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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

What Premium Are You Willing To Pay?

Old 06-21-09, 05:26 PM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
Walmart's (and others) business model has driven most manufacturing out of this country, people that were making average factory wages of $14 an hour 10 years ago can now only find jobs at Walmart making ~$10-12 an hour, that is an income loss of around $8 an hour adjusted for inflation, also with as much money as WM brings in they could easily supply all of their "associates" with full medical benefits, instead of having them public assistance.

I have seen it happen time and time again with textiles, hand tools, small power tools and small appliances. What Walmart does today is something akin to what the The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company got slapped down for back in the 1930's. But they have managed to keep Washington on their side via the lobbyists.

Not to mention the overall decline in the quality of goods, prices have grown slightly, but quality has nose dived. Inflation is a fact of life, however keeping it in check by producing lower quality goods and keeping the price the same. We are in a race to the bottom and WM is leading the way. Think what will/would happen if they go the way of GM and Chrysler?

Aaron
So manufacturing jobs were replaced by jobs at Wal-Mart? Really? I wonder where the people for the growth in jobs in the information and service sectors came from? And if we traded $14/hr. jobs for $10/hr jobs why does income keep growing?

I laugh everytime I hear someone complain about the quality of things nowadays. Compare the reliability of almost anything made today with its predecessors and the current version almost always wins. Are there low quality goods made today? Of course, but there have always been. On the other hand, almost every consumer product from washing machines, to cars, to computers, to houses, to about anything you can think of are less costly, higher quality, and more functional today than ever. My 15 year old clothes dryer is still going strong and I have no doubt that when I finally replace it its successor will be more functional, more efficient, and at least as long-lasting. Ditto my house AC unit. 100K miles used to be a landmark event for cars, now it's not even a half-life and most cars don't need a tune-up until then. Ditto TVs and radios. Power tools? The quality of cordless drills and saws that make things so much easier for me are already excellent and they keep getting better with advances in battery technology. I have a couple of 40+ year old drills that still work well but they are heavy, require chuck keys, and aren't as safe to use.

There are many things about the good ol' days to pine for; quality isn't generally one of them.
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Old 06-21-09, 06:56 PM
  #52  
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Service sector jobs don't pay what manufacturing jobs do, never have never will. The income gain has been at the upper end of the middle class and the upper level management, not at the lower end of the spectrum. I have a Huffy bicycle that is over 20 years old that is still serviceable the Huffy at WM today won't last 2 years if that long. I know I have worked on several. The price is the same as it was 15 years ago, they damn sure didn't improve the quality and keep the price the same. As far as information economy...just how many IT people have seen their jobs outsource to places like India in the past few years? The race to the bottom continues. I honestly believe that the US is headed for the crapper and the Chinese have their hand on the flushing handle.

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Old 06-22-09, 03:48 PM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by KurtAV View Post
So manufacturing jobs were replaced by jobs at Wal-Mart? Really? I wonder where the people for the growth in jobs in the information and service sectors came from? And if we traded $14/hr. jobs for $10/hr jobs why does income keep growing?
Walmart has closed down good businesses who didn't want to cheapen their products. Vlasic Pickles is one, and there have been a couple others. When one corporation has effective control of a market sector, competition (and ultimately the consumer) is going to suffer. Walmart has such a big bite of the retail sector that it is able to dictate terms to suppliers. Their main term is that suppliers must provide cheap goods. To make their products cheaper, suppliers are forced to cut back on product quality, and/or cut back on operating expenses--especially labor costs.

I don't suppose you've ever read anything about static wages for the lower-middle classes, and the increasing inequality of wages in America?

The big joke will be on Walmart and the many others who have imitated their business model. Eventually, if wages continue to fall, the American consumer won't be able to afford consumer goods--not even the cheap crap provided by Walmart.
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Old 06-25-09, 02:17 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by KurtAV View Post
And if we traded $14/hr. jobs for $10/hr jobs why does income keep growing?
Because we also traded $500,000/yr jobs for $5,000,000/yr jobs.
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Old 06-25-09, 05:46 PM
  #55  
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I'm lucky I have chain supermarkets 3, within 2 miles and a smaller chain Trader Joe's within walking distance, but if there was a costco within the city I'd buy a bike trailer just to haul my huge quantities of groceries home.
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Old 06-25-09, 08:28 PM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by rbrian View Post
Because we also traded $500,000/yr jobs for $5,000,000/yr jobs.
I understand but it seems like the government has brainwashed people to ignore the distinction between median and mean. The average income can increase while the median decrease. Recently you see it in the arguments about globalization. The government economists say "The average income in x developing country has increased since we forced it to stop subsidizing its agriculture and import US subsidized agricultural products." The do-gooders who work in the country say "The number of people here living on less than $1 per day has doubled." They are both telling the truth.
The super rich rulers of the country have stashed huge amounts of cash in their swiss bank accounts skewing the average upward. But since the average income is increasing it is proof that US style capitalism lifts people out of poverty.
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Old 06-26-09, 12:13 PM
  #57  
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4 or 5 miles is nothing ... it's a teensy, short ride ... I look at anything about 4 miles or less as walking distance
I look at anything less than 0.2 miles as walking distance - otherwise, I bike if I have a bike around, just to make it easier for myself.

On the other hand, I have no problem with walking 20 miles, but most of the time I have tasks to complete (groceries, laundry, work) or people to hang out with, that comes in the way spending time walking 4 miles.
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Old 06-26-09, 01:28 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by cerewa View Post
I look at anything less than 0.2 miles as walking distance - otherwise, I bike if I have a bike around, just to make it easier for myself.

On the other hand, I have no problem with walking 20 miles, but most of the time I have tasks to complete (groceries, laundry, work) or people to hang out with, that comes in the way spending time walking 4 miles.
Walking 20 miles at the average walking speed in close to 7 hours. I would consider that a long days walk.
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Old 06-26-09, 11:39 PM
  #59  
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The little co-op. If they don't have it, the bigger co-op. My volunteer hours give me enough of a discount that local or organic is the same price as anything else.
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Old 06-29-09, 08:08 PM
  #60  
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I shop as much local as I can, and the plus is most of the local stores are cheaper than the chain stores. Unless you count Crap-mart (Wal-mart) but I won't go there unless I absolutely can't find something anywhere else and then you still have to drag me kicking and screaming. When the one they are planning to build moves in close to my home, I hope to have saved enough money to move to my dream, more bike friendly, town.
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Old 06-29-09, 10:43 PM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by cerewa View Post
I look at anything less than 0.2 miles as walking distance - otherwise, I bike if I have a bike around, just to make it easier for myself.

On the other hand, I have no problem with walking 20 miles, but most of the time I have tasks to complete (groceries, laundry, work) or people to hang out with, that comes in the way spending time walking 4 miles.
4 miles takes an hour ... not much time out of your life and a great way to get some exercise while slowing down.

I worked 4 miles from where I lived in Winnipeg, and often walked that distance (one way ... caught the bus the other way) just to get some exercise on heavily snowed in winter days when the roads were too snowy to ride. My church was a good healthy 4-5 mile walk round trip as well.

The last couple years I deliberately parked 2 km from my university so the days I attended classes there (3-4 a week) I ended up walking about 5 km (3 miles) in total. And when I actually lived in the same city as my university, my walks to the bus or train were about that as well.

Nevertheless, I don't consider 4 or 5 miles to be far ... that distance is local. It's closer than local, it's right in your neighborhood. Cycling that distance (or 8-10 miles round trip) should be incredibly easy for all of us here ... especially if we're talking cycling on pavement, and walking that distance one way should also be possible unless you've got some sort of serious health condition that prevents you from walking. After all ... we're all avid, fit cyclists here, aren't we?

If we're going to talk local vs. a place some distance off ... make it a distance that's challenging to cycle.

In the OP's situation:

Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post
There is a small grocery store a couple of blocks away from me. It has a meat department and a small bakery. It has vegetables and fruit too. It sells just about everything any grocery store would sell only with fewer brand choices. The second closest grocery is four and a quarter miles away. It is a large national chain store.
Both stores are local neighborhood stores. If I were in his situation, I would simply go to the store that sold the item for the least expensive price.

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Old 06-30-09, 12:53 AM
  #62  
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As the comedian Steven Wright said, "Every place is walking distance if you have the time."

I laughed at that the first time I heard it. If someone must stop to have a meal between the time they started their journey and arriving at their destination then that is beyond walking distance. Time must be a factor in what is considered walking distance. Perhaps one hundred-fifty years ago walking distance would have been different. Back then there were trains, stage coaches, and horses. Steam powered cars were just becoming available in the mid 1800s.

It takes me seventeen minutes twenty seconds to walk one mile on level ground. That isn't slow but it is less than four miles per hour. If someone is not accustomed to walking more than a few hundred yards they need to build up their feet to the longer distances.

I avoid blisters by wearing nylon socks against my skin and cotton or wool socks over them. That prevents the thicker socks from grabbing the skin and causing blisters. My feet are not accustomed to long walks. That is why I must use that two sock method.

Since starting this thread I've given up on my locally owned store. Twice within one week the meat they sold to me was bad. To me it is now classified as a convenience store. There is another locally owned grocery store about eight miles away. That is too far to travel via bicycle when there are four other stores much closer, especially when winter temperatures are below freezing.
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Old 06-30-09, 02:42 AM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post
There is another locally owned grocery store about eight miles away. That is too far to travel via bicycle when there are four other stores much closer, especially when winter temperatures are below freezing.
Have you been to the Winter Forum here:
http://www.bikeforums.net/forumdisplay.php?f=53

You might want to have a browse through there before locking yourself into a sub-16 mile distance in the winter.
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Old 06-30-09, 05:01 AM
  #64  
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I can cover just short of 5 miles in an hour when walking, hiking with a load will be a fair bit slower. As a general rule I don't like walking very far...that is what the bicycle was invented for In reality a pure cyclist is not going to be good a walking, different muscle groups, however walking and cycling when used together complement each other, probably why I still ride 3 speeds and walk up hills

BTW local grocery store for me is about 1.5 miles by road ~3/4 mile by woods, next closest store (same chain) is around 7 miles with the locally owned one about the same distance in the other direction.

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Old 06-30-09, 12:09 PM
  #65  
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IMO, if you cycle on a daily basis, it's a good idea to walk at least a few miles a week. Not only do you exercise different muscles (as Aaron pointed out), but walking is weight-bearing exercise. This is very important for the bones and blood vessels.
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Old 06-30-09, 12:09 PM
  #66  
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Time, as others mentioned, is a very interesting point. Human powered living will require more time than using machinery. However, it also requires less money. I am carfree so I don't have to work as many hours to pay for car expenses. I find that I save about eight hours a week of time on the job. That eight hours will give me time to go about 25 miles on foot or more than 100 miles on my bike.
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Old 07-01-09, 04:47 AM
  #67  
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Another interesting observation from my travels around the country, small towns are typically ~12 miles apart in many of the semi-rural areas I travel. I suspect because that was how far someone could walk to and from in a day? Or perhaps it was a convenient distance for a horse and and wagon to travel, unload and travel back in a day?

The first time I noticed it was on the old NC 87 between Wilmington, NC and Fayetteville, NC when I had a sick car and was figuring how far I would have to walk to the next town if it broke down. I have since seen a similar pattern in other parts of the country and along other roads that used to be major roads prior to the advent of the interstate system, in some cases all that is left of the town is an abandoned gas station/general store dating to early part of the 20th century.

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Old 07-01-09, 06:11 AM
  #68  
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Towns will be between 10 and 20 miles apart... A 20 mile round trip is about the most you can expect to walk in a day and still have time and energy to do things besides walk. It's the standard baseline estimate for how fast an army can move on foot. Getting an army to walk 40 miles in a day is a huge forced march. Horses normally can't do much more distance than a human can, but they can haul more than a human can. You'll occasionally see historical mentions of riding for more than 20 miles in a day. The only way that really works is to change horses every 15-20 miles, because a typical horse would be exhausted after doing 20 miles. Pushing the horse beyond that may well kill the animal, and 20 is only realistic if the horse is in very good shape.

Since a person on a bike can easily double that mileage, bikes give a huge advantage. And a person on a bike doesn't necessarily need a better road than someone walking or riding a horse.
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Old 07-02-09, 09:30 PM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
Another interesting observation from my travels around the country, small towns are typically ~12 miles apart in many of the semi-rural areas I travel.
A township in the public land survey system states being 6 miles square probably has a lot to do with it in the midwest and west.

http://www.nationalatlas.gov/article...es/a_plss.html
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Old 07-02-09, 10:15 PM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
A township in the public land survey system states being 6 miles square probably has a lot to do with it in the midwest and west.

http://www.nationalatlas.gov/article...es/a_plss.html
I think you're probably right. Wasn't one of the center sections customarily reserved for schools and other public purposes, or something like that?
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Old 07-03-09, 11:57 AM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by Platy View Post
I think you're probably right. Wasn't one of the center sections customarily reserved for schools and other public purposes, or something like that?
I'm relying on an aging memory here, but I believe that 4 sections per township were reserved for schools. This wasn't necessarily to provide a place to put the schools. The land in the "school section" could be sold, and the proceeds used to fund the schools.

There are still places in Michigan called "School Section Lake" and "School Section Rd."
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Old 07-03-09, 03:50 PM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
I have tried organic Bananas and non organic bananas side by side and canít say I have noticed the difference except the organic ones were a lot more expensive. Organic apples donít seem to have more flavor than non organic ones. But there is a cost difference and that cost is passed along to the family. We arenít talking mass consumerism here we are talking day to day living. At this stage in our economy organic foods havenít found a way to justify their increased slice of the food budget, at least not for me. With organics small market share I guess I am not alone. But if I run across an organic product that costs less I would buy it. It just doesnít seem to happen very often in the items I buy.
Yes there is a cost difference. There's also a cost to battling cancer. Do you really want to be eating food sprayed with known carcinogens?
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Old 07-03-09, 03:53 PM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Time, as others mentioned, is a very interesting point. Human powered living will require more time than using machinery. However, it also requires less money. I am carfree so I don't have to work as many hours to pay for car expenses. I find that I save about eight hours a week of time on the job. That eight hours will give me time to go about 25 miles on foot or more than 100 miles on my bike.
Human-powered transportation has some side-effects which are time based, too. If I were using a car, I could travel 20 miles to Scheels at the Mall to buy some cycling things I need. If I am using a bicycle, my definition of need changes: maybe I can make do with some things that I have locally... maybe I don't really need in the first place.

The net effect is that I weed out a number of things I might need, but don't actually. Life becomes a little more Spartan... which in turn costs less.
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Old 07-03-09, 04:54 PM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
I have tried organic Bananas and non organic bananas side by side and canít say I have noticed the difference except the organic ones were a lot more expensive. Organic apples donít seem to have more flavor than non organic ones. But there is a cost difference and that cost is passed along to the family. We arenít talking mass consumerism here we are talking day to day living. At this stage in our economy organic foods havenít found a way to justify their increased slice of the food budget, at least not for me. With organics small market share I guess I am not alone. But if I run across an organic product that costs less I would buy it. It just doesnít seem to happen very often in the items I buy.
That's ok. You'll be dead soon anyway. A few more pesticides in your bloodstream probably won't make much difference.
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Old 07-03-09, 05:17 PM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by gerv View Post
Human-powered transportation has some side-effects which are time based, too. If I were using a car, I could travel 20 miles to Scheels at the Mall to buy some cycling things I need. If I am using a bicycle, my definition of need changes: maybe I can make do with some things that I have locally... maybe I don't really need in the first place.

The net effect is that I weed out a number of things I might need, but don't actually. Life becomes a little more Spartan... which in turn costs less.
20 miles isn't really that far on a bike if it's for something you really need.

I rode 20 miles across town to buy my wife's bike. Then strapped the font to my rear rack and rode home with it. Sure, it took a long time, but it was pretty fun and great exercise!
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