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Here's your invitation to ‘window-shop' in W-B

Please take time out of your busy schedule during the holidays. Come to downtown Wilkes-Barre and see the festive window paintings, displays and storefronts.

Also, don't forget to come to Boscov's and see the decorated Christmas trees and Christmas village done by one of our employees. I have never seen a more beautiful display than ours.

Clothing drive organizers request local support

The McKendree United Methodist Church, 477 McKendree Road, Shickshinny, will hold a coat giveaway from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 8.

We need the help of area residents to make this a success. We need gently worn winter clothing of all sizes. We plan to be at the church from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Dec. 6 to receive donated items.

If you have questions, please call 542-2317.

Gloria S. McVey


Vanity-size doesn't fit amid obesity problem

It's been said that in America vanity-sizing has appeared sporadically since the mid-1950s. Vanity-sizing is when an industry-determined clothing size is altered to reflect a decreased size (i.e. a previous size 8 dress is now a size 5).

But now, at a time when Americans face obesity at crisis levels, it hardly seems fit for the industry to do this. Furthermore, we have corporations that are allowed just willfully to adjust traditional size-scaling – and without any labels to say so!

The real problem with vanity-sizing is that consumers are unaware of these size adjustments and then might overcompensate by overeating or maintaining their same very poor diet, because they might think they've been rewarded by unknowingly fitting into smaller size clothing that clearly is not.

Put yourself in the clothes of a typical consumer for a moment: She's worked hard to shrink 25 pounds and is real proud of it, so she goes out and buys herself a new pair of jeans. Wow, I fit into an 8, she says to herself, only to go home and realize that size 8 is actually an 11. How personally deflating.

At the very least in this vanity-sizing scam, there should be clearly marked labeling, and it should be commercially (media) noted. Americans have been trying to make strides in the battle against obesity; we shouldn't be lied to about the clothes we now decide to wear.

Frank Dannert


Save on holiday buying by following Ford's model

The holiday shopping season is the best time for smart consumers to put into practice automobile pioneer Henry Ford's common-sense advice (from Moving Forward, 1930): If prices are used as baits for buyers, to be raised or lowered as the buyers feel about it, it is in effect a handing over of the control of the business to the buyers to do with as they like. That is a very real control and it is exercised in very drastic fashion.

Here is how to put yourself in control of the prices you pay during the holiday shopping season.

It is very difficult to respect somebody who actually would stand in line outside a store for the dubious privilege of paying an inflated price for the latest fad. Consider, for example, the near-riots that broke out on Black Friday last year, as crowds scrambled to buy Nike Air Jordan shoes for $180 a pair. The same shoes were available for $160 a little more than a month later. This price is still very high for a product that is made by cheap foreign labor, and a large component of it probably has to do with the celebrity name on the shoe. Smart consumers understand that having Michael Jordan's name on the shoe does not turn the wearer into Jordan, and they pay only for the shoe's actual composition and capability.

The fact that almost everything consumers will find in stores on Black Friday is made by cheap offshore labor gives them, and not the retailers, control over the selling price. The stores must order these items months in advance because of the offshore logistics. If the items don't sell, the retailers must then discount them sharply to clear away retail space for the next season's goods. This is how, for example, I bought a $95 sweater for $28.50 the day after Christmas.

If it's made in China or some other low-wage country, it doesn't matter whose name is on it. You can probably buy the same thing in Sam's Club or Walmart, minus the designer name, for a lot less. People had to think this way during the Depression, because they needed to wear clothing as opposed to brand names and designer labels. It is still a smart way to think today.

I also saw Chinese-made Christmas nutcrackers with the year 2012 on them. Consumers who give this a moment's thought will realize that the retailer probably will not want to display dated nutcrackers, or Christmas ornaments, in 2013 or 2014. The retailer, on the other hand, will have to almost give them away as 2013 actually approaches, and for exactly the same reason. Let them rot on the shelves until Dec. 26 and then, if you are willing to spend the time to paint over the date, buy them for what they are actually worth: a few dollars at most.

Don't worry about a bad holiday shopping season putting American workers out of jobs; those workers lost their jobs long ago when short-sighted management teams that cannot see beyond the next dollar moved the work offshore. This same class of managers want to control you with advertising, hype, one-day sales (hint: if it won't sell for $300 today, it won't sell for $450 tomorrow), and fancy labels.

As shown here, however, you can exercise the drastic control that Ford described through the simple exercise of patience and delayed gratification. That is how to pay the low price you want instead of the high price the marketing executives want.

William A. Levinson


Spend U.S. taxes here, not in foreign countries

Where does all the taxpayers' money go? To other countries.

Spending in Iraq and Afghanistan rose from $9 million to $580 million in the past five years.

We send Mexico $14 million a year to keep its peace.

About 40 percent of all U.S. public schools are in bad to poor condition. America builds schools and hospitals all over the world.

Tornado victims in Illinois were denied aid by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The future of Medicare and Social Security are in doubt.

The infrastructure of the U.S. is deplorable. One in four bridges in the country is structurally deficient or obsolete. Factories, as well as public and state parks, are closing. Grants to the arts have been cut. Subsidies to education have been cut or eliminated.

How can Congress justify the suffering of Americans losing their jobs, homes and savings while we squander billions all over the world, even to our enemies?

From every factory floor, storefront, home and street corner, let the demand ring out: America first!

Patrick L. Jiunta

West Pittston

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• Mail: Mail Bag, The Times Leader, 15 N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre, PA 1871 1

Jim Snyder Boscov's employee

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