Thursday, December 11, 2008

This Is It - Get Used To It

So the housing market bubble broke and the stock market crashed. Now folks are waiting for things to get back to where they were. I'm afraid that isn't likely - at least in the near future and here is why. For whatever reason, the markets were out of control. Housing prices were way higher than they should have been and the same is true for prices on Wall Street. Both markets are going through a correction, but that doesn't mean that prices will go back to those unreal high points. Rather a correction means that prices will drop to where they SHOULD be.

People who are waiting for the stock market to go over 10,000 are basically waiting for the market to get out of control again. In reality, the market will make adjustments and find a new level of "normal" - the correct level.

And don't expect your house price to reach $400k again when clearly that price was false. Now your house is maybe worth $250k and that is the new "normal" price. To expect more is to expect a new out of control market. If you bought that house at $400k then I'm afraid you way overpaid and you will not likely get that money back for a long time.

We must look at the economy realistically. The prices of the past were not real. The terribly low prices we now have are probably not real either. Sometime soon (hopefully) the markets will find their new "normal" and we will all have to adjust to that.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I Wish You Well.

Our company, like so many others right now, just layed off a whole lot of folks - just in time for the Holidays. It has been a very scary couple of weeks as groups of terminations came through not knowing if mine was next. Thankfully I survived this round - but many I know did not. My heart goes out to them and I wish them all the best of luck finding new careers.

Price Drops?!

Well I honestly never thought it would happen, but today I saw a gas sign where all the numbers started with a 1. Of course my previous posts always suggested that there was no shortage (yet) causing the massive price increases and I guess this proves me correct.

But many folks are taking note that although gas prices are thankfully dropping, the cost of other goods like food are not. Prices have gone up sharply in recent months and blamed on fuel costs for transporting goods. Stores of all sorts must be seeing huge profits now as transportation costs go down. They need to pass the savings on to consumers just as fast as they raised the prices.

I think price drops to match lower transportation costs is unlikely due to greed. But, I was wrong about gas prices dropping - lets hope we see price drops elsewhere too.

Words That Irritate Me

There are several words or phrases that irritate me for some unknown reason:
  • "Reach Out" as in contact the person and see if you can get more information.
  • "Synergy" It seems whenever this word is used - there isn't any.
  • "Brick and Mortar" as in a physical store or building. Isn't physical a shorter word?

I guess I'm a minimalist. I'd rather "call" someone than "reach out" to them. Forgive me if I choose to use the shorter words.

Things That Should Always Be Free

There is no free lunch. But in my opinion some things should be free.

  • Air for tires - especially bike tires (why does the cost keep going up?)
  • Tap water - wherever it is available. Even if bottled water is sold there.
  • Towels in bathrooms. I refuse to support the bathroom attendant occupation - nothing personal to those in the business.
  • Advice - directing guests in your hotel is just good customer service.
  • Toilets - if you have to take a crap and have no money for the pay toilet - what do they expect you to do?