Archive for the ‘Consumer’ Category

Deep in debt

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

Scary article in today’s Financial Post …

Complacent Canadians now deep in debt

No matter how you look at it, there is no mistaking Canadians debt is rising fast and we can no longer thumb our noses at Americans as reckless spenders with little regard for savings.

A report released by professional services firm Deloitte & Touche LLP Tuesday said Canadian consumers had a debt to disposable income ratio of more than 130% at the end of the second quarter of 2008. At that ratio, we have surpassed our American cousins who had a debt to disposable income ratio of just under 125%.

… etc.

By the way, I’m thinking of buying some new living-room furniture at the local big-box furniture store.  I can’t afford it, but luckily I won’t need to come up with the money right away (Don’t pay for 15 months! No money down! 0% interest! No monthy payments!).

Yeah, the economy will probably have rebounded in 15 months and the good times will be rolling.

Toilet talk

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

If it’s yellow

Let it mellow

If it’s brown

Flush it down

I must admit that I don’t make a practise of following that old water conservation slogan.  If I tried it, someone in my house would have a talk with me.

However I do feel somewhat guilty about using 13 litres of municipally-treated water each time I tinkle (which happens more frequently since I turned 50 than it used to).  Water conservation is an important part of natural resource stewardship.  Not to speak of saving money.

So when I found out that the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority is willing to pay me $50 per toilet to replace my old porcelain thrones with new low-flush (6-litre) or dual-flush (6-litre and 3-litre) models, I decided to look into what dual-flush models are available.  Since I was in Saskatoon on Saturday anyway, it was a good excuse to browse through Home Depot.

Unfortunately I was still thinking in mid 1990s prices, from the last time we replaced a toilet.  I’m sure we paid less than $100 for a basic model at that time. On Saturday the only dual-flush toilet that Home Depot had in stock was selling for just under $300 before taxes.  The $50 rebate would help, but I’m still having trouble with the cost of replacing the three toilets in our house.

Apparently there are technical factors to consider when buying a low-flush toilet – such as whether the trap is glazed, or only the bowl itself is glazed.  It makes sense that the brown stuff would clog less in a nice slippery glazed trap than in a rough-surfaced trap, but I admit I had never pondered that fact.  The news story at the link above says a good model would cost in the $400-$600 range.

I guess the $300 toilet at Home Depot must have an unglazed trap.

However it seems to me that it would take a lot of low-flushes to justify the extra cost of a more poop-friendly model.

Lots to think about.  The research will continue.  Meanwhile any practical toilet advice would be appreciated.

(Please excuse my potty-mouth language in this post – I’ll try to get my mind out of the sewer before my next post)

Hudson’s Bay Company sold again

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

The venerable Hudson’s Bay Company has another American owner. Apparently they plan to bring the upscale Lord and Taylor line of shops into Canada.

I didn’t notice any mention in the news story about whether HBC will return to buying furs and seneca root.

Rat Portage Hudson's Bay Company trading post