Monday, June 04, 2001

How to spend tax refund in one place




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        Uncle Sam swears everybody's tax refund check will soon be in the mail.

        The refunds come in two sizes. Up to $300 for individuals. Tops of $600 for married taxpayers filing jointly.

        Economists predict these refund checks will jump-start the economy. Color me skeptical.

        If a bunch of $300 and $600 checks can jump-start the sluggish dry cells of American commerce, the economy must be powered by a double-A battery.

        With gasoline prices soaring and everyone having bills to pay, $600 seems like a drop in the bucket.

        Should the mail carrier deliver a $600 refund to the Radel household, I can already hear the missus hollering: “We're rich!” Irony's her specialty.

HOW WILL YOU SPEND YOURS?
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        She's also likely to yelp: “A whopping $600! Don't spend it all in one place!”

        That's exactly what I intend to do. To decide where to spend my money, I did some comparison shopping.

        Only hometown goods were priced. If I'm going to jump-start the economy, might as well clamp those jumper cables on something close to home.

        Six hundred George Washingtons will buy — pick only one:

        • 1,333 White Castle hamburgers.

        • 1,200 pounds of Kaiser's sauerkraut.

        • 923 Metro bus tokens.

        • 606 pounds of tart cherries picked in Lebanon at Irons' Fruit Farm.

        • 600 mugs of root beer from the Root Beer Stand.

        • 545 Camp Washington Chili cheese coneys.

        • 307 potato pancakes, Christy's and Lenhardt's restaurant.

        • 300 trips to Carew Tower's observation deck.

        • 244 Frisch's Big Boys.

        • 215 rolls of Glier's Original Goetta.

        • 200 trips aboard the Anderson Ferry.

        • 200 six-packs of commemorative 8-ounce Coke bottles marking the 100th anniversary of the Cincinnati Coca-Cola Bottling Co.

        • 171 pounds of Vidalia onion sausage made by Kroeger & Sons Meats of Findlay Market.

        • 162 pounds of cottage hams smoked at Stehlin's Meats.

        • 153 pints of Graeter's chocolate ice cream.

        • 150 Skyline Chili 3-ways.

        • 141 schnecken pastries, Regina Bakery.

        • 113 bath-size, 12-bar packs of Ivory soap.

        • 100 six-packs of Christian Moerlein beer.

        • 66 dozen carnations, Penny Lane Flower Shop.

        • 55 LaRosa's medium, super-crust, pepperoni pizzas with extra cheese.

        • 43 pounds of Aglamesis Bros.' opera creams.

        • 30 slab-of-ribs dinners, Montgomery Inn.

        • 24 Cincinnati-in-a-Box board games.

        • 10 tickets to the Kentucky Speedway's June 16 Outback Steakhouse 300.

        • 10 dozen long-stemmed roses, Jones the Florist.

        • 7 season passes (for individuals, ages 7-59), Paramount's Kings Island.

        • 6 custom-made shirts, pinpoint oxford cloth (plus tax), Mike Trotta Tailors.

        • 5 weeknights' lodging in the Golden Lamb's Charles Dickens Room.

        • 4 hats, cowboy or fedora, made to order by Gus Miller of Batsakes Hat Shop.

        • 4 hours (tips included) in Washington Limousine's 12-passenger, 2001 Lincoln Continental limo.

        Spare change from any of these splurges can be put toward buying a Greater Cincinnati street map ($3.95 at Joseph-Beth Booksellers).

        Just make sure it shows the direct route to the poorhouse.

        Columnist Cliff Radel can be reached at (513) 768-8379; fax 768-8340.

How will you spend your tax refund?



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