and now for something completely different.

1 04 2010

i tire of moral dilemma week. i had a whole post half written about something vaguely instructional and semi serious, but then i realized that i don’t give a shit about being instructional and semi serious. at least today i don’t. instead, i speak of a subject far more engaging and less of a bummer, the mall. over the last 10 years, maine has been overrun with big boxes. wal*marts, targets, old navys, and best buys are springing up all over the landscape, along with the requisite gamestops, panera breads, and famous footwears that for whatever reason ALWAYS orbit around the larger stores. i think it’s weird and gross how all the towns in maine worthy of the big box blessing now look all the same. although on the other hand, i do love target.

what’s really weird, is that now that all these smaller towns in maine have their own shopping districts, nobody needs the mall. in the last 5 years or so, the maine mall has been CLEANED OUT. filenes got booted by macy’s, but the space is still empty. countless other stores have bounced in and out, changed locations, disappeared forever. the urban behavior has gone out of business and been resurrected no less than 5 times (i think that bankruptcy is their business model). the sears wing is deadsville (despite their urging, i never have quite found the softer side), especially since unattractive but very sensible shoe emporium lamey wellehan cleared out. even mcdonald’s is hitting the bricks for some mysterious reason.  i did hear a rumor that we were getting a sephora, but the flowering of the maine mall into the mall of america (that i’ve been fantasizing about ever since the H&M moved in) just isn’t happening. it’s the downturn y’all. the way people shop is changing, and it’s kind of amazing.

case and point, the new goodwill. usually, when you cut off the head of one big box, another one just sprouts right back in its place. when circuit city’s broke ass shut down last year, i don’t think anyone thought that a thrift store would or could move into that massive space complete with sky high mall area rents. but goodwill made it happen (even if their bath and st. john street locations had to be tragically sacrificed), and the results are glorious.

are you looking at that line up of gleaming hooker boots over there in the upper left? i know one person who can’t wait to see those bitches sprouting up around town. in short, the new goodwill is fucking gigantic, and presently filled with both stuff and people. the book section looks like a bookstore. a decent bookstore (although you will still find the required copies of divine secrets of the ya ya sisterhood). the racks are endless. it was hard to really take it all in because it was opening weekend, and the place was crazy mobbed like black friday, but i did manage to get a few representative snaps on the ole iphone (check em out on my flickr). when i was a kid, it was shameful to buy second hand. now, it’s almost shameful not to. i like that.

and because i like that so much, i’m going to start holding a monthly goodwill oriented giveaway. i’ll give the details in a more official way in a few days, but for now, ransack your closets shelves and cupboards, and try to find the best thing you ever bought at goodwill. you’re gonna need that.





outrunning the repo man.

18 03 2010

economy, i tire of you.  the layoffs, the foreclosures, the whole hopeless mess. with a good chunk of my friends presently on unemployment, i feel pretty lucky to have a job, but still pretty nervous about the security of said job. economic turbulence = unrest. every day is a new day where the rug could get unceremoniously yanked out from under me at any moment, without hope for the cushy severance packages that people were getting before our little recession morphed into a full on downturn. it’s scary. but obviously scarier for the people who already had their rug yanked and are just trying to figure out how the hell to pay their rent.

but today isn’t really about that. surviving a layoff is a post for another afternoon (probably a series of posts). today, it’s about watching people that you love fall to rock bottom, and not knowing what the fuck to do about it.

so i have this friend who is a freelancer. which is basically code for  no insurance, no unemployment, no safety net at all…  i believe the word roughly translates to: “first person to get slashed when budget cuts are on the table”. back in 2007 before the economy had started to visibly wilt, she was pretty much kicking ass. in high demand, edging up to 6 figures, feeling positive about the future. she bought a moderately fancy car and a condo, and hit the tropics during slow season. then 2008 rolled around, and things started to sag a little.  but, she forged ahead like nothing was happening, attempting to keep up her standard of living while she was waiting for things to pick back up. but they didn’t. 2009 was was the worst. she was able to pick up bits and pieces of work here and there for food and gas the phone bill… but the big boys, the credit cards, and mortgage, and car loan started to fall behind and behind and behind.

fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. she was completely broke and totally freaked out, but she’d been so good. i never once saw her dodge a creditor, and she never stopped trying to find work. there just wasn’t any. so when the repo man came knocking for her vehicle…it wasn’t a surprise. $1,100.

she’s one of the nicest people i know… and i really wanted to give her the money… but i told her that i didn’t have it. even though if she ever read my blog, she would know that i do. i felt terrible, and i still do.  luckily, the fairy tale didn’t end too badly, and she found another more liquid friend to help her out of the financial pinch of the week. but what about the next car payment? or the pending foreclosure? she’s in serious financial trouble right now, and it’s probably going to involve some really serious life changes before the economy even starts to catch up. technically i have the money, but do i really? i have a rule that i never lend money that i can’t afford to say goodbye to permanently. i’ve worked so hard for my little nest egg (which is still pretty sad), and if i let it go, what happens when/if i lose my job?

did i do the right thing? am i being greedy?





already reduced.

30 01 2010

took a brief jaunt to the maine mall this afternoon, and it is not looking good over there.  as much as i’m enjoying the sales, never in my 32 years of life do i remember seeing so much stuff marked down to so little. not that it stopped me from picking up a cashmere sweater for $11 @ the gap (marked down from $98)…. but it was sort of sad, and made me wonder if the mall really has the razzmatazz to make it through this depress…i mean downturn.  on the upside, it appears that there’s some pretty kick ass sales going on this weekend:

the gap has racks and racks of good looking merch knocked down to $15 or less. I saw sweaters & tops for $5-$8. plus, you get an extra 25% off if you use your gap card.

ann taylor loft has a decent selection of moderately reduced sale goods including some cute jeans and dresses for $15-$40, and (for an indeterminate time) they appear to be offering an additional 50%.

express is a little euro-trash for my taste, but they have a ton of sale stuff right now, and i believe that they are also taking an additional 40% off sale prices.

macy’s as usual has racks and racks and racks of clothes marked down from 40-75% off (they even had some cute things in the teen ho section- i swear!).

victoria’s secret seems to be having a lite version of their semi-annual sale, with $2.99 underpants and $15ish bras.

if you’re in the market for running shoes, the sports authority has a ton of high end brands for %50 off. or if you’re looking to stock up, olympia sports is running a buy one get one 1/2 off deal on almost all of their athletic shoes.

forever 21 as usual has a whole room dedicated to crazy markdowns- although no more remarkable than usual, you can still get some pretty sexy stuff for under $10.

as previously stated, it was a brief jaunt, so i didn’t get a chance to go in everywhere. but it does appear that if you’re needing some mid-winter clothes, now is most certainly the time to hit the mall. makes a girl wonder, even if/once the economy does rebound- how long will it take consumers before they’re willing to pay full price again?