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Sign of Recession October 28, 2011

Posted by hslu in Economics, Food, Small Business.
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I was going to buy a piece of ham from Honey Baked Ham store across the street from my restaurant yesterday for the up coming Thanksgiving dinner party but found the store closed for good.

The sign was taken down from the store and the inside was empty.

It is yet another sign of the terrible recession, yes, it felt like a recession to many of my customer, which forced many national chain stores to shut their doors.

I knew the store manager who used to buy food for his employees at Christmas time in the past.

He told me that he usually couldn’t break even for many months of a year and had to rely on November and December to make up the volume holiday shoppers and from corporate clients. His sandwich business wasn’t too good because his selection was very limited.

Jason’s Deli opened its NV location in the same shopping center almost 2 years ago which must have taken away many of his lunch sandwich business.

With people buying hams from Costco and Sam’s for the holiday, Honey Baked Ham just couldn’t wait for the next Thanksgiving to save it from bankruptcy any more.

Time is tough and it really shows at the shopping center across the street from ours.

I now wonder what will come to that location next. The rent has to be about $40 and not many business can afford this kind of rent in time like this.

There is another empty space in the same shopping center. Ut’s been empty for a year now.

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Do you remember Kuwait? October 26, 2011

Posted by hslu in Do you know?, Global Affair, Oil.
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It has been 20 years since Kuwait was thrusted into the limelight in a way unimaginable.

Yes, it’s been that long when 750 Kuwaiti oil wells were set on fire when Saddam Hussein pulled his troops out of this tiny country south of Iraq.

Here is the damage done by this heinous act:

• The fire burned for eight months.
•. About 5.5 million barrels of oil was consumed every day.
•. About 3 Billion cubic feet of natural gas was burned every day.
• More than 300 oil lakes were formed from oil that wasn’t burned containing 22.5 million barrels of oil.
•. More than 10 million barrels of oil flowed into Persian Gulf.
•. More than 10,000 oil field workers from 37 countries participated in the effort to minimize the damage.
•. Well control cost well over $1.5 billion or about $2 million per well.
•. The total price tag came to $5 billion.
•. The oil industry met the daunting task and kill about 100 well each month.
•. The first fire was spotted in late February, 1991. The last fire was put out on November 6, 1991.
•. The most ingenious way to put out fire was devised by Hungarian fire fighting team: a MIG-21 turbine was mounted on old Soviet T-62 tanks. High pressure water and air were directed at the burning well which eventually distinguished the fire.
•. Did the oil industry receive any thanks from the politicians? I don’t think so because they didn’t know how difficult it was to begin with.

Endless Fees and Charges on Flights October 6, 2011

Posted by hslu in Economics, Food, Islam, Taxes, Travel.
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We have been making a few domestic and international flights in recent months and there are two more coming in three to four weeks.

One thing I have noticed when I booked our flights was that the fees associated with our flights were outrageous. They acted like extra taxes to the flight public and companies who have to cope with these extra charges whether they like it or not.

Simply put: these fees and charges  make traveling so much more expensive. Among the fees are security related charges thanks to Muslim terrorists. And what’s sad about them  is that they do not make the United States stronger.

Here are some fees and charges I was able to find out:

  • Passenger Facility Charges: Up to $18.00 to enhance safety, security, or capacity.
  • September 11th Security Fee: $2.50 per segment.
  • Foreign country Departure and Arrival Charges:  This tax can be up to $200.
  • U.S. International Departure Tax: $16.10
  • U.S. International Arrival Tax:
  1. Arrival tax: $16.10
  2.  US Customs fee: $5.50
  3. Immigration fee: $7.00
  4. Animal and Plant Health Inspection fee: $5.00.
  • Shipping & Handling Fees: $25 for paper tickets.
  • Service Fee: For the usage of travel sites when book a flight.
  • Itinerary Changes/Cancellations fees: $200 to $300

You see, even before your vacation begins, you have to shell out as much as $300 to make am international flight. If for whatever reason you have to make a change to your flight, that’s another $300.

Wow! This is ridiculousness!

On top of that, flight attendants and counter agents of many airline companies; AA and United are among the worst, treat their economy class travelers like a herd of sheep. There was no smile. There was no service. There was no politeness. They also serve the same kind of &%#*@ on international flights like they do on domestic flights.

For that enjoyment, you have to pay up to $300 fees and charges on top of the regular ticket prices.

This is so not fair and the traveling public can do nothing about it but to take it on the chin every time they have to fly to some where.

Are you holding back on your spending? October 5, 2011

Posted by hslu in Economics, jobs.
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Just heard this on TV that American consumers are cutting back on, of all things,  diapers.

Yes, diapers! And the spending on diapers was 1% below the level a year ago.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203791904576609254230522240.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

I don’t think that we have fewer babies than a year ago. Mothers all over the US have kept that wet and soiled diapers on babies’ butts just that little longer to save a few bucks.

Times are different now. I guess when ~16% of people don’t have jobs, they have to cut back on something.

Have you heard of 開襠褲 “kai1 dang1 ku4?”

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