2008-03-14 / Columnists

Broad Channel Bits

Commentary By Liz Guarino

A couple of neighbors weren't too happy about the tickets they got for lapsed registrations and/or inspections. Traffic enforcement agents have been busy here in the Channel, 'writing' tickets for infractions like the above. It's easy for things to slip your mind - especially if you don't drive every day or very far. Don't get a ticket - make sure all your car stuff is up to date!

From the American Legion Post 1404 Auxiliary comes the following news: "The American Legion Auxiliary will be holding our 5th Annual 'Jane Fuller Memorial Brunch for Cancer Care' on Sunday, March 16 from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. As usual, we will hold a mini sweepstakes raffle drawing at this Brunch. On the menu are eggs any style, omelets, freedom toast and pancakes. All are served with bacon, sausage or ham, and home fries. Last year, in memory of Jane, we raised over $2,000 and this year we would like to raise even more."

On Sunday, March 16, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, look for signs of spring - maybe even spot early greening of the refuge. The walk is ranger-led; families can enjoy this event together. Sign up in advance at 718 -318- 4340.

The Broad Channel Pre-K will be hosting an Open House on Tuesday, April 1 from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. for 3- and 4- year olds at the Christ Presbyterian Church Hall, 102 Noel Road, Broad Channel. Please bring your child with you. Registration packets will be given out at the Open House and registration for September, 2008 will be held on April 10 at 7 p.m. Space is limited; it is very important that you register on the 10th. There is a $50 (cash only) non-refundable registration fee due at the time of registration. Please bring a copy of your child's birth certificate, their immunization record and proof of address. For any further information, please contact Karen at 718- 634-5693 or email to momto3boysand agirl@msn.com

On Sunday, April 6, hike around the ponds and in the gardens from 10 a.m. to noon at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and look for spring birds. Bring binoculars; make reservations by calling 718-318-4340.

`On April 9, St. Virgilius Golden Age is planning a bus trip to Atlantic City. Trump Casino is their destination. Bus will leave from Noel Road and Cross Bay Blvd. Cost is $30 per person. Cash return is $25, with a food coupon worth $5. Bingo will be played on the way down; a movie will be shown on the way back. Call Dolores, 718-634-9472 or Margaret, 718 945-4967. First come, first served. Seats will be assigned upon payment.

`While our little library is closed, a lot of neighbors are going to miss its presence. Closure from March 14 is scheduled, with reopening planned on June 3. When the library reopens, it will have a new look inside. More computers will be added. Redesign and restructure in the branch will provide a lot of interior changes. More details in a future column.

Some of our neighbors were talking about prices for different things and how they are increased by manufacturers who don't want the buying public to notice that the manufacturers have increased their profit margin. For instance, candy bars - especially chocolate - were the same size for years and years. Then, the bars started to shrink in size while the price remained the same. Of course, shrinking the bar and keeping the same price represents a hike in the profits of the corporation. And, of course, people didn't notice - or thought they were mistaken. Then comparison with the candy bars of competitors that hadn't shrunk their bars yet - confirmed it. Shrinking things raises costs to the customer; it's pretty subtle, isn't it? Of course, this was decades ago.

Much more recent is the price increase in curtains. Curtains used to be sold by the pair because a pair of panels was used in front of even a single window. But now, shoppers have to buy 2 packages of curtain to cover a window! Can you imagine having to buy two packages of socks or gloves just to get a pair?! This next one is especially for the ladies - have you looked at the women's clothing in the JC Penney catalog? Specifically, the misses dress slacks. Most of the dress slacks (and a good number of the jeans too) now have elastic waists - slacks with zippers cost $5 more than slacks with elastic waists. Now there is nothing wrong with elastic waists on slacks- they are comfy. But what happened to selection? Almost all of the slacks have the elastic waists; at one time in the recent past they used to be mostly zippered. I wondered about the change for a while. Why did they do that? Then I realized the answer. Are you with me? It's cheaper to make the slacks with elastic waists than with zippers, which require more work, time and fabric. Another way for manufacturers to increase profits!

`There is one more thing the manufacturers are shrinking. Did you notice that toilet tissue rolls are shorter than they used to be? Yep! Some rolls have gotten shorter. The next time you are in the store, compare the rolls. See if they have all gotten shorter or narrower - depending on how they are laying - narrower if it's hanging; if it's stacked in the store, it's shorter. Is there more of the plastic center thing showing on each side of the roll when the toilet tissue is hung up? The old profit margin creeping up! You can't make this stuff up! What have you noticed lately that's an incredible shrinking item? It will be interesting to hear.

`If you have news that belongs in this column, please get the item(s) to me by Tuesday by 9 a.m. of the week in which the item is to appear. Please sign your email or note; like the rest of the newspaper, I cannot publish info that comes without a name.

`Email can be sent to: Lizbcbits@aol.com

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