Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Anecdotal Truths- First Edition

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.


  1. Things actually are picking up around here... for now. Relatives who were laid off have been called back. Houses that weren't selling are starting to. Etc.

    But... I also know of two local / regional companies who recently announced they were eliminating all full-time positions (outside of management) within the next year as a result of Obamacare. Everyone will be 25 hrs a week or less. I feel really bad for the workers, but I also know the companies are doing what they need to do to stay afloat. I can't imagine what impact things like that will have on individuals, and on the economy as a whole. I guess we'll find out in a year or so.

    1. So what I'm hearing from you is that in your area the economy is improving, but Obama's policies are killing that natural cyclical economic rise...

  2. I have a nephew who just lost his job (Obama voter) and when asked why he said "money". Since it's family I didn't pursue it. I would be tempted to tell him he was taken care of for life on unemployment since it is never ending now. Those who even suggest capping it are demonized and characterized as heartless. All kinds of restaurants have gone out of business around here. I live in a small town and there are many empty store fronts on main street. I am not seeing this improvement that that want us to believe is happening. Take care.

  3. http://littlelottajoy.blogspot.com/2013/01/an-old-woman-speaks-and-who-cares-what.html

    Well, I wrote a fairly long response, got to the end, went searching for this ling, and lost the whole thing. I even opened a whole new tab. WTF???

    The link was to suggest that there a lot of bloggers out there with LOTS to say on this topic. You just aren't looking for them. That is only one of MANY that I read.

    The President's disconnect from the populace is HUGE. And I would say that it were laughable if I didn't think there were more going on here. There is divisiveness going on here. I think there is a deliberate attempt to paint all business owners as RICH and EVIL and to tax them into poverty. And there is also an attempt to make the middle class and poor think they are going to benefit. The last laugh will be on them... because they won't. They will just be NEXT. Why? Because the the middle class will be the new RICH and EVIL. And while they are busy wrapping their brains around that one, they will be divested of what they have. Meanwhile, the poor will be rubbing their hands together in glee. They might have gotten a free phone last time. What is next? Nothing. Now we are all equally poor. No phones to be had.

    So, I see the middle class doing their best to survive in this ever-changing economy. The real scrappers are not going down without a fight. They lose one job and they do a sideways move into something else. However, even that is perilous and money is always tight. We have a fellow cutting down a tree in our yard this week and his prices were a surprise) about the same as what I paid in 2004. His was one of three estimates (all fairly compatible) though he was a real go-getter about getting the roots and and making sure everything was cleared away. He took real pride in his work. However, he really wanted to come out and do the job "yesterday" and get paid then, too. That tells me money is TIGHT. I expect that small business is going to be the first to see the wave of closings. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if half the numbers you call in the Yellow Pages are out of business by this time end of the year.

    I can only expect that Big Department Stores are going to begin massive Consolidations. That means more people out of work. More closed stores. And I really don't expect Small Businesses to even try to make a go of it in this economy.

    1. I guess this just goes along with all the other 'checking' I've ever done to see if I'm nuts, since I come from a family tree chock full of them. I have also run into many people who are blogging about politics today. Not sure I would ever want to do just politics. I just tend to write about what is on my mind.
      I AM interested in what people are seeing and thinking about the direction of the country because I seriously do think that we are being totally lied to, much like we were when the media told us all about how we were in a recession back when W was the POTUS and the unemployment rate was under 5%. Always curious about what people I respect are thinking and observing.

    2. The link that I sent you wasn't just politics, though it was a lot of "what is going on in the country." I find that I am writing that more and more. Why? Because what is going on in the country is infringing on every aspect of our day-to-day lives. Now, I read some strictly political blogs about decisions being made on the Hill, etc. But that is not really what this one is about, which is why I sent you the link. You asked about what people are seeing out there in the world, what they are thinking, and where they see the direction of the country going based on what is happening in their neck of the woods. This blog talks about ALL of that. It might be worth tuning in for a slightly different perspective. She lives a more urban area and sees some things that even have little 'ol me shaking my head.

      I don't think that there is any question that we are being lied to, Jasmine. The bigger question is, "Who is telling the truth?"

      I can hear Jack Nicholson in my head right now, "YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!" And I would say half of America can't. The other half knows it on some level, but even they would be surprised if they knew it all. You and I would be surprised if we knew it all. So, I am not sure we could take the whole truth.


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