It’s so easy to buy into all this talk about not just recession, but a possible depression (like the one our grandparents or great-grandparents lived through). All everyday essentials are getting more expensive, the housing market has no hope in sight, and businesses of all kinds are being affected. So what’s new in my life?
Well, it seems as though my work-at-home job will probably be good through the end of the year, provided nothing too major happens. But I got a call today from one of my former co-workers at Carino’s Italian Grill (used to be called Johnny Carino’s) telling me that on Sunday night, about a half hour before the store’s closing time, the manager told everyone that the CEO of the franchise was coming in. So Louis shows up and tells everyone that that night was going to be the last night the restaurant would be open, that everyone needs to make sure their addresses on file are correct (for last paychecks, W-2’s, etc), and that they have one month to decide if they want to transfer to another store. (Did I mention that the nearest store is a half hour away, and the next nearest store is an hour away?) By the end of the night, the store was already gutted of booths, kitchen equipment, EVERYTHING. It’s only been gone for two days, but it looks as though it could’ve been abandoned for a year. Even though I’m not working there, I’m still a little sad. If I was still working there, I would be without a job on no notice at all.
It sounds like there’s trouble at some of the bigger companies, as well. A good friend of mine works for a major Silicon Valley company that anyone would recognize (I’ll leave the name out so she doesn’t get in trouble), and they’re having major layoffs there, as well. She is — understandably — pretty freaked out.
Even people who are farther ahead in the whole self-sufficiency/keeping it local thing are being hit by this thing. Little Homestead in the City — a downtown Pasadena urban homestead — reports that they will be “going into depression-era mode” soon because of the weird weather and a horrible economy. And Sharon Astyk, a New York farmer, is talking almost exclusively about this bleak future.
For now, we’re just trying to cut all unnecessaries (and believe me, there aren’t many of those left) and make ourselves less sufficient on the global food economy. But with a trash can full of empty cans, boxes, and bags, I’ve got a long way to go.