Friday, August 16, 2013

We're all in the wrong business!!!! ...

...unless that is, you're in the baby business.

About four years ago I was approached to run a great wedding website.  It was a blue chip wedding brand,  a great business, but the thing is, I didn't know a thing about the wedding industry, so I passed.

Then I got married!!!

WTF!!!!  The wedding industry is amazing, it literally adds a premium onto everyday things like printing, catering, venue hiring, linen, flowers, everything in fact, is a premium.  You want a DJ, great;  a normal DJ is around $900, a wedding DJ $1500; you want to order a load of flowers, you can get a boatload for $500, but your wedding flowers, they're $5,000!!!  When descending into this financial raping, you see that the whole industry is built on one thing, "it's your special day".  You could get normal printed invitations, OR, for an extra $1000 get beautiful letterpress printing, because, "it's your special day", you spend thousands more than any sane person would in ANY other situation because, "it's your special day"!

There is now though another industry that is even cleverer than the wedding industry.  You see, weddings last for only a couple of days, a baby, it's like a bloody puppy, it's for LIFE!

Today my beautiful wife and I spent a good hour and a half walking around Buy Buy Baby, the aptly called super store for everything baby, registering for everything you need to bring a sprog into this world.  Now admittedly, it's actually a lot of fun, but my god, the prices!

You want a stroller, of course you do, I mean, you have to have one of those... $1,000; a high chair as much as $500; car seat, $200; baby monitor $250; the obligatory BabyBjorn $200...this business is amazing.  In an hour and a half, we dropped over $3,000 and that's without the cot, dresser, table pad, diapers, blankets, clothes, food (OK we got to feed the thing), the list goes on and on.

Not that I am complaining, I'm just so jealous I don't own Buy Buy Baby. There were people lining up to register for their babies, imagine all of those people at $3,000 a time, every day, BAZINGA! No wonder the store is so big and has so many employees, (who by the way can I mention are some of the nicest and most helpful store employees you will ever meet), they can afford them!

So forget entertainment, get into babies, it's never ending gravy train!!!!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Amtrak - The Smell Of Death !

If you have ever traveled on AMTRAK on the eastern corridor you might know what this blog post is about, the smell of death. If you’re posh and travel on the ACELA you will not know what I am talking about but, on their regional trains, the detergent that they clean the inside of the trains with is most peculiar. 

I will put my best wine nose on and try to describe…

There’s a hint of death, musk, formaldehyde, roses, incense, and leather all mixed together.  I have never been to an embalming, but for some reason this is how I think it smells. 

But wait!!!

It seems that the smell has been modified.  I am sitting on the Friday morning regional to Washington and the smell has changed.  It still percolates a slight smell of death in case you were to miss it, but there is a stronger citrus and floral bouquet.  This might be death 2.0, “the funeral”.

Imagine…we have already had the embalming done, and now the neatly preserved, only ever so slightly smelly body is has moved to the viewing room, surrounded for flowers, and sliced lemons, (OK I don’t get that part of the analogy either).  It’s still a very overpowering smell, like the fat woman who gets in the elevator with you who bathed in perfume, only she died a couple of weeks ago.

The one thing I will say though is how pleasant the environment is, (sans smell). I have a roomy reclining chair, more legroom than any business class flight, it’s clean, (the detergent might smell but by god it cleans, I could eat off these seat trays, in fact I just did).  I often think we dismiss the train.  We rush to fly everywhere, and true, a train from NY to LA is not a realistic option, but how many people are lining up at LaGuardia to catch a dirty, cramped plane, that in summer has a very high chance of being delayed and it isn’t in any way quicker.

My train journey:

                        5 minutes to train station
                        15 minutes waiting to board
                        3 hours travel time
                        Arrive center of DC – 3 hours 20 minutes

The flight:

                        35 minutes to LaGuardia (If you’re lucky)
                        30 minutes through security (if you’re lucky)
                        30 minutes waiting
                        15 minutes to board
                        1 hour flight, (if you’re not delayed)
                        20 minutes circling waiting to land
                        20 minutes getting off and out of airport
                        30 minutes driving into center of DC (if you’re lucky)
                        Arrive center of DC – 4 hours 05 minutes

I also have the advantage of a buffet car, large windows with things to look at out of them, two electrical outlets, no turbulence, a clean toilet (test driven), I can go for a walk and stretch my legs, all for $85, (how much was your shuttle ticket?)

I just wish they would get rid of the smell of death, even if it’s ever so slightly improved!