Don Messerli’s Blog |

An exercise in self-indulgence.

The $4.99 Clock Radio

Friday Mar 9, 2007

Since I’m in the process of moving, I don’t have all of my stuff here in Nashville yet. One of the necessities I just didn’t have room to lug up here was my alarm clock. It’s a Sony that lets you set two alarms. I like it and don’t plan on replacing it anytime soon.

I was walking through my local Target looking for an alarm clock. Walking past the Dyson Root 6 and trying not to drool, I ended up at the digital clocks. I found a little Sony for $24.99. It was basically a smaller version of the one I have. I didn’t want to spend 25 bucks on something I wouldn’t be using for more than a couple of months. Yes Regine, we could put it in the guest room when I’m done with it. I picked one up and decided to see what other fun electronics they had. Something strange caught my eye, a price marker for $4.99 in the middle of all the higher-priced alarm clocks. My curiosity was piqued.

What kind of clock radio could you possible get for 5 dollars? Some of you might be remembering the 5 dollar milkshake from Pulp Fiction. But an alarm clock is supposed to last more than 30 minutes. I picked up the box and looked at it. It was cute. Sort of looks like a Mac Mini albeit smaller and made out of cheap gray plastic.Clock Box AM?… check. FM?… check. Alarm?… check Numbers?… check. What is missing? I’ll tell you what’s missing. The extra digit in front of the price. I decided to buy one and see if it really worked.

What really amazes me is how anybody, Target or the manufacturer can make any money selling an “FM/AM Clock Radio” for $4.99. If Target pays 50% to the manufacturer, that’s $2.50. There must be more than that in parts here. An LED display, a power cord, a wire antenna, some dials, some buttons, and a speaker. Not to mention the slow boat to get it from China to California and the truck to get it from California to Nashville. Somebody is making very little money here. You know who it is? It’s Sony. They didn’t make one penny.

ClockI took the clock home, plugged it in, set the time, set the alarm. It has kept perfect time and woken me up reliably 4 days in a row. A part of me expects the thing to just stop working one day. But every day it does work is one more day that I’m amazed.

I’ve Been Busy

Monday Mar 5, 2007

OK. So I haven’t posted yet this year. I have an excuse. If you’re in my email address book, you probably know why. I’ve been busy changing jobs and moving from Miami to Nashville. Many people think that it’s a crazy move. Most of them don’t live in Miami. Yet another city on my list that’s a nice place to visit - but you wouldn’t want to live there.

But what about the weather? It’s so good. Again, the vacation mentality. It’s good if you’re wearing a bathing suit, sitting by the pool, drinking something cold. It’s not so good if you’re going to/from work or running errands. You’re constantly running between your air-conditioned car and an air-conditioned building; trying your best not to turn into a human wet sponge. I prefer to have more than one season per year; even if one of them is a bit cold.

But what about the night clubs? I’m 44 years old. I gave that up a long time ago.

People in South Florida are rude and generally oblivious to the fact that there are other people on this planet besides themselves. I’m glad to now live somewhere where people are nice, pleasant and courteous. It was a bit of a culture shock at first. Now, it’s just nice.

I am in the process of learning Southern as a second language. I can understand it fairly well; I just can’t speak it yet.

I honestly can’t think of anything I’ll miss about Miami.