Everyone says the economy is bad. The pundits can talk of nothing other than the jobless rate, the price of gas, the price of food on the rise, the demise of so many banking institutions, the mortgage crisis and on and on the bad news goes. You hear about these things, talk to people you know about their issues and you know that it is not good. But how bad is it?
The other morning I walked into my local 7-11, I have three of them that surround me and I frequent them all and pretty much know the main staff by name. I went to purchase lottery tickets because, hey, winning the lottery would solve all my problems, right? So in I walk to the 7-11 on the corner of Whitworth and Fairfax bright and early Sunday morning. Kahn, the regular guy who is always there, is snoozing in the corner and there is no one in the store. How odd. No one in a 7-11? I say "hi" to Kahn and wake him up. We chat, I get my lottery tickets and I ask him what's up with the empty store. He said for the last 3 months that business has been really down. Not as many customers and the customers he does have are not buying as much. We had a great talk about the impending election and how that might affect his livelihood and I left enlightened and thoughtful.
This morning I stopped at the 7-11 on Hauser and San Vicente. I wanted to speak with my Burmese friend. I don't come by as much anymore and he asks why. I tell him I'm trying to save money. He says me and everyone else. I tell him about Kahn and his plight and he says that their store is the same way. It must be true because when I pulled into the lot at 7am on a Wednesday morning I had my pick of parking spaces. About 6 months ago if I pulled into the lot on a weekday morning I'd have to wait for a spot. Things must be bad if 7-11 is suffering. Do you remember Reagan's trickle down economics? Well this is Bush's trickle down effect. Nice, eh?
Oh by the way, the Burmese 7-11 proprietor works 10 hour shifts (all co-owners of course, same family), 7 days a week. Ouch. He also wants to marry me for my US immigration rights. It's nice to be needed isn't it?