Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ra Ra Ra

"I've got to be careful I don't over cheerlead on this economy."

-George W. Bush

I am not sure when President Bush said what he did, but one thing is for sure, "over cheerlead" is exactly what he did. At every turn he insisted the economy was sound. Did anyone really believe him? Last spring a reporter asked him about the possibility of gas prices hitting the $4 mark, and he responded with what appeared to be genuine surprise. "I hadn't heard that" he replied. (Insert dumb grin here). Not only did it actually hit $5 a gallon, at one time San Francisco lead the entire nation in high gas prices, by reaching a little over $5! Ok, it wasn't for long, but it was long enough that it put a lot of folks in a bad way financially. No one I knew was even willing to discuss plans for Christmas, the brakes had been firmly applied even though the holiday was 6 months away. Now, here we are, just a couple weeks away from both Hanukkah and Christmas, and there is plenty of parking places at the malls, even on special promotion days.

I got an email from Old Navy Friday, they had a fantastic promotion Saturday. Buy $20 worth of items, get 4 free movie tickets. WOW! That is a pretty good bargain! I had planned to pick up a couple more sweaters for Alan, and some scarves for some friends of ours, so I decided to get up really early, grab some breakfast, and get there extra early. A deal like that would surely bring out the crowds... right? So, with my clock set, and all my warm toasties laid out, I climbed into bed, and thought about how much fun it would be to surprise Alan with some movie tickets. Wasn't I the clever puss?

My alarm went off at 6:00 AM, I grabbed some caffeine and off I went. I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of rain that had been promised for the day. It wasn't too cold, and there was a nice bit of sunshine. Clear. I could see San Francisco just fine from here in the hills. It was a pretty day. That meant that there would be a ton of folks already gathered in front of the store. Nice weather, usually means lots of people. Some stores got 50 sets of tickets, some stores got 200 sets of tickets. I wondered what my favorite Old Navy store got? Would there be any left? I had left the house at well after 7 AM, and the store opens at 8 AM. Would I end up being #51 in line?

When I pulled into the parking lot, there were three other cars with consumers apparently waiting for Old Navy to open. I couldn't believe it. It was 7:30 AM. The store opens at 8:AM. I sat in my car for about 15 minutes, until a lady who walked to the store went up to the door, and stopped. I decided to get out of my car and get into the line that had now formed. I was #2 in line. In the next 10 minutes, about 13 people came up behind me. At about 7:55 AM a young man emerged from the store with these special little bracelets to hand out to the first 50 people. He only handed out about 20 bracelets. That's it. The young man had a look on his face somewhere between sad and surprised. :( His boss looked at the line, and was clearly disappointed.

I spent about 25 minutes in the store. I had a list, it was just a matter of deciding on the color of the items I was purchasing. I went up to the counter to pay for my stuff, and as I did, the young man told the manager there were about 20 sets of tickets left. They were both wearing frowny faces. I am sure that as the day wore on, they were able to give away the tickets, or who knows, maybe not. It was such a good promotion! Where was everyone?! Sigh. I had never seen anything like it. It was the strangest thing.

On the other hand, it wasn't completely unexpected. People see writing on the wall. The senate shot down the bailout of the automakers last week, which came as devastating news to some 6 million people who depend on that industry in one way or another. On the other hand, by not allowing the bailout to go through, it will mean one less forced fed tax consequence. I still don't know what to make of the whole situation. I feel for those people who depend on the auto industry, but a bailout at what cost? I can't believe the bailout of the banks came about with absolutely no accountability, and that more than half of it is already gone. But then again, Bush hasn't had to answer for any of his lies, missteps or blunders, so why should accountability, of anyone, be expected now?

My heart goes out to American retailers as well as the automakers. :( Can Obama be our president now? Please. If I promise to behave. :)

So tell me, have you passed up any good bargains, in an effort to save money this holiday season? Would you get up early, and stand in line for a good bargain? What would be your idea of a good bargain? Are you making any holiday gifts this year? Tell me everything.

"Shopping In The City"
Dublin, California
December 13th, 2008
Late Morning


fdtate said...

So sad, and I think it's going to get worse before it starts getting any better. I'm angry that the Big 3 automakers were snubbed after we the taxpayers just gave such a huge blank check to the bozos that got us into such a huge mess. It's not that the automakers have done such a great job, but that so many workers depend on them for their livelihoods and that a failure at this time would have such huge ripple effects and make our economic problems so much worse.

Christmas is going to be pretty sparse. Most of our spending is going to make sure our grandson has a good one.

sunflowerkat321 said...

I haven't done a thing about the holidays yet. I just refuse to try until I know what I want to get. I don't want to be tempted (or worse, become resigned to) making purchases just for the sake of having something to wrap up. For years I've felt way too much money is wasted on the holidays and this year I think everyone will think their purchases through a lot more carefully.

What's happened with the Senate and the auto industry scares the bejeebers out of me. I don't think there's another industry that has as far reaching economic tentacles. I think the impact of letting them fail will have economic consequences far beyond what we would feel tax wise. Those families that are directly connected must be scared out of their minds.

Far Side of Fifty said...

It would have to be a really good sale for me to stand in line. But then I am not a shopper. I make a few things, ornaments for sixty relatives every year and a few other "from the heart" gifts. I noticed the other day when we were in town 14 miles away, there were six cars at Walmart, and one at Pamida (another discount store) and you could park about anyplace you wanted on Main Street. Lots of businesses will fold after the holiday shopping season is is sad.:(