Monday, December 24, 2012

The Quiet Recession, Shhhh...Don’t Tell.

   At this point, nobody should have to tell anybody else we are living in tough times. I’ll grant that there are many people that aren’t feeling the pinch of the economy as badly as others, but unless they live under a rock and have no access to any news...or other people, then they should be aware that there are people suffering economically. Nowadays, we try to assign blame instead of looking for solutions...but that’s another post. This post is about the recession, that isn’t happening.

  Somebody reading this just disagreed with my last sentence (as well you should) since there very much is still a recession going’s just quiet. It’s not plastered all over the media outlets as “recession,” instead we hear about the fiscal cliff and other stories that take our focus elsewhere. The problem with that is sooner or later, the changes incurred by the quiet recession are going to be noticed.

   If you haven't noticed already, then look around in your daily life and take notice. Observe all the little changes that have occurred...and realize that it is a sign of the economic times. The recession didn’t go away, everyone just stopped talking about it. I don’t know why, perhaps we are starting to get used to having to do more with less...or just doing less with less? Maybe we decided that life is the way it is, and complaining about it won’t make it change? Perhaps we actually still do have these types of conversations, but our rumblings just aren’t newsworthy or don’t make good headlines? Whatever the case may be, the signs are all around us...all we have to do is look.

   Ever stop to wonder why your favorite dish at your favorite restaurant just doesn’t taste the same anymore? It could be due to a change in cooks, but it could also be due to the fact that the restaurant has had to make some tough financial decisions to stay in business...and they’ve changed their supplier. They had to go with a cheaper brand, or different cut of meat, and now your favorite dish doesn’t resemble anything of why it became your favorite to begin with.

   In addition to all that, have you noticed that eateries are serving smaller portions? I used to love this nice Mediterranean place near me...ate there at least once a week. So it didn’t go unnoticed when the portions on the plate I ordered all the time became considerably smaller...but the price stayed the same. An example of doing more with less? Not really, just charging the same while serving less. It’s just one of the many corners that will be cut by eateries surviving the quiet recession.

   There’s another store I frequent (to be honest, I frequent a lot of stores...frequently) and notice that now their plastic bags are so thin, I can see right through them. I often ask to have my items double-bagged, and the employees must be trained not to do it because the reaction I get is akin to if I had asked them for their debit card and pin number. I simply want to make sure my goods don’t end up all over the street when the bag breaks. Thinner bags are saving the company money...and many don’t even notice this sign of a quiet recession.

   How about coupons? It seems increasingly people are turning to them to save whatever they can. I’ll advocate this any day...even when things are going well, because it’s never a bad idea to keep more of your money while getting the things you need and want. However, I’ve notice that company created coupons are not as plentiful as before, and offer less savings. One store I go to regularly gives out birthday coupons to all the regular customers. This year my envelope was considerably lighter than all the previous years...and the savings isn’t what it used to be.

   Shhhh....a recession really isn’t happening. If it were, we’d be hearing about it on the news and reading about it in the paper. After all, everything we are told is true, and we can’t trust our lying eyes. So close them and repeat after me: there is no recession. Shhhh.

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