Sunday, May 18, 2008

Signs of the times



Over the last couple of weeks I've noticed more and more signs from our slowing economy. Just yesterday I was filling up the gas tank ($84!) when a car pulled in across from me. It was a nice Chevy Avalanche with pimpin rims driven by a young Latino gal. She hops out and runs credit card number 1 through the card reader.....no dice. Back to the purse she goes for credit card number 2....nope, that one doesn't work either. Back to the purse, there must be one more in here somewhere. She tries a third card and cannot get that one to go through either. Then she opens the door and I think she asked her man for some cash. That started a short argument during which she hopped into the car slammed the door shut and then squeeled off out of the gas station.

On Thursday I visited Moss Bros. Dodge to take my wifes car in for some service. The place was a ghost town! There were NO customers except people getting cars serviced. I strolled through the showroom and briefly through the lot. There were zero people working deals in the showroom and no one looking at cars. On Saturday afternoon we went and picked up the car and it was the same. I saw one couple working a deal in the showroom and another looking at cars in the lot. That was it, 2 couples looking on a Saturday afternoon. The other dealers didn't look much busier either, the whole auto mall was dead.

Anyone else notice the freeway is lighter these days?

Many of the local golf courses have lowered their fees... about time too!

My favorite sushi bar must be hurting. Every time I've been in lately it's only been half full (or less). We go every week and it's been like this for the last few months.

Signs of the times I'm afraid!

10 comments:

nmoerbeek said...

Ive seen other very eerie things like this recently. Im hoping that the devalued dollar will bring more manufacturing jobs back.

David said...

I see a lot of home loan places empty - nevermind that - every home loan I see in strip malls are empty. There's a prudential realty office across the street from my apartment, and a couple months ago I saw moving vans moving crap out of there. I thought they closed up shop, but there's still a little activity there. Maybe they just downsized. Furniture stores are going out of business for real now. not just those phony "going out of business" sales they used to have. They are gone for good this time.

Sean said...

i noticed the same type of thing at Riverside Honda this past wednesday. I was in the market for a USED 2006 or 2007 Honda Civic but ended up getting a BETTER deal for a NEW one at riverside honda!!! Even better than all the ones listed on autotrader as used. That's right. A brand new civic with 0 miles on it is now between 1000 and 2000 CHEAPER than a used one with 20-30,000 miles on it. I couldnt believe it when i got the quote by email. I figured they'd add a bunch of crap once I got down there but they didnt. They tried the extended warranty pitch which i shot down immediately of course. The price they gave me by email was in fact the final price (plux tax and lic of course).

As the internet sales guy and I were walking the lot searching for the exact model/color of civic i wanted we walked through two full parking garage floors of 100s and maybe even 1000s of new cars just sitting there!!! Then we drove down the street to their "backup lot" which is where we found the model/color i was looking for. At that backup lot there was another several hundred cars if not 1000+ cars more. It was the most insane display of business inventory I have seen in my life. This is the GDP we had in the 1st quarter. BUSINESS INVENTORY! Scary stuff....This does NOT bode well for our immediate economic future.

golfer_X said...

I took the wife to look at a few open houses over in Woodcrest today. They were dead. It might have been the heat, but we saw very few people looking. Afterwards we stopped at the Riverside Plaza for lunch and that place was empty too. We had lunch at Killarney's and other than us there were only 3 other tables occupied. My wife even commented on how light the traffic was around the plaza. It looked like we were driving around at 6am there were so few cars.

Having been in business management I know the profit margin on most of these places is razor thin. You just cannot take away 20% of the business and keep the doors open. I suspect we will be seeing a large wave of going out of business sales later this year or early next. Many small businesses will stretch to stay afloat in the hopes of the holidays saving them. I don't think there's any hope of that this year. I just hope my favorite sushi bar survives!

Sellin @ Da Drop said...

I'll tell you why the freeways in Riverside were empty. We were all on at metrolink foreclosure/ freeloader express! kidding. Metrolink offered a free train ride from Riverside station to Oceanside Saturday. Since we never rode the train before I thought it was a cool idea to get away from Saturday's heat and taking the wife and kids to the beach. The predominant cliq was the Walmart crowd. Big mistake. Talked to a couple of folks on board said this was as good as it was getting for family getaways. House payments were eating up the 'fun' funds and gas prices kept them from travleing by car. The yearly free metrolink ride was the family vacation. How sad is that. The look on the Oceanside residents when the train doors opened and the 'riversippi' crowd busted through was classic.

Martin Burtin said...

I went to Promenade Mall in Temecula for lunch at Red Robins. The Mall was packed; had to use my Mall Ninja Warrior skills to get a parking space. There was a wait for tables too. I thought that Temecula, Murrietta, Wildomar, Elsinore area was supposed to be hurt'n bad. Apparently plenty of people can still afford to entertain themselves at the mall. The freeway was less crowded, but people were at the mall, big time.

Went over to the coast and down to La Jolla from there. It was soooo good to drive the freak'n SUV and put my big ass carbon footprint on a piece of California! Lotsa folk at the beach this Sunday. Maybe since the beach doesn't cost a lot to attend, people could justify the gas to get there, I dunno. La Jolla was as over crowded with people and cars as it always is on any nice warm weekend. The difference was, I saw less people in the restaurants. On walking by a couple of them, we were actively engaged by waiters, hoping to pull us in from the sidewalk. Did not see people carrying bags from the artsy-fartsy pricey shops either .

I'm Not POTUS said...

It's been only a year since I wrote this post below describing this exact situation:

http://pharside.blogspot.com/2007/05/
on my blog. The sad thing about this is it took me a year until I got around to writing it down. I'm not a mind reader nor can i travel through time. I can only see the obvious and do simple math. That means smarter people than me saw this coming and did nothing.

dirtfarmer said...

so golfer x which is your favorite sushi spot ?

mr_moppy said...

I'm guessing Ooka. Great sushi, not so great price.

golfer_X said...

I do like Ooka but I prefer a little joint over by my moms place. Sushi Kinoya in MoVal or Matsuri are may current favs. Matsuri used to be better when Jimmy was the chef but the sushi has been good the last few times I've eaten there (been a few months since I ate there). Most of the other Riverside places I don't like. Akina BLOWS and your taking you life in your hands eating at Cabin.