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Saturday, December 1, 2018

Out and About

Packing: The Diamond Hitch

Helped younger son move some furniture to his house today. While I was tying down the furniture in the back of his pick-em-up truck he remarked that this was the fifth time he has seen me do that. I learned how do the diamond hitch at Boy Scout camp when I was in junior high school. (The diamond hitch is a little complicated and requires a certain amount of judgement on how long to make certain sections. It's used for securing loads to the backs of pack animals. We never got to the live animal stage, I think we practiced on barrels.) I learned it well enough to pass the class / earn the merit badge, but I forgot it soon after. Never used it. Use it or lose it.

Steps for tying a tautline hitch
I still know the square knot, the bowline and the taut line hitch. The taut-line is the most useful knot in the world. Simple as sin, easily adjusted and holds tight. Great for securing loads in the back of pick-em-up trucks.

Went to Walmart this evening so me wife could get her second shingle's shot. A complete shingles vaccination requires a series of two shots. She didn't have to pay anything but somebody paid the pharmacy $167 for this shot. Seems there is a waiting list. The pharmacy got a shipment in today and called her. When she asked the pharmacist how many doses they received, thinking it would be the dozens at least, she was informed that they received two doses. How the heck does this make any sense? Somebody put on a big promotional campaign to convince people they needed to get a shingles vaccination, and then they don't prepare enough vaccine to meet the demand they know they have created? Makes me wonder if they didn't create an artificial shortage just so they could pump up the price. On one hand, I can't blame the drug companies. Developing drugs is hellishly expensive and that's just the first half of the battle. Then you have to get them approved by the government, another insurmountable battle. On the other hand, blood sucking vampires, they need to have stake driven through their heart. I mean they are frigging killing the patient with these constant demands for more money.

So I'm sitting there in Walmart, waiting for my wife, and I am looking around and I see all this stuff, stuff that I do not need or desire. And then I got to wondering, just how much stuff is there here? How much did Walmart have to spend stock this store? (Yes, I know they probably didn't spend any of their own money, it's all borrowed or fronted or something. But still, there is a heck of a lot of money tied up in all this inventory.) And how much did they spend to stock all the Walmarts in the country? And what about all the other big retailers like Target and Freddies? Well, shoot, what about all the retailers in the country?

Turns out it is a heck of a lot: $1.967 Trillion. That's trillion, with a capital T. With a population of 325.7 million people, that means there is just over $6,000 in inventory for every person in the US. Not near as much as I thought. I was think it was on the order of $100,000. Scientific notation would have helped. 1.967 trillion = 1.967E11, 325.7 million = 3.257E8, so the rough estimate of the dividend would have been 10^3 or one thousand. (11 - 8 = 3).

China Wok
We stopped at China Wok to pick up some Chinese food for dinner. Little hole in the wall place, half a dozen people hustling to fill an endless stream of orders, most of which were dispatched by a half dozen dedicated delivery drivers. It took a while for our food to be ready, I suspect most people must be ordering over the internet. That's okay, it was great fun watching this crew working at a frantic pace but still having fun. Bonus: the waitress wrote our order in Chinese.

1 comment:

AndrewP said...

What's even more interesting, to me ,is all most of that stuff in the big box store will be in a landfill within a year, then 99% of it will be landfilled within 10 years.