Apple, iPhone and WalMart

The Freakonomics blog wonders about Apple’s decision to sell its iPhone at WalMart for only $99.

Will the iPhone loose its “cool” factor by being sold at WalMart?  Will other iPhone users be mad that they paid $300+ earlier and now can get them at WalMart for $99?
It’s a big gamble, but I think it will pay off.  Apple is clearly trying to make the iPhone as ubiqitious as the iPod.  It will be interesting to see if it works out.

The New York Yankees Just Bought A New MLB Franchise

According to this story from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the NY Yankees just spent a little over $240 million dollars in guaranteed money to sign pitchers C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett

When Mark Attanasio purchased the Brewers, he paid $223 million, or $17 million less than the Yankees are going to pay their #1 and #2 starters.

So much for the economic downturn affecting baseball…

Favorite Books of 2008

Here’s a list of my favorite books of 2008.  These weren’t necessarily books published in 2008, but were books that I read this year and enjoyed.

Non Fiction
Fiction

Madison Property Management: How Not to do Business

I currently rent from Madison Property Management and absolutely hate it.  

Dishonesty, unfair treatment, security deposit theft and outright lies has caused MPM to quickly jump to the top of my list of Worst Companies I Deal With.  They’ve found a way to beat out my old Worst Company, Charter Communications.  I am not alone.

Our house is nice, the rent is reasonable and the owner is a great guy.  
Enter MPM.
When we first saw the house in July, about a month before the leases in Madison turn over, the MPM rep told us that we would receive August rent free.  We were expecting this, as this was MPM’s special on their website.  When we went to sign the lease, we were told that we would receive this discount.  My roommates and I trusted them to be true to their word and we were pressured to quickly skim the lease.  We signed the lease and did not pay August rent.  In the first week of September, we received an eviction notice.  I called and asked why.  They said that we had not paid August rent and that it did not say anything about it in the lease.  The guy who showed us the house, plus the guy who had us sign the lease both denied that they had said anything.  MPM also changed the website.
I know it is our fault that we did not re-read the lease carefully, but come on.  Can you be more dishonest?  I am waiting for the WayBackMachine to show MPM’s website from the summer with the special on it and then I will go back and demand the money back.
We should have been wary about renting from MPM because of a previous roommate’s experience with MPM. Upon move out, MPM deducted $300 for a “hole in the door.” He demanded that they accompany him back to his apartment to see this “hole” so that they could justify payment. Three hours later, MPM called back and said “sorry, it’s just a nail hole. we won’t charge you.”  That’s a great response from a reputable company.
Next, it is their job to show the house for people who are going to live here next year.  Our rent is 1995 per month.  MPM has raised the rent to 2475 for next year.  Nice try ripping off students.  Not only have they raised the rent by almost 25%, but they have also lowered the quality of the house.
They also show the place at ungodly hours for a college student and for whatever reason, do not have a key to our house.  This means that they get locked out and cannot show the house unless someone is home.  We’ve alerted MPM about this, but they do not seem to care.
The next problem with MPM is their snow removal people have twice created 2 foot high snow banks across the front of our garage that I have to shovel out.  When I called to complain, the MPM rep said that they “do not do the snow removal” at our house, so they can’t do anything about it.  This is the second time they have lied to me.
Going to college and renting from MPM has taught me exactly how not to run a business.  Incompetent employees who are not responsive to customers, managers who tell outright lies and ridiculous prices will not work for most companies.  MPM gets away with it because students are lazy and do not know their rights.  I will never live in an MPM house or apartment again.