Well, it seems that just as we all breathe a sigh of relief (especially those of us who own businesses which are largely reliant on consumer spending, but then again, what business isn’t) and think that Americans are loosening their purse strings, we get jumpy again about the economy.
Then, people start to reel in their checkbooks again and go into buckle down mode, making us wonder when this never ending see-saw of economic downturn and sunny days on the horizon is going to finally change – for good. I was reminded again of how fragile our state of finances is this past weekend when I went to a convention with my husband in Pittsburgh PA.
He said that it was one of the worst turnouts he’d ever seen. Not only was attendance low (you have to pay to get in), but the donations for the charity auction were down, and spending was down across the board at the convention in general. I also saw a similar trend in my customer’s spending habits around that same time, leading me to wonder, when are we really gonna see the light of day for good?
A friend of mine at my day job were talking about the whole situation later on. I shared with her my experience at the convention, and she shared with me that a freelance friend of hers that sold artwork was experiencing a terrible drop in sales over the last year as well.
So it seems that pretty much everyone involved in the sale of any non-essential consumer good is suffering right now, and has been on and off for a few years. My husband and I are still very careful with our money. I actually feel guilty, and I mean really guilty when I spend any discretionary income now!
Even when we were in PA for the weekend, I really needed some work pants and shirts. I’d been needing them for a while. I was actually taking some of my pants to the seemstress just to prolong their life.
But I finally broke down and bought a few pairs since there is no tax on clothing in PA ( a good draw for shoppping, and undoubtedly a boon for their local economy). Even though I got a terrific deal on these pants, better than anything I could have gotten at home, I felt so GUILTY when I got home.
It’s just the frame of mind I’ve come to frequently be in since the recession began in 2008. I guess I understand why so many people are still holding back.