Last week I bought Banana Republic sweaters for $9. Kate Spade had a rack of bags for $90. I got Oneida cutlery from a Going out of Business sale for 80% off. The mall, on Saturday, stood empty. Sales clerks doted on me. Today K called a few stores for estimates on replacing his tires. They begged him for his business and called every ten minutes slashing their price $20 each time until they reduced it by $100 of the sale price. Good price, K said but I won’t be there by your closing time, maybe I’ll come by next week. The response: When can you come? We’ll wait.
Great bargains on houses, cars, cruises, and clothes. Would be great if I could push out of my mind why. The jobless rate is sky high, and all of us, even those of us fortunate to still be employed are affected. I just finished reading an amazing book, The Geography of Bliss, where Eric Weiner searches for the happiest places on earth. In Iceland he notes:
Unemployment is selective pain. A relatively few people suffer greatly, yet most of us don’t suffer at all. Or do we? High unemployment, research has found, reduces overall happiness much more than high inflation. The specter of losing one’s job spreads through a nation like a ripple like a pond.
We’re having more tidal waves than ripples lately, and the future looms scary ahead in a country that has no universal health care and a very small net to catch those who suddenly cannot afford rent or groceries. I’m trying to buy more “Made in USA” products, and making an effort to support local businesses that are getting hit even harder than the hard hit big mega-stores. Beyond that I am at a loss, except to pray for those struggling today.