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Archive for the ‘UnCool Products for Your Home’ Category

ALL HomeBuyers HATE Popcorn Ceilings

Wednesday, April 18, 2012 posted by Tommi Crow

   When trying to come up with a list of items that all homebuyers HATE..the first thing that came to my mind is Popcorn ceilings.   They scream dated.  They collect cobwebs, dust and dirt.  They are impossible to clean or paint.  And, if your home was built before the 1980’s, the popcorn may contain cancer causing asbestos.  (Asbestos was outlawed in 1977, but old supplies were used for years.) 

If you are selling your home, get rid of it….even though that is easier said than done.  If your home was built before 1980, you should first have the ceiling tested by a professional to see if it contains asbestos.  (Read the handout “Asbestos in Your Home“).   If asbestos is found, call a professional asbestos removal company to spray paint over it ($2-$6 a square foot), if it is in good shape.  Or, better, have the pro’s remove and properly dispose of it ($54-$64 a square foot).  Do not attempt to remove asbestos yourself!   There is a lethal reason it is a banned substance.                        

Whether the popcorn contains asbestos or doesn’t…removing popcorn ceilings is a messy, difficult and possibly expensive project.   Do it yourself with the proper gear, or expect to pay a painter about $2.50 a square foot to get rid of it, patch holes and repaint your ceiling.  

There are a few alternatives to sealing or removing popcorn ceilings.  You can opt to cover it up.   Depending on the architectural style of your home…you can consider installing beaded board or press tin ceiling tiles to hide the popcorn….forever.

If you are selling a home…get rid of the popcorn!!!  No one in the world likes popcorn ceilings…if you have them, you hate them, too.   Today’s buyers have so many choices, they won’t even consider a home with popcorn.  

Thank you for visiting  Please get rid of those dated, dirty, ugly and possibly dangerous ceilings today!!!    Popcorn is blowing your sale!

Click Here to Read What Buyers Hate Most…Second to Popcorn Ceilings

New York City Man Hole Covers Made in India?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011 posted by Tommi Crow

This photo, sent by an InfoTube customer, perfectly illustrates the reason that the United States is going down the drain.  

Does NYC know that Pittsburgh, PA is a steel town?  Does Mayor Bloomberg realize that tens of thousands of taxpayers in Pittsburgh are unemployed, many losing their homes?  Does the New York City purchasing department know that Pennsylvania is located right down the road from the state of New York?

If “they were cheap” is the answer…I don’t care how cheap Indian man hole covers are.  If they were FREE, US workers and taxpayers can’t afford them.

In addition…wasting oil to freight heavy man hole covers half way around the world is slap in the face to US families and business.  The economy has been crippled by $4.00 a gallon gasoline and the billions of dollars that have been borrowed to fight wars for oil! 

I say Enough!   We believe that Americans have to start producing what America buys.  It’s really that simple. 

Thank you for visiting  We hope you join in us in our fight to Save American Jobs!!!   (Click here to read our David and Goliath success story).

Demand American products when you shop.  Together, we can turn this around.  Just look at what one, young woman did to turn the new bank charges for ATM’s around!!!!

What a ship….no wonder ‘Made in China ‘ is displacing North American made goods big time.

 This monster transports goods across the Pacific in just 5 days!!   This is one of three ships presently in service, with another two ships commissioned to be completed in 2012.  

These ships were commissioned by Wal-Mart to get all their goods and stuff from China .  They hold an incredible 15,000 containers and have a 207 foot deck beam!!  The full crew is just 13 people on a ship longer than a US Aircraft Carrier (which has a crew of 5,000.   With it’s 207′ beam it is too big to fit through the Panama or Suez Canals .
                    It is strictly transpacific. Cruise speed: 31 knots. 

The goods arrive 4 days before the typical container ship (18-20 knots) on  a China -to-    California  run.   91% of Walmart products are made in China .  So this behemoth is hugely competitive even when carrying perishable goods.      
The ship was built in five sections. The sections floated
together and then welded. 
The command bridge is higher than a 10-story building and has 11 cargo crane rigs that can operate simultaneously unloading the entire ship in less than two hours.

Cost for this container ship…$146,000,000

 A recent documentary in late March, 2010 on the History Channel noted that all of these containers are shipped back to China , EMPTY.

Yep, that’s right.  We send nothing back on these ships. What does that tell you about 
the current financial state of this country?    Let’s all just keep buying those imported goods (mostly, cheap nothing gadgets) until we run out of money, jobs, homes or all of the above.   

Just our two cents here at…. We support American workers, products and companies.  We manufacture The InfoTube and InfoBox here in the USA, with materials Made in the USA…so don’t believe it can’t be done.  We’re just a little company.  If we can do, anyone can.  

Please Buy Made in America, whenever possible!!!   Our survival as a nation depends upon us turning this ship around!!!

Made in America Update

Thursday, June 9, 2011 posted by Tommi Crow

Our discussions with The Hillman Group and our fight to save InfoTube, InfoBox and American jobs is still ongoing.   Our face-to-face meeting with senior management at Hillman is scheduled for next Wednesday, June  15th.  We hope to have “Good News” to share!!! 

Please continue to Sign Our Petition to Save American Jobs .   We are approaching 600 signatures and the comments made by concerned Americans is powerful, enlightening and motivating.  

For those of you who fear things have gone too far with China.  For those who think that little people stand no chance of influencing big corporations.  For those who believe that the people in power don’t listen and don’t care …I have some encouraging news for you that disproves those fears.

The Smithsonian opened its Made in America gift shop yesterday and ABC News went shopping.   The US made products offered in the new store were just what you would expect to find, when looking for a souvenir to take home.    They looked no different than the previous products that were purchased from the Chinese and they didn’t cost anymore, either.

A manager for the Smithsonian was so happy with the results and consumer feedback, he said the store wants more Made in the USA products to put in the store.   Buyers for the Smithsonia will be attending Made in the US trade shows and they are asking  US businesses to contact them about their merchandise.

If you or your company make or manufacture a product that would fit the retail niche offered at the Smithsonian gift shop, click the link below and submit your goods to their buyers.    Think souveniers…T-shrits, earring, caps, hats, postcards, etc.  Wouldn’t it be cool to see your products at the Smithsonian?   I certainly wish I could find a reason for them to sell InfoTubes and InfoBoxes!!!


Thank you for visiting  We will keep you posted on our efforts to save American jobs and promote American business!!

InfoTube, Hillman and China. An Update

Thursday, May 26, 2011 posted by Tommi Crow

I am very happy to report that the public outcry about outsourcing American products, specifically Infotube and Infobox, to China has been encouraging, enlightening, motivating and best of all…it may be working to save jobs and keep American made products on the shelves.

As a result of your emails, calls, petitions, Facebook posts, etc. some strange things have happened.  We have been contacted by a US Senator, offering his assistance.  We have been interviewed on radio news and talk shows and our story has shown up in print across the country.   And, we still have our fingers crossed that we might receive a call from Diane Sawyer and ABC news about our story and products. 

If you haven’t told Diane and ABC what your favorite American products are, click this LINK and do so, today!  Please don’t forget to mention InfoTube and InfoBox!   

Perhaps, the most surprising outcome, so far, has been our two discussions with senior management at The Hillman Group.  Surprising, because it is happening at all.  Surprising, again, because we are each sharing information and I feel that everyone is sincere about wanting to reach a resolution. 

Rest assured that we won’t give up the fight until we hear that Crow Erickson will continue to sell Infotubes and InfoBoxes to our major d-i-y retail customers, like we have done for nearly two decades.

Sadly, during our meeting yesterday, Hillman management confirmed  that they have shipped some of the Chinese copycat product…identifible by its Yellow lid…to Home Depot, Lowes and Menards.   The retailers, in turn, hung it up in the sign department where the InfoTube and InfoBox used to proudly hang.  

Please ask for InfoTube and InfoBox by name at the store!!  Simply, refuse to purchase the Chinese Yellow Lid product.  You know what is at stake and your money is counted as your vote. 

A concerned consumer may have said it best in their reply to an email they received from the Hillman Group. 

“See, we American voters may truly be powerless, but we American consumers are not.  We are fed up watching big corporations, like yours, screw American businesses, and so if you think this lame email has calmed me, you are wrong.  I am just getting started.”  Cynn Chadwick

If you have a problem finding our products in the stores, you can purchase through our secure our website or through one of our valued, loyal internet vendors….many of whom took action on our behalf…even though by doing so, they face more sales competition.

Thank you again for your support, your comments and your encouragement.  If this little company can find a way to beat the competition over in communist China…then, so can other companies!  

Buy American and Support your Homeland!!!  We aren’t anti-chinese…we are just Pro-American!

Tommi Crow

President, Crow Erickson Inc.  1854A Hendersonville Rd #221 – Asheville, NC  28803.  1-800-858-6000.

I was interviewed on Clear Channel News this morning about our Fight to Save our Company and American jobs from the chinese, copycat imports of InfoBox that are being brought into the US by The Hillman Group, distributors for Lowes, Home Depot and Menards.

After the radio interview, we received a call from Senator Richard Burr’s (R) office to inquire about our story.   The Senator’s office is looking into the matter to determine how they can help.   Thank you, Senator Burr!

Tommi Crow radio interview on Jameson show

I would like to say a BIG thank you to Jerri Jameson at WWNC News Radio 570 for having us on her show this morning.  

Thanks for following our story and for your support!  Please continue to sign our petition and send emails to Lowes, Home Depot and Menardsn telling them that InfoTube and InfoBox SHOULD NOT be replaced with chinese imports.


National Home Improvement Stores Outsource American Jobs to China                                                                                                                            Home Depot, Lowe’s vendor ignores U.S. patents, outsources popular INFOBOX®  

ASHEVILLE, North Carolina (May 10, 2011)—Recently, Hillman Group, vendor to national DIY home-improvement retail giants Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Menards, replaced the store’s popular American-made INFOTUBE® and INFOBOX® products with Chinese factory replicas. 

INFOTUBE® literature boxes were invented 23 years ago in a garage in Dallas, TX, to provide Realtors®, builders and homeowners with an affordable way to sell their homes. Today, millions of these patented real-estate literature boxes are being used in neighborhoods across America. 

In March, Hillman informed Crow Erickson it was replacing INFOTUBE® and INFOBOX® products effective immediately, leaving thousands of boxes stranded on the docks and effectively closing the doors of the Asheville, NC-based manufacturer and inventor. Caplugs® factory jobs in Erie, PA and Buffalo, NY will also be affected, two areas already hard hit in this economy. 

Crow Erickson’s patent attorney has inspected the Chinese product, currently available on Home Depot’s website, and it does appear to be copy of the INFOBOX® design, something Hillman insiders have conceded. The Chinese knockoff provides no cost savings to the consumer. 

This is not the first time Hillman has ignored U.S. patents and put American jobs in jeopardy, including the hundreds of disabled and handicapped American workers that Crow Erickson has employed at competitive wages in partnership with vocational rehabilitation centers.

 In the 1990s, Hillman tried to outsource INFOTUBE® products, a patent violation against which Crow Erickson took legal action. The settlement required Hillman to renew its contract for INFOTUBE® and agree not to compete in its product niche. 

Apparently Hillman is banking on the rising cost of lawsuits to deter the small, woman-owned business from pursuing legal remedy this time around. 

Crow Erickson has made numerous direct appeals to the Hillman Group and senior management at Lowe’s and Home Depot, citing its 20+ year successful partnership, patent concerns, and a desire to work with all parties for a mutually beneficial and cost-competitive resolution. 

To date, Crow Erickson has not been able to engage Hillman, Lowe’s or Home Depot in any meaningful discussion and has been left with no recourse other than pursue costly legal action or close its doors and watch another American-made product fall victim to Chinese factories. 

Crow Erickson is currently launching a public media campaign to save American jobs. More information can be found on and the company’s blog. INFOTUBE® is also sponsoring an online petition to save American jobs from export to China which can be viewed and signed on The Petition Site at Help-Save-American-Jobs.


Tommi Crow

President, Crow Erickson, Inc.

800-858-6000 (o) 828-230-2260 (cel)

If you have been following our blog, then you know that The Hillman Group went to China and made a copy of our patented, US made InfoBox that is sold at retailers such as Lowes, Home Depot and Menards. 

Hillman planned, and spent a great deal of time and money to steal the InfoBox, replace it on the store shelves with it’s “Yellow”-lidded Chinese copycat.  The goal is to put another US company out of business and toss its workers to the wind. 

Well, we have another plan!  FIGHT BACK!!!

We are placing a BOUNTY and REWARD on the Yellow Chinese Hillman Box.  If you can find and purchase one of these boxes, please do immediately

  • Mail the china box to 1854A Hendersonville Rd #221 – Asheville, NC 28803, along with your receipt.
  • We will send you TWO (2) FREE, Original, 100% Made in the USA INFOBOXES with the Bright, Red Lids    
  • OR, TWO (2) FREE INFOTUBES, The Originals, Made in the USA  with the Bright, Red Caps to your Door at NO CHARGE!!!!  
  • Sign the InfoTube Care2 Petition to Save American Jobs, Companies and Products by CLICKING HERE
  • We are looking forward to returning ALL the Chinese boxes to the store ourselves!!!

Your voice and support matter to American workers, American home owners and America!!!  Thank you in advance for helping us fight!!!

Tommi Crow, owner of Infotube and InfoBox

Older Generation Lived “Green”.

Thursday, April 28, 2011 posted by Tommi Crow

We don’t know who wrote this piece about the environment and recycling, but we thought it was great.  Hope you find it enlightening, too!

    In the line at the store, the cashier told the older woman  that she should bring her own grocery bag because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. 

The woman apologized to him and explained, “We didn’t have the green thing back in my day.”     

The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today.  The former generation did not care enough to save our environment.”

 He was right, that generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.     

Back then, they returned their milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles
to the store.  The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over.  So they really were  recycled.

But they didn’t have the green thing back in that customer’s day.

In her day, they walked up stairs, because they didn’t have an escalator in
every store and office building. They walked to the grocery store and didn’t
climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time they had to go two blocks.

But she was right. They didn’t have the green thing in her day.

Back then, they washed the baby’s diapers because they didn’t have the
throw-away kind. They dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts – wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that old lady is right, they didn’t have the green thing back in her

Back then, they had one TV, or radio, in the house – not a TV in every room.
And the TV had a small screen the size of a hankerchief, not a screen the size
of the state of Montana . In the kitchen, they blended and stirred by hand
because they didn’t have electric machines to do everything for you.  When they packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, they used a wadded up
old newspaper to cushion it, not styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, they didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the
lawn. They used a push mower that ran on human power. They exercised by working so they didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she’s right, they didn’t have the green thing back then.

They drank from a fountain when they were thirsty instead of using a cup or
a plastic bottle every time they had a drink of water. They refilled their
writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and they replaced the razor
blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the
blade got dull.

But they didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to
school or rode the school bus instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi

They had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to
power a dozen appliances. And they didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the
nearest pizza joint.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful the old folks
were just because they didn’t have the green thing back then? Author unknown

Thank you for visiting, home of the Made in America InfoTube and InfoBox, the #1 selling outdoor information containers in the USA.   We also operate a FREE homes for sale and rent website to help loyal customers market their property.   List your property or search in complete privacy.

Snooping Real Estate Agent Caught on Camera

Wednesday, February 24, 2010 posted by Tommi Crow

ATLANTA — When real estate agents representing buyers show your home, should they be allowed to examine private or confidential papers? How would you react if you caught them doing just that?

 Channel 2’s Tom Regan talked with one home seller who was shocked by what he caught on camera in his home. David Scitthelm owned a beautiful home in Buckhead. He was proud to put it up for sale, but he wasn’t pleased with the conduct of the two real estate agents who arrived to show the house. 

To Learn More or Watch the Short Video, CLICK HERE

Commentary:  ALWAYS advises that home sellers  hide or pack away anything that is private or could be used against them in a negotiation.   And, private mail and legal notice issues aside…did you see how this agent hunted for books, stereo equipment, family photographs, collections, etc. to gain personal knowledge about the sellers?   Hopefully this story plainly illustrates to homesellers the importance of packing up all personal items BEFORE they put their home on the market.  Added Bonus:  A staged home always shows better and appeals to a wider audience, too.  

P.S.  And, don’t forget your medicine cabinet (:

Poison Drywall of China

Friday, October 16, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow

Toxic, sulfur laden sheetrock, Made in China, is making people sick, causing electrical wiring to go crazy and is corroding copper, wire and stainless steel in American homes.   The problem has affected thousands of homes in 20 states, yet, the US court system is powerless when to hold Chinese manufacturers (most of which are owned by the Chinese government) responsible for problems caused by their products.

The hardest hit area of the country may be the slowly recovering New Orleans area, and the coastal area’s wiped out by Katrina.  After enduring floods and mud, this man-made victimization is the last thing these communities need or deserve.   For those wondering how bad the problem is….The problem is so bad that local governments, already low on funds, are waiving property taxes for homes rebuilt with the Made in China, toxic sheetrock.

                                      Facts About Toxic Chinese Drywall and Sheetrock:

  1. The sheetrock may emit a sulfuric odor, which smells a bit like rotten eggs.
  2. Health Problems are being Reported.  The most common health effects from the drywall are skin rashes, blisters and headaches.
  3. Homeowners insurance does not cover claims due to construction defects.  When insurers discover a property has Chinese drywall, they are canceling homeowner policies.
  4. The gases emitted by the Chinese Drywall eat away at any copper, aluminum or stainless materials inside the home.  This means that appliances, wiring, mirrors, computers, toys, plumbing pipes and fixtures, jewelry, HVAC or any systems that contain these component materials will also be damaged, usually beyond repair
  5. Seller’s of Homes that contain Chinese Sheetrock must disclose that fact, even if all the sheetrock in the home has been replaced.
  6. If your home contains any Chinese Made Drywall/Sheetrock file a compliant with Consumer Product Protection Council and also check about making a local compliant with your state.
  7. For updates on the Chinese drywall, multi-district lawsuits (MDL #2047 to to and click on Drywall MDL.

One tell tale sign of toxic sheetrock can be seen in the corners of mirrors

Watch for corrosion in and around plumbing fixtures, refrigerators, ac units, on stainless steel appliances or any area with metal components.  

Our two cents:  In light of this most recent, very serious, and potentially deadly, problem with cheap imports, all Americans need to reconsider their ongoing love affair with everything cheap and Chinese.  If the US government, who allows these imports, can’t force the Chinese manufacturers to stand behind the products they sell, then the retailers, who chose to buy these goods should have to.    The cost of uprooting families and replacing all the sheetrock, mechanical systems and personal property in over 60,000 reported homes is overwhelming.   If anyone deserves a taxpayer bailout, it’s these innocent homeowners who have been victimized by governments and retailers, alike.

Thank you for visiting  All our products are MADE, ASSEMBLED and SHIPPED right here in the USA!!!   In November, we will celebrate our 20th Anniversary, proving that you can hire US workers and run a profitable business.   Thank you for your support over all these years and please tell your friends about us!!!

Check for Bed Bug Outbreaks in Real Time

Monday, September 21, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow

A new website The Bed Bug Registry is a free, public database of bedbug infestations. Use it to check for bedbug reports before booking a hotel room or renting an apartment.

The Bedbug Registry gives travelers and renters a reliable and neutral platform for reporting their encounters with bedbugs. Though most Americans have still never encountered one, these retro pests are spreading extremely quickly across several American and Canadian cities.

Bed bugs are easy to transport in luggage and very hard to get rid of. For this reason they have become an especial nuisance for hotels, who are not eager to publicize their infestations. You can’t tell whether a building or hotel room has them based on cleanliness – the bugs can thrive anywhere there are cracks and crevices to hide in.

Until a reliable, safe pesticide becomes available, avoiding bedbug encounters will be the only reliable way to ensure they don’t spread into your own home.

To Read More About How to Spot and Stop Bed Bugs Before You are Eaten Alive,  CLICK HERE!!!    

Thank you for visiting Place a Free Property Listing on in our database or Search for Thousands of Deals in Complete Privacy.

Edison’s Light Bulb is Phased Out.

Friday, September 18, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow

Thomas Edison’s light bulb, invented in 1879, will not be sold in the U.S. after January 1, 2012. 

As part of the Clean Energy Bill, signed in 2007, most wattages of incandescent light bulbs, will go the way of leaded gas and oil based paint.   Australia started the light bulb ban in 2007.  Europe followed in September, this year. 

Even though Americans hate forced change, there are some reasons this change makes sense.  According to Energy Star, “a qualified compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) will save about $30 over its lifetime and pay for itself in about 6 months.  It uses 75 percent less energy and lasts about 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb.” 

Futhermore, Noah Horowitz, with the Natural Resources Defense Council stated “it would eliminate the need to build 30 new coal power plants and save as much electricity as used by all the homes in Texas.”

Astounding Energy Savings, No More Coal Plants and Free Money, too, what’s not to love??  Well, a couple of things…First of all, fluorescent bulbs contain mercury.  Remember the dangers of mercury?  If a bulb breaks, the mercury scatters around the room or hides in the carpet and toys.  And, don’t throw the new bulbs into the trash.  To dispose of these bulbs, if they don’t break first, they need to be handled like hazardous waste, ie: paint, chemicals, batteries, etc.  Home Depot, True Value, IKEA and other retailers will recycle them, but you need to carefully pack them up and drive them to the store.

Secondly, fluorescents can’t be used with a dimmer switch.  My personal favorite trick for creating ambiance.  And, I’ve already tried CFL’s and found they don’t produce enough light, or maybe the right hue of light, for easy reading and other close up tasks.  And, probably most concerning, they also aren’t a great light for those of us who look for bulbs that cast flattering, soft light ):

Change is coming.  Adjust or stock up before January 2012.   Thank you for visiting your FREE homes for sale and lease website.  Have a great weekend and happy home selling and buying.

Just Say No To Wallpaper

Monday, September 14, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow

One of the things that can turn off buyer’s, stop a sale or detract from a properties resale value is Wallpaper.   Why don’t buyer’s like wallpaper??  First, it is usually a real pain to take down.  Secondly, it is very taste specific.  There is obviously no “standard” or “popular type” of wallpaper, because there seems to be endless supply and I have never seen the exact same wallpaper, twice.  Meaning, the odds of being hit by lightning are probably greater than 2 people liking the same paper.

If you plan to stay in your home a while and you want some wallpaper in your house, well, it is your house.  But, please, go sparingly. Avoid busy, colorful and loud types. And, please don’t forget to “size” the wall before you apply it, or you won’t get it off without destroying the wall surface underneath.

Tip for HomeSeller’s:   But, if you are trying to sell your home, without success, and it has a lot of wallpaper or busy, dated wallpaper, you can do yourself a big favor by pulling it down and applying a fresh coat of neutral paint.   A crisp, freshly painted room never turns off buyers. 

 The same can never be said about wallpaper.    Thank you for visiting FREE homes for sale and rent website.  We have been helping seller’s and buyer’s connect since 1988.  We can help you, too.