This morning, I found myself going through old shoes in the closet, seeing which ones I could "resuscitate" with new shoe laces. I found two pairs. I'm avoiding buying new ones. I imagine that across the USA, across the whole planet, there are billions of people going through this process-- figuring out how to stretch money that buys less that is a lot less "safe" to go a bit further. This is showing up in sales figures at the big box stores and in statistics indicating that some nations are facing the fact that they are in recession. The US is still in denial.
As I pulled out the old, worn and dirty laces and re-laced the shoes-- actually Addidas Airwalk sneakers, -- I recalled how this was something I'd watch the guy at the local shoe store do, Phils, I think it was called, after I'd picked out the shoes with my Mom. For as long as I can remember, sneakers have come from box stores and they usually come already laced.
It's a simple thing, to lace a pair of sneakers, but the realization that I hadn't done it in years struck me, as well as the fact that I was going to the closet for old shoes made new, not just popping out to buy a fresh pair. I use over-the-counter inserts which give a little more arch support. I transferred a pair of the inserts from a pair of shoes I just never liked. New laces, relatively fresh inserts and I'm wearing a comfy set of sneakers.
But the shoe stores or sporting goods stores where I usually go to buy shoes just lost a customer. That shoe resuscitation decision was definitely based upon the drop in the value of my IRA that I discovered in my quarterly report last month. And I'm certain the next quarter will be worse. I could have moved the IRA funds to a gold-based stock, but then I'd have been even worse. Gold dropped plenty in the past month.
The word is that Hormel, the makers of that meat product for the frugal, SPAM, can't keep up with the demand. And Walmart reported some nice profits, among so many other corporate loss statements. People are getting more frugal.
I hope some good comes out of this. We've become a throw-away, thing-oriented world. Hell, evangelists use "things" to attract indigenous people to get real jobs, so they can buy techno-glitter. We're all addicted to so many things, so much new stuff. The idea of resuscitating some of the things we have has literally been fought by the media, by advertisers, by merchandisers.
My son's 25th birthday is coming up. So I'm asked "WHAT" are you getting him? Now I've decided, it won't be a thing. It will be something else-- maybe an experience, maybe some help or some time.
I think, one good thing that will come out of the economic crisis we're all facing is I'll be re-evaluating the things and the "WHATs" in my life. I'll be reconsidering travel and the distance THINGS have to go to reach me. This past year, I've been thinking a lot more about relocalization and my relationship to my food, and the other things I buy. With most sneakers made in Asia, it's tough to deal with local sources of footwear. But sneaker resuscitation is a beginning. I also go to local auctions, yard sales and flea markets. That's another way to get goods that, at least, have been local, for a while. If you haven't tried sourcing things that way, give it a try. And just start thinking about ways you can relocalize your lifestyle.
Today on Morning Joe, the question was asked, How did we turn from a creditor to a debtor nation over the past 10 or 20 years. I blame it on globalization. The idea of totally free markets has been bad for America. It stuns me, that economists and politicians can claim that globalism is good for America when it is so clear that free market globalism is the primary cause of our loss of formerly healthy industries and the creation of huge foreign debt.
Globalism is good for some retailers, like Walmart. It is great for some transnational companies and for a handful of factory owners who employ people at slave wages in the far east. But for most Americans and even most of the world, unrestrained, free market globalism is an un-natural, destructive force. My personal theory is that the answer to globalism is to look to nature. In nature, every living organism has a skin. Globalism should acquire a skin. I've written about it in this article, Bio-Politics; Nature vs Globalism, Conservatism and Libertarianism.
Meanwhile, I'm guessing that in the coming months I'll be doing other things that dust off old memories from decades ago, of doing things in ways that may just be what we need nowadays to cope with these crazy economic times. Add a comment or drop me a note if you've had any of those moments.