Bing Blog

Where there's no post-Christmas slump


I read today that another bunch of analysts have emerged to tell us there's going to be a disappointing end to a slack holiday shopping season. I'm sure we all continue to appreciate the job our analysts do in a variety of sectors and wish quite heartily that they would go away.

I can report, however, that there is no post-Christmas slump in at least one location.

We were in downtown San Rafael, Calif., this morning, sometime before 9 a.m., when we noticed a long line snaking down the block outside the Goodwill store. My stepson had volunteered to do some work there. The line looked like one of those that used to appear outside soup kitchens back in the days of the last Great Depression, and we naturally assumed that these were men and women waiting patiently in the northern California cold for the first handout of the day. The boy was there to help in that effort.

We dropped him off and were headed home when the cell phone rang. It had only been five minutes. "You know all those old guys waiting outside?" Kyle said. "They're shopping." Shopping? "Yeah," he said. "I went inside and asked who was responsible for volunteers, but nobody seemed to know. Everybody is just in there. Shopping." We circled back and picked him up. He was right. The place was a madhouse, filled with people looking for bargains at Goodwill. Some were down and out. Others were just poor folk. Still others drove up in very nice cars.

So I guess we have a clue where there is still some action in our economy. Maybe we should send a couple of those analysts down there to have a look.

12 Comments Add Comment

I recently went to the food stamp office with my boyfriend (who needed to apply for the first time ever). I was disturbed over what I saw. I didn't wear my Cartier Perfume because that just didn't seem right. When we got there, I saw a women who had an expensive cell phone and a Louis Vuitton bag. We saw other expensive designer labels. I think those people should be required to sell their high priced items before asking for hand outs.

This is thought-provoking. A sign of the times, perhaps. Nothing wrong with a good bargain, I always say! Evidently people are starting to move in that direction.

Perhaps there's a market for clothing labels that say "Goodwill" and "AmVets". Cachet.

Hope you and the fam had a good Christmas, Bing.

Salvation Army, Good Will, and second had stores have been popping up like mushrooms in the Rain Forest.

With the infinite amount of manufacturing bubbles of overproduction in every facet of the economy, what more should we expect?

Some may think Obama may walk on water at this point of his tenure; but, when he and his task force try to tackle the over production problems of the World, he would be wise to wear a wet suit when he tries to walk the water.

Second hand stores are in vogue today as textiles, toys and sundry items are all made of cheap synthetic and plastic materials that don't wear out.

So, we revert back to the old trading post and barter for cheap synthetic and plastic goods instead of crude furs and totem poles.

You trying to pull the wool over old Jacks eyes with that story about comunity service with the stepson etc.??
We all know that staff gets first dibs on the good what did he get for you???

Come on fess up...

And sure the car looked new was a rental and I'm 3 months behind in payments....I think I'll report the location and collect the reward....can I use your address to have them mail the cheque.
The number sign on my tent fell off.

Thank you for reporting this positive news. I am really tired to hear analysts and the media's sensationalism on the state of our economy, most of it has to do with the frenzy they create!

Thanks again and God bless you.

I'm glad that at least one Goodwill store has reasonable prices. The one in Long Beach,CA has higher prices than the TJ Maxx next door, which has new merchandise. Case in point--I purchased two pairs of brand new shorts from Limited from TJ Maxx for less than the price Goodwill wanted for a single pair of used shorts from WalMart.

Perhaps the illusion of getting a good deal is more important than the real thing to some people.

It may well be that this recession is one of the best things that could happen to our country. In a consumer-driven society like ours, it's important to understand that there is actually more to life than buying and owning stuff. Maybe a recession is exactly what a capitalist country needs every half-century or so. Think of it as a spiritual journey of sorts. Cutting back and doing without seems to slap everyone back to their senses.

I buy my outside work pants from the local assistance league. I wait until they have a $5 bag day. Everything you can fit into a bag is $5.

My daughters and I wear wool coats purchased for $5-$7 at my local Salvation Army store, because they are real wool and have that tag sewn inside. They are well-tailored and beautifully sewn (usually by USA workers before the China boom). I buy my size 14-16 jeans there also, because they aren't hip huggers and are very pre-shrunk. Clothing buyers take notice.

Why the crowds? The suppliers have accelerated the donation cycle to get that 2008 receipt. Folks with garages full of treasures but no time for ebay or a garage sale, surrender to unload during that last week after Christmas.

Savvy shoppers know when the best inventory arrives.

If you're thrift shopping in Oregon - be sure to hit Salvation Army where I can assure you there are pieces of collectible pottery, antique crystal and lots of Lauren, Klein, Jones of New York in mint condition.

And I have a garage I can park my car in now!

The local SA store sells used VHS tapes for $2 each. For about $0.30 more than that, you can own a share of Ford (F) common stock. For a tad more than 3 VHS tapes, you can own a share of Citi (C). Not so long ago, these were selling at $8 and $30 respectively. My, how far the might have fallen.

The VHS tape may give you a couple of hours of fun. However, if the fortunes of these big companies ever turn around, you could soon be in the money. And, if not, well, then you can smugly tell you friends that at least you "bought American".