Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Bumpy Road.

"Home Prices Seesawing." Bulletin, 9/15/11.

Check out that graph; up one month, down the next, up the next, down the next.

A "Bumpy Road" graph is what I'd call that. If you could imagine the arc of your tires on a bumpy road, that's how it would look on a graph. Doesn't really tell you if the road is going up or going down.

The very epitome of bumping along the bottom.

Another headline trumpets that foreclosures are falling, but another headline talks about how stricter standards make it difficult to get a mortgage.

Look, I understand the desire to try to see a pattern in all this. As a retailer, I look at my month to month sales and try to get a read on the future.

But, really, I know better. For instance, I'm about to have three months in a row higher than the previous year, but...I'm not reading too much into it. It's mostly about bumping off previous lows.

My best advice to everyone is quit looking for a recovery. I think we're a long ways from that. And --believe me -- you'll know it when it is really happening. It's not really happening.

In the past market slowdowns (admittedly, I'm talking slowdowns in sales of product lines in my store) the sales didn't seem to recover until after I'd given up looking for them to recover.

Because by then, I'd gotten on with things, I'd found other ways to do my business, instead of forlornly waiting for things to change.


H. Bruce Miller said...

Did you see the op-ed piece in The Bull yesterday by some guy in Sunriver? Most of it was devoted to chastising The Bull for whining about the Bank of America beating up on it, but near the end he said this:

"Our community’s leaders must take a hard look at the region’s economy, and without the rosy glasses. They must face the reality that there are too many obstacles to doing business here and too many other communities outside Oregon that welcome and encourage all businesses — not just the politically correct ones — and these communities have plenty of days of sunshine, outdoor activities and spectacular views as well."

Hallelujah! At last, a voice of sanity!

Although I don't think it's a fair rap to say Bend only welcomes "politically correct" businesses (what the hell does that mean, anyway?) the rest of it is spot on.

Duncan McGeary said...

But he also blamed "regulations, taxes, and land use laws" as inhibitors to small business.

Which are hobgoblins. I've not put 5 minutes of thought into regulations, nor do I think my taxes are any more onerous than anyone else's and thank god for land use laws. (Not that anyone pays any attention to them)

H. Bruce Miller said...

Agreed. It's ridiculous to claim that business in Bend, of all places, is stifled by regulation. The city government here ties itself into a pretzel trying to accommodate businesses. And the Tax Foundation (a conservative group) consistently rates Oregon in the top 20 in terms of the favorability of its tax system to business.

I think many businessmen bitch about taxes and regulation just as a matter of conditioned reflex.

Anonymous said...

Let's be honest here, the way great fortunes are made is theft.

When these PUGlican's bitch about regulations, what they're saying is they can't build a casino on top of bachelor-butt, that they can't build an under ground aquarium under the deschutes river, that they can't build a disneyland in dutchman flats.

Dunc is spot on, small biz man, rarely dwells on 'regulation', this is a burden only on BIG-TIME property developers like the folks who own sunriver,black-butte, or own bachelor-ski resort.

In the PUG mind all great fortunes are made by stealing public property, and privatizing the profits. Anybody that stands in their way is a problem.

Small biz creates almost all jobs, the reason there are no jobs of course is that BIG-BIZ long ago exported all manufacturing to asia. High-Tech has slowly automated ALL jobs. Small biz creates the majority by filling the niche, while big-biz forms the big-base its always only a 1/3, the 2/3 small biz is where individuals play. Areas too small for big-biz.

But full swing back to our essential ARGUMENT, as high-tech entrepreneur myself. I'll repeat, that I never came to Bend in 1960 for other than a basecamp, I stayed for 40 years. I came for the outdoors, which I saw destroyed by developers. In my mind if I wanted to make MONEY, SF, LA, PDX, SEA was NEVER far away, everyone I know from microsoft, apple, oracle, intel, ... all played in Bend, and nobody ever wanted to bring their work where they play, like shitting in your yard. GOOD HIGH tech jobs will never come to Bend, largely because first you have to have world class high-ed which Bend will never have.

So there will NEVER be good jobs in this dying resource town, all you'll have is PUG's trying to privatize public forest land, and develop it for a quick buck, with the BULL acting as an agent.

Sadly I see Bend only getting worse, in a depression all will be sold and auctioned off to the BULL-SLUTS.

Policial-Correctness is largely a past-time of women in ts-eliott poetry. So there is no hope for a voice for the wilderness, if I could call anything near Bend wilderness as all has been destroyed.

Anonymous said...

See-Sawing is it what you see before a total collapse.

Bend hasn't even begun to address its dark-matter, or its dead-matter.

Keeping shit off the market and waiting for a correction.

Yep bumping along road, but the cliff is ahead. Jobs no where to be seen, and no future for 2nd homes, as their is now no hope of easy money return's. Lastly, the 'retirement' fantasy, where in my mind the majority still justify their 2nd bend home, in the name of 'retirement'.

Utility's and taxes will sky-rocket. Simply because the system, MUST fuck the few who can be fucked. Everyday will make the mid-west or asia ( or anywhere but Bend ) look better&better. Probably a biggie is healthcare, and essential insurance. Which can eat you alive, but elsewhere cost essentially NOTHING.

Why 'retire' in Bend only to see 10% of your net-worth evaporate yearly, with an ROI of less than zero on your 'investments'.

Finally there are those with fixed 'pensions' government and/or private, and they'll will be gone in the name of austerity. The 'retirement' racket in Bend has no future.

RDC said...


You don't have to worry much about regulation because your business is basically yourself and some part time employees.

Try being a small business with a number of full time employees. Which remember small business by definition can be those with several hundreds of employees.

Keep in mind the costs when you cross over 50.

Try being in manufacturing with conflicting state and federal regulations (in some cases directly opposite with each other).

Is your store fully in compliance with ADA? I would expect it is not with its rules about accessability, aisle widths, space for turning a wheel chair, counter heights. If not just be thankful you haven't run across the vultures that go around just looking for business to sue for lack of compliance. Hate to see how your store might be impacted if your display space was reduced by 20% if you had to remove display cases.

Have you had a fire marshall check out your store lately? Are you in compliance with fire safety regulations. What are their requirements for aisle width?

A lot of your items are manufactured in China. Have all of them been tested under the new federal law concerning lead? Do you have any liability if you sell them and they have not?

As they say ignorance is bliss.

RDC said...

good thing you are not in California otherwise you would having to comply with SB 657 which would require you to:

1. Verifies its product supply chains to evaluate and address risks of human trafficking and slave labor.

2. Conduct audits the retailers conduct to ensure its suppliers adhere to company standards.

3. Certification by the retailer’s direct suppliers that materials used to make a product are from countries that do not engage in slavery and human trafficking.

4. Maintenance of internal accountability standards for employees or contractors that fall short of the company’s requirements.

5. Ensure that employees who are responsible for supply side management receive training on human trafficking and slavery, with a focus on the risks within supply chains.

Yep stay very small and you avoid most of the employee based regulations. Don't try and manufacture anything and you avoid most of the environmental ones. Don't try and build any buildings and you avoid zoning, environmental impact, regulations. Hope that an employee or a customer doesn't get hurt and bring you to the attention of OSHA or the state equivalents. Hope do don't get sued under ADA or other similar types of regulations that are almost impossible to be fully in complaince with.

Unfortunately most small businesses, atleast the ones that actually create jobs are not a single owner with a couple of part timers and they do run into regulations in almost every thing they do.