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How Has the Recession Affected Your Jewelry and Cruise Ship Needs?

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Evanston, Il

At first, the crater in the ground where the basement was supposed to be before crews quit working looked like the aftermath of a drone attack.

But soon weeds began encroaching, white tailed rabbits bounded up and down the berms and a flock of goldfinches descended, each perching in a cyclone fence slot in an avian pyramid.

Now the site of the half-built, bankrupt Sienna Court Condominiums resembles a zoo exhibit with cliffs, savannahs, trickling water from sprinklers and a construction ladder turned three-story roost for the grackles, house sparrows and gulls who now live there.

And the residents of the neo wetland reversion, their units spaced as far apart as streetlights and their resale dreams dashed in receivership?

They're discovering the only thing worse than living next to a construction zone is not living next to a construction zone.

A block away at the curb-hugging, zero-lot-line Ferris Homes, no wildlife reintroduction is in progress--nor is there any green space--but the news is just as bleak. A year after the 49-condominium unit building opened, the bank is suing for foreclosure on 38 units. Oops.

And how was your year?

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This recession hasn't just made things rough for people who sell things and people who can no longer buy them (because they also sell things to people who can no longer buy them.) It's made things rough for the nation's copywriters.

There used to be two headlines whose punch you couldn't improve upon: Grand Opening and Sale.

Sure you could add "pre-construction" or "builder's special" to Grand Opening. You could add "model close-out," to the stand-up sign with the red and blue balloons on it which reads the Rivers at Lakewood or Timbers at Creekwood. But nothing sold like Grand Opening.

And sale?

You could have an end-of-year sale, end-of-the-summer sale, Christmas-in-July sale, we've-lost-our-lease sale (right), we've-lost-our-mind sale (having got it back from last year), January White sale, back-to-school sale, Labor Day, Memorial Day and Father's Day sale, we've-got-to-make-room-for-the-new-models sale (right) and of course a Pre-construction sale at your Grand Opening.

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But you couldn't always be on sale (or always be discounting "luxury" goods) if you didn't want to cry wolf.

But now Grand Openings have become Grand Closings--with real estate reporters replaced by count reporters--and the sale that retailers began at Halloween to salvage Christmas has become the proverbial Every Day Low Prices. Which is to say, not a sale at all.

And it gets worse. Remember the dictum about good restaurants don't advertise?

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Martha Rosenberg is an award-winning investigative public health reporter who covers the food, drug and gun industries. Her first book, Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health, is distributed by Random (more...)

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