Jay Beeler

Ask anyone who knows me and they would not describe me as a “penny pincher.” I don’t mind paying a fair market price for any quality product. But lately I’ve noticed the products sold at the local Staples store have been climbing at a surprising rate and they are not stocking many popular, big-ticket items.


We spend a few thousand each year on office supplies and a good portion of that goes toward printer toner and paper products. I recently purchased a box of 9” by 12” catalog envelopes for mailing the Beachcomber to subscribers and noted the Staples price for 250 was $60. I was curious and checked Amazon’s price: $29.77. Staples was more than twice as much!

Being satisfied with the Amazon purchase, I next checked the Staples price for 6” by 9” catalog envelopes, used to send out prizes to contest winners. The Staples price for 250 was $65 and the Amazon price for 500 was $32 – four times more per unit ($.26 vs $.064)! I bought from Amazon.

The same price test was performed on the other four envelope products that we use and the Staples price was often twice as much or more. Just for fun I noticed that Staples charges $132 for toner used in our HP color printer; an online search showed $80 for a set of four compatible toner cartridges ($20 each). And to add insult to injury, the HP cartridges flash “replace me” months before they actually need replacement.

Henceforth we won’t be buying anything at Staples without first looking at the Amazon price, given that both offer free delivery. I encourage you to do the same thing if spending a lot on office supplies, unless you enjoy being ripped off.


With my public relations background I enjoy doing lots of surveys. Most recently we did online surveys on what elected Long Beach official are doing the best job on behalf of residents and which ones are doing the worst job.

Best job votes went to “None of the above” at 39%, Suzie Price (D-3) at 37% and Prosecutor Doug Haubert at 11%. Persons doing the worst job were Mayor Robert Garcia at 57% and Stacy Mungo (D-5) at 27%. I guess that having 15 PR persons on staff at the mayor’s office is a huge waste of the taxpayer’s money.

Our current poll asks whether the city should look inside or outside the Long Beach Police Department for the next chief of police, since Robert Luna announced that he is retiring in December. Stephen Downing expresses his opinion on the matter in this edition of the Beachcomber. Go to the bottom of the front page at and vote. Then email comments to


Finally, Drive carefully, it’s not only cars that can be recalled by their maker.


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