the local economy- an untrained bear’s observations

by problembear

bears love cinnamon rolls. it’s what we dream about. part of my job involves gathering commodities to distribute to the hungry. day old stuff and things otherwise not sellable. understandably i love my job because it involves gathering food and what bear does not like to do that? missoula has been very generous so far and people who seek help are able to find it. i hope it always stays that way but i am worried about the economy. i am not trained in journalism or in economics but i have access to daily visits to lots of businesses. one of those visits today really gave me a jolt. usually when i drive through costco’s parking lot to pick up food in the back warehouse at about 11:00am each day the parking lot is usually about 80% to 95% full. today the parking lot was about 40% full.

the clientele of costco during the day primarily seems to be either retired folks who look to be at least comfortable if not well off or small business owners stocking up things for their business. this is a very simple barometer of the economy, i know, but i am a very simple bear. it seems to me that if folks are cutting back their visits at costco, the rest of the economy must be hurting.

i once owned my own business and i know first-hand that owners are reluctant to share how they are doing with the public. but i was just wondering if anyone can share with us how your small business is doing these days? don’t give out any numbers that would make your CPA spit coffee, just a general idea about how things are going. something like business has dropped off Xpercent since the can even do it anonomously like i do. like i say, part of my job is to help feed hungry people and we have noticed that client levels have risen over 25% in the past month. I am a little worried that client levels could easily double or triple if the economy gets much worse.

  1. Ryan Morton

    If Costco isn’t bustling at the seems, I think we’ll live. Frugality isn’t an economic sin. If people are saving more and buying less, we shouldn’t be so cynical. Sure, President Bush may think consumption is an American duty, but it really isn’t. Plenty of economies of have done well by saving. All-out consumerism is not the only way for our economy. Since our economy is swung by investment firms, perhaps it’s time we pass the consumerism bug to another country and focus more on savings.

    As far as how people are doing? People in the building industry have laid off workers. Many are concerned about whether they’re business will still be around in 12-18 months. Construction and the related businesses play a large role in our local economy. Hopefully, actions will be taken in the coming months to turn that around locally, at the state level, and perhaps at the federal level.

    However, I said it before and I’ll say it again: fear is the worst enemy in a “bad economy.” Take stock in what you have control over and make the best of it.

  2. Problembear, I know we got off to a rough start, but I want you to know sincerely that I’m glad you’re on board over here.

  3. i did take some training from you early on when i naively suggested trying to be polite with the right wulfgar and i guess some grass and saplings were torn up nearby but am learning to appreciate your rough exterior a little more and why you’ve developed it!

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