Have you tried PriceGrabber.com? It seems like a good site to visit before making a significant purchase. The range of prices on the amazing Casio Exilim EX-M2 digital camera – which can attach sound to your photos and short videos and play Beethoven’s Ninth – is a low of $309 to a high of $399. The prices on a 42-inch Panasonic Plasma TV – which I gotta tell you I am dying one day to own – ranged from $4,999 to $3,526 after allowing for tax and shipping to my zip code. The mini-countertop portable dishwasher that Office Depot delivers to your door for $296.79 is yours, delivered, for $189.48 from Wal-Mart.

Remember when you actually had to let your fingers do the walking through the Yellow Pages? And, before that, actually walk? We didn’t realize it at the time, but life was hell. Comparison shopping could take all day.

(All that said, remember that the cheapest plasma TV of all is not to buy one. That’s my brand. I know you only live once, but I have always believed in pacing myself. An annoying young man once wrote, ‘Pace yourself! Tease yourself with anticipation. Ease the fingers of your aspiration up the inner thigh of your cupidity. Tickle your fancy.’ ‘Of course money buys happiness!’ he concluded. ‘But both will last longer if you remember the importance of foreplay.’ So I’m waiting a few months more. As to countertop dishwashers – would it kill you to rinse your fork and plate in the sink and then wipe them clean on your shirt sleeve?)

Tomorrow: How Come You All Know So Much about Vlad the Impaler?


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