Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Reality

Monday I did some research on the net and decided this was the coffee maker I wanted. Not a whole bunch of bells and whistles, just something reliable that would make coffee in the pot and not all over the countertop. I have a coffee grinder so I didn’t need that addition.

When Mr. Pop came home we hopped into the car and headed for Bed, Bath and Beyond. I had my 20% off coupon gripped tight in my fist. We picked up the coffee maker and decided we would stop somewhere for a very casual meal on our way home.

As we passed by TGI Fridays, we discovered it was closed and abandoned. When we reached our favorite casual restaurant, where we usually have to wait a while for a table. We were seated immediately. There were only a handful of people there.

The waitress who came to our table has seen us there so often that we are like friends. I asked her why Friday’s had closed so abruptly and she said it was because of the economy. They couldn’t afford to keep enough stock in the kitchen to keep the place open. Then she was telling us how she had been affected by the financial mess our country finds itself in today. Her tip money had dropped a third from what it usually is this time of year, plus the two upcoming months are always their slowest two months of any year.

I think that’s when it really sunk into my brain just how many lives are changing now and by how much. Cutting someone’s income by a third calls for drastic changes. People are driving less, eating out less, and generally overhauling their lives. What is so gut wrenching is that no one seems to see anything changing for a long long time. I know some people brought their own personal problems about themselves but there is a domino effect in play here and everyone is going to feel it.

23 Comments:

Blogger Mike said...

If you think it is bad there, you should see what it is like in Michigan. Things are starting to have a rather post-apocalyptic feel. Scary.

July 30, 2008 2:13 AM  
Blogger Distributorcap said...

you have hit the nail on the head

the friggin MSM and politicians NEVER cover the real people -- how their lives are affected by the incredible downturn in the economy. oh i forgot -- we are just a bunch of whiners

you know, phil gramm should put on a pair of sneakers and serve some food for a change and see how the average person has to survive

everyday i hate the media and govt more and more for the lies they keep dumping on us, but worse -- so many people are still falling for the lies and misinformation mccain is spewing

this is not going to get better anytime soon

July 30, 2008 3:48 AM  
Anonymous unlce grinny said...

kid of like a trickle down effect. Only works in reverse evidently

July 30, 2008 3:49 AM  
Blogger Dr. Know said...

Funny, a friend and I had this exact same conversation yesterday at lunchtime. Great minds? Or an overwhelming truth.

That stuff trickling down into your life is pure, acerbic, Neocon Piss. The deus ex machina of Greed.

July 30, 2008 4:07 AM  
Blogger Dr. Know said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

July 30, 2008 4:07 AM  
Blogger niCk (Mem Beth) said...

The Bush presidency sure solved all the pesky peace and prosperity problems of 8 years of the Clinton presidency.

Why didn't someone give George a BJ?

July 30, 2008 4:12 AM  
Blogger Sherry said...

it is so frustrating and people that wait tables etc. usually are paid below minimum wage and have to estimate their tips so the gov gets their share of the taxes!

July 30, 2008 4:20 AM  
Blogger SB Gypsy said...

I started a "victory garden" this year, and I asked the guy who tilled it for me how many new gardens he did this year. He said a full half of his business this year were new gardens - unprecedented.

July 30, 2008 5:51 AM  
Blogger betmo said...

yep. my inlaws even notice something is not right. if they notice, anyone should.

July 30, 2008 6:00 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

Oh, core inflation isn't that bad. And gas is down to around $3.60. I can't wait to go buy my gold-plated coffee maker this week.

July 30, 2008 6:05 AM  
Blogger Targa said...

As the economy worsens habits change. Spending will be for necessities first, wants last.
Impulse shopping curbed. Instant gratification with CCs is on the decline.
Reality is setting in and unfortunately it hits a lot of people harder than others.
The wake up call came in 2002 but no one woke up.
I feel bad for those that are struggling, but am glad that those days are over for me.
Your last paragraph, I particularly like the line, "...and generally overhauling their lives."
Yes. We should ALL overhaul our lives and get back to reality.
How many people here have a flat screen hi-def television, computer, or ipod purchased on credit or payment terms?
'nuff said.... I think.

Probably.

July 30, 2008 6:24 AM  
Blogger That girl said...

2 people from our company just got laid off yesterday, and it won't be long before that'll trickle down to our department... it seems all businesses are suffering somewhat.

Hope this picks back up soon.

July 30, 2008 7:23 AM  
Blogger Darwin's Dagger said...

Three Bennigan's and two Steak and Ale restaurants closed without notice in this area (Hampton Roads, VA) yesterday. Apparently the parent company of both chains has filed Chapter 7 and the company owned restaurants are closing nationwide.

Higher gas prices.
Higher food prices.
Higher utility costs.
Houses losing value.
Banks failing.
Businesses shutting down right and left.
But the good news people is that it's all in your head.

July 30, 2008 8:14 AM  
Blogger Unconventional Conventionist said...

The reps and senators should all have to eat for a month on food stamps. They would quickly revamp that program.

July 30, 2008 8:37 AM  
Anonymous Joe the Troll said...

"but worse -- so many people are still falling for the lies and misinformation mccain is spewing"

You know, I'm starting to hate the liars less - I expect it, after all - and hating the sheep who believe the crap more. I know a guy who is older than me (meaning on the FAR side of middle age)trying to eke out a living doing roofing and painting jobs. He's staying home more and more. But he'll vote against his interests because he believes the crap.

It's getting more difficult not to express the all-out disdain I feel for that. It is SO EASY to be informed, actually. You simply have to care more about your own life and country more than you care about NASCAR or American Idol. Why is that so hard for so many people?

July 30, 2008 9:01 AM  
Blogger Dean Wormer said...

It's because of stuff like this that I've found myself much less patient with the "tax cuts for the rich" folks these days.

They are going to have to help clean up this mess. In fact- cleaning up the mess might fall disproportionatly on them because they have more of the wealth to do so.

These jerks need to stop pretending like we can keep having some philisophical debate about capitalism and who drives the economy while the country hurts.

July 30, 2008 9:09 AM  
Blogger fallenmonk said...

The bad news is that a lot of suppliers and retailers have been cutting their margins and have been reluctant to pass on price inflation to the consumers. This is going to change since many of them are up against the wall and will have to let the higher wholesales costs go through to we consumers. It is going to get nothing but worse.

July 30, 2008 10:59 AM  
Blogger two crows said...

the story so far:
companies started shipping jobs overseas and the gov't and MSM started trumpeting that the US wouldn't suffer because we would simply switch from a manufacturing economy to an service economy.
but, people in the service industries have always made less money than people who manufacture the goods do.
xxx
I predicted, then, that the middle class would disappear and with it would go the purchasing power that had kept this country alive economically.

here's the result of those greedy companies that complained about the unions and $8.00/hr and took the jobs to places where workers had no power and the companies could pay $1.00/hr.

a collapsed economy was in the cards and I don't believe they couldn't see it coming.
I'm a babe-in-the-woods when it comes to the economy. if _I_ could see it, anyone could.
xxx
my current guess is that those same companies expect to just start selling their products to the Chinese and the Indians -- till THEY start demanding a living wage. then they'll move on to Sri Lanka and Indonesia and let China and India fail.

but, their CEOs will do just fine. the hell with the rest of us.

July 30, 2008 2:53 PM  
Blogger an average patriot said...

Glad you got your coffee pot. I didn't look at it yet but Restaurants are one of the first places to feel it! they are feeling this in many ways. They have cut meal sizes and have even in some cases started using smaller plates.
A lot of small local businesses around here are being forced to close. Some of the people we Blog with have been hit very, very hard. The other day we were told by our oil company we would have to start paying $800 per month. What stinks is I hard to always sound negative because I am far from it but this is just beginning. Wait until you see what the fall brings. Take care!

July 30, 2008 3:04 PM  
Blogger annie said...

the working poor were already suffering. this only adds insult to injury.

July 30, 2008 7:59 PM  
Anonymous catscratch said...

Several of our local places have closed here. People need the money to buy fuel. So, they end up eating at home.

We're hurting, people!

July 31, 2008 11:58 AM  
Blogger dguzman said...

The signs that we're really in the shitter are all around us. I heard on NPR that public libraries are booming, as people borrow rather than buy books. The campgrounds in PA are booked solid all summer because no one can afford to go to Disneyworld or anyplace like that. Waitstaff and bartenders are hurting all over from lower tips.

But just keep repeating this to yourself: "our economy's continued growing, consumers are spending, businesses are investing, exports continue increasing, and American productivity remains strong. We can have confidence in the long-term foundation of our economy, and I believe we will come through this challenge stronger than ever before." That's what Chimpy does, and he's fucking ROLLING in the dough! Must be the power of positive thinking or something.

July 31, 2008 12:28 PM  
Blogger TaraDharma said...

I drove into Big Sur this weekend, devestated by fire two short weeks ago. Business is down. People are suffering. People who live on next to nothing anyway. Left the waitress a big fat tip...and will go again soon to indulge myself whilst helping the dwindling Big Sur economy.

Some day soon I may not be able to be so generous....I think we have a long way to go, and part of me welcomes the hard challengers ahead and hopes that as a country we learn some things and do right by all of our people.

August 03, 2008 3:45 PM  

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