As we slide into Depression, the pundits cite grim statistics daily: 100,000 jobs lost last week, new unemployment claims at an all-time high, Gross National Product down 3.8%. But I notice more personal signs of the times.
The latest LL Bean catalog mentions what a great value their products are on almost every page, and points out numerous items whose price has not changed since 19xx. Our jeweler, a family business where we have gotten our watches repaired for many years, has closed. On television, Rachel Ray is plugging a new program about budget-conscious cooking. For the first time I can remember, almost every new car advertisement is focused on gas mileage, and dealers hasten to assure the public, “We’ll be here for you, now and in the future.” Our local public radio station added an extra week of fundraising in January to make up for the shortfall in their usual fall campaign.
Most telling of all; our local grocery store chain has begun advertising low prices on potatoes, onions, and milk. In Michigan, the Depression appears to have arrived.