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Author Topic: The Economic Downturn..  (Read 121083 times)

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Offline MartyS (Gromit)

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Re: The Economic Downturn..
« Reply #810 on: November 16, 2014, 09:49:36 AM »
Yeah, Atlantic City is taking a beating this year. 


Eric Pode of Croydon

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Re: The Economic Downturn..
« Reply #811 on: November 16, 2014, 12:38:05 PM »
Quote
Walmart Workers Promise Biggest Black Friday Strike Ever

Spoiler (click to show/hide)
[/spoiler]

Went to Black Friday Walmart once. I will never do it again. The sense of animal aggression in there was horrible.


Offline Bob

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Re: The Economic Downturn..
« Reply #812 on: November 16, 2014, 01:53:04 PM »
Yeah, Amazon is much better.  And you can drink rum while shopping


Offline RVR II

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Re: The Economic Downturn..
« Reply #813 on: November 16, 2014, 08:13:42 PM »
Quote
Japan Sinks Into Recession (Again)

9:59 PM ET
Reuters

An unexpected contraction in quarterly GDP shows that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s radical economic program is badly broken

If anyone is still holding out hope that Abenomics — the unorthodox slate of economic policies named after their inspiration, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe — could rescue Japan from its two-decade slump, the news on Monday should dash it. The troubled economy surprised analysts by (once again) tumbling into recession. GDP in the quarter ended September shrank by an annualized 1.6% — far, far worse than the consensus forecasts. That followed a disastrous 7.3% contraction in the previous quarter. Speculation in Japan is that the bad results will push Abe to call a snap election only two years after taking office.

What’s going on in Japan is important for all of us. Since the economy is still the world’s third-largest (after the U.S. and China), a healthy Japan could provide a much-needed pillar to growth in a struggling global economy.

The current downturn is being blamed on a hike in the consumption tax, implemented in April to try to stabilize the government’s feeble finances, that slammed consumer spending. It is now expected that Abe will delay a further increase in that tax scheduled for next October. But the real causes lie much deeper — in the failings of Abe’s economic agenda.

The idea behind Abenomics was to boost the economy with massive stimulus from the Bank of Japan (BOJ) and the government combined with structural reform of the economy, or what has been called the “third arrow.” The problem is that we got the first two arrows, but not the third. While the BOJ kept its printing presses rolling, dramatically weakening the value of the yen, badly needed deregulation and market-opening has come extremely slowly. Some critical changes, such as a loosening of labor laws, seem to be off the menu entirely. The result is that the actual potential of the economy has not been enhanced. Meanwhile, the welfare of the average Japanese family hasn’t improved either. Wages haven’t advanced much, while prices have increased.

If Japan’s situation proves anything, it is the limits of central bank policy to fix economies. Despite a torrent of cash infused into the economy through the BOJ’s “quantitative easing” or QE, Japan’s economy remains mired in slow growth and stagnant household welfare. That’s why it is hard to imagine that the BOJ’s October decision to increase its QE program will make a major difference. So that’s the takeaway for policymakers in the U.S. and especially a stumbling Europe: If you’re going to rely too much on central bankers to revive growth, you’re going to fail.

The question facing Abe is whether he can press ahead more quickly with important reforms, either in his current administration or after a fresh election, which his party will still mostly likely win. Based on his recent track record, we don’t have reason to be confident. But maybe one day Japan will give us a surprise — in a good way.


Offline RVR II

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Re: The Economic Downturn..
« Reply #814 on: December 01, 2014, 05:38:31 PM »
Quote
A looming farewell--though not good riddance--to RadioShack

December 1, 2014
Los Angeles Times

RadioShack May File For Bankruptcy

RadioShack was once America's high-tech toy store; what happened?
RadioShack says it's 'reinvigorating' its stores, but you shouldn't expect much
RadioShack's latest--and possibly last--desperation move was to stay open on Thanksgiving

Several generations of home electronics hobbyists, ham radio enthusiasts and computer nerds spent their growth-spurt years haunting their local RadioShack stores. They can't be happy about the company's long slide toward irrelevance and its looming disappearance as a feature of the retail landscape.

The chain joined the quixotic rush by American retailers to open on Thanksgiving Day, but was one of the very few outside the grocery business to be open as early as 8 a.m. A surer sign of management desperation is hard to conceive--or of management cluelessness, for that matter.
We may not have enough cash and working capital to fund our operations beyond the very near term, which raises substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern.

The Fort Worth firm's CEO, Joe Magnacca, characterized the policy as an effort to "capture the opportunity in the marketplace," but it's hard to figure where the clamor was in the wee hours of Thanksgiving Day for RadioShack's inventory of electronic adapters, batteries and other cheap gewgaws. A few cooks preparing family dinners might have had a burning last-minute need for a spare meat thermometer, but those could only be ordered from RadioShack online, so dropping in at any of its 5,200 local stores that were open (including three of the seven within five miles of my home) wouldn't have done them any good.

Harbingers of RadioShack's imminent demise are everywhere. Its employees feel abused. The company has been trying to restructure its finances for months to pursue what Magnacca calls an "operational turnaround." But its latest financial statements have been nothing short of horrific. In September, the firm announced its 10th consecutive money-losing quarter; its cash on hand had dwindled to $30.5 million from $440 million a year earlier. (We asked RadioShack for a comment on these and other issues, but haven't heard back.)

At that time, the firm disclosed that "we may not have enough cash and working capital to fund our operations beyond the very near term, which raises substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern" and mentioned the possibility of bankruptcy. Since then, its largest shareholder, the hedge fund Standard General, has given it a little more financial breathing room to show financial progress, but its forebearance could run out early next year. As I write, the stock is trading at 80 cents a share.

RadioShack's strategic thrashing is a familiar sight to anyone who follows moribund companies. For a time it positioned itself as a go-to retailer of mobile phones, but becoming a handmaiden of big, powerful mobile companies didn't prove to be the path to survival. Squeezed by big box retailers such as Best Buy, online merchants such as Amazon, and its brand suppliers, RadioShack seemed to disappear before our eyes. Shopping at the outlets in my neighborhood is a depressing experience, like dropping in at a 7-11 at 2 a.m. The stores are mostly dark, dingy, cramped and with a decidedly utilitarian and uncompelling inventory. I haven't spent more than $6.99 on a RadioShack purchase in years.

It wasn't always this way. The company's heyday ran from the 1970s through the late 1990s, when it rode the citizens band radio craze as the largest retailer in the market, and then morphed into a creditable maker of computer gear.

RadioShack introduced its TRS-80 personal computer in August 1977. For a time the unit held the home computing market in thrall, along with the Apple II and Commodore PET 2001--aficionados nicknamed the machine the "Trash-80," with equal parts disdain and fondness.

In 1983 came the TRS-80 Model 100/102, a pioneering laptop made out of high-impact plastic with an embedded eight-line LCD screen and a built-in modem, which retailed for as little as $800. Two years later the line was supplemented with the Model 200, which had a flip-up 16-line screen and sold for $1,000. The computers' specifications are laughable today, of course, but you'd be hard pressed to find a journalist from that era who traveled without one; mine got hauled from one end of Africa to the other.

RadioShack was eventually run out of the computer market by the IBM PC and its clones, but remained an important factor in the retail chain; its share price peaked in late 1999 in the high $70s, then came crashing down with the rest of the tech sector and almost never looked back.

The disappearance of RadioShack won't leave much of a void in the tech market, but it will put as many as 27,000 employees out of work. That's never a good thing, but one would feel even sorrier for them if RadioShack didn't have the reputation of a detestable place to work. In 2012, it ranked as America's third worst company to work for in a widely published survey by the website 24/7 Wall Street.

Nickel-and-diming of the workforce is another artifact of a company in its death throes. Judging by this shocking account of more than three years on the job by a former RadioShack drone, the company has polished contempt for its employees to a high luster. Its Thanksgiving Day routine was telling: The company initially announced that its stores would be open from 8 a.m. to midnight; then, after employee objections, decided to close between noon and 5 p.m. so they could spend that little time with their families.

Some retail analysts think RadioShack could have emerged from the market turmoil of the last couple of decades as a leading technology merchandiser, but that's doubtful. Keeping up with rapidly-changing markets is hard even for retailers with strong managements and a vision. RadioShack failed to pursue a consistent strategy or preserve a consistent image, so it declined into a last-gasp seller of cheap, trivial goods and not at bargain prices; who would go to RadioShack today to buy a high-end computer or TV, when there are so many other choices around, including online?

Under Magnacca the chain talks about "reinvigorating stores, revamping product assortment and repositioning the brand," creating "concept stores" to attract customers in 100 locations and slapping new paint on 2,000 more. That's the essence of window-dressing, and still leaves unanswered the question: What's RadioShack for? As its creditors and investors close in, the firm has very little time left to find an answer.


Offline MartyS (Gromit)

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Re: The Economic Downturn..
« Reply #815 on: December 01, 2014, 08:11:29 PM »
Kind of sad to see them go, will have to use amazon now and wait for delivery if I want something like a 3 battery holder for a project...

Funny, when I was in high school they got 2 TRS-80s, that was a big deal back then.  One rich kid in town had an Apple II with a floppy drive...


Offline RVR II

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Re: The Economic Downturn..
« Reply #816 on: January 15, 2015, 07:41:40 AM »
What's wrong with Canada ???
Quote
Target: 17,600 jobs at risk as retailer leaves Canada

BBC
 15 January 2015 Last updated at 10:28 ET

The US discount store Target is to shut all of its 133 stores in Canada two years after launching there.

On current trading performance, Target Canada, which employs 17,600 people, would not be profitable before 2021, its US parent said in a statement.

Target Canada, which has filed for bankruptcy protection, faced tough competition from Walmart and Costco, which opened in the country years ago.

Target said the closure was in the "best interest of the business".

Chairman and chief executive Brian Cornell said: "After a thorough review of our Canadian performance and careful consideration of the implications of all options, we were unable to find a realistic scenario that would get Target Canada to profitability until at least 2021,"

He said the focus now would be on "driving growth" in the US, where it has 1,801 stores.

There had been criticism that Target's launch in Canada was inept, with uncompetitive pricing and poor range of stock in the stores.

Shares in Target rose 8% in early trading following the news it was leaving Canada.

Mr Cornell, named chief executive six months ago, said: "It was a difficult decision but it was the right decision for our company.

"We have determined that it is in the best interest of our business and our shareholders to exit the Canadian market and focus on driving growth and building further momentum in our US business. "

It is Mr Cornell's first big move following the resignation of Gregg Steinhafel last year.

Target is not the only US discounter to suffer across the border. Big Lots and Best Buy have both closed stores in Canada.

Target said it expected cost of the exit to be between $500m (£328m) and $600m.


Offline RVR II

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Re: The Economic Downturn..
« Reply #817 on: January 24, 2015, 04:06:24 PM »
It's still January and we've only been home from Mexico just over 2 weeks.
A lot going on; some positive, some negative..

Tax season is slowly starting to increase but I've decided I don't need to go to our Charlotte office as often anymore and have started planning on staying more at our home office..
Today I was told we had customers at the Charlotte office and when I get there, there's no customers. This has happened a few times now since we opened the location a few months back and I had had enough! Wasting time, Wasting gas.. Not to mention 2 costly mechanical repairs and 1 accident I've had because of traveling back and forth there.. It's costing me more than I'm making  :-[

I guess I am also preparing for a possible new job working with the Postal Service :o
I applied for a Rural Carrier job this past Wednesday, took my test on Friday and I passed!
If I do get on at the Post Office then I need to plan for staying with them long term and restructure things in my business to minimize any work conflicts and this move is a step in that direction. I still may get that random call from the wife with questions but that's manageable so I guess we'll see what happens. :-\


Offline RVR II

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Re: The Economic Downturn..
« Reply #818 on: February 04, 2015, 09:23:49 AM »
Oh Really ??? Wonder if they will combine names like Office Staples :o
Quote
   
Office Depot and Staples had been in merger talks since September.

The New York Times
Updated, 8:39 a.m.

Staples has agreed to acquire Office Depot for $6.3 billion in cash and stock, a deal that would unite the two biggest providers of office supplies if approved.

The agreement to combine the two companies comes after months of pressure from Starboard Value, a hedge fund that had threatened to press a management change at Staples if it did not pursue an acquisition of Office Depot.

The combination is likely to face close antitrust scrutiny. Eighteen years ago, regulators shot down a combination of Staples and Office Depot. But in the nearly two decades since that attempted deal in 1997, the competitive landscape has changed, with both companies now facing rivals in Walmart, Target, Amazon and others.

Despite the specter of reduced competition in the market for pens and paper, regulators recently signaled that they were open to more consolidation in the office supplies market.

When Office Depot acquired OfficeMax in 2013, the Federal Trade Commission said the deal was “unlikely to substantially lessen competition in the retail sale of consumable office supplies.”

Staples will pay $7.25 in cash and 0.2188 of a share in Staples stock for each share of Office Depot. That represents a 44 percent premium over Office Depot’s stock price before news of the impending deal leaked on Monday night.

Staples began looking at the deal last summer, and talks with Office Depot began in September.

Ron Sargent, Staples’ chief executive, said that the company expected at least $1 billion of savings through the merger. “These savings will dramatically accelerate our strategic reinvention which is focused on driving growth in our delivery businesses and in categories beyond office supplies,” he said in a statement.

In a conference call, Mr. Sargent said that the companies’ business was changing, as the way people work continued to evolve.

“Paper based office supplies are being replaced by technology, customer demand continues to shift online, we’re going up against a wider set of competition,” Mr. Sargent said. “This transaction creates significant value for Staples and Office Depot shareholders.”

Mr. Sargent said both Staples and Office Depot boards had analyzed the regulatory environment, and that both boards believed the deal would be approved.

The companies said they expected the deal to close by the end of this calendar year. Staples will increase the size of its board to 13, from 11, adding two Office Depot directors.

There is a provision that allows Staples to walk away from the deal if regulators require divestitures amounting to more than $1.25 billion in Office Depot’s revenues or have a material adverse affect on Office Depot’s international operations.

If the deal is completed without forcing the companies to sell off substantial assets or retail outlets, the combined company will operate about 4,400 stores and have sales of roughly $34 billion.

Mr. Sargent said he wouldn’t predict how regulators would evaluate the transaction.

“It’s not our place nor could we publicly handicap what the F.T.C. might say,” he said. But he added that he agreed with the agency’s remarks at the close of the OfficeMax deal.

On Tuesday, after news of the deal leaked, the stocks of both companies rose sharply, reflecting investor enthusiasm for a combination.

“This transaction delivers great value for our shareholders and creates a company ideally positioned to serve our customers and grow over the long term,” Roland Smith, the chief executive of Office Depot, said in a statement. “It is also an endorsement of our many accomplishments and the tremendous success we’ve had integrating Office Depot and OfficeMax over the past year. We look forward to bringing our experience and knowledge to the new organization.”

The deal would be another victory for Starboard, which is riding a string of successes in its activist campaigns. Starboard last year successfully ousted the board of Darden Restaurants, the parent of the Olive Garden chain. Starboard had also been agitating Yahoo to spin off its stake in the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, which the company announced it would do last month.

In this deal, Barclays provided financial advice to Staples and Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, and Weil, Gotshal & Manges provided legal advice. Peter J. Solomon Company advised Office Depot, while Simpson Thacher & Bartlett provided legal advice.


Offline RVR II

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Re: The Economic Downturn..
« Reply #819 on: February 09, 2015, 12:23:55 PM »
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
And here's the list of Radio Shack stores to close by March 31:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/255034573/RadioShack-store-closures


Offline RVR II

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Re: The Economic Downturn..
« Reply #820 on: March 11, 2015, 08:25:41 AM »
Quote
This is historic: the dollar will soon be worth more than the euro

The Washington Post
 March 10 at 7:35 PM


There's a currency war going on, and the United States is losing. The latest setback is the news that the euro has fallen to a 12-year low of $1.07, down from as much as $1.39 just last year. That's a 30 percent drop in 11 months, to be exact, and there's no reason to expect it to stop anytime soon.

Now a strong dollar is good for anyone who's planning a trip overseas, but it's bad news for anyone who's planning on selling stuff there. That's why stocks fell, with the S&P 500 down 1.7 percent on the day and now negative on the year, as multinationals that depend on foreign sales took another hit. After all, it's not just the euro that's falling against the dollar, but almost every other currency in the world, too—with Turkey and South Africa's falling more than most on Tuesday.


Why is the dollar up so much? Well, the simple story is that the stronger your economy, the stronger your currency. The slightly more complicated version, though, is that currencies go up when monetary policy is relatively tight, and down when it's relatively loose. Now these should just be different ways of saying the same thing—since central banks raise rates when growth is too strong and cut them when it's too weak—but that's not always the case. Sometimes central banks make mistakes, like Europe did, and tighten policy when the economy is still weak, and sometimes they mistake zero interest rates, like Japan did, for easy policy when the economy is so weak it needs even more help than that.

But in any case, it's a lot simpler now. The U.S. economy is doing well enough that it's getting ready to raise rates, and the rest of the world is slowing down enough that it's cutting them. Indeed, the not-so-short list of countries that have eased monetary policy the past few months, some of them multiple times, includes Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Israel, Peru, Poland, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and, above all, the euro zone. It's finally started buying bonds with newly printed money, a k a "quantitative easing," to try to get its economy out of the low inflation, low growth trap that it's fallen into. And that's not to mention the fact that Japan, which has been stuck in the same kind of one for the better part of two decades, has also been buying bonds this whole time, and recently started buying even more of them.

So it's no surprise that the dollar is shooting up so much. Think about it like this. Would you rather buy a U.S. 10-year bond that pays 2.13 percent or a German 10-year bond that only pays 0.235 percent? That's a pretty easy math question, and investors are answering it by dumping their euros to buy dollars. And that's not going to start changing until the U.S. and Europe's monetary policies stop diverging. That's why Deutsche Bank expects the euro to keep falling to $0.90 by the end of 2016 and $0.85 by the end of 2017.

So you might want to wait to book that trip, and, more importantly, the Fed might want to wait to raise rates. Even though unemployment is down to a normal-ish 5.5 percent, there's no rush to normalize policy since there still isn't any sign of inflation or bubbly behavior. The Fed doesn't want to be the only central bank raising rates—a strong dollar is like a tariff against our exports and a subsidy for our imports—unless it really has to, and right now it doesn't.

The only way to lose a currency war is to refuse to fight it, and let yours go up too much. The dollar is already going to go up plenty more no matter what we do, but we can at least try to limit the damage.

Because sometimes a strong dollar is a weakness.

Currently the Mexican Peso is worth $15.53 to $1 USD :o
« Last Edit: March 11, 2015, 08:29:43 AM by RVR II »


Offline RVR II

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Re: The Economic Downturn..
« Reply #821 on: June 11, 2015, 05:46:04 PM »
Just awesome..
I applied at this place (for a Quality Assurance position) last year and never heard a word back from them..
Maybe I didn't meet their QA qualifications was my assumption, then I read this..
Quote
Physicians Choice Laboratory Services in Rock Hill laying off 120 workers


Physicians Choice Laboratory Services of Rock Hill is laying off 120 workers, company officials announced Thursday.

Reduced reimbursements from federal and private payers for the lab’s most commonly used tests is the reason for the layoffs, said Christine Marks, vice president for marketing.

“This was a difficult but necessary decision,” Marks said.

Specific reimbursement cuts are part of The Protecting Access to Medicare Act, which was passed in April 2014, Physicians Choice officials said.

Changes in the act affected clinical laboratories such as Physicians Choice. Lab officials said the reimbursement cuts are part of a larger industry trend that challenges all providers to health care industry to balance revenues and expenses with the goal of better services and lower costs.

Physicians Choice Laboratory Service moved into a 104,000-square-foot, $24.1 million building in the Riverwalk Business Park in July 2013. The company, which moved from Charlotte where it was out of space, had about 200 employees in 2013 and had planned to expand to about 300 workers within a year.

It was the first business in the Riverwalk Business Park.

Physicians Choice offers a range of services designed to inform physicians about their patients’ health. Tests ranging from toxicology reports to drug screenings to genetic and DNA studies are performed at the Riverwalk lab. Patient samples come from all over the country.

The lab recently added blood tests to help physicians address concerns of over-diagnosis and over-treatment of prostate cancer.

I know our amazing Republican governor Haley offered the company a nice tax break/incentive package to relocate here 2 years ago and now all of a sudden, they're down-sizing and will probably eventually leave to go elsewhere for more tax breaks and leaving folks out in the cold in the process >:(


Offline RVR II

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Re: The Economic Downturn..
« Reply #822 on: July 01, 2015, 04:48:08 AM »
It's July 1. Half way through the year.
Tax season has been over since April 15.. 5th year in a row of mediocre business.
We've had some customers since then but not enough to carry us through the rest of the year so the wife decided to work at a Greek restaurant 5 miles from our Charlotte office thinking she could make enough to pay rent for the CLT office and still be there to catch customers..
I warned her that was impossible to do cause the restaurant will run her ragged and she would be in no condition to work at the CLT office afterwards. I was right!
Yesterday was her first day (and last day it looks like); 7am - 4pm: She arrived late because of CLT traffic, then they never gave her any breaks nor a 30 minute lunch. She had me set the alarm at 5am to wake her up this morning then decided not to go and I couldn't go back to sleep :grr:
I gave her 2 weeks before she would give up but nope.. 1 day was it. She thought it be like working at her old restaurant she worked at with her brother and sister years ago (late 90s - early 2000s) but this place was much worse apparently..
I don't know why she wants to settle for restaurant work when she could find a bilingual job with good pay and less stress ??? I think it's a 'pride' thing and she's embarrassed to have customers see her working someplace instead of in our business :-\

Me, I applied at the post office for 2 jobs back in January; a City Carrier Assistant and a Rural Carrier position. I had an interview for the City Carrier job back in April (told it would start out as a part time position) and have heard nothing since..
It shows on the USPS job site that I'm still on a hiring list for both jobs though I have never had an interview for the Rural Carrier position yet.
I know I can find something else but looking for something part time from now till December with decent pay will be difficult.. Most companies are looking for long term employees which would work next year, but we're trying to make it to our Goddaughter's 15 year party (Dec. 23) and we need to be there for it :-[
So in the meantime, we're scraping by each month in the hopes of making it to December for the trip, then return in January, get the tax business resurrected and I find a long-term job that can carry me through to retirement :-\


Offline Bob

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Re: The Economic Downturn..
« Reply #823 on: July 02, 2015, 09:48:55 AM »
For taxes...........is working for one of the larger tax companies an option?  I know that you can do that and own a tax business.  When my parents opened their tax business, they did both for awhile.


Offline RVR II

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Re: The Economic Downturn..
« Reply #824 on: July 02, 2015, 10:43:40 AM »
For taxes...........is working for one of the larger tax companies an option?  I know that you can do that and own a tax business.  When my parents opened their tax business, they did both for awhile.
I haven't really explored that option, and with tax season over, I'm not sure that's available currently..
I should explore that though :o

Oh, and I just got confirmation (sorta) that my neighbor friend living next door in my Mega-Shed quit showing up for work and that he's more than likely out of a job now so there maybe no rent money coming from him very soon..
Just what I need, more financial strain :-[
« Last Edit: July 02, 2015, 10:45:37 AM by RVR II »