The Semantics of "Value"

What is the definition of “value”?

A bank (which shall remain nameless) is offering “valuable rewards” if you enroll your check card in their program. They’ll even kick in a bonus 650 points for signing up.

Here’s how it works: You use your card for nearly everything (including paying bills) and you get 1 reward point per each $4 spent (but you have to use it as credit, not debit, for it to count). Rack up those points, and turn them into valuable rewards! All this amazing stuff only costs you $12 annually!

Here’s the catch: Remember that 650 bonus points you get? That amounts to the value of a $5 gift card. That’s right, only $5. I know it’s bonus points, so you didn’t spend to get them, but just to illustrate how it works, you would have had to spend $2,600 in goods and services to earn those points. Therefore, you spend $2,600 to get a $5 reward (and you pay $12 annually for this privilege). According to the leaflet that was mailed to me, the “rewards” just keep getting better! For instance, once you have amassed 5,000 points, you can get a $50 gift card from Outback Steakhouse (but you had to spend $20,000 to get those points).

Now maybe my math is off (wouldn’t be the first time, as I hate math) but having to spend $4 to get one point is fairly straightforward math. How in this world can they claim this deal has anything to do with “value”? Granted, they assume this is spending you’d already be doing, so you may as well get something for it, right? Hmmm…. Then there’s that little matter of paying $12 a year. Why would I pay $12 a year for the privilege of spending $20,000 to get $50? If they dreamed this up in Vegas, it would definitely be the house plan, not a gambler’s idea! Take that $50 and minus the $12 – that’s $38. If I ever spend $20,000 in order to be given $38, I will expect one of my close friends to smack me in the head.

What’s the bottom line? Odds are, these “rewards” are being put up by the companies involved. I doubt if the bank is buying gift cards from Outback Steakhouse. Most likely they have their own deal going. I think the bottom line is that if enough people pay $12 a year, the bank could make a lot of money, essentially for nothing. I’m not all that versed in bank dealings, but maybe it helps them to have their card used so much, too, over other bank cards.

I suppose in the end, I’m arguing semantics. However, it is clear that this bank and I differ vastly in our definition of the word “value”.

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AuntieMaim.com "relaunch" is gearing up!

Whether you call it really early or really late, we’ve been rabidly Spring cleaning around here, and the new look for the website is almost done. Just a bit of tidying left to go, and then the world can see the end result of all our labor! Here’s the best bit: I will be able to post news updates on the fly while on location at all of the convention events I attend in support of Grimmie!

Massive thanks goes to our new Webmaster for setting up the framework (and doing most of the hard work) to make the relaunch a success! Also, I want to thank Mark at the hosting spot for fixing a few behind-the-scenes issues where permissions and settings beyond our grasp had to be tweaked.

If all goes well, we will be ready to make the big switch soon! Hope you all enjoy the new look!

News Archive 2008 – November 2009

2009

* 10/15/09 – Crypticon Houston starts at 5:00 PM, and we will kick it off with a brain-hunting good time: don’t miss it! Let’s make this event a rousing success so we can keep it coming back every year!

* 9/19/09 – Crypticon comes to Houston! This will be the first home town horror convention we’ve had in 14 years! The convention will be on the weekend of October 16, 17, and 18 at the Reliant Center. I will have a signing table there, and some wonderful friends are going to attend dressed up as characters from my novel, Grimmie! I’ll have lots of ooky spooky candy, too, so come on out and say hi! Head over to www.crypticonhouston.com for details on the show.

* 8/20/09 – In Spooky Empire Convention news, I will be moderating five discussion panels! My panelists will be: book agent and reviewer Gary Roen, reviewer Laura Reuther, and authors Scott Kenemore, Brett Link, and Kevin A. Ranson. Kevin and Brett will be running a sixth panel (and it’s a blast) called “Ultimate Occult Showdown”. All of us will be signing autographs as well. Check out the events schedule at www.spookyempire.com for times and details. The convention is in Orlando, Florida, October 9, 10, and 11.

* 7/29/09 – Fiends Radio News! The first podcast is now available in the iTunes store (see the Fiends Radio page for details). For those who lack iTunes, it can still be found at the hosting link, as well. The interview is with Scott Kenemore, author of The Zen of Zombie, a satirical “self help” book, to be followed on August 1st by the sequel, Z.E.O. Don’t miss them, they are hilarious!

* 7/21/09 – My second whirlwind time at Ancient City Con (their third show) has come and gone, and we all had a blast. The panels were fun and well-attended, and the gaming tables (and the dealers’ tables) were hopping. The only difficulty is, it is hard to hear during the panels because it’s all in one room and the gamers and video games are not a quiet lot. Rumor has it, the wonderful staff plan to have a separate room for panels next year, and possibly a separate room for a schedule of video showings, too. It’s sure to get bigger and better from here!

* 7/12/09 – Fiends Radio News! The first podcast is up at its hosting location (see the Fiends Radio page for a link) and it has been submitted to iTunes as well, and is currently under review. Once iTunes approves it, we will let you know!

* 6/11/09 – Website News! We will soon be revamping things around here. The emails are already in the process of being changed. There will be more of them, but the ones you’re used to are the same, with only the base changing. Instead of using “lindascowden.com”, it will now be: info@auntiemaim.com. We have to get that branding process going…. Also, we have a brand new blog and forum available, both of them to be linked here, soon. The blog is on WordPress.com and the forum is through the social networks site, Ning.com; more news on those as they get linked up. And I am happy to report that we have a new webmaster. This will be far better than me trying to upgrade, trust me!

* 6/6/09 – Fiends Radio News…. Unfortunately, Ad Astra Radio.com must close down for the time being. I’m sure they’ll be back down the road, but for now, we will be turning Fiends Radio into a podcast, starting with the first show and moving forward until all of the present 14 shows are podcasts. Then I will start putting together new shows. As you might imagine, this could take awhile, but when the first show is available to download, I will announce it here. I hope it won’t be too long before the first one is done, at least. All the best to Ad Astra Radio in the meantime, we wish them well and a speedy return!

* 5/28/09 – Oasis 22 went very well in Orlando. I always enjoy being at that show. Fun panels, great opportunities to meet folks, and we had a showing of Joss Whedon’s Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-Long Blog in the video room. And to a trio of delightful young women I had fun paling around with, I trust your writing will be stellar!

* 4/22/09 – FX International Convention came and went, and I met Spock! Mr. Leonard Nimoy was the guest of honor, and we got to attend his Q&A, too. I also enjoyed seeing some folks from last year and a few seriously awesome costumes. Oh, and Charlie the Monkey made an appearance at author Kimberly Raiser’s table next to mine. He kept us all entertained while giving away candy and Kimberly’s post cards!

* 4/2/09 – Horrorhound Weekend was a smashing success! I got so many interviews done for Fiends Radio that I needed a lozenge. We had Ari Lehman’s band First Jason play for the VIP party on Saturday night, and the convention as a whole was a blast. I got one of Ari’s CDs, and permission to play as much of it on Fiends Radio as I wanted! Now for the best part: my friend and I got to meet Christopher Young, the composer of the Hellraiser music used on Fiends Radio! I grabbed the chance to interview Chris, and he also gave me his blessing for using his music on my radio show. Ah, life is good….

* 3/30/09 – This coming weekend I will be heading out to Horrorhound Weekend in Indianapolis. My friend and zine reviewer Laura Reuther will be there with me, and I hope to catch some juicy interviews for my radio show, Fiends Radio with Auntie Maim. More news on that after the event!

* 3/22/09 – MegaCon went very well and the show was a lot of fun with a huge turnout. It was fun being right on a main pathway, directly in front of the celebrity section, too. I know people were just walking around in costume, but considering where our table was, it seemed like a parade put on just for us. My table buddy, the author Kimberly Raiser, traded with me to man the table so we could both take breaks for shopping and autographs. We also had a few visits to our table by Cousin It/Twiki, actor Felix Silla. Felix was a lot of fun, and kept us amused all weekend.

* 1/18/09 – Zine news: We will be turning the Arrythmic Souls zine into a two issues per year endeavor in 2009. This decision came about post-Ike, but mostly was due to a desire to have more quality over quantity. The new deadline for the Spring/Summer issue is March 1st, and the new deadline for the Fall/Winter issue is September 1st. For those interested in turning in submissions, we will need them in at least a month ahead of those deadline dates for consideration in the current issue. However, if you miss a deadline, your submission may be considered for the following issue. We hope this change will enable us to improve the zine while having more time to do so as well. There are many projects afoot for Auntie Maim Enterprises, and we have to make time for them all. Thank you for your patience and support!

2008

* 11/3/08 – Next year’s conventions are mostly lined up. See the events page for details. One or two may change down the road. More interviews are being gathered for new installments of Fiends Radio with Auntie Maim, and the next issue of Arrhythmic Souls is almost complete. Hurricane Ike delayed the new zine issue quite a bit, but we’ll play catch up and get back on our quarterly schedule soon.

* Spooky Empire Con was a great success! Auntie Maim participated in the Zombie Walk on Friday afternoon, and manned three writing panel discussions as well, two on Saturday and one on Sunday. More details can be found in the blog on this website. This is one of the best horror conventions out there, so if you have the chance to go next year, don’t miss it!

* Ancient City Con was a rousing good time, and a great convention all-around. Auntie Maim participated in a total of six panel topic discussions, and met some wonderful new friends over the course of the weekend. She was invited to return to this event next year, and it is going to be even bigger in 2009!

* Oasis 21 in Orlando was a huge success! Our thanks to Juan S. for making it such an enjoyable event, too. Auntie Maim was on two panel discussions, and they both went very well. She plans to attend Oasis 22 in 2009, so if you can get to Orlando, don’t miss this event!

* Horrorhound Weekend in Indianapolis was a blast, and a very busy event! Auntie Maim now has some excellent interviews by gracious Cenobites and their friends, for her new radio show titled: “Fiends Radio”. Check the Fiends Radio page for details on shows and where to get them.