Friday, November 4, 2011

A Sign of the Times

So what do you think? Is the recession over? Is it over where you live? If you had changed your spending habits, have you gone back to how you used to spend?

The reason this is on my mind lately is because of birthday parties.

The boys have been invited to several birthday parties so far this school year.

In fact, we even had a birthday here:

Holy cow, Finn is 9!

Anyway, what has struck me at the birthday parties, including Finn's, is the lack of presents wrapped in yellow or lavender paper or birthday bags.

Why is that relevant? Because our local toy store, which endured for as long as it could during the economic crisis, closed in late August. And when you went to or hosted a birthday party, pretty much every present was wrapped in the signature paper, which I loved because it meant we were all buying locally from our little store. Was she the cheapest? No, of course not. It's really hard for bricks and mortar stores to compete with online prices these days.

But even with all of us buying locally (because I'm sure not everyone did), it wasn't enough and in the end, the store had to close after 10 years of business.

I'm pretty sad about it because there's another big push to build this horrible shopping development with big box stores on the eastern edge of our town.

May I pause for a moment here and say, Ugh?

I know it may seem bizarre that I wouldn't want a Target nearby, but frankly, I look at it as a place full of stuff that I don't really need and shouldn't be spending money on anyway. We have a WalMart about 23 miles away. I can be at a Target in 35 minutes if I drive west and one hour if I drive east. That's plenty close for me. One of the things we love about living here is there is no mall. We were surrounded by suburban chaos where we lived before, and I don't miss it one bit. The fact that our local stores are closing and Big Business might be in our backyard again is depressing to me.

Do I buy locally 100% of the time? No. I have been known to be seen running from the post office with a Zappos box tucked under my arm. But I do make an attempt to buy locally first. And I definitely confess to having an unhealthy addiction to Athleta. But overall, I want Target to go away and I'd like those lavendar and yellow packages back, if you please.


Leeann said...

Cute cake and happy birthday to Mr. Finn!

I don't know about the recession being over or not (and I'd wager a NOT on that anyhow) but I'd say there is less spending for sure. We developed those habits several years ago, before things got bad, and I am so grateful that we did. We had no debt except our mortgage when things got bad and have been able to keep it that way. Thank God.

I hear what you are saying about the big box stores. They can be hard to avoid, unfortunately, but we try to use local business when we can.

M said...

That happened in my little town...all the mom and pop coffee houses went under when Starbucks moved in...not just one Strbucks but three in my little town and six if you count the next little town. Same with the video stores...I refuse to do Net Flix or Blockbuster....we are down to one mom and pop video store....and that's what we use.

As for the recession? I have taken a pay cut for the past 5 years :( No salary increase and health care costs rising...cut, cut, cut!

Happy Weekend

1dreamr said...

Very sad. I was actually coming home from work the other day and needed milk and a couple of other things. Just a few items. All I could think was, I don't feel like driving around and finding a parking place to go into that HUGE@ss Giant Eagle for a few things. I started thinking back to the little grocery stores we had back in the day. Simpler times. I miss them... a lot.

haleyhd said...

I love Finn's birthday cake! So cute!

My parents live in a tiny town, and the only nationwide chains are a handful of fast restaurants. Luckily, though, they live on an island, and there is no place for outward growth. Unless the stores are on boats! The locals would freak if there were..they protest if a tree gets cut down, but that's only because most are hundreds of years old.

I always tell my husband that if I had lots of money, I'd first buy us a house, and then I buy up all the land that is for sale around us. I would love to turn it all into forest preserves or green spaces. I hate to see the trees cut down in lieu of another development. Your own passion is inspiring!