Tag Archives: America

The Price-Gouging Parasite!

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We’ve been having a slew of crazy weather around America these past few weeks.  First hurricane Harvey invaded Texas, flooding thousands of acres of land within the state.  Hundreds of thousands of people are still affected today and the state’s natural environment is heavily damaged.  Now we’re in the midst of the environmental PR nightmare that is hurricane Irma; a PR nightmare that is so strong that Man is losing its deep-rooted battle with Nature.

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Thousands of homes have been destroyed, people are migrating to better land, and food supply has already become dangerously low.  This dangerous shortage of food supply (or supply of any commodity for that matter) leads to the controversial tactic within the marketing/economic world known as price gouging.  To marketing and economic enthusiasts, price gouging is a taboo subject because of its drastic effect it has for the consumers.  It’s a strategy so horrifying, it can only be described as… The Price Gouging Parasite!

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Let’s start dissecting this dreaded monster within the marketing and economics world – price gouging is the event where the seller purposely spikes the goods, services, or commodities to an insanely price level.  Price gouging is considered to exploit the hidden dangers of the economic system, showcasing a worst-case scenario for its consumers.  Marketers don’t want to touch upon this provocative idea that occurs when marketing prices (Four P’s of Marketing: Product, Place, Promotion, and PRICE!).

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Image result for South Park chaos gif

Price Gouging usually occurs in the event of a natural disaster like hurricanes; in this case, it’s happening with Hurricane Irma.  Travelers are paying thousands of dollars for one-way tickets out of Florida, the scarce food supply becomes increasingly expensive due to such a large demand, and the communities themselves have become total anarchy.  This dark marketing/economic tactic is driving people insane, acting in animalistic behavior in order to satisfy their basic needs.  When basic needs such as food and shelter suddenly disappear, all HELL breaks loose for every living creature in the area.

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Now here’s where things get interesting – price gouging is LEGAL in sixteen states.  Thirty-four states enacted anti-price gouging laws with natural disasters being part of the exceptions.  Florida is one of those states as well as California, Massachusetts, Vermont, and even Hawaii.  More than half of the country set up anti-price gouging laws and the irony is that majority of states deal with natural disasters every year.

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Rather than just discuss this as price gouging, we should label it with its true identity – the Price Gouging Parasite.  Why is it called the Price Gouging Parasite you may ask?  Price Gouging is the idea of sucking up as much money from the consumer by setting an outrageously high price.  As the price rises higher, more profit is being sucked up into the system.  Think of it like a parasite sucking the blood from you skin, smooching up trillions of essential blood cells.  The more blood it sucks up, the stronger the parasite becomes and you grow even weaker.

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Just like that parasite sucking the life out of you, price gouging weakens your economic life.  It’s one of the dirtiest strategies within the marketing and economic world during a time of crisis.  What’s even more disturbing is how it feeds of people’s fears during these catastrophic events.

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So how do we deal with the Price-Gouging Parasite?  Where does this monster’s true weakness lie?  Is there a negotiable loophole that could put an end to it?

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Unfortunately, there is no straight answer towards defeating the Price-Gouging Parasite.  It’s inevitability during natural disasters makes this one tough monster to defeat.  As a hard truth to admit, price gouging is just something that’s bound to happen one way or another.  Whether it’s airlines charging travelers thousands of dollars or vendors jacking up prices for water bottles, the Price-Gouging Parasite pops up one way or another.

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As a consumer, you do have one alternative option – opt out of the purchasing process.  If you find that the price for your desired product is simply not worth it, then head off and find the same product with a lower price.  You, as a consumer, make the choice whether or not to go ahead with buying that bottled water or last-minute plane ticket out of the state.  These are frustrating choices to make, yet these are what you will have to choose during these chaotic times.

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And that right there folks, is what we are dealing with right now.  The Price-Gouging Parasite strikes once again during these times of environmental disasters.  Essential goods are becoming scarce, prompting human beings to initiate hasty decisions in order to survive another day.  This parasite sucks people dry, leaving many to fend for themselves.

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Here’s to hoping that Floridians survive another day in the midst of hurricane Irma.  All we can do is wait for the storm to pass so that the Price-Gouging Parasite is laid to rest.


AHS: Cult Trailer!

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Welcome back readers!  It’s been a while since we’ve got some decent news happening (lots of news happening while I’ve been busy enjoying the last few days of summer!).  We’re nearing the end of August, leaving me shocked that summer flew by so fast.  Pre-season football has already started and students are going back to their school/college soon.

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Summer has been quite amazing this year (amazing new job, good income, decent shows to binge-watch on Netflix!) and I look forward to what fall brings.  The Netflix series have been amazing, but now I’m definitely pumped for what fall TV has to offer.  With the weather getting colder within the next few months, staying in to warm up is always a great idea.  Sure I love going out to Boston every week, but catching up with my favorite TV series is another amazing option as well.

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If you’ve been reading the blog, you would know already that I’m a big American Horror Story fanatic (I did a whole month summarizing the horror and gore that was AHS: Roanoke, so yeah there’s that).  I’m definitely into horror series and American Horror Story goes far beyond some of the films I’ve watched.  Just when I think they couldn’t push the twisted and sadistic anthropology any further, they hit back harder with another gruesome tale.  Earlier I provided a few tidbits about this year’s chapter with the new teasers that released; I was excited to find out that the newest season will provide opening credits!

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That’s right folks – the opening credits to AHS:Cult are out!  This year’s chapter brought back the opening credits that clue audiences into what will happen in the story.  I got to check out the newest trailer (about 15 times since it released!) and it definitely answered my burning questions about the theme.

Here are the highlights on the trailer for AHS: Cult:

Bugs, Insects, Bees, Oh My!

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First thing I noticed right off the bat were the insects flying around.  There were close-up shots of millipedes, flies, and even bees.  The beehive kept coming up a few times (there IS a subtle theme that goes along with the cult idea!).  Insects have been around since the first chapter with American Horror Story: Murder House and they’re coming back for the latest one.  Looks like we’ll have to keep an eye out for the insects this season!

Donald Trump Mask

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          Masked killers have always been a recurring theme in Ryan Murphy’s twisted series (The Carver, The Rubber Man, Twisty the Clown) and this season we have a figure donning a mask that resembles Donald Trump.  There was news detailing that the 2016 election results will be a central theme for season seven.  Horror will be seeping into politics this year!

George Washington Statue

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Throughout the trailer, there’s some creepy figure of George Washington that pops up.  The figure looks concerned, as if he sees danger heading into his way.  He also wields a weapon and stands as if he is ready for battle.  This season is getting a lot more political, so it is only fitting that we see the George Washington figure.  Who knows what other past presidents we will see pop up next.

Clown Cult

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We got to meet Twisty the Clown on AHS: Freak Show and now we are dealing with a clown cult this season.  Clowns are popping up from coffins, each one dressed in the same depressing/creepy outfits.  It’s also interesting to mention that Twisty the Clown will be coming back this year!

Hillary Trump Mask

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Not only are we dealing with a Donald Trump masked-character, but we also have some in a Hillary Clinton mask.  Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the two candidates for the 2016 election, are going to be part of this year’s political horror story.  Those masks are just downright BIZARRE and it’ll be interesting to see them this season.

Political Shadow Figure

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Halfway through the trailer, there’s some creepy figure that lurks around.  His shadow is seen on a wall while a dark carousel goes around.  At one point, his shadow disappears while the camera moves closer to him.  Who is this mysterious figure?  Is he another political figure from the past?  Could he have some connection to the weird George Washington figure?

Bleeding Flag

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An American flag comes up, but its splattered with blood.  Gushes of blood trickles down the cloth, signaling a time of danger.  I’m sensing that it has to revolve around the clown cult.  Whatever the case may be, we’re about to find out what danger the residents are in.

Bloody Shower Sex

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Don’t mind the horny couple, they’re just having some shower sex…while being covered in blood!  Love is always in the air here in the AHS universe and it usually ends up messy (LITERALLY messy!).  The bloody couple having shower sex could be a part of the crazy clown cult.  Either way, we have a new couple to follow!

Creepy Beekeeper

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Our last creepy figure to discuss is the beekeeper.  You can’t see his face, only his beekeeper outfit.  Other than the bees flying around, we’ll have to keep a close eye on this mysterious man.  What is his backstory all about?

Title Card

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As a final bonus piece, the title card is revealed.  The season title card looks absolutely amazing.  From the rusted grey texture to the blood dripping on the letters, the AHS: Cult card looks perfect for this season.  Kudos to the creative designer for cooking up this amazing piece of artwork for the title card!

Nevada’s 21st Century Cannabis Rush

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Ten days ago, Nevada opened up their recreational cannabis dispensaries.  More than 40 dispensaries are open for business, with a few operating within the Las Vegas Strip.  Sin city just got a lot more sinful now that cannabis is legal to purchase.  Gambling, alcohol, and even prostitution were some sinful pleasures that made Las Vegas so amazing.

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So what has actually happened 10 days after legal sales received the green light?  Was cannabis a big hit that Nevada thought it would?  What’s the progress on the legal cannabis market so far?

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Well folks…it’s even BETTER than I anticipated.  Not only did the recreational market become successful, but Nevada is now dealing with a supply shortage.  You can’t make this up, people…Nevada is LITERALLY running out of supply!

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Image result for nevada recreational weed 2017

Within less than two weeks of opening, most dispensaries are already running out of cannabis.  Lines formed out of the door since Sunday morning, filled with anticipated customers waiting to get their hands on legal cannabis.  Even Essence Dispensary, which is a few feet away from the Las Vegas Strip, had customers lining up for HOURS after legal sales begin.    Businesses can’t keep up with the supply because cannabis is selling like hot cakes!  Even with the limited amount of communications strategies utilized for the cannabis industry, the demand for legal cannabis skyrocketed instantly.

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But wait, it gets even more ridiculous.  Nevada governor Brian Sandoval helped endorse the call for a “state of emergency”, allowing for more licensed distributors.  The large demand for cannabis has become so outrageous that even the Nevada governor is fast-tracking the approval process just to keep business flowing!

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Before we start freaking out about cannabis shortages in Nevada, let’s remember one thing…what’s happening is AMAZING right now.  Think about this for a second: Las Vegas, a booming city where a majority of their economy relies on their 40 million tourists each year, has people flocking for the cannabis.  Cannabis is bringing in more audiences, more income, and generating more positive buzz around the state of Nevada.

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Quantity goes along with the supply of the commodity (how much is actually spread out) while quality works with what the consumers are demanding (what audiences want with their commodity).  Customers have already been more than pleased with the demands, so businesses just have to work harder on generating more of the supply.  The hard part is over (raising awareness of cannabis dispensaries so that customers take action) and now we simply must produce more of the popular cannabis commodities.

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Nevada dealt with a bad PR nightmare with their High Times Cup disaster (read more on that nightmare here) and now they are shining with this glorious PR miracle!  Keep in mind that what you’re seeing is NOT a mirage – Nevada is really striking rich with cannabis.  I can safely say that Nevada truly hit the jackpot with this industry.

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This was fantastic news to hear!  I knew that the cannabis industry would hit big in Nevada and I’m shocked to hear about the supply shortage.  The state of Nevada will have to keep up with their supplies soon before customers migrate to other legal states (like Colorado or Oregon!).

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It’s been less than two weeks and the demand for legal cannabis skyrocketed in Nevada.  California is set to conduct legal sales in less than 6 months, so the competition is going to be FIERCE within the western region.  Nevada is already competing with Colorado, Oregon, and even Washington state in terms of the cannabis industry.  Throw California into the mix and it’s an all-out business war (we ARE talking about the ‘Wild Wild West’ part of America btw!).

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Who knows what will go down in the western region now that a majority of states provide recreational dispensaries.  One thing’s for certain – whatever occurs in the western region will echo over to the eastern region as well.  Massachusetts will open their shops in July 2018 and they’ll have to compete with Maine in the meantime.

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Now is the time for the cannabis industry to truly shine all across the country.

Personal Thoughts on the Cannabis Industry

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Ever since Question 4 passed in Massachusetts, I have been so excited about the cannabis industry.  It’s been such pleasure to learn, research, and even write about cannabis every week.  The ‘4/20’ category has been so popular on MakeSandcastlesNotWar now that it’s becoming more of a regulated business.  What I’m most enthusiastic about is the marketing, advertising, and PR plans that are in stores for the future!

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Eight months have passed since the election and cannabis enthusiasts have already been mapping out their business strategies.  Growers, budtenders, trimmers, managers, and other employees are riding the giant wave that’s hitting Massachusetts.  While most people are praising the 4/20-friendly businesses, there are still people that are saying ‘NO!’ to pot.

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Image result for cannabis industry

This country has been divided on many issues lately and recreational cannabis use is one of them.  Surprisingly enough, some people still believe cannabis is a “drug” and that legalizing it would peddle in more drugs that would increase the opioid epidemic (which has been REALLY bad in MA, but we’ll get to that in another post).  Cannabis’s reputation is still damaged, so people still aren’t receiving the right information about the product.

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Even though I’m feeling great now that I got this ever-expanding blog and job with the cannabis industry, I have gotten some…interesting comments, to say the least.  I’ve had people give me dirty looks, question my choices in life, and even walked away from me just to end the conversation.  Just last week, I had some friend’s parents give me dirty looks about where I work and stereotyped me as some lazy pothead (which is QUITE the opposite!). Quite frankly, I knew that this would happen ever since I dived deep into the cannabis industry.  There was no turning back now that I was riding that wave.  America is constantly changing and I was ready for the huge 4/20-friendly change hitting the streets of Boston.

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At this point, you’re probably asking me, “Jon, do you ever care about what people say or what they will be saying about you?”.  The answer to that question…ah HELL NAH!  Absolutely not!  As a matter of fact, I could honestly care LESS if people cut ties with me just because I’m working in the cannabis industry.

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Let me tell you something, folks – people are going to criticize you for ANY kind of work you do.  Whether you become a dancer at an exotic club or an accountant, someone will make some judging comment for some preposterous reason (either their ignorant or jealous!).  Those jackasses that start those judgement calls probably hate their jobs, so they waste their precious time belittling other people to make themselves better.

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If you absolutely LOVE what you…then KEEP DOING IT.  Don’t ever let some random judgement call throw you off of your game just because you want to satisfy someone.  One hard lesson I learned during my early 20s was that you can’t satisfy the whole goddamn world.  Someone is going to make judgement calls over choices such as your career path, colleges, your sexual orientation, where you choose to live, and other frivolous things that isn’t anyone’s business but yours.  People look over the other side of the fence to see if the grass is truly greener (SPOILER ALERT: It’s NOT that greener!).

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In the midst of the 21st century gold rush that is occurring in America, I wanted to provide you some insight on my thoughts about the cannabis industry.  I am SO excited about what’s to come in Boston and the lessons I learned in my PR classes will finally be paying off.  Speaking of college, I know that my PR professors would be so thrilled to hear about my plans for the future.  Life has been crazy since finishing school, but I’m really starting to see a clearer path as the days go one.

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America is constantly changing every year and many people are scared of those changes.  Some people are SO scared that they’ll become ignorant or clueless about what’s REALLY happening in this country.  We’ve accomplished so much in this beautiful world and there’s more surprises in store for us.

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To those people that make those judgement calls about the cannabis industry – WAKE UP.  Open your eyes and wake up soon because there’s a whole new world waiting for us in the future.  The cat has been out of the bag for YEARS and it’s not ever going back in.  We are about to see a unique commodity bring about sweeping changes around Boston, New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, and other major cities.

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It’s time to accept what will be known as…MARIJUANAMERICA!