10 Signs the Recession Is Not Over
Economists are saying the recession is over. Bull hockey! Maybe the stock market is recovering and bankers are smiling, but you and I both know America still has a long row to hoe before the little people see blue skies again (you should excuse the mixed metaphor).
We all know people who've been unemployed so long they've given up. Our early enthusiasm for frugal living has turned into frugal fatigue. And it's been heaven knows how long since dining out didn't eat up our entire food budget.
So next time you hear the economy is getting better, just think about these 10 signs the recession is over. In fact, we had a hard time limiting ourselves to just 10!
1. Two Buck Chuck America's Best Selling Wine
Trader Joe’s, a specialty grocery store based in California, is a savior to cash-strapped wine snobs. The store's legendary Charles Shaw wines, lovingly nicknamed “Two Buck Chuck” have become something of a phenomenon and are now the nation’s best-sellers That's not surprising when you consider the combination of great taste and low prices ($1.99 - $3.49 per bottle, depending on the region).
2. Unemployed Women Selling Their Wedding Rings on Craigslist
There are thousands of ads on Craigslist for things like used household appliances, everything furniture related, and cars from people who need a little quick cash to get by, with the seller frequently revealing a glimpse of the problems necessitating the sale. According to The Huffington Post, "Sellers typically said they posted their ads in an effort to take care of their children."
3. The 99-cent Heart Attack
Fast food chains are hellbent on luring back customers who swore off eating out when the recession hit. Granted, eating at a fast food restaurants can't really be considered "dining out, but that hasn't stopped McDonald's and friends from jumping on the Value Menu bandwagon and combining all their cheaper items into one convenient list. Sadly, some offerings contain such questionable ingredients they should never cost more than $1.
4. Senior Citizen Interns
Interns older than the boss are no longer freaks in the workplace. Looking for a toe-hold in an impossible job market, experienced workers are accepting internships normally filled by recently graduated college students.
5. Teenagers Beg Friends to Stop Calling
It's easy to identify the end of a friend's cell phone billing cycle. Cash-strapped Americans have cut-back on their phone plans, making it nearly impossible to reach them as their allotted monthly minutes run out. The unemployed can’t afford to gossip with just anyone.
6. Living With Your Ex
Normally, a break up involving a co-habiting couple would involve someone throwing the ex’s belonging out the window while yelling, “And stay out!” As enjoyable as such an outburst may be, doing so could prove drastic for both parties. If the partner staying put is unemployed or fears losing their job, chances are the task of paying full rent or the mortgage solo could result in eviction or foreclosure. For the ex who normally would vamoose, finding a new place without a job could ultimately lead to setting up digs in a storage, staking a claim on a friend's couch or -- shudder -- moving back in with the 'rents (with the added bonus of mom detailing what went wrong in your marriage).
7. Surging Sales of Bargain Peanut Butter
It doesn't matter peanut-butter manufacturers have put inverted dimples in the bottom of their bottles to fake us out;; it's still the protein of choice when wallets are thin. The days of eating organic and preservative-free foods have gone the way of the five-martini lunch. If produce isn't frozen, jarred or available from Walmart, they’ve been scratched off the unemployed’s diet.
8. Crashing Unemployment Sites
America's new soundtrack is the tinkle-tinkle of crashing unemployment websites across the country as thousands of applicants attempt to process new claims each day.
About 4.5 million Americans are collecting jobless benefits, a 26-year high, so the websites and phone systems now commonly used to file for benefits are being tested like never before. Systems in New York, North Carolina and Ohio were shut down completely in January by technical glitches and heavy volume, and labor officials in several other states are reporting higher-than-normal use. Even those holding up under the strain are in many cases leaving filers on the line for hours, or kissing them off with an "all circuits are busy" message. The good news is agencies are scrambling to hire hundreds of new employees to process claims. Now that's the true definition of ironic, Alanis.
9. "In This Economy" Cliché Beaten Like a Dead Horse
There are only so many ways you can say the economy is so bad a picture is now only worth 200 words. TV news anchors, who traditionally will milk cliches until the cow is dead, are actually grimacing every time the teleprompter reads "in this economy." You know it's time to retire a cliché when your drug dealer begins to use it.
10. Libraries Not Just Havens for the Homeless
The library makes it easy to cut back on expenses “in this economy” by offering their services to anyone with a library card and plenty of hand sanitizer. Instead of buying new books, you can check the online catalog, click on “reserve” and swing by the library when it’s ready for pick up.
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