got plenty of nuttin’

11/12/08

I flew back to NYC today for the holidays, and the ladies – all three of them – will be joining me next week. Over the last two days, however, I’ve noticed a few things. It’s very easy to get a table at a restaurant. Best Buy has a shitload of things on the shelves, and while there were certainly people in there, I didn’t see any voracious shopping. And at LAX, one of the busiest hubs of human beings on the planet, the security line at Terminal 6 looked like this:

EmptySecurityLineLAX(bl).jpg

That’s at rush hour, the time when that place should be packed to the rafters with screaming babies, confused Belgians, pissed-off Business Class Elite Partners and gruff airport personnel. Instead, there was one person helping us into line, two screeners, AND FIVE PASSENGERS.

On the plane, there were at least five places you could lie across a row. The bags showed up immediately at JFK. I mean, it’s awesome, don’t get me wrong – and Virgin America is in a class by itself anyway – but is anyone else seeing examples of what happens when an economy slows into something rather glacial?

0 thoughts on “got plenty of nuttin’

  1. scruggs

    Yes. My former employer and husband’s current employer was days from collapse, was almost forced into being carved up for a company in worse shape than itself, but is now “merging” with another financial institution. :-)
    Now the city is in a wait and see mode, and many construction projects have been put on hold.
    Restaurants are indeed not very full here these days, it seems. However, on Veterans Day, the mall was really busy with shoppers (they even had bags in tow).

    Reply
  2. Anne

    Well, I haven’t been doing the consumer thing much lately. But our family here in New England is getting hit pretty hard by layoffs. Hubby: unemployed for 18 months now, and his unemployment insurance has run out (even the extension granted last June). Oldest son (22): Hours cut back to 20/week, and no luck finding a second or alternative job in the area. Stepdaughter: Her company just announced big layoffs; we’re waiting to hear. Brother in law in Massachusetts: Works in travel industry; has been warned may be out of work by January. Like us, he has a kid in college and one still in high school.
    The place where I work just announced cost-saving measures including a review of all non-academic personnel (my category) to make sure we’re lean enough to get through the recession. Cross your fingers for me, kids.

    Reply
  3. Ehren

    Read a scary article yesterday in the NYTimes about how we might see our biggest contraction in consumer spending since the early 1940s. That is major bad news. If we stop spending by that much, we’re going to lose even more jobs.

    Reply
  4. Claudia

    Ikea on a Saturday was extremely tranquil. At lunchtime, we had no trouble getting a table for four adults and four highchairs.

    Reply
  5. Caroline

    We’re going to Argentina next Friday – it’s a long flight so I hope there are lots of empty seats for us to stretch out on.
    I keep wanting to shop for sweaters, cuz I’m cold all the time but I don’t want to spend the money and it seems like the retailers should practically be giving stuff away but they don’t seem to be. Plus the dollar is pretty strong against the weak Argentine peso so I should be saving my money for a) our vacation and b) cheap and awesome clothes there. Except it’s springtime there so I doubt I’m going to satiate my need for sweaters. Except maybe they’ll all be on sale.
    Maybe it’s the time of year but everything feels dark. I tend to have slow reactions so don’t make fun when I say I’m starting to worry…
    Yikes.

    Reply
  6. Bud

    I guess things are better here. Traffic is still rotten, lines at the airport, the grocery store and the mall are still long and it still takes forever to get a table at a good restaurant. I’m surprised to find myself feeling a little grateful for these things now. So thanks!

    Reply
  7. LFMD

    I could not tell you, because I am too focused on STAYING HOME AND NOT SPENDING ANY MONEY. I was dealing with a credit card balance before the economy imploded, and now saving my money is my new religion.
    My 9-year-old daughter has noticed. We don’t eat out, go to the mall, or frequent Dave & Buster’s anymore. No more Cold Stone Creamery ($5 for a scoop of ice cream!), no more aimless trips to the Dollar Store for crap we don’t need, no more first run movies at the movie theater with the works (popcorn, candy, soda), followed by lunch at Chevy’s. If she wants anything extra, I tell her to “go ask Daddy,” who is not as frantic about finances as I am. As Helen said, “I understand that we are trying to save money, and that is important, but when will we have fun again?”

    Reply
  8. Annie H.

    I am loving staying home and saving $$, personally. I understand that there are folks really feeling the pinch, afraid to lose their homes/jobs–and we too were feeling the pinch until we finally did another hoopshop (which was great–Chicago– my new favorite city for so many reasons) and got a little unbroke. But these last few months of eliminating the inessential has been a wonderful exercise for me and my honey. We have enjoyed sitting and talking together more, just listening to music at home, goofing around with the dog, slowing down. I appreciate where I live even more now.

    Reply
  9. Greg T.

    Best Buy was a ghost town the 3 times I visited over the last couple of weeks but I *still* couldn’t find a drum set and microphone for the new guitar hero on the Wii.
    On the other hand, I’m pretty sure that Welbutrin is the only thing between me and depression.

    Reply
  10. Jody

    Our downtown is locally supported and tourism supported. The mall and commercial strip are more for regional rednecks (which of course includes me-), so I haven’t really noticed except to say that everywhere here is very crowded.
    Individuals are still building whatever they want, bigger than ever and I have to confess to having the best consulting year ever.
    Some large local enterprise like the Biltmore Estate will have the results to watch after the Xmas season is over.
    Tiger Woods’ golf course is opening in a hundreds-of-millions level development which, as far as I know is going gangbusters- probably one of the biggest private civil engineering efforts I’ve ever heard of outside of Vegas.
    ‘Course they don’t call it Ashevegas for nothing…

    Reply
  11. Triangleheel

    I would have thought the same thing, but as I flew from RDU’s new terminal (it is nice) to see friends in Hartford, CT- I had to park on the 7th level of the parking deck. I’ve travelled quite a bit over the last 3 years, and this is the 1st time I have seen the parking deck this full… on a Thursday… on a non-holiday weeked. I couldn’t understand it.
    On the other hand, I have gone to a few restaurants over the last few weeks and they are running on empty.
    We are in a recession- some see it, others don’t I guess.

    Reply

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