The Man: at it again

My car was on empty so I pulled into the neighborhood gas station this morning, before the once-a-week trip to Sacramento. I hit a record this morning:

My wife also filled up her tank this morning. Her total: $61.24 for 13.61 gallons, at $4.49 per gallon. So, all told, we spent $116.09 for 25.968 gallons. This is going to turn into an election issue, of course. I appreciate the honesty with which Sen. Obama is addressing the issue. I like some of his ideas. Sen. McCain in a  posturing move, also agreed that gas prices wouldn’t drop before the November election.

In other news, there has been discussion of drilling in Alaska again. It’s not a workable solution. What is needed is a lifestyle change, which the average  person is unwilling to support in this country. We hear the news but we think it somehow doesn’t apply to us. We want what we want, a nation of overstimulated brats used to having our way. What a mess.

I’m still aghast at the number of full-size SUVs I see cruising around town with one passenger, although I will say the decrease in big cars and trucks on the streets is noticeable. Beyond the foreclosure crisis, there are a number of economic “indicators” that are also prevalent in our city:

  • I see more and more older people in entry-level retail and customer-service jobs. There has been a shift in the past 20 years, in which immigrants, mostly from Mexico and Latin America, work the fast food jobs that were largely populated by teen-agers when I was that age in the (cringe) mid- to late-1980s.
  • A number of Mom-and-Pop businesses are folding. And not only in certain neighborhoods. I see businesses failing in high-visibility sections of the city.
  • I notice businesses cutting back on services. I went into a nationally recognized chain store to purchase some items for the house, and when I attempted to use my credit card, the machine where customers could swipe their card and enter their pin or signature wasn’t working. Instead, there was some complicated procedure in which the sales person had to call an 800 number and validate the purchase by entering my information. I was amazed that they could be so backward.

Does anyone else notice less-reported signs of the economic downturn? I’d be curious to see how things are in your part of the world.

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3 Comments

Filed under Economy, gas prices

3 responses to “The Man: at it again

  1. Denise

    i am doing security at the door of Home Depot. there are days when it is just downright slow. i look around and it seems like there are more employees than customers and i wonder how long it can last. how many little dodads and thingamajigs can they sell to keep the place a float.

    and on my way to and from work (or wherever) i find that as i am pedaling around on two wheels like i have been doing for a number of years so are a lot of other folks. i have used my mom’s car within recent memory and had to fill it up before i returned it to her — i nearly cried at the pump as i saw the pump draining my wallet. and she has a small economical car. i know the higher the gas prices go the more people i will see pedaling on two wheels — i just hope that they remember the rules of the road when they forego their car for pedal power. a bicycle is great for mind and body as long as you ride for 20 – 30 minutes at a pretty good pace, but most people hopping on the bike after years of non-bike riding have to build up to such an ability.

  2. katemeister

    I would dearly love to be able to do without our one a/c-less vehicle (Ford Focus) — as I see it, we’re being fairly economical out of financial necessity already, despite living 30 miles away from work and thus driving a lot — but it’s my office (hm, guess what company that is, Jay!) that’s backward. Now that we have a new computer system that technically can handle telecommuters, the bosses don’t want to deal with it. They don’t want to open that can of worms — what if EVERYONE wanted to do it? How could they make sure we were doing our work? Etc.
    It’s really, really frustrating. Forget money — my quality of life increase would be off the charts. It’s also really frustrating to waste three or four hours of my day commuting. That’s a LOT of time.
    Thanks for the chance to rant! But, yeah, it’s tough to change our habits. Especially when we have these politicians telling us that, if we DON’T spend, we’re doing the country a disservice. I’m tired of hearing about how our economy has to be No. 1. Produce/consume/discard/repeat. However, speaking of the economy, I’m also tired of a) losing money on the house we upgraded from, because no renter in their right mind would cover the mortgage we still owe from buying high on the market, and meanwhile b) not being able to refinance on the house we’re in to take advantage of the Fed’s current low rates because our new house, which seemed like a good deal ONE YEAR AGO, won’t appraise for what we owe.
    Yeah. It’s a big puddle of fun. The gas prices are just the tip of the iceberg. Then you have energy costs going up; grocery costs going up; in our case, a new baby on the way … Good times, good times.

  3. Ann

    I find myself in the financial crunch these days too. With only one car to chose from, I ride off to work cringing as the needle drops quicker than I’d like on my SUV gas gage. I have definitely had to re-organize my driving. On my trek in to work I hear all those gas conservation tips on the radio and wonder if they really work. I certainly don’t go out on the town as much. And carpool when I can. Thankfully, I have that option. That helps to patch up the whole at the bottom of my wallet. You have to admit it can be pretty depressing how things are going these days. Days like these make me re-focus on family and realize what a blessing it is just to sit around a table laughing at each other’s jokes and re-living old family memories!

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