02 August 2012

Are We in a Depression?

"Nearly one out of seven Americans receives food stamps, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That's more than 44 million people. If they all stood in a line and someone photographed them using black-and-white film, they easily could be mistaken for people from the 1930s. Instead, they go to a grocery store and spend their credits like money. There isn't even a social stigma to make them stand out as any more glum or destitute than anybody else."  Article.

I'm not sure.  I think we may well be in a depression, but it's affecting our young workers more than anyone else.  I've heard tale after tale of people with master's degrees flipping burgers or worse, they can't even find a job.  Patrick cannot even find a minimum wage job, and he's been filling out two applications a day. 

Do you know how bad it is out there for our young men and women?  Panda Express has "calling hours" for its minimum wage jobs.  You know, like casting calls?  Where everyone and their dog lines up, gives a good song and dance, and hears, "Don't call us; we'll call you."  That.

The drought has caused our giant tree in the back yard to begin the dying process.  Its bark is peeling back, and it's being hollowed from the inside out by ants and termites.  Some of the branches no longer have green leaves.  It needs to be cut down.  It's over a power line and being 90 feet tall or so, is going to take some specialized work. 

It's the same all over the neighbourhood; I see plenty of trees that plain old look hazardous.  But the tree man said our business is a godsend to him.  No one is calling to get this work done, even though they really obviously need it done.  That's concerning, that people won't spend the money they really need to to keep their own homes safe.

Even our local plumber says you know, you'd be surprised how people put off calling him.  They'll wait until two or three of their toilets are out of commission, or until a problem becomes too big to be ignored.

What's your experience?  Are people hesitant to spend any money at all where you live?  Are they reluctant to hire new workers?

10 comments:

  1. I don't know about most people, but I do know my own situation and that of family and friends. Many of them do put off getting things looked after or fixed, almost nobody gets anything replaced unless it is absolutely necessary. It all just costs too much. So many are out of work, with companies downsizing or closing altogether. When it's a choice between food for the kids and new car tyres, the food comes first.

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    1. And that's expensive! But eventually you NEED the tires and so what to do? When it becomes an emergency, it's always more expensive. So I don't know how some families make it. :/

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  2. We spent an obscene amount of money this summer catching up on work we'd put off and still need to have some things done. Most importantly, we had to replace the deck before it fell off the back of the house. But here's the thing, while we have had some tough years, we probably could have done more repairs in the past but the culture of recession has caused us to hold onto every cent just in case. On the positive side, when I do need something done, I try to find a skilled person who is unemployed to do it (or even part of it). They don't hike up the prices to take advantage of the situation, and we are able to help someone in need... win-win.

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    1. We're kind of in the same situation. We got a couple new windows and now looks like a new car and tree work. sigh.

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  3. Is that a National History Day T-shirt on Patrick? Did he go? Nice shirt.

    I don't go shopping anywhere but Goodwill for clothes and incidentals. Superfluous stuff I don't really need, or need to pay full price for. They employ a LOT of people. No big box stores, we go ALL local when we can. We have a little True Value down the block...I check to see what we need online to see if they carry it, and order it online and have it sent to the store. No more Lowes or Home Depot. Local or people we know, FIRST. We need a huge oak tree cut down, too. Our old landlord's son used to do that, we'll give him a call when we have enough money saved up.

    I was so frightened that day in 2008, was it, when the Dow fell. I decided that day we were in a Depression. Every week I hold on tighter on tighter to a buck. It's only pure luck that Joel has stayed employed. (I don't want to say the grace of God, because that would mean people that didn't have jobs weren't "graced". It's just luck. Nothing we did to earn it.)

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    1. Yep, it's an old T-shirt for National History Day. He did a report on Bobby Fischer and left all the cuss words in. Sigh.

      Grace being unmerited or undeserved, I generally give people a pass when they say it. But I know what you mean, drives me nuts when people make themselves out to be more loved by GOD, just not true! :)

      I like that idea of Goodwill and it's environmentally friendly also. I find it's mostly junk lately tho'. GOOD stuff is out in Kansas, but after spending on gas it's hardly worth the trip.

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    2. About 4 years of everybody and their mom thrift-shopping has certainly thinned down the Booty I used to get. However, I am finding more sales at the outlet mall that is 2 blocks from my house as less people are shopping there. I did find one great deal there this year though.... My daughters Sweet Sixteen dress cost about $2.00. We purchased a new belt for $10.00 and saved at least a $100 from what a similar dress would have cost in the store... so I still go to Goodwill for big ticket items.

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    3. Oh, you are women after my own heart! There is one right near me that must be in a good neighborhood because there is stuff that's nicer there than anything I've ever paid retail for. Ben hates it and thinks I am so cheap, but when we go home, my sister's are just like me, only worse. They go to garage sales.

      Say, Mrs. C--I'll keep an eye out for polish pottery, but I'm sure I've never seen it so far.

      About National History Day, Joel ran it statewide out of the Kansas Museum of History 4 years, and the South Carolina Archives for 8 years. Ben and I used to pay partial room and meals and go with Joel to DC for quite a few years. And as for grace, I always think of the Pharisee and the tax collector. I'd rather be a tax collector!

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  4. We paid off our home just over a year ago (a modest older place that we've fixed up some, but needs more). When we did, we sighed a sigh of relief and thought, "Now we'll have that money to use for other things."

    Nope. Groceries and gas got more expensive and Gary's hours at work were cut. If anything, we're actually struggling more just to provide the basics.

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  5. Thankfully Mr. Blondee is capable of fixing most anything, so we really don't tend to have to hire out too many things. Definite blessing in a time like this.

    We budget and cut corners where we can right now, make sure the sneaker and coats last as long as possible and that we don't waste anything. I think the biggest expense we have right now is food...and that will only get worse.

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