Monday, November 24, 2008

Not Around Here

All weekend I heard news reports that AAA says that travel will be down this Thanksgiving, down by a half million people who are choosing to stay home. This was reported like a great crisis. I heard it over and over and over and over. Enough already.

Yesterday I was on the highways for about five hours, maybe closer to six. The traffic was light. There was no traffic actually, we never got stuck in 'the typical spots' where traffic clogs up.

This morning I did an errand and could not believe all the people on the road. The Merritt Parkway and I-95 up going into New Haven and up the Connecticut shoreline was clogged. Compared to last Monday morning at that same time, there were at least three times, if not four times the amount of passenger vehicles, and still all the commercial vehicles and big rig truckers. We saw lots of license plates from New York and some from New Jersey.

Also today the lines at Costco for gas at about one in the afternoon were ridiculously long. It is never like this on a typical weekday. I was happy to pay $1.859 per gallon for gas today in Connecticut, and yesterday the price in Massachusetts at BJ's Wholesale Club was also $1.859. So gas prices are down by more than half of what they were, so does it make sense that people would choose to stay home rather than do car travel?

I've been hearing news reports that people are not shopping. Hogwash. The stores were more deserted in October when I started shopping. That is when I did my once yearly trip to a mall, to get gift cards for my nieces who must have exactly this or that store's gift card. Doing errands at Wal Mart, Costco, BJs Wholesale Club and Marshall's revealed, on both weekday mornings and weekends, to be nothing short of a zoo. I am talking about earlier in November right up to now, not just today. The roads are as clogged as ever and I see packed parking lots at strip malls and at the regular malls.

The people around here are spending, spending, spending.

I feel like the media is hyping us all up to expect the absolute worst regarding our economy and a recession or a depression. Even if a family is 'doing alright' today just like they were six months ago, they are worried now. People are all starting to worry if they will lose their jobs, even if all they are basing it on is the news.

I am starting to reconsider doing some things that will cost money. Today I am on the brink of cancelling plans to do a homeschool ski program for both of my kids this upcoming winter. They are both asking for fencing lessons and I'm starting to ask myself "is that really necessary" despite us spending zero for sports activities right now (so the budget is not blown yet). Note that in years past we passed up those opportunities due to our budget being too tight to allow us to do them. This year I was excited to have the freedom to choose to do them, if we wanted to.

For my sanity's sake I may have to shut off the news or leave the room when my husband has it on.

I don't want to live in fear.

And I do want to be content with the good things we do have rather than think that tomorrow it may all vanish.


christinemm said...

The decision is yes on the skiing. That was after a talk with my husband about the expense.

When we have more time after Thanksgiving I think the kids will start fencing.

We are moving forward with our plans in a responsible fiscal manner as per our abilities and ignorning the hype by the media on the economy.

It is true we lost a lot of money that was retirement savings but we have plenty of time to recoup it before we retire! There is no sense wasting emotion on that.

Mrs. Pivec said...

So silly of me not to stop by more often. I'm adding you to my blog list so I can do just that!

I confess that I haven't seen the crowds that you have and believe only time will tell. I think we've yet to see the real fallout of this huge mess. But we live a frugal life to begin with and so, other than remaining prayerful that my husband keeps his job, we are doing things much the same.

Crimson Wife said...

Maybe it's a regional thing? Out here in CA the stores seem to be somewhat less crowded than usual during the pre-Christmas rush and definitely I've noticed people are carrying fewer shopping bags.

We traveled for Thanksgiving but stayed in-state rather than making our normal cross-country trip. But that wasn't because of the economy- it's because I'm due with #3 right after New Year's.