I make semi-regular visits to 5 thrift stores in Boulder because I can get most of my clothes there if I’m patient and also pick up occasional deals on other stuff: $3 for a weather-alert radio, $2 for a crank-powered emergency radio, $4 for a 500 ft. spool of 14AWG copper wire, $7 for a Calphalon sauce pan, another $7 for a Farberware pressure cooker–and on and on.
In the last few months, though, the shelves have gotten bare, and I can hardly imagine a better illustration of how low our confidence has gotten. The clerks tell me (let’s consider this just anecdotal proof, but the folks who clerk the thrift stores might be able to read the moods of the population better than anybody) that it’s a simple matter of people hanging on to their own stuff and looking hard for deals on the stuff they need.
And if that isn’t a sign of low consumer confidence, nothing is.
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