25 Dec. 2010
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I'm Dreaming of a Free Thermostat

But First...

Merry Christmas! and happy new year!, in that order.

What Do These Have in Common?

Dunkin' Donuts jelly donut Honeywell thermostat Cadbury milk chocolate bar

A Dunkin' Donuts jelly donut for $.96.

A Honeywell 5-2 day programmable thermostat from The Home Depot for $26.73

A Cadbury milk chocolate bar from Target for $2.13

Exxon:  A dollar gas
Exxon:  A dollar gas

$2.23 quart of 1% Lowfat Milk at Walmart.  Yes, "lowfat" is one word.

Exxon - A dollar gas

Tuscan 1% Milk at Walmart $2.23, (no artificial growth hormones)

McDonalds "McDouble" $1.07

If you guessed "you had to buy all of them in order to get a free thermostat," then you are not only correct, but you've ruined what little suspense I was trying to build with this disparate collection of consumer items.  If you didn't guess correctly, let me 'splain.  According to American Express these are

  The American Express theory of places I "spend" every day.

They are wrong, since I don't "spend" every day. I can go a week without a single consumer expedition, and if it weren't for the Exxon station on my way home, my attendance at any of these fine consumer brands' shops would be random, e.g., my uniseasonal consumption of a double cheeseburger.  But American Express feels it should be otherwise, and exhorted me to shop.  The form of the exhortation, commonly known as a "bribe," was the offer of a $30 "statement credit" if I could somehow manage to spend at six of the merchants whose logos appear above.

Piece of cake.  Or, at the very least, a jelly donut.


Since the offer arrived just a few days ago, I haven't fulfilled all its terms yet.  I'm anticipating my seasonal burger, and who knows what inexpensive delights await at one of the other establishments that will cross my path.  The free thermostat is already installed and is saving my overstressed button finger from its almost hourly bout with the balky one it replaced.  Warmth is a good thing to have this cold and windy December.  Thank you AmEx!  In the spirit of this Christmas Day holiday, I'll spare you any thoughts I may or may not be having about the increasingly bizarre complexities of being a good consumer .

28 December - After a stop at Walmart for milk and McDonalds for a McDouble, I'm done.  Do I trust the AmEx computers to give me my credit?  Yes, but I just may increase my stash of CFLs.  We'll see in a week or so.

"So You Want To Be A Rock 'N' Roll Star"
The Byrds




This T-shirt was bought in beautiful Sedona, Arizona, which I recently had the pleasure of visiting.  Red rocks and more to come.  Today, just the shirt.

Tourist T-shirt from Sedona, Arizona
Richard Factor

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