Posted by: Timothy Ellis (The Tim)

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market.

88 responses to “Desperately Searching for a Truly Positive Sign”

  1. Slumlord

    I am convinced that the hardship suffering caused by the Great Depression led to frugality and the respect for honest work and community support. I think our society will get back to that point in about 10 or 20 years after the current recession dips back downward into a depression. Your positive sign is that adversity brings out the best in people, eventually, after all the selfishness wears out.

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  2. Rojo

    BS
    People are people…they are the same everywhere, America, Europe or Asia. I have lived in multiple countries, so I can say that for a fact.

    pointless post – sorry……

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  3. Hector

    Tim, they have that 10% belief because they are lazy. it’s the same as the shoes, they expect someone else to do the work for them. They believe what the industry experts are telling them through the media (an always reliable source) instead of taking the time to do any research of their own.

    btw, Nordstrom Rack is always that big of a mess…

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  4. Ray Pepper

    In my opinion, I think who ever works that department should be fired. I cannot infer anything else from that picture. You can also shoot the same picture after a Hawk/Husky game in the bleachers. That will really leave your head spinning Tim.

    “I truly hope that we can somehow escape this economic death spiral of ever-increasing debt”

    …Absolutely. this housing crash lesson has given millions of Americans a very difficult lesson that will be remembered for two decades.

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  5. Slumlord

    RE: Rojo @ 2

    Rojo-

    I have also lived abroad and I travel as much as I can. The whole point of going to other places is because people are different. Yes, there are slobs and jerks everywhere. However, there is also a wide variation in their abundance. Some places are friendlier and cleaner than other places, and time (and circumstances) changes things as well.

    If one reads the Seattle Bubble narrowly, meaning that it is a purely real estate site, then the post is off topic. On the other hand, Tim started the site as a warning to his community. He did this out of care and respect for the place where he lives. Commenting on how that community behaves in public places, such as at stores, is a part of the larger purpose of the site, in my opinion.

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  6. wreckingbull

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 4 – Ray,

    I think it is going to take far more than a housing crash to change the prevailing value system. I think it is going to take cold hands, a grumbling stomach, and the ache of a 12-hour workday to really reset us. Sad, a little scary, but true IMO.

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  7. Kary L. Krismer

    I’m sure those customers would make excellent homeowners, and would keep their places up to the highest standards. ;-)

    Except for the time frame and outlook, I’d agree with Slumlord. I think the events of the past year plus will affect peoples’ behavior for years and years in many instances. But just as there are many people too lazy to put back shoes, there are many people who won’t have learned a thing.

    Finally, the shoe thing reminds me of the policy at some legal libraries. Some don’t want the customers to put back books, because they’ll put them back in the wrong spot, making them hard to find. Note that these books are almost all numbered (E.g. Washington Reporter 2nd, Vol 138), and that most the customers are attorneys.

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  8. patient

    As long as our government does not man up and take the consequences of huge mistakes and mismanagement and instead behaves like scared chickens who tries to fix debt issues with adding more debt I can’t see the common american behaving much better.

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  9. Kary L. Krismer

    By Ray Pepper @ 4:

    You can also shoot the same picture after a Hawk/Husky game in the bleachers. That will really leave your head spinning Tim.

    I once took a friend to a Hawks game who was a very neat person. Her apartment/condo was always spotless. Somewhere in the middle of the game she started to clean up the floor of the Kingdome near us (none of it our stuff). I told her to stop, because there was no logical place to stop cleaning.

    That said, those places are sort of designed to be cleaned up easily, and I think they’d rather you buy peanuts and drop the shells on the floor than not buy peanuts at all.

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  10. TJ_98370

    Whoa – I posted a link to Shiller’s New York Times article in the Monday Open Thread five minutes before you made your post, Tim. The duplication was unintentional.
    .
    Other than the unrealistic annual appreciation expectations, what I also find interesting is that Mr. Shiller sees the volatility of the real estate market as having turned many Americans into leveraged housing speculators attempting to time the market, similar to what many do with stock market investing.
    .

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  11. Ray Pepper

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 9

    Agree 100%……

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  12. Seattle Homes

    That picture is classic. Not sure if I would apply it to the economy as a whole, but it does provide a nice image to attach to the lack of responsibility many people take. Unless people are held accountable for the contracts they sign, the loans they fund, the job they have, the home they bought, we’re not going to turn around our economy very quickly.

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  13. bubblebuyer

    “will Americans finally buckle down, stop spending more than they earn, give up on get rich quick pyramid schemes, and learn to live within their means on a sustainable path to long-term prosperity?”

    The answer is yes but it won’t be because America makes the decision. Our economy has been hollowed out by our elected officials sacrificing American jobs to improve the lives of citizens of other countries. The value chain has been destroyed with the upstream manufacturing activities shifting to third world countries, leaving an economy 74% of which is based on pure consumption. We are lazy, stupid, believe we are entitled to a high quality of life and have an unquenchable appetite for low quality cheap imports form China. Unlike the Chinese who are hungry for success and have a culture of hard work and frugal living. It will be China, Germany and Japan that demand higher yields for buying federal debt once they see that the USA is trying to inflate it’s way out if its obligations or that debt has reached such an unsustainable level that the USA will never be able to pay it back. The implosion in the USA economy will be magnified as the treasury is issuing short term debt because it gets a lower interest rate. Consequently, it needs to re-issue this debt every 3 years or so to keep the ponzi scheme going. The result will be demand for fed debt will evaporate and the US will face immediate financial catastrophe. The dollar will collapse and interest rates will shoot up immediately, destroying what is left of the economy.

    One other point that sickens me. We are wasting time arguing about Obama care. The Baucus healthcare bill will supposedly cost $850 billion over 10 years. We are already pissing $380 billion a year down the toilet in interest payments on the national debt to China, Japan and Germany. This wasted money could fund the Baucus healthcare 4X over and then some.

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  14. AMS

    The Tim-

    Two things:

    1. You should have taken a photo of the Men’s section too. It has been my observation at Nordstrom’s Rack that the women’s section is always messier than the men’s shoe area. I don’t know, maybe there are fewer male customers? Maybe men need only try on a single pair, whereas women try on every pair and buy none? I have no idea. The downtown Seattle Rack seems to be well-kept, however. Maybe that says something about the downtown customers?

    2. Essentially you suggest that “people are lazy.” This needs further consideration. For example, we might be able to suggest that those messy shoes support workers, and thus greater employment. Of course this must be paid for by the customer, but certainly the customer who puts the shoes back will pay the same price as the customer who leaves the shoes on the floor. With that said, I once suggested to a truck driver that, “All truck drivers are lazy.” He took offense until I suggested that all people are lazy. Finally, let’s consider the gain of the person who puts the shoes back. There is little to no gain, especially in the light of the mess that exists, and thus why spend the effort?

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  15. melonrightcoast

    Tim, you have taken the words right out of my head. Fantastic post.

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  16. Dave0

    I agree that Americans need to learn how to be financially responsible in order to get out of this mess, but I believe that people will learn to be personally responsible for their finances from this current recession, just as those who lived through the Great Depression learned to be financially responsible.

    One positive sign that this is occurring: That negative savings rate that you mention above, which really only happened once in 2006, is back in the positive territory, and increasing during this recession. Below is a link to the data:

    http://www.bea.gov/national/nipaweb/Nipa-Frb.asp

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  17. Joel

    By AMS @ 15:

    For example, we might be able to suggest that those messy shoes support workers, and thus greater employment.

    What would be even better would be to go out and break a bunch of windows. The broken windows would need to be fixed and thus more jobs will be created fixing windows. I think you’re on to something here…

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  18. AMS

    RE: Joel @ 18 – Like the car thieves who suggest that the former owner gets a new car from the insurance…

    On a more serious note, I always go to a checkout where there is a live worker to check me out–I never use the self checkout. Why should I do all the work on an unfamiliar machine and pay the same price?

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  19. TJ_98370

    .
    The Tim said:
    .
    ……I truly hope that we can somehow escape this economic death spiral of ever-increasing debt, destroy the prevailing sense of entitlement, and return to a time when financial responsibility is admired and hard work is rewarded. I just have a hard time finding any evidence that we’re headed in that direction.
    .
    Part of the problem is that in today’s society those who can manipulate “the system” to their financial advantage with minimal effort are greatly admired and emulated. It seems you are gauged by how big of a pile of material possesions you have and how that wealth was attained is of little consequence.
    .

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  20. sead97

    Just like many children of the rich who grow up lazy, entitled and irresponsible, many Americans today grew up in the world where life was too easy. You could be uneducated, lazy and still live a middle class lifestyle far better than your parents. Well, that world is gone, but it will take a long time for people to really accept it. And some will never learn – they will continue to be sure it will return to the way it was.

    Debt is an addiction just like drugs and alcohol. You can’t have no willpower to control your spending and wake up the next day financially responsible. It has to be forced on you, and sadly today our government is being an enabler…

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  21. Kary L. Krismer

    By AMS @ 19:

    On a more serious note, I always go to a checkout where there is a live worker to check me out–I never use the self checkout. Why should I do all the work on an unfamiliar machine and pay the same price?

    Because it’s faster. And if you’re at Wal-Mart the machine has a better attitude.

    Unfortunately, I think the Renton Wal-Mart may have removed those machines. Not many people used them there.

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  22. AMS

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 22 – Maybe I am just too lazy? lol

    That said, I rarely shop in person at Wal-mart. The Wal-mart in Auburn and the older store in Federal Way seem to have a better clientele than that Renton store, as measured in average annual income where higher is better.

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  23. Back to basic

    Location location location. I shopped Wyo WalMart on the way back from east coast. Also shopped Renton one. What a difference. So shop a house is still: location location and location.

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  24. Markor

    RE: bubblebuyer @ 14

    No, the health care bill is predicted to reduce the deficit; i.e. it is predicted to pay for itself and then some. You’re mentioning the spending while ignoring the resulting savings.

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  25. Indy

    Shoe Picture = Broken Windows Theory?

    As far as debt – I’m increasingly convinced that solutions will not occur in America without some new disciplined political entity emerging – which I view as unlikely.

    You could prove me wrong and run for congress on a “responsible financial policies” platform though. You definitely have my vote. But I doubt you will, because the current state of civil participation probably disgusts you.

    Most of the best and bravest men I have known, who are deeply concerned for and dedicated to the welfare and strength of this nation, are nevertheless so intimidated or put-off by politics that they are unwilling to try their hand at making things better by running for public office.

    When the political processes of a great nation so successfully discourage its great men and women from participating in Democracy – it will, inevitably and unavoidably, cease to be great.

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  26. Markor

    RE: wreckingbull @ 6

    Alternatively, the richest could be taxed at 90+% and the minimum wage increased to $15.

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  27. td

    Great pic Tim!
    I love buying shoes at the Rack (shopping for GEMS as Ray would put it). IMO, part of the reason it is such a mess is because 1) there are usually more shoes on the shelf than the shelf is expected to hold, and 2) heels are meant to be stored in boxes, not on inclined shelves where they can topple over. I have witnessed many an occassion when 3 or 4 other shoes jam-packed on the shelf fall out in the process of reaching for the GEM. That said, I couldn’t agree more, people need to stop being lazy and careless!

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  28. Kary L. Krismer

    By Markor @ 25:

    RE: bubblebuyer @ 14

    No, the health care bill is predicted to reduce the deficit; i.e. it is predicted to pay for itself and then some. You’re mentioning the spending while ignoring the resulting savings.

    It’s hard to say what the enacted legislation will look like (other than nothing at all if nothing passes), but I think Seattle real estate has a better chance of appreciating over 10% for each of the next 20 years than any health care bill discussed has a chance of saving dollar one. I’ve heard very few ideas that will actually save money, although there are some that will save money for the government (e.g. mandatory insurance).

    Stated differently, I think the savings are largely pie in the sky, and if anything the bill will increase the percentage of GDP spent on health care.

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  29. Markor

    RE: AMS @ 19

    At some places, like QFC and Albertsons, you must endure longer lines for the live workers. That’s a reason I prefer Safeway.

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  30. hinten

    I think it is time to leave this blog.
    I didn’t mind your data intertwined with a certain fatalistic attittude over the last couple of years but you making the connection of laziness, lack of intelligence of people in general, shoe purchasing behavior and national and international economic development either reeks of stupidity at best or elitism at worst.

    I think it is elitism combined with bad assumptions.

    I know, I know, don’t let the door…

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  31. Markor

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 29

    Sure it’s debatable. There’s also potential savings or better service to each insured (you & me). The outcome will show whether the corporatocracy has a death grip on us and, if so, that I should ramp up plans to emigrate. I don’t intend to stick around if there’s no hope of retirement despite a good income.

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  32. Markor

    RE: hinten @ 31

    Considering all the folk who are crying now that they didn’t understand the loan docs they signed (and therefore ask, where’s my bailout?), you think that shows neither laziness nor lack of intelligence? All that was required to understand the pitfall of their loans was a middle school education and ten minutes of thought.

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  33. softwarengineer

    RE: Hector @ 3

    You Have a Point

    I’ve been to grocery stores where’s there’s two checkers working and 20 people impatiently in line waiting to get out of the store. Perhaps the store needs to hire more people and keep the racks cleaner….they’d likely sell more shoes too I imagine.

    The other side of the equation though….I had dinner with my daughter at the Auburn IHOP last night, as there was 6 people eating there and 8-10 waitresses, cooks, etc., working there. I felt like Ebenezzor Scrooge using the 2 for 1 coupon….LOL…we we’re treated like kings and queens though and the coupon was encouraged….

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  34. Jillayne

    Just heard the Senate Finance Commitee voted to approve healthcare.

    The picture illustrates why I don’t shop at The Rack; I have to sort through tons of crap only to find something I like that’s not available in my size while trying to avoid tripping over stuff on the floor. I’d rather pay more at Nord and pay for someone to put the boxes back on the shelves for me. That being said, I’ll gladly pay $245 for a pair of shoes that will last me 4 years and I’ll wear them every day instead of spending 2 hours at The Rack to find a cheap pair of shoes that are already out of style and will hurt my feet and back.

    Some of us had grandparents AND parents who lived during the Great Depression and all those frugal values have definitely been passed down to the next and next generation. My dad STILL tells stories about only eating corn on the cob for dinner and putting cardboard in his shoes and my daughters have been hearing them for years.

    Tim I think the change we’re seeking will happen gradually since the politicians seem hell bent on pushing everything into the future so we did not have to live through a major crash in 08. Unfortunately, the consequences of not re-living the Great Depression might be greater than if they would have just let the big banks fail.

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  35. S. Marty Pantz

    I have been watching some of those real estate shows on cable TV the past couple of weeks (HGTV?). It is interesting to see the difference in tone and approach of those from circa 2007 to the current 2009 episodes. Today’s episodes often having “mistakes I made” or “what a first-time home buyer would suggest to current house-hunters” type of thing. The older episodes have more of a “you gotta buy now!” or “I want it now at list price!” tone. It’s fun to watch.

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  36. AMS

    RE: hinten @ 31 – Is it any coincidence that people trash stores and there is a high prevalence of debt load that’s over-burdensome to so many?

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  37. bubblebuyer

    By Markor @ 25:

    RE: bubblebuyer @ 14

    The health care bill is predicted to reduce the deficit; i.e. it is predicted to pay for itself and then some. You’re mentioning the spending while ignoring the resulting savings.

    This may be predicted but the prediction is predicated on fraudulent assumptions and the typical smoke and mirror games played by congress. The bill is structured to start funding the bill 2 to 3 years before we would begin to deliver any services / benefits. Of course, over a 10 year time frame the bill would supposedly “reduce” cost because it has no cost against it for 20% of the time frame under consideration. Also the time value of money reduces the impact of future payments versus revenue flows today (Assuming the CBO is smart enough to even understand what a DCF is). Rerun the numbers over a longer than 10 year time frame and or align bill funding with delivery cost so they occur at the same time and see what impact that has on those supposed “savings”.

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  38. Dave0

    By AMS @ 19:

    On a more serious note, I always go to a checkout where there is a live worker to check me out–I never use the self checkout. Why should I do all the work on an unfamiliar machine and pay the same price?

    Simple, because sometimes its faster. There is usually a smaller line, and its one line for multiple checkouts, so it moves faster.

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  39. waitingforseattletocool

    RE: Jillayne @ 35

    I can understand your reasoning why you would not spend 2 hours searching for a pair a shoes that hurt your feet and back, but not the reasoning behind unwillingness to buy a pair of shoes that are “already out of style” when you are willing to wear them for 4 years, unless the Rack is only selling shoes that are 3.999 years old.

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  40. Dave0

    By Dave0 @ 40:

    By AMS @ 19:

    On a more serious note, I always go to a checkout where there is a live worker to check me out–I never use the self checkout. Why should I do all the work on an unfamiliar machine and pay the same price?

    Simple, because sometimes its faster. There is usually a smaller line, and its one line for multiple checkouts, so it moves faster.

    Looks like Kerry beat me to the punch saying essentially the same thing…

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  41. Markor

    RE: bubblebuyer @ 39

    What about over a 100 year time frame? Still no savings? I’ll wait to inspect the final reform plan; it’s too much in flux for my efforts now. Either the corporatocracy will score another win, enslaving us further, or else we’ll be on the road to becoming a more civilized nation. Even when the costs of reform are highly predictable it can be difficult to predict the savings, esp. the intangible ones.

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  42. Jillayne

    Hi waitingforseattletocool,

    The shoes I wear are specifically designed for people who spend a lot of time on their feet. I do a lot of public speaking. Last week I was on my feet at a convention for 13 hours straight.

    I love Dansko shoes because they have shock absorbers in the heels and the shoes are timeless when it comes to design. I switched this time to MBT shoes which are designed to take pressure off the heel and ball of the foot and put the weight on your arch and on your core muscles. The designs of these shoes are again, pretty limited and somewhat timeless. Anything fancy like odd, seasonal colors and seasonal designs are something I would pass by. Besides, heels are only for the bedroom and a good pair of black heels can last 10 years.

    I’m not the kind of person to buy six new pairs of shoes every season. I buy work shoes for more for function and quality, something passed down to me by my depression-era grandmother and dad.

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  43. Jillayne

    S. Marty Pants,

    I met the HGTV people at a convention in 2008 and told them they should consider doing a reality show about foreclosures! Show the viewers that yes, people can be foreclosed upon, yes, it’s tough but YES they can likely find a comparable house or even a nicer house for LESS rent and yes, there IS life after foreclosure and how their lives will be better as renters.

    There’s nothing wrong with renting and besides, more renters means more of a demand for investor-owners to rent out those homes.

    They said they didn’t want to do a downer topic like foreclosure because people watch HGTV to escape from their lives. In response, I told them that I was certain the show would attract viewers out of people’s desire to compare themselves to others. They would tell themselves “Well, at least we’re not as bad off as those guys.” Other viewers facing foreclosure would be able to see that life can get better after foreclosure! The person I talked to was a producer and still declined the idea.

    I agree, HGTV is out of balance with what’s going on right now.

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  44. PhinneyDawg

    I honestly don’t think there is much to infer from that picture at The Rack.

    First off, go to DSW, a gigantic shoe store (there’s one at Northgate) that sells shoes at quite a discount, much like the Rack. The women’s shoe section isn’t nearly as cluttered as the Rack because, 1) the workers constantly pick up boxes and put them back and 2) the shelves are laid out in a way that its very easy to put the boxes back.

    Second, this is the women’s shoe section. By and large, women are the ones who like to keep a tidey home in comparison to their male counterparts. Yet, by the logic of this article (and the reality that the men’s shoe section at the Rack looks pretty clean), one would conclude that women are the culprits of today’s economic ills and risky realty behavior. I don’t buy it though.

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  45. Kary L. Krismer

    By Jillayne @ 45:

    I agree, HGTV is out of balance with what’s going on right now.

    Only right now? It’s not called “house porn” for no reason. ;-)

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  46. Ira Sacharoff

    RE: Jillayne @ 44

    MBT shoes sure are weird looking, like they’d be impossible to walk in.( But I guess more comfortable looking than high heels). Do you find them comfortable?

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  47. TJ_98370

    By Jillayne @ 44:

    ……..Besides, heels are only for the bedroom and a good pair of black heels can last 10 years……. .

    .
    I did not know that. I’ve obviously been very sheltered.

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  48. Markor

    RE: Jillayne @ 45

    I like your idea!

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  49. Jillayne

    TJ_98370

    I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been so sheltered. I hope that wasn’t too much of a shock.

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  50. waitingforseattletocool

    RE: Jillayne @ 44

    All good reasons to be more discerning than shopping at The Rack.

    I just didn’t understand why you gave as a reason for not shopping at The Rack that the shoes were “already out of style”, when you where your shoes for 4 years?

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  51. Jillayne

    Ira,

    The shoes are very cool. They look odd, but they feel great. I refuse to wear those grandma-looking ‘comfy’ shoes. I need function and comfort but that doesn’t mean we throw style completely out the window.

    http://us.mbt.com/

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  52. Jillayne

    Hi waitingforseattle to cool;

    because the shoes I select don’t go out of style and the stuff at the Rack is typically seasonal.

    Hey guys, I’ve got to run; speaking at the state Realtor convention down at SeaTac this afternoon. My breakout session is on short sales. I was on twitter yesterday right from the Realtor attorney’s session. She said some awfully sobering things about Realtors who handle short sales! More later over on the open thread.

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  53. Kary L. Krismer

    By Jillayne @ 54:

    She said some awfully sobering things about Realtors who handle short sales! More later over on the open thread.

    Please don’t forget to post that. I’d be very interested in what was said.

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  54. HappyRenter

    By PhinneyDawg @ 46:

    Second, this is the women’s shoe section. By and large, women are the ones who like to keep a tidey home in comparison to their male counterparts. Yet, by the logic of this article (and the reality that the men’s shoe section at the Rack looks pretty clean), one would conclude that women are the culprits of today’s economic ills and risky realty behavior. I don’t buy it though.

    The men’s section of the rack is equally messy, too. There are theories according to which testosterone played a big role in the current economic crisis and that if the economy was run by women there would be less risky behavior. In the past, societies run by women were more peaceful.

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  55. Gameboy

    I have worked retail many many moons ago and the picture you have here tells you more about the store and the employees who worked there than the customers who shop there.

    It is up to the store to present their merchandise in the pleasing manner, not customers!!!

    This is why you have all those people working at the Gap constantly walking around and folding and refolding the clothes. I remember spending endless hours working at various department stores in my youth folding more clothes and organizing more racks than I care to remember.

    You take even the most POSH retail stores and don’t stock them with sales associates and this is what you get. This goes the same for US, Europe, Asia, anywhere.

    It is up to you to decide whether or not the savings you get from Rack is worth not having enough sales associates to keep the place clean. This really says NOTHING about our country as a whole. You are really diving deep on this one.

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  56. HappyRenter
  57. softwarengineer

    RE: bubblebuyer @ 39

    Bubblebuyer, Check Out this Funny Onion News Article on “Medicare Savings” Through Elderly Depopulation

    http://www.theonion.com/content/news/obama_health_care_plan_would_give

    I read this last week and couldn’t stop laughing and I’m a liberal type….LOL

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  58. Simi

    Well, I always try my best to leave things back the way they were. But, I do not believe it’s purely laziness that makes people not clean up at the store. There is a sense that the store is making enough money so it is the staffs job to do the clean up.

    Example my wife, who is slightly OCD like myself, goes to great lengths to clean the house etc, and reads through stacks of documents, does countless research before buying anything, rarely goes shopping (actually hates to step foot in a department store), has two or three pairs of dress shoes, still caries a no-name purse that she got as a gift while in college (close to a decade ago), but hates the idea of putting stuff back at the store. She believes that is not the best use of her time, and thinks that the responsibility of the people working there.

    So don’t assume that messy floor at a shoe shop is an indication of laziness. :-)

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  59. AMS

    RE: The Tim @ 61 – “How about the fact that most people would rather sit in their car idling for 2-3 minutes while someone with a close parking spot loads their car than just take the nearest spot and walk a few hundred extra feet into the store?”

    Have you been watching the parking lot at the local gym?

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  60. patient

    See the picture of the Rack shoes as Alt-A mortgages, they are not prime but not subprime either and it ends up in a big mess.

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  61. Mike

    Sheet,
    Shoes on the floor, WTF??, who cares!
    People in Seattle are SOOOO f-in uptight, unhappy, white and jelly-fish-like.
    Seattlites please…
    1- Learn to be happy
    2- Smile once in a while, it feels good.
    3- Unclench yourgoats muscles now and then. Its really good for you…

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  62. patient

    RE: AMS @ 62 – AMS, I have and it’s beyond any logic. People are prepared to work out for an hour but not to walk an extra 3 minutes…I’m not sure if it’s laziness or some kind of competetive instinct to “get ahead” or grab “a good spot” that relesses some “feel good” endorphins. I think people who immediately drive to the free parkings in the back have reached further on the evolutionary scale.

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  63. Ira Sacharoff

    RE: The Tim @ 61

    But that’s just it, and I think an area where you and I differ. I’m paraphrasing here, but I think your thinking goes something like ” People are stupid, selfish, and lazy, and should suffer the consequences of these behaviors”, and my thinking is ” There’s SO many of these stupid, selfish, and lazy people that they need to be rescued from themselves, or we may see society collapse.”
    The movie ‘ Idiocracy” comes to mind. If you haven’t seen it, it’s definitely good for a laugh.

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  64. per_se

    RE: The Tim @ 61 – I think what it’s really about has its roots in a lack of responsibility, willingness to sacrifice and immediate gratification. It just happens to manifest in things we would consider laziness. This notion of self exceptionalism that tells people they don’t need to sacrifice and save to get a down payment because they are better then that, I can get that house I want now.

    You can’t afford the monthly payment, well that subprime loan will let me get it anyway right now. I’m sure many people understood what they were getting into but the alternative of not getting what they wanted didn’t feel good. If you talk to people, many were never taught or understand the idea that working hard and sacrificing to get something is what you are supposed to do in a life and it makes you better for it.

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  65. Kary L. Krismer

    By The Tim @ 61:

    How about the fact that most people would rather sit in their car idling for 2-3 minutes while someone with a close parking spot loads their car than just take the nearest spot and walk a few hundred extra feet into the store?

    Or just walk through any parking lot and look at the dozens and dozens of carts that people just shoved up on the curb because they couldn’t be bothered to walk 50 feet over to the cart return.

    Yes, it’s true. I hacked The Tim’s password! ;-)

    (Those are two examples I gave earlier.)

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  66. Cheap South

    …..and that picture is from a Seattle Nordstrom. You don’t want to know what a similar store looks like in other parts of the country.

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  67. AMS

    RE: patient @ 66 – Hm. Some sort of “good feeling.” This reminds me of the people we grab all the “free stuff,” even if it is what most people would consider trash. Yes, everything has *some* use, but do we live like the untouchables India? In India almost everything is recycled. By the time something is tossed out, it really is trash. When asked, what are you going to do with that, I never really know how to interpret the answers of some people.

    Actually I do. The standard answer should be hoard it, store it for years, and eventually toss it.

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  68. wreckingbull

    I don’t know about you guys, but I ALWAYS call out people who leave shopping carts by their cars, instead of walking 20 feet to the cart corral. It is surprisingly easy to induce shame, so maybe there is some hope.

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  69. Rack

    “…..and that picture is from a Seattle Nordstrom. You don’t want to know what a similar store looks like in other parts of the country. ”

    That’s a Nordstrom Rack, not a Nordstrom store.

    Their shoe section always looks like a bomb went off them.

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  70. mukoh

    I shop the same rack, whenever I get a call that something new is there. FYI I leave my tried on right shoe on the floor. What is the big deal? I am a fast shopper, to make more productive decisions in my work then at a closeout store.
    BTW The wife puts her’s back on the shelf.

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  71. Ira Sacharoff

    I’ve seen these poor schleps working for the Rack putting shoes away, and the place is mobbed and will look like a disaster hit half an hour later. You can bet they’re glad to be an associate or team member, or whatever Nordstrom calls their serfs.

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  72. b

    Have you ever been to Ross or TJ Maxx? It is like a chocolatey clothes bomb went off, total disarray. I always expect to see UN peacekeepers rolling through.

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  73. Oswald

    Back when I was young, people put the shoes back on the rack!

    Sure they did,old man, sure they did.

    I don’t know why I keep coming back to this blog. It is more and more amateurish with each passing week.

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  74. TJ_98370

    By Oswald @ 77:

    Back when I was young, people put the shoes back on the rack!

    Sure they did,old man, sure they did.

    I don’t know why I keep coming back to this blog. It is more and more amateurish with each passing week.

    .
    Hey Oz, it’s a generalized observation about society.
    .
    I remember reading an article awhile back where the author stated that we have become a nation of slobs. I cannot remember much about the article now, but to support his point he published a photograph of fans attending a major league baseball game in the early 1900’s where all of the men wore jackets, white shirts, and ties!!!! Things have certainly changed over the years.
    .
    .

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  75. mukoh

    RE: Oswald @ 77 – Back when I was young I walked to school 5 miles in snow up the hill both ways year round. Now kids ride those damb yellow buses and live in actual houses with garages. What kind of country is that?

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  76. Scotsman

    The shoes? Lazy, selfish, privileged, irresponsible, unaware, uncaring, lack of pride.

    The economy? Current federal tax receipts are just barely enough to cover the military and the interest on the national debt. Everything else the government “buys” it has to borrow for. Think about that for a minute. All of the social programs (social security, Medicare, Medicaid, prescriptions, state aid, etc.), all of the federal regulatory programs, the parks system, the agricultural subsidies, the foreign aid, education, on and on. All of it is based on vapors, future hopes and promises that won’t be coming true.

    When the attitudes and behaviors that leave shoes on the floor collide with the economic reality about to crash down upon us, the herd, as they say, will be thinned. The need to survive both focuses the mind and selects out the weak.

    Meanwhile, the media and our leaders prattle on about plans that will never come to pass and an endless parade of personalities as if they were giddy high-schoolers. Reset can’t come soon enough.

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  77. Jonness

    By mukoh @ 74:

    I shop the same rack, whenever I get a call that something new is there. FYI I leave my tried on right shoe on the floor. What is the big deal? I am a fast shopper, to make more productive decisions in my work then at a closeout store.
    BTW The wife puts her’s back on the shelf.

    It’s a double-edged sword. My GF always returns the shopping cart back to the cart rack. When she does, I pleasantly remind her she is contributing to the destruction of a hard up person’s minimum wage job. I will return the cart if the rack is close; otherwise, I push it to a safe out of the way place where the hired cart pusher can retrieve it.

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  78. mukoh

    RE: Jonness @ 81 – Same, if the cart rack is a couple of spots away I will roll it there, if its not I put the cart up on the curb or somewhere it doesn’t roll from.

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  79. Scotsman

    “Oct. 13 (Bloomberg) — Washington state will cut the size of its tax-exempt bond offering by 36 percent after borrowing costs rose from a 42-year low.

    The state that is home to Microsoft Corp. will shrink a planned $875.7 million offering tomorrow to $563.9 million, said Chris McGann, a spokesman for the treasurer’s office in Olympia. Washington is rated AA+ by Standard & Poor’s, Aa1 by Moody’s Investors Service and AA by Fitch Ratings.

    State and local government bonds extended their declines today, pushing higher benchmark yields tracked in a daily survey by Municipal Market Advisors of Concord, Massachusetts. Yields on 10-year debt rose 6 basis points, the most since June 10, to 3.16 percent. A basis point is 0.01 percentage point.

    Morgan Stanley Smith Barney said dealers are becoming less willing to take on inventory that may undermine a profitable year. Issuers plan to sell about $8.5 billion of fixed-rate bonds, down from the eight-week high of $11 billion last week, based on data compiled by Bloomberg.

    Washington originally planned to sell $1.38 billion of general obligation securities this week. In addition to the tax- exempt debt tomorrow, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. are to market $500 million in taxable Build America Bonds Oct. 15, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The issues will fund capital improvements and refinance debt. “

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  80. S. Marty Pantz

    This article kinda ties in: ‘Lunacy in Las Vegas': http://www.cnbc.com/id/33310096

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  81. Costco Mike

    RE: mukoh @ 82
    RE: Jonness @ 81

    Mukoh-
    But it doesn’t stop the cart from rolling and denting a car and it blocks the view around corners so there is higher chances a small child will get hit by a car that is moving to fast or an un-attentive drive. (I personally have had the horror of witnessing this) I have seen people go out of thier way to not put a cart back even walking farther to put it on a curb. Some of those people even come in asking to have the dent from someone leaving thier cart out paid for as well. The curb can hold it but when you decrease the open space for cars to drive because one cart on the curb means everyone will follow suite makes the parking lot more dangerous for children, the workers, customers, and personal property.

    Jonness-
    Yes you take the extra 15 seconds or so away from that person making minimum wage by walking your cart to the coral but they are scheduled to be there anyway so whether they keep the parking lot looking nice or spend more time cleaning up single carts or not. But it does add time at the end of the day if it is busy meaning they stay at work and not spend as much time home with thier family so really you don’t add any value to thier lives. Some would say you take value for your own benifit. I have made over 20$ an hour pushing carts in lots and I did a survey for a sociology class about 6 years or so ago. The number 1 reason people claimed they didn’t put thier carts away was: “I am just lazy” it was a staggering 73% of the 350 people I polled for 2 weeks.

    But Tim I can give you some comfort for this dissapointment of social standards. Most of the children that I polled when asked about putting your cart away said it would be mean not to put something back where it goes. About 86% of children under 12 had that response. So at some point when we get older and supposedly gain more intelligence is where the problem lies.

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  82. k2000k

    Tim, I was in China last year and visiting the retail stores I saw the same thing. I do agree that there are many individuals that are lazy, irresponsible, and suffer from the undeserved entitlement syndrome. However, I think that it is an example of a rotten few, granted it is a higher proportion than in the past.

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  83. wreckingbull

    RE: mukoh @ 82Do you leave a toilet full of pee in a public restroom? Hey, gotta keep that janitor employed, right?

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  84. mukoh

    RE: wreckingbull @ 87 – Naaa, More then pee. Think of No. 2 after lunch at the Met. Its a huge floater, lots of grease.

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