What Depression?

I keep hearing the news about how awful things are.  Shopping is down.  Restaurant meals are down.  While I think that might be true in some areas it doesn’t seem to be the case here.  Every time I drive by a restaurant it seems to be loaded to the gills with people.  About the only thing that makes me think we’re in a downturn is all the foreclosure notices in the paper and all the houses with for sale signs that last a long, long time.

When I was Christmas shopping I did notice a smaller crowd at the mall, but certainly not a huge difference.  And in my after holiday shopping I noticed the shops as busy as ever.  Maybe my little area has been insulated so far from the worst of it?  Even though our city was flooded this summer most of the city was left untouched (or who knows, all this rebuilding might be promoting a bubble) and especially the two biggest employers in town.  They didn’t have any flood problems and they haven’t even laid off any people yet.  Perhaps that is cushioning the area?  I’m not sure really, but I’m not seeing a huge impact yet.

Maybe part of this is the because we don’t get the crazy swings up and down like a lot of places.  We don’t see 30% per year increases in our housing values, but that also means we don’t see the same declines either.  Things are much more level and even keeled here than a lot of places.  I’d be interested in what some of you are seeing around the country.

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3 responses to “What Depression?

  1. I live in Tulsa, Ok. and I don’t think we are having crazy swings here either. Our housing market is down but not like the rest of the country. We also weren’t over valued in this area. My business , I’m a hairstylist, is great, thank goodness. I personally don’t know anyone who has been laid off.
    Tonight we went on our once a week night out to dinner and the restaurant was full. As a matter of fact we were going to another place and there was a crowd out the door so we chose to go somewhere else. I’m glad we did, the food was great.
    We are spending less, keeping our food cost down, planning a bigger garden(we’ve added fruit),cutting our own firewood, turning the heat way down, and generally being frugal. We aren’t earning less but there is this feeling that we need to be prepared.

  2. Here in Saginaw, MI we’re just pretty much down all the time, so no crazy swings here either. But we won’t need to practice at being poor to get good at it like folks in more lucrative parts of the country. But seriously, we are planning a bigger garden, and planning to help a few different friends with first time gardens. And cutting expenses and thinking ahead, and all that too. But the restaurant I work at seems to be hanging in there business wise so far. Thank goodness. But I’m still trying to find a job somewhere that doesn’t depend so much on cheap food and disposable income. Somewhere I could walk to would be great, even if the pays not so hot.

  3. I think this is one of those cases of the future being here… just not evenly distributed. One of the benefits of living in flyover country is that things did not get nearly out of hand as they did on the coasts.

    If job losses keep coming in the numbers they have been, we’ll see problems soon enough. Right now people may be deciding to forego that vacation or new car. If things get worse, the decisions about what to purchase and what to put off will move farther up the hierarchy of needs.

    In my area (Mpls/St. Paul MN), there were lots of crowds out, but many people seemed to be buying less or not buying at all. Stores had larger discounts both before and after Christmas, yet the sales numbers aren’t good. I think a lot of people would still extend themselves a bit to have a ‘traditional’ holiday season. Now that it’s the new year, we may see significant tightening of belts.

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