THE OTHER SHOE DROPS: Updates To Previous Posts
† Living In These Mad, Mad, Madoff Times: No more stocking up on a year’s supply of laundry detergent at Costco; shoppers today are trying to use up what they’ve already bought and purchase replacements as they run out, reports The Wall Street Journal:
For over two decades, Americans bought big, bought more and stocked up, confident that bulk shopping, often on credit, provided the best value for their money. But the long recession - with its high unemployment, plummeting home values and depleted savings accounts - altered the way many people think about the future. Manufacturers and retailers report that people are buying less, more frequently, and are determined to keep cash on hand. …
[C]ompanies are still reeling from lower sales volumes that began in 2008 with what some dub "pantry deloading." Over the past two years, the number of items kept in American pantries has fallen about 20%, according to a recent SymphonyIRI survey. Consumers are also cutting back on the range of goods they stock.The average household had 369 unique items in its medicine cabinets, pantries and cosmetics bags this year, compared with 404 in 2006, the survey found.
Procter & Gamble Co. has been tracking consumers' pantries since mid-2008, believing them to be a reliable gauge of how the recession has changed shoppers' behavior. About one-third of consumers are changing their pantry levels, P&G's research indicates, with about 75% of those cutting back on inventory.
P&G expects consumers' leaner, pickier shopping habits to last. "There's almost a confidence and pride in the ability to make tailored choices for themselves," says Joan Lewis, P&G's global consumer and market knowledge officer.
If Congress doesn’t extend the Bush tax cuts, our paychecks will be noticeably smaller just as the Christmas shopping bills need to be paid off. The uncertainty is no doubt in the back of consumers’ minds as they plan their Black Friday shopping strategy.
† The Uniter: Part IV: Velma Hart, who famously told President Barack Hussein Obama at a townhall meeting that defending his policies had exhausted her and that she worried for her families financial future, was let go from her position as chief financial officer for Am Vets, a nonprofit Maryland-based veteran services organization because the non-profit needed to trim expenses. In an interview with The Washington Post at the time, she noted, "We are all caught in the middle of the insanity." Well, the administration’s economic policies and domestic priorities can only be described as insane. The proof? The Federal Reserve is projecting that the unemployment level will fall no further than where it was during the financial meltdown in the final year of the Bush administration. Four years later and not only we’re no better off, we’re actually a lot worse off considering the unsupportable level of public debt incurred during the Obama administration just to spin our wheels.
† Updates To Previous Posts (third item, "Little Eichmanns" Professor Prevails In Court Case): Former University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill failed to convince the Colorado Court of Appeals that he should get his job back after he was fired for academic misconduct. The appellate court also upheld a lower court ruling that university's regents acted as a "quasi-judicial" panel that had immunity from the lawsuit. Churchill’s attorney David Lane plans to petition the state Supreme Court hear the case.
† Updates To Previous Posts (last item, 10 Reasons Michelle Obama Should Be Proud – Really Proud – Of America): This latest installment in The Stiletto Blog’s ongoing series meant to help instill the necessary pride of country in Michelle Obama’s consciousness to enable her to serve as an unofficial ambassador focuses on 15-year-old Jenny Olins, who charges $15 for pies she makes from scratch and donates the proceeds to the Greater Boston Food Bank. The Boston Globe reports:
Much as she loves baking, the Newton South High School sophomore has to balance those efforts with homework, sports, and other activities. She limits pie production to one or two a week, almost always on Sundays, a day when she can “make pie, do homework, and sit around,’’ she says. The one time she took on three in a single day, she had to call in reinforcements, in the form of her mom, Debby. Jenny has a Facebook page (it’s called the Pie Project), but most of the marketing is done by word of mouth. …
Olins makes several types of pie - banana cream, peanut butter, peach, blueberry - but apple is her bestseller. …
What makes the pie different from typical versions is the caramel. Olins prepares her own sauce, simmering butter and sugar to just the right consistency. She pours some of it into the pie and then more on top of the crust. The pie that emerges from the oven is fragrant and irresistible. The caramel almost melts into the crust during baking and gives it a light, sugary crunch and appealing golden-brown sheen.
The modest Olins doesn’t like to brag, but if you ask how response to her pies has been, she will admit, “A lot of people say it’s the best pie they’ve ever eaten.’’
[Hat Tip: lemonfemale, a contributor to this blog.]