How I Know We’re in for a Rough Economic Ride

Sun, November 30, 2008

Moms & Politics

I’m not an economist, and I don’t play one on TV. But regardless of what the likes of Senator Saxby Chambliss and George Will have to say, it’s clear we are still on a downward trend with the economy, and no one can see the bottom of that pit just yet.

How do I know if I don’t have a Ph.D. in something that involves math or economic theory?

Well, I had lunch at Burger King last week and there was no one in line ahead of me, which struck me as a little odd. And there was no one behind me. The cashier behind the counter exclaimed when he saw he, “Oh, thank God — a customer!”

The cashier at Ann Taylor Loft, where I went in search of a new sweater as I was armed with my 20% off coupon, told me at the check out I wouldn’t need it. “All the sale merchandise is an additional 40% off,” she told me. That almost made the sweater free — and Ann Taylor Loft didn’t care as long as they could make some kind of sale. Any sale.

One of my stepdaughters is pretty sure a series of E-mails over the Thanksgiving day holiday, cryptic though some of them were, means she doesn’t have much of a job to go back to. And she wasn’t the only family member worried that the days ahead will bring a pink slip, not a promotion.

And when a lunch of cold-cuts is offered, but the hosts don’t eat any of nicely arranged turkey or cheese, claiming they’re really not all that hungry, it doesn’t take a team of economic advisers to know that people are hunkering down for worse things to come and want to make food stretch as far as possible.

I’m sure such anecdotal evidence isn’t the stuff that the likes of Alan Greenspan or Robert Rubin rely on. And I admit those few incidents don’t a case study make.

But the list of little things keeps growing that sends a message — sort of like when you see squirrels hoarding nuts too early in the season and know that’s just the first sign of a harsh winter that you don’t want to acknowledge.

I’d love to be wrong. If I am, the next round of sandwiches at Burger King is on me.

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5 Responses to “How I Know We’re in for a Rough Economic Ride”

  1. Backpacking Dad Says:

    I found parking very easily at the airport on Thanksgsiving, while the $1 Less a Day lot across the street was sold out, even in their valet lot.

    We were able to snag an open seat for our lap child on the flight out because there were plenty of empty spaces. And we were able to do the same thing on the way home on Saturday.

    Word Verification “trance”. As in “put me in one until it’s all over.”

  2. impromptublogger Says:

    Another anecdote: I like to sell used books and games on (part of eBay). I sell all the old books and games my dd has outgrown, etc. Well, I haven’t sold ANY books since September, but I just posted a bunch of Nintendo DS games which all sold within 24 hours.

    Morale: People aren’t buying books, they’re going to the library and they aren’t buying new games – they want used ones.

  3. anniegirl1138 Says:

    You are not wrong. I follow a few pundits – money people and the like – who spin tails that might even send a sensible person to the Costco to stock their basement. I have even heard the recommendation to get out of the U.S. Dollar as much as possible in the next six months although given the widespread trouble – what currency is really all that safe?

    We live in oil country. Things have ground to a halt on the rigs because the sands don’t pay at current prices but when the deflation lifts that will change in a hurry.

    It’s the people who foolishly bought into the idea that growth has no contraction point who are going to be most effected and the rest of us by extension. Interesting times are upon us like a rash.

  4. Dana Says:

    My husband and I were looking for a new vehicle for him, and one of the family owned car dealers had significantly slashed prices on some of the older used cars on the lot. He told us that he hasn’t sold a car since July. JULY! It’s just so sad. Four months without sales. He’s considering slashing prices on newer vehicles too, in hopes that people will buy cars for Christmas.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Great article. I was in the mall about two weeks ago and it was dead. Very unusual in our area.

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