Uh oh…times is tough

Despite the fact that Obama won the election, the economy still sucks and probably will for a really long time. Today brought the news that Circuit City is filing for bankruptcy protection and that DHL is laying off thousands of folks. Last month the economy shed a crazy number of jobs, just in my local paper they were talking about how car dealers are facing hard times and that in a state like Maine where a car is pretty much a necessity, ain’t nobody buying any cars. It doesn’t help that the credit market is still frozen, one local dealer was talking about how if folks had FICO scores of 700 they could still get loans. Um, problem is a lot of folks don’t have FICO scores of 700 including yours truly. (my credit scores sucks, that’s all I’m saying)

No kids, times is tough, retailers hoping that Christmas will bring a little joy to their bottom line can kiss that thought good bye. I suspect this will be the year of the frugal shopper, as folks have less disposable cash and credit since gone are the days of pulling money out of your house to finance your lifestyle. Right now if you are smart and you have some spare cash and credit, you are probably keeping it close to your vest in case you find yourself jobless.

Yet in the midst of all the woes, I read something on MSNBC that made me smile, layaway is making a comeback this year at places TJ Maxx, Burlington Coat Factory and a few other places in addition to regional stores. Y’all remember layaway? For those who forgot or are too young to remember, back in the ole days, you would go to a store pick out some stuff you wanted to buy, say you wanted $300 worth of stuff. Well the store might charge a small service fee of say $5 but basically you would have anywhere from 30-90 days to pay for the goods, when the good were paid for, you can take your shit home.

It was a simple concept, personally I used to love me some layaway, when my son was a small child that was often how I purchased his Christmas back when I was a single Mama. I didn’t have a credit card in those days and lived tight to the bone so as early as August, I would put his stuff in layaway and before Christmas it would be paid for. However in the past decade or so stores moved away from layaway instead offering customers store credit cards, now I know from the store perspective credit cards are a better deal however from a consumers point of view layaway is not a bad thing. Except that by a certain point it started to be viewed negatively as something those poor folks do, instead folks with any bit of means opted to use credit.

Well times have changed and layaway is back much like hitting the second hand stores is no longer seen as something only done by poor folks. Shit, my local Goodwill is economic melting pot, seems now everyone is looking for a deal.

I must admit that while I hope the economy starts to make a change, I actually see the desire for folks to lead a life more in line with their actual means as a positive thing. So yeah times are tough and we have to tighten our belts but who really needs 500 channels of cable tv on a huge ass tv?