I keep hearing about how much better things are getting- how the economy is turning upward and housing is coming back.
I would love to believe that. I really would.
I would love to SEE it even more.
I'm tired of watching people I know suffer without enough work to live a decent life. I'm weary of hearing friends mention how they have cut their budgets to the bone and then some emergency like a leaky roof comes along and they end up in financial tatters.
An incident the other day got me to thinking about all of this: the strange inequity between the public message that everything is going great and getting better- maybe slowly but definitely improving, and the stuff that I see and hear with my own senses on a daily basis.
I have decided that I would like to know what real people that I interact with regularly and respect their ability to tell me the truth have to say on this subject. I am going to make a point of talking about this to everyone I know. I am going to get to the bottom of this; especially since I know that real journalism is dead. (I mean who doesn't know that for sure by now, since we have proof by the mere fact that nobody bothered to check out this 'girlfriend' of Manti T'eo and her tragic story? A tiny bit of actual investigative journalism and nobody would have been fooled at all. But really blind adoration of celebrity-like figures is the order of the day, is it not?)
So here's what happened last Friday that set me off: I did a little early birthday shopping for myself at the local Macy's store. I had a coupon they send for $10 off a purchase of $30 and they were having a clearance sale. I found a couple of items and went to the cashier. She seemed really excited to see me and told me I was her first sale of the day. It was 3 'o clock in the afternoon! I was spending all of $25, with tax. Now, maybe I should not have been surprised since I landed a really good parking spot and it was really dead in the store for a Friday afternoon. However, the next thing she said just about floored me. When I expressed my surprise at being the first sale of the day, the clerk went on to tell me that every other transaction she had done today was for a return! I wanted to tell her she better start looking for other work, but I didn't have the heart to do it.
Over the weekend, my awareness was up to this idea of contrasting media portrayal of the economy and my own reality and I noticed a headline in the paper touting that internet traffic on real estate sites was up 38%. Wow, somebody should tell my neighbors who have been trying to sell their house for the last 8 months. People ought to be busting their door down! Turns out the story behind the headline clarified that nothing has really come of the internet traffic, but real estate professionals are feeling more hopeful. Oh boy!
And finally, tonight I was at the local shoe store. Again with a coupon- this time looking to buy new shoes that can take the beating of my 'on my feet all day' job and yet still look decent. Those are hard to come by, so I asked the saleswoman for some help. We got to talking and she told me all about how the store had been robbed a few days ago and how that was becoming more and more common. She said the thieves were often brazen enough to put the shoes on their feet and walk right out the door while other customers were being helped. She said stuff like this never used to happen, but it seems to her that people just feel 'entitled' to have whatever they want. I couldn't help but to inquire about how her store sales were going. She told me they were just OK.
I am going to be diligent and continue to look at and ask about business in my area. I am curious as to what y'all are seeing in your neck of the woods. For once, I hope that I am alone in what I am experiencing. Do please tell me what you've seen and heard yourself.