I was driving through town to see a client last week, thinking about the economy. I started paying attention to the amazing redundancy of businesses along the street...hmm. Nail salon, restaurant, tires, auto parts, restaurant, convenience store, coffee shop, smoke shop, restaurant, craft shop, drug store, batteries, electronics, hair salon, interiors, furniture, movies.....
This is a town of 60,000 in central Minnesota. According to google, there are 217 restaurants here, 95 nail salons, 51 convenience stores, 63 that sell furniture, 31 that sell pet products, 19 office supply stores, 16 electronics stores, 16 sporting goods stores, more than 50 banks, and 82 hair salons. I couldn't tell how many gas stations there are, and I found about 11 car dealers that were actually IN St Cloud.
The list goes on of course. Many of these businesses will fold, or "downsize" in the next months. If we can set aside the devastation of hundreds of lost jobs, perhaps there is a small silver lining to this economic cloud.
America in general has been living large for too long, I think. We feel guilty when we realize that we use so much of the worlds' fuel supply, but there's no way to change that on a personal level. We expect a huge variety of cheap food and products from all over the world. Yes, that shirt was made in Bangladesh, probably by a barely surviving sweatshop worker, but how can you pass up buying it for $4.99? It's cute! Every aisle in the grocery store makes me blush at our excesses, too. How many kinds of cereal do we NEED?
Yeah, I'm blowing off steam, but I do think this recession is an opportunity for us to become more responsible world citizens. I hope it's enough, ya know?