It's highly unusual for me not to tromp off to Sioux City every two weeks or more frequently. But due to health and weather, I hadn't been there for over a month. Talk about change. I think since I hadn't been there, the shopping situation stood out like a sore thumb. I was astounded.
Sure, I've heard how merchants complained on the east coast and so forth but I didn't think it had hit that hard here yet. It just shows you one can always learn.
I went into several stores. My first observation was the lack of clerks in each and every one. Well, if people don't buy, one certainly doesn't want to pay more labor than they take in. Secondly, the stores were not brimming over with merchandise. Again, if people aren't buying, a store doesn't want extra merchandise to sell at cost or barely above cost. Many racks were empty and the racks were spaced so there was plenty of room to walk in-between. No crowding anywhere. What really alarmed me was one major store which downsized their selection considerably.
I spoke to one clerk in another store in the mall and said one could throw a giant size bowling ball down the hall and not bother anyone. She said it was quiet but they forget daily sales and just hope the weekend sales keep them on the positive side.
This past week, I received five brochures from the same store in two days. Now this has to be costly to print and then mail out. (Not to mention the trees that are chopped down for the paper.) What I grimaced about when I looked at them was the solid bright colors that are in vogue whether clothing or large jewelry. Definitely the influence of other cultures. Even the shoes have a total new look. This is the manner in which they can hook folks who want to remain fashionable with the latest look. It is indeed a great sales tool.
Therefore, one will find sales going all the time from 20-60 percent for spring and summer fashions. This will be great for the shopper for some time until the day arrives when many of the stores will be closing. Right now Sioux City has many empty store spaces with more coming up. The economic climate will just not allow this to continue without a price to pay.
It's that time of year when seed catalogs are arriving. If you know of someone who has either space or children and need to stretch their budget, gently suggest they could plant a garden. The kids will have something worthy to do in their off school days, produce some healthy food, and save on the family budget. It is a wonderful family activity. Kids will complain but trust me, the day will come when they will look back and smile of the wonderful memories it will also produce.
In the last month, I have watched a couple of movies dealing with the thirties when money was in short supply. One was based on a true story and was very inspirational. Families supported each other rather than try to see how many separate activities they could do as an individual.
Money can not buy family togetherness. Close families support each other through the good and bad times. The simple things in life are truly the ones that count. Remember that in the months ahead. Families can be the anchor that get you through the rough times.