This a first. I've used an illustration in this blog. I thought about just typing in the square footage, to keep my prose purity, but this graph just speaks volumes.
I had a couple of reactions to this graph.
One was, "Holy Shit, I hope people don't stop shopping!"
The second was, "No worries, Bend. Kohl's is on the way."
I've maintained all along that Bend is over-retailed. I just wish I could find out how much square footage we have....
Anyway, a more nuanced examination...
We got lots of space here in the U.S. I suppose, you can throw up these huge cheap boxes and make them cost effective. Kind of like, every time I wonder if I should somehow streamline my internet activities, I realized, no --- the internet is effectively infinite. And so we can just keep this ponzi scheme of store building going and going.....
Secondly, we've fallen into this weird sort of situation where it appears to me that the rest of the world loans us money for us to buy the goods they make. Not sure how that works. But these stores are absolutely full of crap we don't need.
God, I hope the rest of you never become like me, (non-consumer) or me and every other store I know of is doomed.
But not surprising that everyone in in such deep debt.
There was an article in the Bulletin this morning about how hard it is to get a business loan. Now, I had no intention of going to the bank to ask for money, but I'm wondering if I shouldn't take some of the cash I'm paying off the credit cards each month and keeping it. Not spending it, but stashing it.
Just in case. You know, if they suddenly withdraw the offer. Because even though I rarely have to resort to emergency borrowing, it seems prudent to me to have the capacity. I can still get the credit cards paid off, but not until I have more of a cushion in place.
There is another article about a 'poor' homeowner, too. By Gretchen Morgenson. (Who the website Calculated Risk is constantly badgering, even having a designation of "Picking on Poor Gretchen." I think they're too hard on her. I believe, in fact, that she's more right than wrong about her stance on Heloc's: her take was more like mine, and CR was more like RDC, if you will.)
But the reporters always seem to pick the worst examples. Maybe there aren't any good examples. Maybe everyone who got in trouble was stupid or greedy. Makes you wonder.
Meanwhile, here in Central Oregon. The first house has sold at Yarrow. Linda and I took a drive over there last year, and this is a large development.
I doubt that the profits from one house would pay for the yearly office expenses.
They've sold something like 9 or 11 houses over at the Iron Horse; which probably paid for the transportation costs, and maybe the water bill.
They're waiting for the turnaround? Good luck with that. If they can sell a house a year, they ought to be able to afford the water trucks to spray the dirt and keep down the dust and tumbleweed.
(Clint Eastwood music......the true western experience.... Shane! Shane! Come back Shane!)
Meanwhile, not a peep in the paper about the vaunted opening of Tetherow golf course. By the world famous gold developer, Kidd! Who opened a new course at St. Andrews! The kick off to a world class development?
There's a story there. The silence speaks volumes.
Then there is the nice article reproduced over at Bendbubble2 about how people who have less money tend to spend it on showier stuff. That there is an inverse proportion to income and how big the jewelry, cars and McMansions they buy.
So....would that explain all the huge, flashy SUV's and McMansions in this town? I've always had my doubts about people's ability to pay for these things; a suspicion that it was borrowed money.
And finally, I leave you with this, which I found kind of humorous. In the Names in the News section of the Bulletin: Jessica Lange is trying to sell her house in Stillwater, Minn:
"....Lange spoke with disappointment of changes in Stillwater. She says it went from a little town with lots of characters to a "yuppified" place with too many gift shops and condominiums."
Snort. Oh, did she say lots of character or lots of characters?...either way.
This is my town, come hell or high water.
But if we truly have rich folk in Bend, they'll think nothing of splitting if we start to look rundown. That's what I think, anyway. It's not about the town, you see....it's about them.
5 days ago