Saturday, December 19, 2009

What I've Noticed

I made a trip to town by myself today. A rare event and a bit nerve racking as the first 9 miles were ice covered roads. Once I reached clear pavement I pulled over to check out the strange noise coming from the back of our Crown Vic. Chunks of ice and slush were solidly packed and one part had partially dislodged itself causing a "clunk, clunk" sound. A little work with the shovel and the scraper handle and the mess was removed.

Eleven miles later I arrived at Walmart's nearly empty parking lot at 9 a.m. I'd expected lots of shoppers the weekend before Christmas but this was not the case. In fact, I was the only car on the road for the first nine miles and afterward met only four others until I reached the Portage Lake Lift Bridge.

Inside Walmart four checkout people waited for customers and 2-3 had someone in line. I asked one of the checkout people "What gives?". She claimed "the rush had slowed."

I leisurely covered nearly every aisle in this rare opportunity to wander and peruse products. In the grocery section there were a few notices of products no longer available due to shortages, pumpkin among them. I noticed low inventory of other products, one being the shelf stable milk. A stocker told me they have been carrying less of it due to low sales. They had also eliminated one brand. This irked me. I buy 12-18 boxes every month and others buy multiple boxes per visit but apparently this doesn't translate to strong sales. I read somewhere that Walmart was eliminating products and trying to appeal to customers with more disposable income but I think they'll lose customers in a lot of communities.

Two local grocery stores seem to follow the opposite logic: stock variety but small amounts of each. So, if I'm looking for variety I know where to turn. If I'm stocking with price in mind I go to Walmart. Wish it weren't so but I do. I really, really miss Save-a-Lot! The closest one to us is Sault Ste Marie.

More obvious is the sagging support for local charities. Many are behind in their fundraising goals; some fear being unable to distribute Christmas baskets and gifts. An additional picture of the falling economy is the empty seats at usually busy restaurants, the low census at local motels and empty seats at local watering holes. Tourism related businesses are praying for additional snowfall which usually translates into additional business but it's anyone's guess whether either will materialize.

And then I read about the growing threat of food shortages; the continuing mess in the mortgage/banking/commercial markets; and the insanity of the "Health Care" legislation - one among a never ending list of government poppycock.

As this course continues what new excuses and linguistic gymnastics will officials resort to in hopes of portraying their latest hologram as reality?

Personally, I think having little everyday contact with the daily trough of images, innuendo, indoctrination and insanity gives me a clearer picture of where we really are. It's not pretty folks; not pretty at all.


Sixbears said...

I've noticed lots of stuff disappearing off the grocery store shelves. (northern NH) Talked on the phone with a good friend of mine in KY and he's noticed the same thing.

Have done almost no Christmas shopping. Only the little kids in the family are getting new gifts.

Seems the less I time I spend shopping, the more I get into the Christmas spirit.

Just went to a potluck dinner with a bunch of friends. Most of us are either out of work, on disability, working reduced hours, or underpaid for our skills. The house we met in had been in and out of foreclosure. Currently it's out of foreclosure as they cut a deal with the bank.

We all had a great time.

HermitJim said...

You're right about one ain't pretty!

The sad part is that things look to get a lot worse soon.

Be nice to have some good news for a change, wouldn't it?

Stay warm, my friend!

Mayberry said...

No, it's not pretty, and I truly feel it's gonna get a lot uglier, real fast. Perhaps we're in for our "summer of hell" that never materialized this year.

I too have noticed things that were usually in stock are no longer there, and stuff that stores used to carry a mountain of has been reduced dramatically. Items being "out of stock" is increasing. I am redoubling my efforts in the food storage department....

Did it MY way said...

I agree with Jim.

But as long as we are still standing: Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

God is not done with us yet.
God Bless.

See Ya

debbieo said...

I just gave my daughter 10 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 gallons of food. Pinto beans, oatmeal, popcorn, rice etc. She said there is nothing instant here. I didnt tell her that there are other things in the buckets like, dish cloths I made, pot holders soap etc. I figure if she ever opens them she will find out. Oh well. She will appreciate it someday when the kids have no food. From the looks of my granddaughter it looked like I should have included laundry soap as well. I guess I'm just getting old and cranky.

Anonymous said...

Howdy gal,

YEAH - we went out today to do some shopping. We stopped at our local pawn shop - and NO ONE was there. There were two other bought a guitar. Last year we could barely get in the door - there were three - four guys looking for engagement rings....a long line of us looking at dvd's and video's...and a lot looking at guns.

WOW - today it was clearly noticeable how empty the store was. Went over to the local army/navy store and there was a # of folks in there - buying the "necessities" - boots, gloves, coats, clothes, etc. Still not as busy as I've seen it at other times....during the last couple hours (which is normally rush hour) there was noticeably MUCH LESS traffic on the road.

I think folks are waking up and saving their $$ - and/or buying only what is necessary and cutting out the frills.

A lot of folks I know are sticking close to home for the holidays $$ to travel - combining meals with others to keep costs down too.

Glad for the roof over our heads, our health and family. These are the most important blessings anyhow!

Merry Christmas....stay warm, safe and be blessed in the coming New Year - howdy to sweetie and dad too!

MaMaBear in the Mitten