Sunday, March 08, 2009

Do The Wall Street Limbo

My wife and I took a day off from work to do some "destination shopping" this past week. What an eye-opener! it's one thing to see the headlines about the recession in the news. It's something else to see it first hand.

When we drove to this mall along I-75 near Monroe which I remembered as a bustling collection of factory outlets and discount shops, my jaw dropped. I've seen ghost towns that were busier. One large mall sat almost empty, except for two businesses that did not sell anything. The companion mall next door still housed some stores, but much of it was vacant also. The Rockport shoe outlet I thought was there was not.

Driving to Toledo we passed another huge mall--empty. A sign near the road advertised an auction at the site. I believe they were selling the store fixtures.

We stopped at an expansive home improvement store and I swear the employees outnumbered the customers two to one. And many of the employees greeted us with a warm smile and a cheery hello, very happy to see us there. "We have some great deals going on in here," one of them said to us.

Must be tough to be a salesman in this economic climate. Wendy and I had lunch at an Irish-style pub and we could hear a nattily dressed couple in the next booth chatting away. They talked about their "sales accounts" as they sipped their pints. Then one got a cell phone call. He explained to the caller, "I'm in the middle of a presentation." No he wasn't. Hmmmm, maybe it's not so tough to be a salesman. Who's expecting you to sell anything?

Meanwhile, the Dow-Jones has hit their lowest level in 12 years. Our government is spending money at twice the rate it is taking it in. And nobody seems to have a clue as to when it's all going to get better. Think I'll join that salesman in another pint.

P.S.--As Vickie and Babette alluded to in their last comments here, much of the blogging community is mourning the passing of Gene Maudlin, aka Horsetail Snake, who died this past weekend. I always admired Hoss for his irreverent wit as well as his ability to be upbeat and humorous regardless of the circumstance. We need more spirit like his particularly in these times. He'll be missed.


Blogger jan said...

On the up side of the economy, I actually got someone to help me at Home Depot this weekend. A first since their Grand Opening.

8:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a beer salesman, I really can't complain.

Bad economic times = increased beer sales.

That is the reason those salesman were having a pint at lunch. Hopefully they were drinking Miller Lite. You were, right?

4:30 AM  
Blogger Carine said...

I hear you on the ghost towns-hubby said he took the job as trainer just in time, most of the salestaff is owing the company. our son, who's in management is always saying that he's at least got a salary and bonuses. Of course if his salestaff can't sell anything, they don't make commission and then he doesn't get bonuses.

But at least he has a salary.

We've had so many stores closing around here that it's scary.

glad we never invested in the stock market.

10:30 AM  
Blogger Kacey said...

You sure went to the wrong town to find busy malls. Toledo had Southwyck Mall and it is empty and for sale, but someone built Levis Commons along I-75 in Perrysburg and they are doing okay, even in a recession and Winter (It is an outdoor mall). However, someone built a lovely new mall about a mile off I-75 in Maumee, but it is advertised so poorly that it has to fail. I can't even think of it's name now---that's how bad it is. Next time you hit Toledo---come see me! I'm very close to the Bass Pro Shop and we are about to go into the Spring Walleye run on the Maumee. I guess I'll be in Florida until May though.

3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave, I'm so sorry to hear about Hoss.

Our mall is doing pretty well here, but one of our major newspapers is laying off hundreds.


3:31 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

JAN--I've received more offers of "Can I help you" when I shop now too. But they never seem to know if they have what I'm looking for.

ANONYMOUS (VIC)--Miller's is always the monthly special at our favorite Depot Town bar so we get our share, but ordering Miller's at an Irish pub is like ordering chicken at a pizza place. We had Carlsberg (Danish) but what I really wanted was Carling, Britain's favorite lager.

CARINE--We're only partially vested in stocks but it's enough. I don't want to look at our next statement. I'm afraid it will be much like our last two quarterly 401k reports. Not good news.

KACEY--Southwyck is empty too? That's not even the empty mall we passed. I thought that was called Westgate or something like that.

DEB--I've been hearing about the demise of some venerable newspapers. The local Detroit dailies only make home deliveries now a few days a week.

7:06 PM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

Dave, so sorry to hear about Hoss... I didn't visit his blog very often but I know he will be missed by his blogging buddies.

The economy is in shambles and Obama is doing his best to take advantage of it. He is doing his best to turn us into a socialist nation, so while he is President you can forget free enterprise. Liberals just love spending money.. Sorry, I didn't mean to rant.

8:45 PM  
Anonymous cassie-b said...

I've noticed that shopping is not nearly as crowded as it has been, except at the Apple Store. Macs and Ipods and all the items they specialize in seem to be in great demand still.
I hope the economy picks up and people can get back to work. I think there isn't anyone who doesn't know someone affected by the layoffs.

My condolences to Hoss's family and all those who will miss him. I read his blog fairly often, and enjoyed his wit.

6:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave you don't order chicken at a pizza place? You go to an Irish pub and you don't order Guiness? Shameful! First Obama then this.

12:53 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

LUCY--I hear the Chinese are going to put the kibosh on the spending ways of this administration. Even Obama has to answer to someone.

CASSIE--The Apple store at our local mall is always crowded too. And their stuff is so expensive! I can't figure it.

ANONYMOUS--I went to another Irish pub on Saturday and, though Guiness was the featured beer on tap, I had Smithwick Amber. At least it's another English beer. Oh, and I had a Miller too cause that was colored green for St. Patrick's Day.

And in case you're wondering, Wendy drove home.

6:41 PM  
Blogger Kacey said...

Hey Dave, Westgate is not is just totally changed. I think Elder-Beerman is for sale and Sears isn't doing much. The main part of that mall was Dillard's and it was torn down and replaced by a Costcos, which is very busy. The major mall is Westfield Mall (old Franklin Park Mall) with four major department stores. Southfield was ruined by gang activity and their anchor store (Dillard's) moved to the new Fallen Timbers Mall on Jerome Road and Rt. 24 off I-75. That mall sould be really nice, but in this economy will probably go belly up. We'll meet you at P.F.Chang's at the end of May!

8:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


10:44 PM  

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