November 1, 2014

►    Customer Feedback:   A Seasonal Service and Repair Report Card From David E. of Londonderry, NH who had a pre-repair inspection and recommendation on his hot tub.  He gave us a general rating of Excellent.  “Paul handled the initial inquiry in the store.  We arranged this special trip to make sure everything needed was ready for repair.  Paul’s knowledge and coherence deserves rewarding.”

►    New advertising, weekly specials, and department promotions start tomorrow:  “Entertain at Home”.  Note that the Santa’s rebates on pool tables require NOT using Matt for installation between December 1, and January 1.  That’s because we will be so busy that we will be turning away installations during December.  For questions, see a manager.  This month’s color is Ivory, except in Patio.

►    If you have anything to add to Gull News, give it to Anne-Marie or Patrick, to approve and they will give it to Rose.

►    Remember Daylight Savings Time ends Sunday, November 2nd.  Turn your clocks back at 2 a.m.

►    The bonus in yesterday’s paycheck (Friday, October 31st) was for submitting ideas for winter projects. Thank you to all who participated.

►    Reprinted from a NH Retail Association email, except I took out sections where they encourage using their program – just because I don’t want to sell anything here:

The last month or so, it seems like every time you open a newspaper or turn on the TV you hear about rising energy prices this winter. What’s going on? Well, long story short is that the Northeast is in the middle of a natural gas shortage…Wait, what? What happened to all that cheap domestic natural gas we keep hearing about all the time?  While it is true that natural gas is in abundance here in the United States, the Northeast doesn’t possess the pipeline capacity to meet the increasing natural gas appetite. As a result, during the winter months when our natural gas demand is at its highest, prices skyrocket to herculean levels and throw the market into a tailspin from December until March.

Well what does Natural Gas Have to do with my electricity bill going up?

In New England, over half of our electricity is generated from natural gas fired power plants. Hence when natural gas prices hit the roof, electricity prices are right behind.

How Long Will this Problem Last?

It is tough to say, as the issues that plague New England’s market are structural. While additional pipeline capacity is needed we are 4 to 5 years away from a new pipeline becoming a reality. Unfortunately, the only short term solution is one that is out of our hands, warmer winters. Warmer winters equal less natural gas demand, which can cause reduced energy supply costs.

I Buy from the Utility, What Can I Do To Protect Myself and My Business?

Customers that are in Unitil, Liberty, and the New Hampshire Electric Co-op (NHEC) territories are going to be the hardest hit this winter. To shield yourself from rising rates, we recommend you take a look at your electric bills to see where you are, and if you have a variable rate that is going up. Prices are climbing and we expect that rates will continue to rise for the next few years.

Customers in PSNH Territory, might want to actually think about remaining with PSNH for the short term and then exploring seasonal options with our program in March or April when pricing becomes much more advantageous.  Unlike the other NH utilities, PSNH has its own low cost coal generation which helps keep their prices relatively low and stable during the winter, while Unitil, Liberty and the NHEC are subjected to extreme price increases due to price movement for natural gas. As evidence of this, PSNH is actually the only New Hampshire Utility to request a rate decrease this winter. On January 1st, 2015 PSNH will likely be lowering their rate to $0.0967 per kWh, and that rate will remain effective until July 1st. Since PSNH sets its rates for 6 month intervals, we would advise moving off of PSNH in March/ April when the energy prices even out, and you can save between 1 and 2 cents per kWh by locking in with our program with (another vendor).

►    The Nashua Home Show is running this weekend.  I put an advertisement with a coupon in the lunchroom.  With or without a coupon, we will reimburse you for your admission, if you get a receipt.  Look for competitors and get their pitch.  I have to miss it.  Back when we went to home shows, this was our best show.

►    I talked to the employee at Namco Friday afternoon.  I asked what they would sell this winter.  He said pool tables and hot tubs (Shoreline by Dynasty).  I’ll research them for you.  They already have in stock inflatable hot tubs for $599 and $699.

►    Ocean State Job Lot purchased the former Stop & Shop down the street from us.  They intend to share the building with two tenants.  They will make price competition on pool supplies much more difficult.  They know way more than Walmart, Lowes, and other “Big Box” stores.  Possibly more than Namco.  And they are much cheaper than all of them.

►    For the last two weeks, there were no apparent register mistakes on liquid chlorine, warranty items, or refunds.  Congratulations.

►    We have a system for displaying steps in the Spa department.  There are very good reasons for the system.  And it would be great if everyone who goes into the Spa department would look at the department and fix things that are wrong.  I and your managers cannot do it all.

  1. The steps are there to help people to get into the spa to see if it is comfortable. It should look nice and be easy. So

a. Use the matching step.

b. Set it at the entrance, so that the customer gets into the tub correctly, without getting hurt (the entrance is at the highest step).

c. Put the sign next to the step, so that a customer walking around the tub does not trip on the step.

2. Steps go on every empty tub, but never on the wet tub – except only when wet testing the tub.

►    We have replaced the “Display Only” signs on the game tables with “Try It You’ll Like It” signs. Keep an eye out. Do they encourage more people to try a table, or more kids to hurt the tables?

►    Namco has closed for at least the winter in Nashua. So we will no longer accept their liquid chlorine returns, until they re-open.

►    News of the Weird from The Hippo:

       Sobering signs: In February, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that David Bell could not avoid being charged with DUI merely because he had been sober enough to pass all six “field sobriety tests” administered during a traffic stop. It was enough, the court said, that he had admitted drinking that night. A few days later, the Austin American-Statesman reported on Texan Larry Davis’ struggle to clear the 2013 DWI arrest from his record since he had blown a 0.0 alcohol reading that night and then had voluntarily undergone a blood test for other impairing drugs and come up clean on that.   Davis had admitted to “one drink,” but allegedly failed a “field sobriety test” (in the opinion of the arresting officer, anyway). (Davis’ case is still unresolved, but since he has been declared an “indigent,” the state covers his legal expenses.)

►     More Swimming Humor:

Deserted Island: A man was stranded on a desert island for 10 years.  One day, a beautiful girl swims to shore in a wet suit.  Man:  “Hi!  Am I ever happy to see you!”  Girl:  “Hi!  It seems like you’ve been here a long time.  How long has it been since you’ve had a cigarette?”  Man:  “It’s been ten years!”  With this information, the girl unzips a slot on the arm of her wet suit and gives the man a cigarette.  Man:  “Oh thank you so much!”  Girl:  “So tell me how long its been since you had a drink?”  Man:  “It’s been ten years.”  The girl unzips a little longer zipper on her wet suit and comes out with a flask of whiskey and gives the man a drink.  Man:  “Oh.  Thank you so much.  You are like a miracle!”  Finally the girl starts to unzip the front of her wet suit and asks the man leadingly, “So tell me then, have you been bored?”  The man looked at her and said excitedly:  “Oh, my God, don’t tell me you’ve got a surfboard in there too”?