“Big business never pays a nickel in taxes, according to Ralph Nader, who represents a big consumer organization that never pays a nickel in taxes.” Dave Barry, writer and humorist.

I love all the clamor about increasing taxes for businesses to solve the so-called problem of too little tax money for government and at the same time to equal out the distribution of wealth.

I guess people have forgotten the old method of making money by earning it. I might as well add that the greatest amount of tax breaks fall upon us as individuals, not corporations.

What I see as a big problem is the trend for businesses to attract new customers instead of rewarding loyal customers. Right now I see that as a trend instead of an avalanche but it might become even trendier as more and more businesses are owned by investment companies instead of being family-owned.

What really gets me is when I see an advertisement for a product or service that is less or even far less than what I am paying for the same thing. Lately it seems Internet and satellite services reward their new customers a whole lot more than existing customers. If the average person switches Internet services, then more than likely their email address will change, which is something my wife and I hate to do. I do know people who have switched companies in order to save money because in today’s economy it becomes absolutely necessary to save money in order to survive financially.

In the past couple of years I have bounced through several telephone systems not only to save money but to have a reliable phone service with decent options. There’s phone service that’s available for as little as $30 a year. I now have a digital phone service – Ooma – that works over the Internet and it’s working great as it provides my wife and I what we want because it automatically blocks telemarketers for us. That option costs a couple of dollars more a month but we truly love it. I can even add unknown telemarketers to the list so we don’t mind paying a little bit more.

I must add that there are some stores that I am a very loyal customer of. I have purchased every appliance and other things like riding lawnmowers and snowblowers from one family-owned store in Windham. That store has fantastic sales practically every week, a discount on customer appreciation days and great service. That’s more than enough to keep me a loyal customer. Another Windham store has given me the sales price enough though the sale was long gone. Many stores offer reward cards but it’s not a great savings for me because I don’t purchase enough from them to make a significant reward possible. Others offer credit cards that allow for discounts at their stores but I don’t want a wallet full of credit cards because of the possibility of the card numbers being stolen.

I mentioned service as a plus because I once purchased a laser printer without doing diligent research on the model I did buy. It turned out that the copier was turning out copies with black streaks and after I read the manual it stated the copier should be professionally cleaned. Of course the warranty was up and the best I could figure was that I would have had to mail the copier to Japan. If one has any clue as to how expensive it costs to mail a heavy package to a foreign country they would conclude as I did. I bought another printer and it wasn’t a laser one. Now I ask a whole lot of questions especially when I am looking at a new electronic device. If the sales staff is not knowledgeable, I go somewhere else.

Even home- and car-insurance companies reward new customers. My wife and I will now shop insurance prices every couple of years after we saved hundreds of dollars by switching companies. Since we have unlimited calling, I won’t mind calling company after company.

Lane Hiltunen, of Windham, likes to try new things. Remember, professionals built the Titanic.

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