Thursday, November 13, 2008

Proof of a recession?

Posted in Life tagged , , , at 7:53 pm by Elaine Petrowski

I live in an affluent town in Bergen County, New Jersey that’s known locally as a shopper’s dream destination. Great for the business owners, but annoying as hell if you live here and must pick up a prescription or get to your haircut appointment on time. (And yes, I do make every effort to support the local businesses and stay “off the highway”.)

The town is attractive and features a walkable shopping district with several one-of-a kind gift and specialty shops, boutique clothing and jewelry stores, chains like Gymboree, Chico’s and the Gap, and the ubiquitous Starbucks, along with far too many restaurants, nail salons and banks.

The resultant shopper’s congestion and snarl are so time-consuming that I’ve long considered errands in town, especially at lunch time or on weekends, a kind of hell-on-earth. Real-life rule #39: Any errands I carry out in my hometown must be conducted during the week, preferably in the hours before school lets out, when the fleet of moms in their  huge SUVs, who insist on driving while talking on their (illegal) hand-held cellphones (another topic), are still at home or at work.

This much-exalted consumer’s mecca has been not-quite-served by insufficient metered street parking, several municipal parking lots, and on busy weekend nights, valet parking for the restaurants. On a busy day, especially around the lunch hour, it’s not unusual to drive around the block four or five times, or to sit in the aisle of one of the lots waiting for someone to leave, before lucking into a spot to stash your car.

At least that’s the way it used to be.

Within the past month I’ve begun to notice that entire blocks are devoid of cars. Even at mid-day, I can park wherever I please. Maybe even directly in front of the store I’m visiting.

While this makes for a really quick trip, and has been saving me some time,  if it isn’t a sign of a recession, I don’t know what is.

Have you noticed any signs of a recession in your real life? Is so, please share in a comment, below.


  1. Laurie Staley said,

    I have my own little recession going. Due to health concerns last year, I have chosen to work parttime teaching middle school English and US History. I really wanted to retire as I am about to turn 62, but providence brought me the parttime offer. My retirement fund is presently hard to see without a magnifying glass.
    A rigorous physical therapy regimen and a shorter day have allowed me to teach ( I love it!) and feel much better. Six hour days beat 12 hour days. I actually get to watch my grandchildren’s sporting events. I drive in daylight so I brake for fewer deer. I am back to cooking from scratch which, by the way, saves money in these times of tight money. I also appreciate my husband again. I feel like I have the best of both worlds. Whee!

  2. Elzy said,

    Maybe people are actually making gifts this year — the parking lot at Michael’s was jammed.

    The Westchester Mall was a ghost town this afternoon. Most of the stores had sales advertised in their windows, and the typically aloof salespeople in Nordstrom were eagerly offering mini-makeovers.

    My haircutter told me this morning that Fortunoff was offering gift cards for 20% off — 80 bucks will buy you a $100 card. He bought several and used them himself, paired with 20% discount coupons from the store circular.

  3. Phyllis said,

    No signs of recession for the knitters! The yarn shop has been busy- we think that the slowing down of the restaurants means that more people are staying home, watching tv and knitting.

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