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Near and Far

September 4th, 2014 at 06:40 am

* So a friend of mine texted me saying their bathroom was clogged up by a customer at the spa she works at. It is located upstairs, but somehow, the clogged water leaked down and ruined some pastries from a pastry shop located below them.

Anyways, her boss called a plumber who wanted to charge $150 to fix everything, but the boss tried to haggle him down to $100. Is this frugal, cheap, or perhaps a bit of both?

On top of all that, said toilet-clogging customer also didn't have money to pay for his services. A co-worker asked to keep his wallet or cellphone until he can get the money. He got very angry and started yelling at them, refusing or some such. The co-worker didn't push it and allowed him to leave, promising he would come back and pay. He never came back.

* I think it's pretty much established now that much of our manufactured goods comes from Asia, especially the likes of China and Hong Kong. However, even the sterotype of "cheap goods" is starting to fade away as, for example, the Chinese company FoxConn is contracted to make most of the iPhones that we use today. In short, places like China went from making cheap goods to both cheap and decent goods.

If you think about it, that means a lot of companies that we buy stuff from are actually more like western middlemen. So, what if you can buy direct?

Enter alibaba.com. First, let me preface by saying that, no, I haven't bought anything from this place yet, so I have no direct experience. However, it seems that a lot of (low-key) buzz has been generated from buying goods direct from that site, as you can pretty much get very similar or even the same items you would buy domestically for a fraction of the price. Ok yes, you can buy cheap knockoffs too if you are into that.

However, I have also heard crazy, crazy things listed there like houses, used commercial jets, a submarine, and... 500 million tiny screws if you really want. The point is, alibaba is a huge, online, international bazaar where it seems like anything goes. Who knows, it may be fun place to sift through and see if you can't find a few great deals. Looking for a cheap toy for your little niece or nephew? Look no further.

Caveat Emptor though, because unlike buying from Amazon, Alibaba still harbor all kinds of shady scammers. Be sure to check your seller's background before buying anything, and in the beginning, perhaps start out with something cheap first.

1 Responses to “Near and Far”

  1. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    That sounds like one dirty rotten customer!

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