Monday, July 27, 2009

It's like a dark cloud that follows you everywhere.

I have to admit - the unending stream of bad news is a constant strain. So when the stock market went up, it seemed people were starting to feel a little better. There were way more cars on the road. Even I started to feel a little relieved. I thought the whole thing was a head fake. Yet, maybe I was wrong. Everyone was saying the worst was behind us.

One thing that was especially troubling me was the amount of people who were saying retail was going to explode. I'd only been into zombie malls in the last couple of months. The ones that have been struggling for years. Surely all the malls weren't as bad off. I didn't think they were doing great either.

So Mr S. and I set off for a mall in one of the wealthier districts. What I found there honestly flipped my shit. 90% of the stores had a billboard sign right at the front door touting their markdowns. I know this is a seasonally slow time of the year, but I've never seen anything like this in my life. Most were doing an odd "buy one, get the second at 50% off". Many were just up to 60% off, and some all the way to 70% off.

The furniture store was just closing it's doors all together and having a fire sale. Even so - no one was in the store.

The rare exceptions? Abercrombie who was wafting fragrance out the door with abandon. And the Apple store. The corresponding AT&T store which was huge, was completely empty. All the baby clothes stores seemed to be going completely out of business. This was a high end mall.

I honestly don't know how those guys are going to make it. It also confirmed what I was feeling before - all the supposed good news is a head fake. As much as I hate to say it.

The other troubling thing I saw was this:

EBT is food stamps. Honestly, the use of food stamps had been so low - I didn't even know they'd changed the name to something less stigmatizing. The use has apparently gone up enough that even 7-11 is taking it now. Which is very troubling. This doesn't sound like the use of food stamps is going to be a temporary thing.


  1. Hmm. It's depressing to keep saying "them green shoots are just an illusion," but it certainly seems that way. The problem last fall was the result of excessive consumer spending based on unsustainable borrowing. And the "solution" in Washington? Concealing the losses through more borrowing (on a massive scale). An "easy" solution maybe, but not one likely to be very effective.

    And with Bernanke and Geithner - the very men who oversaw the credit expansion in the years leading up to last fall's debacle - in charge of "cleaning it up," is it any surprise that they refuse to acknowledge the fallacy of their previous policies? Why, Bennie was saying just the other day that it made him vomit a little in the back of his throat to give hundreds of billions to his buddies to keep them from having to suffer any pain for their fraudulent irresponsibility. Oh, and he's got a great deal on a bridge in Brooklyn too!

  2. During the great depression we saw a similar stock market rally in between the bear markets. Until your misery index starts moving lower, I remain unconvinced that this is over. I saw we're now in the top of the 6th inning.

  3. And President Man-Caused-Disaster isn't helping . . . oh, wait . . . that's what the title of this post says

  4. Warrior Knitter - is that going to be the new POTUS name? Dark cloud?

    Davis - there are 12 innings? Right? I can't imagine what kind of craptacular that is going to look like. Just this weekend I was in the market, and these kids were trying to pass a bad check. I was telling the husband this weekend - people are really depressed now, when there is a ton of sunlight. Once winter comes, things are really going to be affecting.

    Keyser - Bernanke can choke on his vomit for all I care. And, we should all get a chance to kick him in the nuts.