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BEST DEALS

This is the time of year when there are offers for “best deals,” including most recently for me a great reduction on my projected funeral expenses and cremation.

The local funeral “parlor” has a record of how old I am, although I am asked that question on robo-calls, just to make sure that I “qualify.” But, how could I not qualify for a funeral?

Agencies have called several times and I have figured out a way to make them hang up before I do. When they ask how old I am, which they already know, I tell them that I am 105. There is an instant click at the other end of the line. But why? If I really was 105, I should be at the top of their qualifying list for the “best deal” on cremation in Waco. It doesn’t add up: why do I need a discount for my funeral? Obviously, the funeral “home” needs customers and “the older the better” as far as potential customers are concerned.

The thought of a “best deal” on cremation does put other offers in perspective. I won’t need the Alaskan Cruise or the Bahamas Idyllic Luxury Hotel if I am lining up for cremation. My Christian perspective is that I will have a much more restful place than a funeral parlor or a cemetery when I am in heaven. It won’t matter to me if they take this old body and burn it or if they drain out the blood in exchange for formaldehyde. My spirit will have departed to find its place in a new body. To me that is the “best deal” that I can think of, and it is based, not on imagination and false advertising, but on the Bible.

During this time of the year, many “best deal” items are now 75 to 80% off, including running shoes, fur coats, old books, last year’s washing machines and sushi. Even some soups and cheeses are discounted at HEB and, in the Christmas spirit, oil changes and tire rotations come free at Toyota when I spend $1,000 on other “necessary” maintenance work.

Some of the fast-food joints are not advertising their deals, although they have taken about 25% off the regular-sized hamburgers and there are places where hot dogs are three inches shorter as well. However, I am filled with good cheer and the holiday spirit when my server is wearing a Santa Claus hat and colored shirts.

Restaurants are not into the “best deal” of marketing. Their bills tell me plainly that I should tip at the 15 to 25% rate and, for anyone poor in arithmetic, the fee is already calculated. It seems that everyone wants a tip these days and sometimes the cashier will ask, politely of course, if you would like to provide one. If there is also a large jar by the cash register, it may be filled with 5 and 10-dollar notes (and a few quarters and dimes) to stimulate my giving. The message: other people are generous, why not you??

Tips were once related to “service provided,” but that is no longer the case. Tips are expected and there may come a day when I may be shot, but only slightly wounded, if I do not provide one. I tip, sometimes even more than expected, especially if I think the person needs the extra money. College students (perhaps) serving as waiters and waitresses may be examples of those “in need.” They may also hope for customers who are the “best deals.”

Why am I interested in the “best deal” anyway? Should I drive an extra two miles to save 20 cents a gallon on gasoline?

I read that Rockport Shoes are offering a sale, and the “best deal” is 50% off. That might mean I would have to buy size 18 or my feet would be too long for the 50%-off shoes. One of the book publishers was also offering a “best deal” on some books with 70% off, but that could leave me with only 60 pages to read in an original 200-page book.

I read recently of an “all-inclusive, limited time” offer to fly me to the Caribbean and stay in a “luxury” hotel. The flight, called “Air McDeal” can be paid for with food stamps and old fast-food coupons. Once there, the food is 40% cheaper than other hotels nearby because they collect leftovers from Mcdonald's and Burger King dumpsters within an hour after closing time, and some of it may still be warm.

I think that some “best deals” are not best for me!

Karl Franklin

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