Clubbing

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What’s the deal with warehouse clubs?  You know, places like Sam’s Club and CostCo.  They charge you $40 – $70 for the privilege of shopping in their dreary warehouse.  Why do they charge you for going in their crummy store?  I know, because they can, but really why do all these suckers line up to pay an entry fee to a store?

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I’ve looked around and the prices at Sam’s aren’t enough different from WalMart to make a real difference except in rare cases.  Plus you have to buy a skid-load or five gallons of mayonnaise at Sam’s to get the deal.  In addition, there is almost zero choice.  That one brand of mayonnaise is the one you’re buying.  At WalMart you at least have a few choices.

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CostCo pretends to be more upscale.  They have more brand-y stuff and the aircraft hangar looks a little nicer.  Plus there aren’t as many ethnics shopping there, if you know what I mean.  However, they charge more and you actually pay more than Sam’s and WalMart for stuff.  They claim to have exclusive stuff, but it’s only exclusive from not being at Sam’s or WalMart or Target.  They charge you more for being in their “club.”

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So what’s the deal with “club?”  It’s not like a real club where you go to meet people with like interests (except for being cheap).  Clubs used to be exclusive places where people went to get away from their spouses or children or to mix with toni friends or talk about postage stamps.  You could brag about your membership in certain exclusive clubs; you had to be voted into the club.  Here you just have to fork over the jack.  You have to wave that stupid card, like if they sold anything to a non-member it would break the corporation or some secret pact.  Who goes around showing other people their Sam’s or CostCo card?  “Look, I got into Sam’s Club.”  Nobody does that.  Maybe the manufacturers are afraid that regular people will find out they can get a deal on a five-gallon pail of ketchup.  You have to keep the price a secret to non-members.  I don’t get it.  Why isn’t it just the Sam’s store, no entry fee?

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Bridge Club

The shopping experience, even at Sam’s, is actually a step up from the dreary WalMart.  I guess ’cause the ceilings are higher and the floors are cleaner.  I suppose it’s that entry fee that does it.

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Philatelic Club

 

You can eat at Sam’s.  A big Nathan’s Famous hot dog and an endlessly refillable drink is only $1.50.  Homeless people should come there and live at Sam’s.  The $40 up front keeps them out though.  A big charity should donate the $40 each for a bunch of poor people and then let them hang at Sam’s; camp in the airport-sized parking lot that is never more than half full.  Then it wouldn’t be such an exclusive “club” for people anymore.

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Pill Pushers

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The pharmaceutical industry has to be the most screwed up corporate oligarchy in the world.  It makes, finance, politics, used car sales, medicine, law, weapons manufacturing, and pimping look like honored professions.  When I get finished with this expose you will want to wash your hands and down a litre of Robitussin every time you pass a Walgreens.  So what’s wrong with the drug industry?  A better question might be:  is there anything right with it?

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Let’s get one thing straight from the start, the pharmaceutical industry has nothing to do with making the world a better place.  I’ll prove this.  I’m givin’ ya the straight dope here.  Sure people will tell you they want to go to pharmacology school because they want to rid the world of disease, or at least make a difference.  Right, and my grandma is gonna win American Idol.  Don’t believe it.  99% of the people that go into pharma do it for the money and the so-called “side benefits.”  That’s it.  Get rich, get high.  Who can blame ’em?  Given the opportunity all of us just want some bling and buzz.  If you’re intelligent and rich you go to pharmacy college, if you’re poor or simple, you become a gang bangin’ drug dealer, and I’ll show you how there is about maybe, just maybe, only one degree of separation between the two.

Lobby Dollars 98-2012_0The base reason that the pharmaceutical industry is out to screw you is the US does not, despite your friendly Tea Party candidate, have a socialized healthcare system and the government by law (I wonder how that came about?) cannot negotiate the price of prescription drugs on your behalf.  Only insurers can and we know how much they care about you.  In addition the FDA, by law again, does not allow the importation of prescription drugs from other countries where these governments do negotiate the price of drugs.  These laws are all ostensibly to “protect you” but when was the last time a Washington pill pusher lobbyist had your best interest in mind?

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Now that we have that out of the way, what sort of economic skewing does this cause?  Well here is where I give you the inside story:  the pill pushers are not out to get you well, they are out to make you a junkie.  Here’s the deal, say I spend a lot of money to come up with a vaccine for cancer.  Every pharmaceutical company wants to invent that, right?  Wrong, my simple one.  If I come up with a vaccine I give you one maybe two shots and it’s bye, bye.  But if I can come up with a less effective long term chemotherapy for the same cancer, guess what, you’re a chemo junkie now.  I have you on the hook for months or years.  You’re “takin’ this junk against your will” as Bo Diddley said.

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Hence, all the adverts for long term, continuous therapies and drugs on the television.  Nobody in the pharma industry wants “one and  done,” so nobody researches “one and done.”  In addition now they are allowed, by law, to jack you like the meth dealer on the corner.  Over and over again.  Nobody wants a single pill to cure rheumatoid arthritis, that’s just crazy thinkin’.  If the government could take the usurious profit motive out of these schemes, well people just might research something more effective and useful.  I’m not saying pharmaceutical companies shouldn’t make money, I’m saying right now they are making too much money.  And the insurers too.

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Surely all these scientists aren’t out for just the mercenary aspects of these things.  First, they are.  Nobody gets rich on single dose cures, period.  You might get famous, but not rich, so forget that.  Things that address Third World health issues are out too since those folks don’t have any money.  Forget that.  Lastly, shareholders and hedge fund managers don’t care whether you live or die except if you muddle on somehow you keep paying (or your insurer who is gouging you with premiums) for the junk.

Is everyone feeling a little better now?

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Next time you are at the doctor’s office and you see one of those nicely dressed types pull up in a Lexus and walk straight into the back room, remember they are just the same as the dealer selling rock down on the corner.  There’s your degree of separation.

Shoot it up

Bring May Flowers…

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Well, Walpurgisnacht went pretty well this year:  sixty children in, thirty seven out.  Not great, but okay.  You can’t compare the US to the Old Country.

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Today is May Day for all you doomed atheist communists (get it while you can!) and ironically All Saints Day for the blessed.  Fancy that.

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Still working on that pharma expose but I’ve got to keep a low profile since I’ve been targeted by the big prescription drug cartel.

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I fingered a drunk driver today.  I used to drink so it’s fun to get a little revenge for the bitterness of quitting.  I’m such a nice guy.

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