Why Does Buying a Car Have to Be Such a Painful Experience?

If you’ve ever walked into a new car showroom, you will know that buying a car is quite different from shopping in a normal retail store. In pretty much any other retail environment – even those selling very expensive wares, you can wander around the showroom in peace, look at dozens of different items and casually browse their offerings. You can check price tags, you can ask straight questions and get straight answers in return, you can explore at your own pace and you don’t always feel like you have to justify your presence to the sales staff. In a car showroom, however, that doesn’t happen.The usual practice when you set foot in a car showroom is that you are immediately accosted by a sales executive or even a ‘professional greeter’. They want to know why you’re there, what you’re looking for, how much you have to spend, and they always want to obtain as many of your personal and contact details as they can get. Even if all you want is a brochure.The new car dealership has one of the most aggressive sales environments of any retail venue. Step inside the showroom and you will be approached by a sales consultant. Wave that one off and another one will appear. Keep rebuffing them and eventually a manager will march up to you, effectively demanding to know why you’re wasting everyone’s time and not buying a car already.If you do actually want to speak to a sales consultant, or finally yield to their persistent questioning, then a very structured interrogation swings into place. This is designed to get as much information out of you as possible, covering every aspect of your personal information and circumstances, all to be used against you in trying to sell you the car they want you to buy, which is not necessarily the one you actually want. The information you provide is logged in detail, and is accessible by not only the sales consultant, but also the business manager (to sell you finance and insurance products), the sales manager, and even the manufacturer. In fact, it is usually the manufacturers who demand the information be captured, so they can analyse your responses and blitz you with marketing paraphernalia until the end of time. Your data is compared with other customers and scrutinised long after you have left the showroom.Most car buyers find the relentless pestering and questioning to be invasive and annoying, and feel it makes the whole experience of buying a car to be extremely unfriendly and uncomfortable. Some manufacturers are particularly insistent on this very harsh interrogation process, and one gets the feeling that those manufacturers think the customers should feel privileged to be able to buy their cars.There are two words you need to understand which drive everything which happens in a car dealership, and why the dealership personnel behave the way they do – commissions and targets.Nearly everyone you talk to at the dealership is largely paid on commission. The sales executive, business manager, sales manager and so on – all of them receive a relatively small base salary, with the majority of their earnings coming from commissions on selling you their products. So everything they all say or do is geared around you buying their car (and associated extras), because they all get paid a percentage of the money you spend at their dealership.The other driver for everything that happens at a dealership relates to sales targets. The manufacturer sets monthly, quarterly and annual sales targets for the dealer, and the dealership management then does the same for each of its sales staff. There is then a complicated combination of penalties for failing to meet targets and rewards for exceeding them. For the dealership, failing to hit quarterly sales targets can mean many thousands of pounds of lost funds from the manufacturer, and for sales executives, failing to hit sales targets can mean losing their jobs. At the end of every month, numbers are tallied, commissions are calculated, the scores are reset to zero and it all starts again.The other thing about commissions and targets is that they are only counted after the customer has paid for their car and driven off into the sunset, not when they actually sign their contract. So if you order a new car in November 2012, but don’t actually take delivery until April 2013, the dealership can’t count the sale towards its target until April and the sales team won’t get their commission payment until the end of May – some six months after they actually “did their job” and sold you the car, and over a month after you took delivery. This is very frustrating for the dealership, so as a result they are always far more interested in selling you a car they have in stock right now, so they can get their hands on your money right now.The end result of this obsession with commissions and targets is that the dealership staff are all desperate to sell you a car from their current stock, with finance, plus insurance, plus any number of other extras, because their salaries and their jobs depend on it. There is constant pressure on sales staff to deliver results, regardless of how many customers actually visit the showroom. When things get quiet, the sales staff are expected to pound the phones, calling old customers to try and convince them to upgrade their car, or chase unsuccessful conquests to see if they can persuade them to change their minds.Dealers know that most customers get frustrated by the car buying experience. They also know that this frustration usually leads to the customer running out of patience and agreeing to buy a car just to make the whole painful experience stop. So rather than try and make the customer feel more at ease, they engage in a war of attrition and will do whatever they can to keep you in that showroom for as long as possible, knowing that the longer they have you there, the better their chance of wearing you down and getting your signature on a contract.So how do you, as a customer, make the most of your car buying experience in such a hostile sales environment? Well, understanding the process gives you a much better basis to conduct your purchase. Every ‘recommendation’ a sales executive gives you has to be taken in the context that it is leading you towards the conclusion that they want, not necessarily the one you want.Secondly, if the whole experience of buying a car is weighed so heavily in the dealer’s favour, then you can choose to engage them on your own terms rather than theirs. A professional car buying agent can deal with the sales staff on your behalf, and make sure you get the best outcome for your needs rather than going along with what the dealer wants.

Ride-On Tire Balancer and Sealant -8 oz. – M/C 41208EACH

Ride-On TPS (Tire Protection System) is a tire balancer and sealant compound that evenly coats the inner surface of tires
This coating balances tires and makes them into self-sealing tires while you ride
Eliminates need for those old ugly wheel weights
Specially formulated to hydro dynamically balance high-speed tires, dampen road noise and vibrations that cause a rough ride
If your tire is punctured, the centrifugal force of the rotating tire and the internal air pressure force Ride-On into the hole, sealing it instantly (Up to 1/4in. in tubeless tires and 1/8in. in tube tires)
Ride-On is a Green biodegradable product that is designed to be non-hazardous and non-flammable and contains corrosion inhibitors that protect all alloys of steel, aluminum, magnesium and yellow metals against oxidation

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Choosing and Packing Photography Equipment for a Holiday – Lenses

When you’re packing photography equipment for a holiday, it’s hard to decide what to take. You want to take enough to get good photos, but not so much that it weighs you down or takes up too much space in your luggage.If you’re going on a holiday with a specific photographic intent in mind, such as safari, then its relatively easy to decide what lenses to take. But if you’re going on a standard holiday to the city or country, where you’ll likely come across a multitude of different photographic situations, it can be hard to decide which lenses to take, and which to leave at home.This article covers a few different options you may want to consider when deciding which lenses you should take to use with your digital SLR camera on holiday.Lightweight creative – Small prime lensFor the ultimate in terms of traveling light with a Digital SLR camera, consider bringing just a single prime (fixed focal length) lens, e.g. 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, or 85mm. Although you may miss the convenience of a zoom lens, remember that you can still ‘zoom with your feet’ when using a prime lens.However, when using a single prime lens, the purpose should not really be to try and get the same shots as you would when using a zoom lens. Instead, it should make you think differently, and you should try to take shots using the fixed focal length to your advantage.If you do decide to try and push your creativity by shooting with only a single focal length, I would recommend that you try this out before you go on holiday. This way you can see what sort of shots work with that particular lens, and which sorts of shots don’t, before you leave.Besides forcing you to challenge your creativity, shooting with a single prime lens has other benefits:

Prime lenses are typically smaller than zoom lenses.
With no lens changes you shouldn’t have to worry about your camera sensor getting dirty
Prime lenses typically have fast maximum apertures, e.g. f/1.4. This enables you to take shallow focus shots that you can’t get with slower zoom lenses.

The obvious disadvantage is that there will be some shots you might want to make but just can’t because you don’t have the right focal length and ‘zooming with your feet’ is not possible. e.g. If you bring a 50mm prime lens you won’t be able to take a wide-angle shot of your hotel room.Lightweight convenient – Walk around (Medium wide – medium telephoto) zoomFor convenience it’s hard to beat a walk around zoom lens. These are available in quite a large range of focal lengths, some more modest e.g. 24-70mm (for a full frame DSLR) or 17-50mm (for a APS-C DSLR), or some quite extreme (known as ‘superzooms’), e.g. 28-300mm (for a full frame DSLR) or 18-200mm (for a APS-C DSLR).Generally the shorter the zoom range, the higher the quality of image the lens will produce, but you loose the convenience of having the longer zoom.These lenses go from a medium wide angle to a medium telephoto, allowing you to capture most things from city streets, to portraits, to larger wildlife. There may still be some situations where you find you want a wider or longer focal length than your lens, but a walk around lens should cover most situations you come across.Although convenient, these lenses tend to have a smaller maximum aperture than prime lenses. This means they are not quite as suited for low light photography (though with today’s high ISO capable cameras this is less of a concern than it used to be).A walk around zoom lens will likely produce worse image quality than a prime lens, but the quality should still be plenty enough for most print sizes.Heavyweight all bases covered – Walk around zoom + wide angle zoom + telephoto zoom + (optional) normal primeIf you want to cover virtually any situation you come across, the above selection of lenses should do well. It won’t cover every single situation, to do that you’d need to bring so many lenses you’d need a Sherpa to lug them around for you. But these lenses will cover the large majority of photographic opportunities you’re likely to come across, without you having to be a body builder to carry them.The walk around zoom, as discussed above, will probably be your primary lens, and cover most situations.A wide angle zoom lens, such as a 10-20mm, 12-24mm, 14-24mm, 16-35mm, or 17-40mm, will prove great for getting in the vastness of a beautiful country scene, city square, or bustling market. The super wide angles of these lenses can also be used to great creative effect, emphasizing objects in the foreground and giving a great sense of perspective.The wide angle zoom lens will also come in useful in tight spots where you want to get in an entire scene, but can’t move any further back, for example a small shopping alley.A telephoto zoom, such as a 70-200mm or 70-300mm lens will come in useful for taking photos of things in the distance, or wildlife. They are also useful for picking out details higher up on buildings, and can make reasonable portrait lenses as well. You probably won’t need the reach of a telephoto zoom lens very often, but it’s nice to have it when you need it.If you are using a superzoom lens (e.g. 18-200mm or 28-300mm) for your walk around lens, then you may decide not to have the extra weight of a telephoto zoom. But a smaller focal length range walk around lens (e.g. 17-50mm or 24-70mm) and a telephoto zoom lens will provide superior image quality compared to a superzoom.To round off your kit, you may want to consider adding a normal (e.g. 50mm) fast aperture (e.g. f/1.4) prime lens. Although it will probably double-up on part of the focal length covered by the walk around lens, the faster aperture of the prime lens makes it more suitable for portraits and photos where you want to use shallow depth of field.This kit will be quite a bit heavier than a single lens, but should fit in a smallish bag without too much trouble. And it gives you added flexibility compared to just using a single lens.

Medium-weight most bases covered – wide angle prime + normal prime + medium telephoto primeIf you like your sharp and fast prime lenses, try bringing a wide angle prime e.g. 14mm, 21mm, or 24mm, a normal prime, e.g. 35mm or 50mm, and a medium telephoto prime, e.g. 85mm or 135mm.Not quite as convenient as a selection of zoom lenses, you’ll have to ‘zoom with your feet’, but a selection of prime lenses will give you the ultimate in image quality. The wide aperture of prime lenses (particularly the 50mm and 85mm lenses) also allow you to take advantage of the shallow depth of field that slower zooms can’t match.Depending on the aperture of your prime lenses, if they are fast e.g. f/1.8 – f/2.8 you should find they take up less room than the equivalent zoom lenses. If you have superfast prime lenses e.g. f/1.2 – f/1.4 then they may be as heavy or heavier than zoom lenses covering the same focal lengths, but then of course, zoom lenses can’t match those superfast apertures.The main problem with using only a selection of prime lenses is that you can’t cover the telephoto end very well unless you don’t mind the large and heavy telephoto primes. You probably don’t want to be carrying one of these around with you on holiday, unless maybe you are visiting a zoo or wildlife reserve.I would suggest that 85mm or 135mm will probably be enough to cover most situations where you want a longer focal length. You may miss some shots where a longer focal length is needed, but you will also be able to get some shots in other situations that a zoom would miss (e.g. very low light or very shallow depth of field).Hopefully the above has given you some ideas of what lenses to take on holiday with you.

Prestone AS398 Wheel Cleaner with Brake Dust Repellent

This 2-in-1 formula cleans wheels and helps prevent brake dust build up. This easy spray-on, hose-off formula is safe for all wheel types, keeps wheels looking cleaner longer and makes wheels easier to clean. An optimum blend of components in this formulation provides powerful cleaning without the harmful and potentially damaging ph levels found in other wheel cleaners. The deposit of an anti-static polymer additive helps prevents the adhesion of brake dust particles. This creates a barrier film formulated to repel brake dust particles and other charged ionic particles.
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UPS 101 – Uninterruptible Power Supplies Technologies

These days, the use of computers has become an integral part of human life. In fact, the average person cannot function well in a day without the utilization of a number of computer-run and automated devices, one of which is the UPS system, also known as uninterrupted or uninterruptible power supply.There are different manufacturers of UPS systems today, thanks to the fact that demand for such products has shown a significant increase over recent years. Because of this, there are now several brands to choose from. One must choose carefully, though, in order to get the right UPS system for his computer, lest difficulties be encountered later on. There are also different types of systems to consider, including the three general categories, namely the on-line, line-interactive, and the standby uninterruptible power supplies.An on-line UPS makes use of a double conversion method as regards the acceptance of AC input and the consequent rectifying to DC in order to pass through the battery; it then inverts back to AC (specifically a 120V one) in order to power the protected equipment. On the other hand, a line-interactive UPS works to maintain the inverter in line, redirecting the computers batteries DC current path away from the normal charging mode into temporary supplying current the moment power is lost. Meanwhile, a standby (also known as off-line) UPS carries a load powered actually by the input power; this means that the backup power circuitry is only called upon when the utility power encounters some difficulty or fails entirely. Most computer users want the standby variety or the line-interactive variety, as these uninterruptible power supplies are known to be less burdensome on the pocket. Let us get to know these technologies more.The standby UPS, among the others, offers the most basic features: It provides battery backup and surge protection. This kind of system allows equipment to be connected directly to whatever incoming utility power; the surge is protected via a plug strip, which is normally connected across the main power line. Once the incoming utility power falls below the expected level, the standby UPS then works to turn on its simple internal DC-AC inverter circuitry, and then mechanically switches the equipment to its DC-AC inverter output – all of which happens in 25 milliseconds or less, depending on much time the standby UPS takes to detect lost utility voltage.The line-interactive UPS operates in similar fashion as the standby UPS, but there is an additional feature in the form of a multi-tap variable-voltage auto-transformer, a special kind of electrical transformer that has the ability to subtract or add powered coils of wire, thus decreasing or increasing the overall output voltage. This variety can tolerate over-voltage surges and under-voltage brownouts (even continuous ones) without ending up consuming the battery reserve or causing any more interruption while making the switch from power to battery.Those using large power units have another option on their hands, namely the dynamic UPS, which makes use of a synchronous alternator or motor connected on the mains through what is called a choke. A flywheel holds the energy and an eddy-current regulator maintains power on the load. Other uninterruptible power supplies technologies include the diesel rotary UPS and the fuel cell UPS.