Clearance Items

Houses Cheaper Than Cars In Detroit [Yahoo!]
“Folks, the ground underneath the house goes with it. You do know that, right?”

Herd Mentality? The Freakonomics of Boarding a Bus [Freakonomics] (Thanks, Maxwell!)
But at Point B, the lines are considerably shorter, and the buses arrive less crowded. At Point B, we have a 90% chance of getting aboard the first bus that arrives, and perhaps a 40% chance of getting a seat. To me, this seems well worth the effort and time of walking 250 yards.

Verizon policy: ‘Don’t call us, we’ll call you’ – [Baltimore Messenger]
For an elderly citizen who lives alone, has no cell phone (Note to Verizon policy gurus: There are such people) and has a health emergency requiring a call to 911, that wait may be six days, 23 hours and 55 minutes too late.

Berkeley public library tool lending- [MAKE]
This is really neat, if you live in Berkeley you can check out tools, read the list there are some pretty impressive tools – like cement mixers and demolition hammers!

(Photo: Jay Adan)


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  1. lastfm says:

    Funny that you would have Snickers as the picture for the “Clearance Items”. They are on sale at my store for 33¢. Hehe.

  2. harleymcc says:

    IKEA: Swedish for “crap”.

  3. I live in West Virginia and my neighbor has these words of wisdom: “Why should I buy a new car for $20K when I can buy a house?”

    He owns 4 properties, the most he has paid was 25K, and that came with an acre of land and a house in the city limits.

    I drive a 20 yr old pickup and I own three buildings and will probably look to buy another.

    make a lot of cash elsewhere, come to wv, buy property, and drop out of sight for awhile.

  4. FLConsumer says:

    On the Verizon story: The columnist makes a point that special care should be given to people with special needs when someone reports in a phone service issue. I don’t care who you are — 7 days without phone service (in absence of a national emergency / natural disaster) is unacceptable.

  5. mopar_man says:


    How does that relate to any of this?

  6. And I love the tool rental. I think this is more important thing that people are realizing.

    I borrow my neighbor;s tiller in exchange for some beer. He uses my pickup truck, and beer is exchanged.

    We’re the library but with beer.

  7. CumaeanSibyl says:

    I love living in Michigan. Not only can you buy a house for under thirty grand, you can buy a decent car for three.

    All the abject human misery kind of gets to you after a while, though.

  8. critical_matt says:

    I inspect, among other things, foreclosed properties for banks in Michigan. High taxes, crudso local and state gov’t, and crashing auto industry has really tanked the state. Here’s some housing info: Wayne county (where Detroit is located): 1 of every 21 houses has been foreclosed. Oakland county (a few years ago was in the top 5 richest counties in the country): 1 in about every 26 houses is in foreclosure.

  9. gorckat says:

    @FLConsumer: Agreed. I live just south of Baltimore in a neighborhood notoriuos among the repair guys for horrible wiring and intermittent problems.

    Sometimes my DSL would work, but not the phone o_O I’d put in an order for service online or form work, line tests would indicate no problem and then miraculously on the 5th day before the tech was due, I’d get a call to confirm the appointment and be told that if they found nothing wrong they’d bill me. Not wanting to get billed for their problem, I just canceled the request at that point each time.

    FINALLY it stopped working the whole week through and the tech fixed us at the pole and the neighborhood switch box or w/e it is.

  10. FLConsumer says:

    Best one I’ve seen: Sprint (local phone co in many parts of FL) didn’t prepare for Hurricane Wilma properly. They had generators at some of their central offices but totally forgot about the intermediate concentrators and smallers COs in the network… So, the hurricane comes through, everything seems fine until about 6 hrs after landfall, then the phone system slowly dies over the next 2 hours. It’d be nearly 3 weeks before phone service would be restored to most of the area, up to 6 weeks in some cases.

    Best part: The largest hurricane shelter in FL lost phone service almost immediately and Sprint lumped it in with the rest of the pile as a low-priority. Took 2 weeks before phone service was fully restored there, well after it was needed. VoIP worked fine ‘though.

  11. AcidReign says:

    …..Detroit’s problems sound a lot like what we have in the area where I live. We have lots of abandoned houses in the city of Birmingham. Part of the problem is crime. A $25 grand, 3 bedroom house might sound sweet, but it gets old having to hit the deck two or three times a night when someone on the block starts shooting.

    …..Then, there is a financing problem. Folks who want to live in a neighborhood like that can’t just whip $25 grand out of their billfold. Many of the houses in Birmingham proper are a hundred years old or more. And for most of their lifetime, low-income folk have lived there, meaning that maintenance has been spotty at best. You bring a bank inspector in to see one of those $25,000 wonders, and it’s not only “no deal,” but thereafter the house file will be flagged with “needs $300 grand in repairs” in every database in the area. Meanwhile, the city has jacked up property tax to be among the highest in the state. So folks just move away, change their name, and leave it. Who needs a $2500 a year bill on an unsellable, unlivable, un-insurable piece of property? Then the place turns into a crack-house full of squatters, till it either falls down, or burns down, killing a half-dozen kids or so.