<CharlieDigital/> Programming, Politics, and uhh…pineapples

29Jun/07Off

Two Terrible Rulings

Opening up the newspaper this morning, I came across two terrible rulings recently passed down by the Supreme Court.

The first has to do with MSRP.  I'm guessing that the majority of American's who are not filthy rich often go bargain hunting for prices below MSRP in hopes of finding that killer deal.  I'm guessing that if you're like me, you're willing to sacrifice some service at the point of sale for a better price.  This is part of principle of what has driven online sales: for the retailer, they save by not needing to have sales people or point of sale service while for customers, they often get a chance to save a huge amount over retail outlets.

From USA Today (6/29/07):

The 5-4 decision overturned a 96-year-old law that prevented manufacturers from setting minmum retail prices.  The majority wrote that lifting the pricing ban could benefit consumers if retailers offered better service or selection.

Wait, what?  How about benefitting consumers by offering a better price?  Why not leave it up to the retailers to choose which model they choose to bring in customers?  If customers wanted service, they could choose the retailer that offered it.  If they wanted to find a bargain, they could choose the retailer with the best markdowns.  Instead, the court has decided that the consumer has no say in this...no freedom of choice when it comes to price shopping.

What I found was completely asinine was a statement by Richard Doherty:

Richard Doherty of technology market researcher The Envisioneering Group agrees, saying the price ruling could lead retailers to use more free products and better services as sales incentives.  "It's sure to be to consumers' benefit this summer and Christmas."

Is this guy on crack?  How about I just want to get a good deal on a HDTV...I don't want any "quote-unquote-FREE" stuff.  I don't care for point of sales services; I do my research on the products I buy and I already know what I want when I go into the store; I want to get the best deal that I can...why not leave that decision up to the individual consumer?

To make matters worse, the article offers commentary from a multi-billionaire:

Bill Gates, of golf equipment maker Ping, says, "Not every consumer is a bargain shopper.  Some consumers are looking for quality, innovation, personalization and customer service when they shop."

That's fine, Bill, if you have the money for all that jazz, but how about the rest of us who are just trying to put away some money for retirement, for our kids, for our families?  We just want to get by with a good deal.  How about this novel idea: let the consumers decide what they value - price or service.

Argh!

As if this wasn't bad enough, the Supreme Court also ruled to strike down school diversity programs on a national level:

The dramatic 5-4 decision throws into legal doubt programs that factor in race, including magnet schools that use race to draw students from different neighborhoods.

Accorind to Chief Justice Roberts,

Classifying and assigning schoolchildren according to...race is an extreme approach.

Well then, what would you suggest Mr. Roberts?  How do you overcome the economic hurdles that create defacto segregated schools?  How can you deny that integration - even if it is forced - is to the benefit of our racial diversity and our social fabric?

The fact is, if school children were simply assigned to schools based on location and district, it would in fact create further segregation and slowly reverse some of the progress that has been made.  I think it is true that we fear what we do not know or understand.  We view those who are different from us as outsiders because we do not understand their cultures, their languages, their traditions, and their ways; what better way to overcome the defacto segragation that occurs by township (and economic boundaries) they to help ensure a minimum level of integration?

Such an upsetting way to start the day...

Posted by Charles Chen

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