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Pennies make dollars

    When I was a young child my parents used to say: “Son, save your pennies as they make dollars.”

    So to this day I watch my pennies, nickels and dimes when shopping. It is a sad commentary, recently, to experience at the check out counter of two stores here in Bedford being charged more for an item than posted on their shelves under the items chosen.

    For one simple example, a store, in town, list apricots for $1.86 but when checked out at the cash register the price comes up $2.08 before VA tax which is a difference of 22 cents. When challenged at the register the poor defenseless clerk calls for the store manager. I’m asked to step aside and wait until the manager arrives and I have to relate the discrepancy once again to the “Lord High Manager.” Meanwhile I’m embarrassed by the looks from other customers now being waited on until the issue is resolved.

    The manager once informed of the price discrepancy waves an imperious hand to the clerk to just give me the price of $1.86 plus the tax and move on. I asked the manager if she wanted to walk back to the mis-marked shelve, to which she declined. In other words, and this is an assumption, if the store can get away with over pricing an item and are not caught hurray. I wonder how many other items have fallen into the same category and the store has profited at the expense of the customer.

    At another store in town, milk sells for $3.19 before tax of 2.50 percent, which makes the total price $3.27. If one returns the empty bottle on which he has previously been charged $2 it should be a wash or even exchange and the price should be $3.27. Somehow the computer, which I believe is initially programmed by humans, is charging $3.32 a difference of 5 cents. This difference may seem insignificant, but multiplying it by many customers adds up to dollars.

    In today’s tight economy every penny and nickel counts towards the purchase of other needed items. Or, has greed surpassed good consciousness, especially at this time of year when ‘good will towards man’ is the common mantra of the Christmas season. I’m saddened at the lack of being on the ‘square’ with the public which has created a culture of hurray for me and the ‘h…’ with you.

    As the poplar Christmas song says, “you better watch out, you better not pout” cause if you don’t watch your pennies, nickels and dimes no one else will.

Earle Goodwin


A look back

    Growing up during the late fifties and early sixties it was unusual to see the Peaks of Otter during the summer months from our farm which is only five miles from the summit of Sharp Top.

    We now live 15 miles from the summit and every summer the mountains seem to be closer even though my eyesight is declining with age. Even the stars on a summer night are much sharper than fifty years ago.

    The closing of the steel mills to our northwest and cleaning up the coal fired electric plants along the Ohio River have made the atmosphere over Bedford County much cleaner. The N&W replaced the steam engines with clean burning diesels in 1960. Today it is rare to see any pollution coming form a Diesel truck’s exhaust or smoke coming from a homeowner’s chimney.

    One thing that has disappeared along with the summer haze is the rainfall. Some scientists think that maybe we don’t have enough soot particles in the air to collect the moisture needed to create rainfall coming across the mountains. With the exception of tropical rains we have had ten severe droughts in the last 12 years. The old timers used to talk about the south fork of Big Otter drying up in 1930. It didn’t stop again until 1999, then in 2002, 2007, and again in 2008. This watershed has less population today than in 1930 so the flow can’t be blamed on too many wells. 

    The problem of water, whether it is in Smith Mountain Lake, Peddler Reservoir, or Otter River is the lack of rainfall coming from the west. Southside Virginia has always been plagued with droughts but not this bad since the settlers were starving at Jamestown 400 years ago. With the recent rains maybe the drought is broken. It is time to get our minds off of the so called man made climate change and concentrate on the real problem, the global economic meltdown.

Richard H. Ruff