Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Mall Futures

"If the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow."

-George W. Bush

I think what President Bush was going for with that statement was, barriers and tariffs, but then again, who can be sure? Maybe he really does think terriers have some control over the economy. I am no economics expert by any stretch of the imagination, but even I am aware that America's economy has gone to the dogs. It's worrisome. So, rather then bury my head in the sand about things, I have been doing a good bit of research lately, so I can fully understand what's happening with the economy and how will eventually effect our family. With a national election coming up in just 19 weeks, I am more interested then ever about how our next president plans to dig us out of this hole we are currently in.

Over the weekend, I saw a report on ABC's World News Tonight, about how we are on the brink of a Bear Market. Well, what the fresh hell is that? I didn't know, so I Googled it, and found some basic information on Wikipedia. Yep, based on what the news said, we are indeed sitting on the edge of a Bear Market. A Bear Market is marked by an overall 20% decline. We are currently at 19.9 percent. Our last Bear Market was in 2002 and lasted about two years. Our current trend toward the Bear Market is in direct relation to the price of oil, which rose by $3 since the close of trading on Friday. There are other factors affecting the market such as unemployment rates, and the housing market, the figures for both will be released later this week, and then the true situation will be known.

I also heard this past weekend that gas prices will more then likely hit $7 a gallon sometime in 2010. That seems like a long time away, but in reality it is just a 1 1/2 yrs. What will that do to my future? Well, there is a good possibility Alan will have to ask for a transfer to an office a little closer to where we live, as opposed to across the bay. We have all but given up the recreation we engaged in last year, which was short day trips to photograph sights around the Bay Area. With gas at $7 a gallon, we might have to consider going to one car and relying on the bikes for everything else in and around town. We might even have to reconsider having another pet, after we lose Elvis. As harsh as those possibilities feel to me, I know that it comes nowhere near the sacrifices which have had to be made by other couples, especially couples with children.

Recently, I visited a local mall here in the Bay Area. It was an odd feeling just walking into the shopping area, because I rarely do mall shopping anymore. A strange departure from the girl I was in the 80's who almost lived at the Fashion Island, and Stoneridge Malls. Oh my, if you are in your 40's right now, then like me, you may have been a part of the 80's mall craze. It was the place to meet your friends and hang out. Not to mention how much fun shopping used to be. Good times, good times. It was a bit of shock to walk into the mall the other day, and see it nearly empty. Sigh. I have been reading for months about different chain stores facing closures due to bankruptcies, but seeing it first hand gave me a chill.

I can see a day when little independent run stores will no longer exist... period. Just last year a great little store, that I enjoyed shopping at, closed it's doors after 29 years of business. It was a personal blow to those who had come to love the personal service you received there, and it was an even bigger blow the the city's economy and the loss of business to the businesses nearby. Sigh. It's happening everywhere. Cody's Books, in Berkeley, just closed it's doors after a little over half a century in business. Business on the small level is affecting us, and business on a grand scale is affecting us. If you make a purchase off the Internet to help save a little money, you are more then likely directly hurting a wonderful small business in your hometown. It's a dreadful spiral.

The absolute kicker for me this week, came from a report about how a lot of small communities in California are canceling their Independence Day celebrations due to cost saving measures. No fireworks, no picnics, no parades, no festivals. It's a bit like being a kid, and having to hear from your folks that there is no longer any money for cable or satellite TV, because mom and dad need to put gas in the car. But then again, as a matter of fact, a lot of households are having to do that as well. This might just be one of those times when parents and children totally understand the pain the other one is in.

So tell me, do you believe the dire predictions for our economy? What is the latest cost saving measure you have taken? What is your biggest financial sacrifice to date? Have you seen any small shops or stores closing in your area? What industry do you think will take the biggest hit before the economy recovers? Are any of your favorite mall stores currently facing bankruptcy? Do you shop most often on the Internet, in a mall, or at small independent stores? Where do you put the economy on your list of priorities when considering our next president?

Interesting Reading...

Economy Can Wait; Stimulate Your Savings (New York Times; Your Money)

"Empty Inside"
Hillsdale Mall
San Mateo, California
June, 2008


Martha said...

The first part of this entry had me cracking up! Too funny!! Unfortunately the economy isn't so funny. My family was already in the paycheck to paycheck category so we're in the class that is really feeling it already. I've switched to an economy car, switched to generic from name brands on everything possible, and I'm learning to grow some of our own food for starters. I don't like thinking about what I'll have to change next as things continue to rise.

Anonymous said...

I am also in the paycheck to paycheck realm.. We are considering a moped for transportation to and from work.. I have not had red meat in over a month and a half and fresh veggies are no more replaced with canned as the price is out of my range (except what I could grow if we had not been flooded over and over-I live in soggy Iowa). If gas goes much higher.. I just don't know what else I can trim that I have not already done so..