss.
+ The Pastor stated during his sermon that major TV evening newscasts "parrot the New York Times." Yet for some reason, those newscasts all found something else to cover on the evening of September 11, 2001....
(The Pastor said he tried an experiment with Friday night's news. He turned to all three newscasts, and they all had "the shuttle" - then they all had London terrorism. Only problem: all the networks led with London, not the space shuttle.)
+ A man claimed after the service the space shuttle Discovery cooled off our hot weather. His wife told him the temperature always seems to change after a rocket launch. Considering the shuttle went over the Atlantic Ocean during liftoff, that smoke at the launch pad must be dreadful....
(BLOGGER'S NOTE: We'll have to postpone that letter from Mr. Z until later in the week. It's coming, really....)
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