Wheeling and dealing

By Tom Difrancesca

This past Saturday morning as I was driving around town, I noticed the proliferation of posted garage sale signs.
That’s how I can always tell that spring has sprung and that summer is right around the corner. I love watching the “garage sailors” as they cruise the blacktop searching for priceless treasures.
One good way to prepare for a garage sale excursion is to hop on over to the totally revamped Clovis News Journal Web site at
www.cnjonline.com
just click on the “Classifieds” link on Thursday or Friday morning, then print out the garage sale listings for the coming weekend.
Speaking of the new Web site — it’s pretty nice.
Another good online source for pending garage sales is the Thrifty Nickel Web site
www.thriftynickelads.com
just locate the listings for Clovis, and you’re all set for a well-planned and organized bargain hunt.
Speaking of bargains, did you know that there are several excellent Web sites available that will help you find the best deals on products?
One of the newest services is provided by the folks at Google.com — the best search engine on the Web. Take a peak at their new site by going to
www.froogle.com
sort of catchy for a name, isn’t it?
At the “Froogle” Web site, you can either search for products by pre-established categories or you can just type in the name of a product or product type and have the service search the Internet for you.
For example, when I typed in the generic term, “CD,” I was presented with almost 2 million music and software titles. That was a little too broad of a search — maybe.
When I typed in “Norah Jones,” more than 120 items were displayed.
I was provided with links to not only top-name Web sites that sell her album, but to wholesale dealers, auction Web sites and discounters.
A veritable smorgasbord of great deals.
Here are some additional Web site addresses of companies that help you comparison shop:
www.pricegrabber.com
www.pricewatch.com
www.mysimon.com
www.bizrate.com
www.nextag.com
Each Web site is organized a little differently and is unique in its own way.
There’s no excuse for not getting bottom dollar for your future purchases — that is, unless you like paying full price.
Any of you “bookaholics” like me?
I’ve decided that if I can help it at all, I never want to pay full retail price for a book again. Have you noticed how outrageous the prices have gotten?
I now use Amazon.com for almost all of my book purchases, and I buy used books, if at all possible.
So far, I’ve had real good luck on my purchases. I normally already know the title of the book that I want, so I type in the name of the book at Amazon. When the search results come back with a listing for the book as it is available through Amazon, I check to see if there are any used editions available. There usually are.
Even after paying a couple of dollars for shipping, I can normally get a book that’s in very good condition for a price that averages around 50 to 60 percent of the retail price.
Now that’s a bargain.
By the way, if you have ever worked for the Clovis Police Department in any capacity, you might want to check out www.cityofclovis.org/onceserved
Let me know what you think of it.
Tom DiFrancesca III is a freelance writer and a resident of Clovis. He can be reached at
tomdifran@ureach.com or www.trackertom.com