Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Recession? What Recession?

On Monday, I planned for a day of yard work. The weather was supposed to be nice so I figured it would be a good day to move a few shrubs I planted a few years ago and hated how they looked as they got bigger. After I dug the 2 shrubs out and replanted them – it took less than 45 minutes – I decided to head over to the local Lowes store to check out what I could put in their place. It was before 10 AM, and usually on a Monday the stores are somewhat empty, even considering my hometown is one of the largest retail cities in the state of Ohio.

Well, I was in for quite a shock, because the Lowes garden area was packed - packed! – with people. Not only that, my ride down the city’s main drag to get there was also clogged with traffic, more so like it is at noon on a Saturday. I blew threw the store and saw nothing I liked, well, at least nothing worth standing in line for a long time to buy it. So I hopped onto the freeway and headed to the nearest garden center in the adjoining city, and found that at 10:15 they were also packed - packed! – with people. (Doesn’t anybody work anymore?) I made my purchase (two very nice large golden thread cyprus) and stood in line for about 15 minutes. I found myself wondering, if this is what this place looked like on a Monday, it must have been a zoo on the weekend.

On the way back home, I stopped at the local Wal-Mart, and one would have thought it was the day after Thanksgiving. The lot was jammed with cars, and again I had to stand in line for a while to make my purchase. On the way home, the main drag was even more crowded than when I was first driving it at 10 AM, and as I glanced over to the parking lots at the local Kmart and other stores in the area, they appeared to all be filled with cars.

Clearly, there is no recession in my hometown. People still seem to be very willing to spend money, whether they have it or not.

Granted, my one experience is not necessarily what it is like everywhere else. News of a community much like my own that is about 25 miles away just got word that their local Chrysler plant is closing. This will deal a severe blow to that city for sure. So while I may bemoan the traffic, the crowds, and standing in line, I realize that I am very fortunate to live in a city that can still draw big crowds to shop and spend money, along with a large business corridor to help bring in jobs and more tax dollars. What has happened to cities that are very dependent on one industry for support will hopefully teach others that they can’t put all their eggs in one basket. It seems clear that the decline of the auto industry will continue to affect other cities across the country until they find their way to economic stability. In the meantime, I will be thankful that I live somewhere where people still seem to have money to spend.

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