Things Most People Don't Think About

Unique and sometimes obscure facts, ideas, thoughts, and theories about things in life that many people overlook or never even consider.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

A Relatively Unknown Ebay Buying Technique

Most experienced ebay buyers will agree with me on the fact that the prices that you can find on ebay will beat just about any price you can find at a retail store 99% of the time.

From digital cameras, to computers, books, shoes, and even wedding dresses, just about the best deals you can get anywhere are on ebay. And I'm not just talking about used or pre-owned items, I'm talking about brand new, never used, factory sealed items. The same items that you would by at a retail store, for a fraction of the price.

So, with the prices on ebay being so low, is it possible to find an even better deal?
Yes it is, and I'll show you how.

One fact about ebay is that 90% of people searching for a particular item use the "Search" function of the website. For example, if someone is looking for Oakley sunglasses, they type "Oakley Sunglasses" into the ebay search box to find what they're looking for. This is what 90% of people do.

The other way to find Oakley sunglasses would be to go to the sunglasses category and then browse the entire sunglasses category for oakley sunglasses. This method could be very time consuming and you would have to sort through thousands of other sunglasses to find the Oakley brand that you're looking for. This method is not very user friendly and that is why 90% of people use the "Search" function.

Now, lets say that my friend Dave has a pair of Oakley sunglasses that he wants to sell on ebay. He creates his listing, takes great photos, writes a great description, and a very attractive title for his auction.

His auction title is:"Black Oakely Sunglasses w/Case Perfect Condition"

That's a very nice auction title, but do you see what Dave did wrong?
Check out the spelling of Oakley in his title.
Whoops! Dave mispelled "Oakley" and accidentally typed "Oakely".

A few days go by, the auction ends, and Dave rakes in a measily $23 for the sunglasses he bought 2 weeks ago for $80. Why did his sunglasses sell so cheap?

Do you see where I'm going here? The reason that the sunglasses sold so cheaply is because virtually nobody that was looking for "Oakley" sunglasses was seeing his auction. Since he incorrectly listed his sunglasses as "Oakely" in the title, his auction did not appear in the search results for the thousands of people that were searching for "Oakley" sunglasses.

So how do you find even better deals at an already great online marketplace like ebay?
Search for misspelled items!

An example would be if you were searching for a Sony Playstation. You can find the great deals by typing common misspellings of Playstation into the search box. Try searching for Playstaton, Paystation, Playsation, Plastation, Playstaion, etc. You won't always find something, but sometimes you WILL and it will be well worth it!

You can use this technique with just about and type of product and get a GREAT deal on ebay.
Good luck!

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Friday, November 17, 2006

Going Postal

I'm sure pretty much everyone is familiar with the phrase "Going Postal", which in short means unleashing a fit of anger on someone or something.

To the best of my knowledge, this phrase came about as a result of the numerous "disgruntled employee" attacks that have occurred at various postal offices accross the United States.

You know the story right? The postal worker who's fed up with his boss or co-workers finally snaps and shows up at work with a machine gun to take out his (or her) frustrations. Not a pretty picture.

But, have you ever wondered WHY this occurrance is so prevelant in the postal profession? Well, I have a theory.

The main idea behind my theory is the fact that the mail NEVER stops. Think about it. 24 hours a day, 7days a week, 365 days a year, there are packages and letters that need to be delivered. Sure, the postal service takes certain holidays off, but that doesn't mean that the mail load slows down. During holiday time it actually increases.

Just imagine a giant pile of paperwork on your desk that needs to be done. Your boss comes in and tells you to take the afternoon off, great right? Then, when you come in the next day, you find that the giant pile of paperwork has doubled in size!

The mail just keeps coming, and coming, and coming, and NEVER stops. It is relentless.
There is no slow time for the post office. They have just 2 modes, busy and REALLY busy.

Think about it. Have you ever gone into the post office and NOT waited in line? The place is always very busy and full of hustle and bustle. Always.

I believe this is one of the main reasons for so many workers "going postal" at the post office.
The relentless loads of mail drove them crazy.

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Showering 101

I had a conversation with a co-worker not too long ago about showering techniques. I have no idea how that conversation started, but nonetheless after conferring with several more of our co-workers, we concluded that there are in fact two schools of thought on the proper showering order that needs to be followed to achieve maximum cleanliness.

Method #1 is pretty simple and straight forward:
You wash your entire body from top to bottom(feet) in that order. You start with the hair and face, and then arms, chest, waist, personal areas(including your behind), legs, and finally feet.

Method #2 agrees that washing from top to bottom is key, but this method also incorporates the idea of washing "cleanest" to "dirtiest" as well. Obviously the rump is deemed the "dirtiest" part of your body.

You see, method #2 states that if you've washed your behind, and then proceed to wash your legs and feet, that you are taking the "dirtiness" from your behind and spreading it all over your legs and feet. Yuk.

Method #2 recommends washing from top to bottom, but then skip the behind and go directly to the legs and feet. Then, proceed to wash the "dirtiest" area of your body last.

Unless you live alone, it is very likely that you are using the same shower and bar of soap as the person(or persons) you live with. It might be interesting to find out what showering method they prefer. The reason I mention this is because I want to leave you with one final thought.

The next time you hop into the shower, think about this:

What is the first thing you wash, and the LAST thing the person before you washed!

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Were did the phrase "Okay" come from?

The main adjective definition for "okay" in webster's dictionary is : "all right; proceeding normally; satisfactory or under control".

It seems that the phrase"Okay" or "OK" is probably the most widely used phrase on the planet. It is used in just about every language in the world, and generally has the same meaning accross the language barriers. But where did this universal word come from?

Actually, the topic has been up for debate for many years, and there are numerous theories put forth to try and pinpoint an exact time frame of when and where the phrase originated. In researching this issue, I was suprised to find over 30 different theories on the birthplace of "okay".

For the sake of over-redundance, I'm only going to list 10 of the theories that I thought were most interesting and believable. Basically, it's up to you to decide which theory or theories you want to believe, so here goes.

The Choctaw theory
In the American Choctaw Indian language, there is a word okeh, which means "it is so". It is likely (although I can find no hard evidence) that this word was used in some American communities in the early 19th century. There is a report that Andrew Jackson, during the Battle of New Orleans in 1815, learned of this Choctaw word, liked it, and used it.

Woodrow Wilson also preferred this etymology, and used okeh when he approved official papers. His use led to this particular form being picked up by Okeh Records, "the name of a series of popular phonograph records" [Mencken, 1936] as well as hot-dog stands, shoe-shining parlours and more.

The Andrew Jackson Libel theory
Some time around 1832, Seba Smith was accused of libel in claiming that Andrew Jackson endorsed a pronouncement written by his literary secretary, Amos Kendell, with OK Amos. The details are not very clear, but it is possible that what was really written was OR, meaning "Order Recorded". However, one newspaper reporting on the matter, presumably some years later, said that the letters OK had been adopted "as a sort of [Democratic] part cry and [were] fastened upon their banners". This does give at least some credence to the idea that OK was at least in familiar use prior to 1840

The Wolof theory
Like Choctaw Indian, the Wolof language (spoken in Senegal and The Gambia, formerly The Gold Coast) has something like okeh to mean an emphatic "yes" (it's more like waa-key in reality). Wolof has given American English a number of words, perhaps through the African slave trade, such as juke, honky (to mean a white man), hipcat (or hepcat, meaning a jazz enthusiast), jive and even dig (as in "to understand"), although it should be noted that there is nowhere near universal agreement on these! It is likely that okeh appeared in early black American spoken slang.

The Old Kinderhook theory
Martin van Buren was standing as the Democratic presidential candidate in 1840. He had acquired the nickname of Old Kinderhook (he was born in Kinderhook, New York). On March 24, 1840 the Democrats opened the OK Club in Grand Street, New York City, based on the initials of van Buren's nickname.

The Finish theory
The Fins have a word for correct, and it is oikea. In a 1940 article, someone at the Cleveland Public Library suggested that this may be the origin.

The Scottish theory
We've all heard the Scottish expression, och-aye. An author in the Nottingham Journal in 1943 suggests that OK is simply an adaptation of this expression. The Scottish expression derives from och, meaning an exclamation of surprise and aye meaning yes, and has been in existence since perhaps the 16th century.

The Greek theory
Probably the earliest suggestion comes from the Greek. The two Greek letters omega and khi appear in a work called Geoponica in 920AD as being a magical incantation (when repeated twice) against fleas!

The War-Department (or cracker) theory
During the Civil War, the US War Department bought supplies of crackers from a company called Orrins-Kendall. Their initials appeared on the boxes, and as the crackers were of a particularly high standard, the letters OK became synonymous with "all right". This theory was originally put forward in a publication called Linguist, from the Horace Mann School for Boys in New York, although it has subsequently appeared in a number of other publications.

The Ship-Builder theory
Early ship-builders would mark the timber they prepared, and the first to be laid was marked "OK Number 1", meaning "outer keel No. 1".

The Richardson theory
William Richardson recorded his journey from Boston to New Orleans in his 1815 diary. Transcriptions of the diary show "Arrived at Princeton, a handsome little village, o.k. and at Trenton where we dined at 1p.m." - although in some have proposed that this showed the use of the expression in 1815, the original manuscript shows that this was actually part of some alterations that may have been added by Richardson (or someone else), possibly even after 1840 when the term had come into common use. Another possibility is that the writing is of a.h., referring to "a handsome", but there are many objections to this theory.

Personally, I like to think that the phrase "okay" did not come from any single one of these theories, but became popular over time as a result of ALL the theories put together.

Think about how many times in just one day that you make use of this handy little phrase. When someone asks you how that sore ankle is doing, would you say "It's proceeding normally", or "It is satisfactory."?

Nope, the correct answer is "Okay".

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