Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A slow Tuesday...

I've always used the phrase, "A slow Tuesday in February," as an example of how slow business can get in Bend.'s March, but pretty close.

By 4:00 yesterday, I've done all of 12.00 business.

I'm stewing over it for the first few hours. It's extremely hard to keep your equanimity when it's that slow, much less be gracious about it.

I broke out my calculator, and redid the numbers -- again -- and realized I was just fine. It's interesting, with each ramp downward in sales, I can see that I've still got a big cushion, that it adjusts naturally -- less sales, equals less orders, etc. and that my overhead is low enough to keep me going at even at much lower totals.

I was just writing off the day, and in walks the customer with the most comics on his shelf -- which equal exactly my daily average.

My daily average has been fine. So either I can see this customer bonanza as a fluke, and the slow day was a harbinger, or see it as part of business (for instance, he could have come in on an average day, and it would have made a bigger day, but either way affects the average in the same way...

I don't need too many negative harbingers to be careful, frankly.

Not only is the unemployment rate bigger today than it was at the height of the Reagan recession, but I have to believe that there are lots of folks unemployed not reflected in the numbers.

The worse of the '80's were still to come when we hit that high number, through 1988 if I remember rightly. I was riding the sports card roller coaster back then, but I do remember every customer was golden -- I remember nearly needing to make a sale with every person walking in the door, even if it meant making deals that helped in the short run, but hurt in the long run.

I'm in much better shape today.

I built for this slowdown even better than I knew. I saw it coming, and it sufficiently frightened me to make enough changes. I was saying to a customer yesterday, in the 25 years I've owned the store, this kind of slowdown would have been deadly in about 20 of them.

In a way I haven't realized until now, our credit card problems in the '90's inoculated me to the temptations of debt, of taking on more than I can handle, and of living within my means.
I feel as though the rest of the world is just waking up to the way I've been thinking for the last half decade or so....

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