Monday, February 22, 2010

1001 Ways To Tune Up The World, Number Fifty-Eight

58. Let everyone use "forever pricing" on everything.

"Forever" stamps are, as you may or may not know, those stamps that let you hedge against inflation by buying a zillion stamps now, at the current price -- and then using them forever in the future, regardless of how high stamp prices go. So, assuming that the Post Office and mail somehow remain relevant as email and attachments become easier to send, you'll stand to make a killing on your Forever stamp investment.

Okay, sarcasm aside, why not let everyone use Forever pricing, on everything? That is, let consumers enter into long-term deals to buy things at a given price, just the way governments already do. (Governments purchase things like gas and electricity at set rates, for budgeting purposes.) That way, consumers could control their costs better and budget better, while suppliers might reap the rewards of an economic downturn, or consumers reap the rewards of an upswing.

We buy 3-4 gallons of milk per week-- those Babies! can really drink the milk-- and the price ranges from $2.49 to $2.79. At $0.30 per carton times three times 52 weeks, that's... carry the seven... $46 per year we might be overpaying. Or $46 per year a farmer is losing.

Suppose, instead, that I was able to lock in a price, for, say, two years: I'll pay $2.50 per gallon for two years, I offer to a grocery store, and they give me a card saying that's what I get to do. Then, if milk prices rise, I'm set for two years. I don't have to worry. If milk prices drop, well, then I'm still okay with my price -- I thought $2.50 was good, and I still would think it's good -- but farmers will make a little more off of me.

This concept could be applied to anything: music downloads, Hallmark cards (those have shot up in price), cable TV (does anyone still have cable TV?) , you name it. Computers: You could lock in a laptop price: I'll pay $900 for a laptop with X specifications, good for two years.

Prior entries:

13. Ban driving any kind of automobile, motorcycle or other personal vehicle within 1-2 miles of downtown in any city with a population of more than 100,000.

12. Abolish gym class; instead, teach kids to play musical instruments.

11. Change copyright laws to allow anyone to use anyone else's creative work provided that the copier pay 60% of the profit to the originator and that the copier not cast the original work in a negative light.

10. Have more sidewalk cafes and outdoor seating.

9. When you have to give someone a gift, ask them what they want, and then get that thing for them.

8. Never interrupt or finish someone's jokes.

7. Periodically, give up something you like for at least a month.

6. Switch to "E-money."

5. Have each person assigned one phone number, and then add an extension for the various phones and faxes that person might be reached at.

4. Abolish Mondays and Tuesdays.

3. Don't listen to interviews with athletes or comedians.

2. Have "personal cashiers" at the grocery store.

1. Don't earn more than $200,000 per year.

Claudius wanted to be the first man to reach the stars... but it was murder to get there. Read
Eclipse, the haunting sci-fi book from Briane Pagel. Available at and on your Kindle.

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