Sunday, March 02, 2008

Sad Economic Indicators

We were out running errands Saturday and also stopped by the salon so that I could get my hair trimmed. I had an appointment and when I walked into the salon there was only one other customer there. This time of year, down here in Florida, that place should have been buzzing with customers.

I asked the cosmeticians who work there, what was going on? Why so few patrons? The told me that due to the economy, a lot of people were putting the cost of going to a salon on their luxury list rather than their routine list.

This beauty salon is in financial trouble. Also, two of the ladies who work there are doing battle with Countrywide regarding their homes. One of the ladies is smart but Countrywide is messing with her head to try to justify a huge increase in her fixed monthly mortgage payment. The other lady made a stupid mistake and as a result, her home is in foreclosure.

This is so depressing. Two upscale well know furniture stores here have gone out of business. There are houses for sale, houses in foreclosure, and abandoned houses on every street. Small businesses are dropping like flies. Something is happening and it’s not good. When large businesses and small ones are closing, you have to wonder, where do we go from here?

I’m curious, besides the glut of empty homes, have you noticed anything in your area or town like what I’m seeing here?

(I’m posting this Monday post on Sunday night because my computer has been acting a little freaky when I wake it up in the mornings. Rather than screw with it in the morning, I’m posting now, Sunday night, while it’s wide awake and not a bit freaky.)


Anonymous JollyRoger said...

If you want to see what your future looks like, come up to Ohio. We got plenty of Third World here for everyone.

March 02, 2008 4:04 PM  
Blogger James said...

Yeah the bags of cheese that we buy at the store have gone up to %8.50 from $6.25 in the last few months.

March 02, 2008 4:49 PM  
Blogger Swinebread said...

Food prices are up but the housing bubble is only just starting to impact Portland.

March 02, 2008 5:54 PM  
Blogger betmo said...

luckily? for me i already live in a depressed area. the population has steadily declined and things here are relatively cheap. food, utilities and gas- all up- but that's par for the course here in new york state- where we had almost a decade of rethuglican management. so- no- nothing immediate here- but it'll be coming.

March 02, 2008 6:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

March 02, 2008 6:16 PM  
Blogger Distributorcap said...

anonymous will tell you the chinese are taking over!

yes --- prices are up, the nyc subways just increased, there are more shuttered store fronts than i have seen in awhile.

the housing problems havent hit New York City like the rest of the country, but it will.

and with interest rates so low and the market tanking ---- people at or near retirement have plenty of issues at hand

this is a bad bad situation we are in

March 03, 2008 2:10 AM  
Blogger FranIAm said...

If you go to my blog you will see that I finally closed on the sale of my house- which is a huge relief as you can imagine.

And I must tell you that while not in the most dire of straits, I just had my hair done last week. So?

It was the first time since mid-December. I am 50 - and I have been going gray since age 24. In recent years it is about 4 weeks for each visit.

Why spend the money if I was not working was my motivation. Notice the link between the closing of the sale and the color/cut.

About 2 weeks ago I was in the local mall running an errand- not much shopping these days, which as been great. I felt ill however at the lack of people in the mall - hey not shopping is a great thing, but what it portends is another altogether.

On the front page of the Albany Times Union today we see two stories that relate to this topic...

One about how many people are falling below the poverty line in this area.

The other about "drive-offs" at local gas/convenience stores. The number has greatly increased since gas prices have gone up so much. Now more stations have had to make the pumps pre-pay for cash sales, which was not common until this past year.

And my favorite - the editorial cartoon in the paper today (not online yet) by the local cartoonist... It shows a sinking ship named "The Economy" and the voice bubble says "This is the captain and we may be entering a period of uncertainty."

I paraphrase - but you get the picture.

March 03, 2008 3:38 AM  
Blogger fallenmonk said...

There seem to be two different economies here in Atlanta. A lot of foreclosures and houses for sale but also a good number of McMansions being built and sold ($1 million plus). You can see the effect of the economy at restaurants especially. People are not eating out as much or they are opting for fast food instead of sit down.

March 03, 2008 5:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Must be George Bush's fault

March 03, 2008 5:43 AM  
Blogger mommanator said...

One of the things I have noticed is, more people are going to flea markets & thrift shops. Folk are saying to keep the country green, but I think maybe due to the lack of green! I love them, I can't see buying a pair of Lee Jeans for $50 when you can get them for $4.oo @ thrift shop, hardly worn!
The other thing I noticed here in MD the other day was ground beef for $4.99 per pound- I told the daughter NOT to buy- we could have something else and wait til the beef was on sale- ground turkey was cheaper anyhow and better for ya!

March 03, 2008 5:47 AM  
Blogger Weaseldog said...

Anonymous, it is still in vogue to blame Bill Clinton for everything.

Beef makes me nervous. But my wife keeps cooking it...

March 03, 2008 6:48 AM  
Blogger SB Gypsy said...

I quit having my hair cut a year ago: it cost me a thousand dollars a year, and for what? I went without a haircut for 25 years before this, I can get used to long hair again...

We still go out to eat once a week tho.

March 03, 2008 6:55 AM  
Blogger dguzman said...

I've noticed prices going up at the grocery store; just yesterday, I bought a few veggies, some pre-made sushi, and some mineral water. Total # of items: 14. Total price: $57.50. Holy shit.

I've also seen a lot of cars for sale (parked in empty lots or whatever), and not just the big SUVs but even smaller, fuel-efficient models.

March 03, 2008 7:40 AM  
Blogger robin andrea said...

It may have come as a surprise to George Bush, but gas prices are getting close to $4 per gallon here in Port Townsend. The cheapest gas is $3.47 and the high end is $3.67. It's not even spring yet. Food is ridiculously expensive here. We are on a fixed income, so every bit of inflation is going to hurt.

March 03, 2008 7:42 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

I live in Michigan so I see signs of the economy going to hell everywhere I look. Real estate, business, manufacturing jobs, grocery stores--everywhere. It is sad and I am starting to get concerned.

March 03, 2008 7:57 AM  
Blogger fairlane said...

It's the logical conclusion of capitalism (Small "C" version).

March 03, 2008 9:00 AM  
Blogger annie said...

the rich are doing well.
the poor keep slipping.
in other words, everything is just fine!

March 03, 2008 9:19 AM  
Blogger Candace said...

I went to the salon a few days ago (in Dallas) and the place was packed. In fact, the owner said they're planning to add another five chairs.

I'm worried about the high price of food (due to the rising costs of transporting it, combined with freaky weather having ruined a lot of crops.)

March 03, 2008 9:21 AM  
Anonymous John B. said...

Patricia, I think you can safely delete the Chinese. It's a scam.

March 03, 2008 1:20 PM  
Blogger Weaseldog said...

Yeah Candace, the D/FW metroplex is still straining but hasn't busted yet.

I am running into more and more people on DART that are wondering how they are going to keep making payments on their two houses...

March 03, 2008 1:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Seattle area has been somewhat immune from any sort of "housing crisis" the past 15 years,other then housing prices escalating each year,which is fine if you've already owned one.But,for the first time in many years the rise in housing prices remained stagnant the past six months.
The most troubling thing I've seen which may very well be a harbinger of things to come a company has stopped construction of a supposed five star hotel in downtown Seattle,leaving a whole city block sitting there empty.They stated in the local paper the reason being the softness of the American dollar.To me thats a very bad sign in a city that has been on a positive economic roll the past 10 years.

March 03, 2008 3:28 PM  
Blogger Fixer said...

People are putting the car repairs on the 'luxury list' too.

March 03, 2008 4:09 PM  
Blogger an average patriot said...

Yes prices of everything are up. there are houses all over the place including our street that have been on the market for years. My fiance' can't find a PT job and has been looking for ages.
Things are pretty slow where she goes to get her hair done too. The other day she went and it was closed. They closed up and went home because it was dead.
You know, I can't be concerned about this. I have been trying to warn people for years. This will dwarf the great depression.
Did you ever read Mike Whitney's Second Great Depression? Bush via Greenspan set this up and it is happening at a perfect time. I won't get into it now but watch 2008 Bush has yet to do his worst!

March 03, 2008 4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dont know about "dwarfing the great depression" but there are certainly rocky times ahead.Compounding the problem is this being an election year investors have a tendency to sit on thier hands riding things out until next year to see which way the financial winds blow post election.

March 03, 2008 5:12 PM  
Blogger The Beltway B@stard said...

Up here in the land that is the root of all evil, there are plenty of jobs. Why? Because someone has to make all this nonsense work in a legal sort of fashion.

March 03, 2008 5:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We all might be better off if a mile in diameter meteor hit the center of D.C.. Of course while Congress is in session.

March 03, 2008 6:05 PM  
Blogger Weaseldog said...

Conventional Oil Production is now in a slow decline.

Natural Gas in North America looks to be beginning a decline.

The only things keeping unconventional oil rising is the diversion of Natural Gas and Coal from other uses.

We're on the cusp of a World Wide Energy Decline.

Energy powers industry. Industry cannot produce beyond the limits of energy inputs, just as an automobile can't keep driving when it is out of fuel.

So World Industry has risen little since 2000 and is seeing no meaningful growth. The dollar growth keeps increasing, because the money supply is increasing.

We're still adding people to the planet. The number of jobs per person, is dropping, just as energy per capita is in decline.

Unless we can find a new energy source that is far more abundant, convenient and cheaper than oil and get it into production ten years ago, then this economic downturn has no foreseeable recovery.

And that is a problem. We need a Star Trek type of energy source and time travel so that we can implement it on a grand scale before today, if we're going to continue our dream of infinite growth on a finite planet a while longer.

Some say Peak Oil is a myth. That oil production can never rise and fall. If this is true, then the mass of oil in the Earth is infinite and we can pump enough to collapse the Earth and the universe into a Black Hole. I don't personally believe that the mass of oil in the Earth is infinite and exceeds the bounds of the universe. So I believe that oil production does have limits that are less than infinity. So Peak Oil must be real.

March 04, 2008 7:09 AM  
Blogger Candace said...

I watched a special the other night on what happens when the oil runs out. Not pretty. This makes me sick. Remember way back (some of you, anyway) when Jimmy Carter tried to get the nation to wake up and start conserving? He reset the thermostats and wore sweaters in the White House. Then Uncle Ronnie came along with his smiley-face "everything's fine, don't worry, be happy" and then the powers that be saw to it that Gore wouldn't take office, and here we are 30 years later facing disaster. WTG, "Christian" "right"!

March 04, 2008 12:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dont try to change history,Carter was an idiot...the worst president of the 20th century (yes,worse than Bush.)
You failed to mention the 20% interest rates,waiting in gas line to get 3 gallons,the 50 some hostages held in Iran for over 400 days...all during Carters 4 long years.
"He turned the thermostat down and wore a sweater," what a potato head!
If him was so damn good why did he get drummed out of office after one term....losing by a landslide.

March 04, 2008 3:39 PM  
Blogger Weaseldog said...

Reagan cut a deal with the Ayatollah to get them to keep the hostages so long. Reagan had his guys running drugs to trade for weapons to give to Iran. The war on drugs was about getting rid of the competition and jacking prices up.

Carter got booted because Americans hate real conservationism. We are savagely liberal consumers. He was also President at a bad time, when the US peaked in oil production and we didn't have the infrastructure in place to make Saudi Sheiks wealthy by importing their oil.

Bush has accomplished his missions. The price of oil is jacked up high and his family has made billions through his efforts to get oil from $23/Barrel to over $100 Barrel.

American like the way Bush got gasoline from $1.00 gal up to almost $4.00.

And you ain't seen nothing yet. Bush has killed ever initiative to conserve oil. When the oil crisis really kicks in, America will be bent over with her pants down.

If you hated Carter you're gonna love the crisis that is coming.

March 04, 2008 3:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said... may want to consider upping the Prozac.

March 04, 2008 8:04 PM  
Blogger Weaseldog said...

Anonymous, the truth will make you crazy.

I noticed that you did not disagree with any single point I made. you just don't like seeing them altogether in one place.

March 05, 2008 4:53 AM  
Blogger two crows said...

when I arrived in Florida almost exactly one year ago:
we arrived at 2 AM and the highway looked like the heart of rush hour. I pleaded with the guy who was driving [I rode with my furniture] to 'take me home' meaning 'back to KCMO where traffic is sane.'

my first few weeks here -- whenever I went to a restaurant it was PACKED with people. we waited ages for a table and the decibel level was off the charts.

over the course of the year, I thought I must've just gotten used to the crowds.
but, lately, I've rethunk:

restaurants are about 1/2 empty these days -- about what I was used to up north.

lots fewer cars on the hiway that runs next to my community.

WAY fewer shoppers in the stores.

and, as I've asked around, lots of friends tell me that many of their snowbird friends that usually migrate down here just didn't make the trip this year. they couldn't afford to.

March 05, 2008 1:04 PM  
Blogger two crows said...

and, of course, gas prices impact EVERYTHING else that has to be shipped.

it's time to buy local -- meaning if it was grown or made in your own town -- because shipping prices are skyrocketing.

March 05, 2008 1:08 PM  
Blogger Candace said...

Anon, I remember the gas lines and all the rest. That was the POINT. That's why Carter was advocating that we conserve energy. The country didn't want to hear it. Instead, they listened to Uncle Ronnie's don't worry/be happy schtick. And now you see all these asswipes driving SUVs and Hummers around, with those little made-in-China yellow magnet ribbons to "support our troops." What a laugh. Meanwhile, the oil's running out.

And as for the hostages, Carter tried to get them out, and when that mission failed, he went on TV that morning and took responsibility, like a man. Then Uncle Ronnie undercut his efforts to free them by making back-door deals with the Ayatollah prior to the election. Was it coincidence that they were released the day Ronnie took office? Not to mention that he traded arms for them, completely circumventing Congress and the national policy of not negotiating with terrorists. And you say Carter was the worst President?

March 05, 2008 7:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

O.K.,one question.....if the ole peanut farmer was the american hero you say he was,along with being a magnificent president why on earth did the american public vote him out of office in a landslide?Was that election "rigged?"

March 06, 2008 12:09 PM  
Blogger Candace said...

Anon, I believe I already answered that -

"Carter was advocating that we conserve energy. The country didn't want to hear it. Instead, they listened to Uncle Ronnie's don't worry/be happy schtick."

The American public is in deep denial about energy. My point was that if we had listened to Carter 30+ years ago and gotten serious about conserving energy and developing alternative resources to wean ourselves off the foreign oil tit, we'd be in a much stronger, safer position today.

March 06, 2008 7:29 PM  
Blogger two crows said...

I just got home from Target.
besides buying a bicycle helmet for my golf cart [in order to use a vehicle that runs on distilled water rather than gasoline] I bought canned beans and dried beans and canned tomatoes-- and spent $78.00 for about 4 plastic bags-worth of groceries [though I brought em home in 2 canvas sacks.]

there's no need to spin those facts. that's about $20 per small sack of the cheapest things on the shelves.
what's next? eating cat food?

March 07, 2008 4:11 PM  
Blogger Dean Wormer said...

Oregon - My uncle just lost his job when they closed the mill he was working for (Weyerhauser.)

He's been able to find employment his whole life working in that field. Now he's having to switch industries when he's close to retirement. Sucks.

As Swinebread mentions - the housing problem is just beginning to hit the state but when it comes to forest products it's had a direct impact.

March 18, 2008 8:41 AM  

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