07 June 2009

Greybeard's Economic Indicators

"If Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."
Man, that's true in my household! She thought she needed her hair trimmed, and the only gal she trusts to do it is 25 miles away. The only way I feel reasonably comfortable driving that far for a "trim" is to insure we accomplish several errands on this one drive.
(I know folks living in large cities must do a spit-take reading that sentence but you have to realize... driving completely across our little town takes all of five minutes at 30 miles per hour! So for us, this is a relatively LONG drive.)

Knowing we'd be making this drive, I started my list-
I gave our only corkscrew to our invalid neighbor who asked me to pick up a bottle of wine for her last week. She wanted Liebfraumilich. It only comes in bottles with a cork. She had no corkscrew so I gave her ours, and we needed a replacement.
When I'm upstairs I have to play "plug swap" to plug my laptop into an outlet. Another power strip would solve the problem. (What'd we ever do without them?)
I need a new toothbrush.
I need "no more tears" Baby shampoo... (I use it to scrub Lucy's head during her once-a-week bath.)

I drop Sara Jean off at the mall and drive across the street where I can get everything on my list cheap- BIG LOTS! As I park my car I notice another car jockeying for a parking spot...
A Cadillac Escalade. An attractive, well-dressed gal follows my path into the store.

I love Big Lots. I can easily wander around in these stores for an hour, now and then finding stuff I simply cannot do without for the price!
And that's exactly what happens...
I find a nice pair of behind-the-head Sony earphones that I can use while riding my bike wearing my helmet for $4.99... into the cart they went! Others are doing the same thing...
The store is full of browsers looking for bargains.

I check out and go back across the road to check on SJ. My drive takes me past the "Saturn" car dealership, now closed and empty.
There are few people in the stores. There are lots of kids, walking the mall, seeing and being seen. But few are carrying bags of goods they've bought.

I realize my observations are not scientific. I realize they're simply a snapshot of a certain locale at a certain time of day. But the overall impression is that everyone is being cautious with their wallet.
Big Lots, Walmart, and Costco still seem to be doing well...
Even with the Cadillac Escalade crowd.


Anonymous said...

My crew calls it the WINCO gauge. WINCO is a discount grocery chain in the west. Typically built in working class communities, they can save you a lot of cash. They built one in our district. When it first opened, the demographic of the customers reflected that of the neighborhood. Since the economy has dived, there are people who wouldn't have been caught dead in that store that are regular customers. Ahhhh unemployment - the great socio-economic equalizer. Thanks for the blog
Joeseph Schmoe

Andrea Shea King said...

I buy the finest tea around at my local Big Lots (better than any I might find in my local supermkt) . That and lots of other fine foods that are overstocks. Jams, jellies, and other exotic jar foods -- I love shopping there, and when I make a "find", I grab the entire shelf's worth, cause I know it might not be there again.