Friday, February 15, 2008

More Money Madness

Hey, there, folks! It's a bright, shiny day here in the not so good old Midwestern US of A, and I'm just counting the minutes till I'm done here at work…and I've only been here for less than three hours already. Am I lazy or what? (I can save you the trouble and just answer "yes" for you in case you don't know me well enough to make that call yourself). I'm just kind of tired too, which is odd, because I've been going to bed at like 9:30 lately. The combination of watching Smallville DVD's, evening playing sessions of Resident Evil 4, and filling the remaining time reading Stephen King short stories has provided me with weird dreams every night around 3am, after which I usually can't fall asleep. That's what happens when I'm allowed to pump my impressionable young (I mean old) brain full of garbage all day long like that. And I'm lovin' it (who needs sleep anyway?)

Sleep. Okay, so sleep is good, and I'd gladly take a little nap right now. The sound of keys clickity-clacking away all day long (a little onomatopoeia for you there) is hypnotic, and is really making me sleepy. But there will be none of that at the moment. There's work to be done, by golly, and by work, I mean sim blogging! Thus, we make our way to the Monkeesim neighborhood, where we enter uninvited the home of Marty and Kitty Wilson, as well as their house mates, Julie and J.D. The latter two are nowhere to be seen initially, but we find Antonio and Katrina paying a visit to the family. It's good to see Katrina out and around after the trials of being pregnant have finally passed, but isn't she forgetting something here, like bringing her baby with her?

Marty: "Yo, Antonio! You're butt makes a better wall than a window!"

I've forgotten to mention a very important detail regarding the arrival of J.D. and Julie to the neighborhood. See, they didn't come alone, they brought a pet with them, in the form of their pug, Bailey (Bailey Pup if you want to get technical). Marty and Kitty already have a pug, Gizmo, which they brought with them, but you know the old saying that one pug is never enough (okay, so maybe that's not an actual "old saying", but it ought to be). I personally find sim pets to be more trouble than they're worth most of the time unless you actually take the time to train them, and WHO wants to do that? I do make exceptions from time to time, though, same with sim children. It wasn't long before Gizmo and Bailey were best friends…which is a good thing since the pets' owners were too preoccupied to spend much time with them.

Gizmo: "Now, just because we're sleeping together doesn't mean you need to try anything funny!"

Normally, in cases before where my sims have owned pets, the pets never manage to make friends with any of the local strays that stop by the house. They may play for a couple of minutes and seem to be getting along, but when I'd check them later, they'd have like four or five daily relationship points, if that, or more often, be enemies with visiting animals. I don't have a whole lot of interest in the whole pet aspect of TS2 (I borrowed the expansion to install it, I wasn't interested enough to buy it), but I decided since I had two pets who were close friends living together already, I might as well give the whole breeding business a try. Well, first, everyone gathered around the dog house and cheered while the pups were "woo wooing", which was disturbing enough in itself, but a couple days later, Gizmo started glowing and sparkling and acting funny…

She's either having pups or mutating into an alien life form...

Luckily, it was just the pet way of giving birth, and no harmful mutations took place. I guess it's lucky. For some dumb reason, I didn't consider the fact that there would be more than one pup born as a result of the "union" (I'm just glad Gizmo didn't eat cheesecake during the pregnancy, or the whole damn lot would have been covered with pups I'm sure). Anyway, there were three puppies born, and I wasn't prepared to name them all and I gave them dumb, forgettable names that I won't bother to mention here. Two things suddenly occurred to me - despite having two pug parents, the pups looked nothing like pugs, and I was now stuck with FIVE pets instead of the two I hardly wanted to manage to begin with. Oh, my sim life sucks…

Pups: "Hey, guys, let's all play in the street! Yay!"

About five seconds after the pups were born and named, they ran out into the road, and the gardener's truck drove right over them (luckily, there's no such thing as a car accident or vehicle related fatality in TS2). That's what I get for fooling around with sim Mother Nature I guess. Some good came of all of this, though, as the family was able to sell the pups to the next several passing NPC strangers, removing them from the house and snagging a healthy chunk of money in the process. Heck, that was easier than raising those disgusting, tasteless oranges my sims have tried to harvest for money on so many occasions. Selling pups may be a great money maker, but J.D. Wilson had much bigger plans. He decided it was time to set up shop in Bluewater Village and take a slightly more aggressive approach to making money.

Welcome to "J.D. Auto", with the smallest selection in the tri-state area!

Yes, J.D. was finally able to fulfill his dream of owning a car lot, and what a car lot it was! Some dealerships only offer one kind of car, but forget those, guys…J.D. offered TWO different kinds of vehicle! He also decided to sell tires, because any idiot knows that you can't have a car without tires (well, most idiots know that, I can't speak for all of them). Now, some of you might be thinking that it doesn't make a lot of sense to try to use the very smallest lot size to sell something that takes up as much space as cars do, but by the time J.D. realized there would be room for only two cars at a time, the main office was already constructed, and there was no going back. I mean, just look at it - it's an architectural wonder that could never be duplicated!

J.D: "I'm just thankful there was room for a bathroom in there!"

Those observant types out there probably noticed J.D.'s slick new suit. Come on, you can't be a car salesman without an awesome looking suit. Now, thus far, my business experience had been limited to "Andrews Radio Shock" and "Gnomes n' Domes", and there wasn't a great deal of effort required to sell the goods at either business. The cars, however, were another matter. Even at "average" prices, most folks wound up thinking twice before shelling out the bucks it cost to buy a vehicle, and it took some serious selling to make them close the deal. J.D. seemed to have the magical ability to offend almost anyone with his "basic sell", which made the process a bit tedious at times. Don't people realize that car salesmen always have the customer's best interests in mind?

J.D: "…and here we have the brand new 2008 Canyonero!"

I know I don't usually have to explain my jokes, but for those of you who don't watch the Simpsons, in one episode, there was this ridiculously huge SUV called the "Canyonero" endorsed by Krusty the Clown, and the car in that picture above looks ridiculously huge. Anyway, as time went on, J.D. DID manage to sell some cars, and the customers seemed to receive his sales pitches a bit better. I have a hunch that maybe the first wave of customers were just the crabby sort who don't actually want to buy anything, they just like to stand around looking cranky and bring down your business score, which really tweaks me off. In no time, he'd learned the "hard sell" and "dazzle" techniques, which were a faster way to sell cars by far, but were also a great way to offend folks all over again…

J.D: "Now you look like a guy with a nose for a good bargain!"

J.D. experimented with a few different models of car, pushing the limits to see just how expensive a vehicle he could put on the lot and still manage to sell (although he never actually tried selling the most expensive model). As time went on, he did earn some wholesale discounts, allowing for marked down prices (the only "perks" I've ever really cared about are the monetary prizes and the wholesale discounts). This whole time, even when the cars weren't moving as quickly as J.D. might have hoped, the stacks of tires were still selling, and it seemed almost impossible to keep them in stock with how quickly they sold. I'm not one to be picky, but I know half the sims buying them don't even own a car (those silly sims - they must have thought they were buying a tire stack end table or something).

J.D: "Excuse me, but did I just see you put a car in your pocket?"

One thing that never got old for me was watching the sims who decided to buy a vehicle just grab it and stuff it somewhere (usually in a shopping bag, but sometimes it was nowhere to be seen). It was funny enough watching them do that with stereo systems and big screen TV's at Radio Shock, but with cars and trucks, it took things to a whole new level. In record time, J.D. managed to get the business "out of the red" , and the profits started rolling in. Now, I'll admit, I had more vested interest in the success of Radio Shock and put a lot more time into the business as it evolved, so I was astounded when J.D.'s car lot managed to turn a profit in just a couple of days with next to no effort. Now THAT is my kind of business! Of course, it didn't hurt that he was forcing Marty to man the cash register so he wouldn't have to actually pay an employee to do it…

Marty: "You so owe me a chilito on the way home for this!"

Employing Marty may have been the cheap route to go, but as usual, it wasn't necessarily the most efficient. J.D. could have consulted the directory of potential employees to find someone with actual register experience, but the thought of having to pay the wages an experienced employee would be expecting just turned his stomach. And so, Marty rang up customer after customer in that painfully slow way all starting cashiers in the game do, and there were a couple of shopping bags tossed on the floor in disgust (thankfully, none of them contained cars that might have been damaged in the process). Okay, so maybe increasing your customer base in a very short time isn't necessarily a good thing if your cashier is slower than molasses.

Gia: "If he goes any slower, I swear he's going to start snoring and drooling on the register!"

Eventually, J.D. made enough money to start thinking about expanding his selection of vehicles. The lot was still too small to place more than two of the big rotating car thingies, but with the help of the "moveobjects" cheat, J.D. was able to get around that by placing the cars directly on the lot. He was able to double his selection from two models of car to FOUR! Um, I forgot to take a picture of the new and improved lot, but you folks are creative - I'm sure you could envision it if you really cared to. Anyway, despite the success of the business, J.D. and Marty eventually decided to think about going home. As usual, there was always one more customer just about to buy one more thing every time J.D. got ready to flip the "closed" sign, but after a few hours of "one last customers", Marty had had enough and closed up, regardless of who was still looking at what. Marty's a lot of things, but obsessive workaholic he most definitely is not!

Marty: "So, where did we land on that chilito?"

The whole business thing definitely adds a new dimension to the already complex lives of our friendly neighborhood sims. Keeping needs, aspiration levels, and relationships in good shape regularly is one thing, but doing all that AND managing a business that actually makes money can be quite the challenge. Frankly, I can't do the business thing too long, because it starts to feel like work after a while, and who wants to do work? Anywho, since the death of Captain Jack Daniels, there have been a lot of weird things going on at the Daniels house, but the weirdness has really just begun. Will Regina ever find love again? Will Debbie and Austyn ever hook up with anyone? Will the family open a boring business that I'll force you to read paragraph after paragraph about? There is only one way to find out, and you know what it is! See you mañana!


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