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consumer's mood

milandro

Well-Known Member
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2,483
Today the researcher of the Central Bureau for Statistics in the Netherlands have announced that the consumer
confidence is at an historical low point.


I am not asking for political evaluations but just asking you what is your mood like as a consumer.

Are you more or less likely to buy a new house, a new car, a new saxophone, to go on holiday?

Are you spending less than usual for food, clothes, presents

Are you (more than usual) saving for a rainy day? If you are doing this are you buying precious metals?

Remember I am just interested in your behaviour as a consumer not in he politics behind it all.
 

Clivey

Well-Known Member
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1,022
I have mothballed all my business dealings since the end of Feb 12. I had to make the decision based on a massive drop in turnover over the last 5 years. The way I saw it. The UK recession has not ended and I did not want to be forced into bankruptcy so I have put all my business on hold with an intention of either a new startup say in a couple of years time if things improve . Or a Plan B.
It`s a hard game selling anything everywhere and you really need to find a niche.

Re metals. I sold my stash of silver bullion at the beginning of the year which I had bought about 4 years ago when the market was lower . I yielded 300%. I godam wish I had bought more, but that is always the way.

I can`t believe people buying Silver / Gold at the price they are at the mo but obviously some folks don`t rate currency. especially Euro and $

Oh well getting close to being political so Over and Out
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
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3,409
As a long time married couple we have always tried to treat recessions and economic down turns as if they didn't exist and carry on doing as we have always done.the thinking behind this Is that the more people do this the sooner the recession is likely to end keep the money going round as it were,but this time after the longest recession I can remember and with little hope of an end in sight we have started to seriously cut back on everything we do including the weekly shopping and anything we intend to spend on....john
 

Wade Cornell

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2,140
How about a philosophical reply that's not political?

I can't see how it's possible for the current economic practices/theories to continue. Everything seems to be based on the idea that continual growth is necessary. There is a direct correlation between growth and the use of power and raw materials. The obvious is that neither of these are unlimited. Figures like 3% growth are considered average or "good". If I remember correctly this = TWICE as much power and raw materials that could be consumed in less than 30 years. This is quite simply unsustainable and impossible. It seems that the world and its political institutions are blind to this obvious reality and wish to continue with a corporate style attitude of only looking at this quarter's profits (GDP or whatever measure you'd prefer). We can not consume ever more as there is a finite underlying reality. Unfortunately I have not heard any government promoting a policy of sustainability when it comes to basic Economic Policy. Until that reality hits it seems that we will see more band-aid policy to "stimulate growth" and unfortunately exacerbate the problem. The world needs to realize that the consumer party is over and that we need to all get by on less.
 

milandro

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2,483
Wade’s philosophical considerations on the obvious impossibility to continue proceeding with a model of infinite vertical growth (how about an horizontal one for a change!?) is very acute and no doubt, if expanded, would bring us necessarily to become political, nevertheless, it is a very serious idea to privately reflect upon.

In any case, suffice to say that for everything else but economy we intuitively all know in layman terms that what goes up must come down (and what inflates will, some time or other, burst) and that Perpetuum mobile is an illusion. (but please let’s not elaborate into a political thread otherwise this will be a very short lived one).

I an not a wealthy man and perhaps for this reason, since I have not much to defend in terms of capital that I have or might accumulate, I keep on spending whatever little money I have in more or less the same way that I always do or have done, recession or no recession.

I simply do the things that I can afford when I can afford them and need or want.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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...(but please let’s not elaborate into a political thread otherwise this will be a very short lived one).
Yes. I'm having to be really quiet here, cos all I want to do is be political. To quote G&S "A policeman's lot is not a happy one"

I'm pretty negative at the moment. But I agree we need to start thinking in terms of what's sustainable that we use. Our throw away, high energy consumption lifestyle is not sustainable. Never has been. And we're really creating a wreck for our descendants. I hate to think how historians will refer to the 21st century - we're out of the information age, and into the squandering age in my book.
 

jonf

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3,680
Nearly thirty years ago I went to the London School of Economics, where I successfully completed a degree in Economics. The main thing that taught me is that most of what is peddled as economics in bunk.

Some thoughts.

Wade talks about a form of Malthusianism. This crops up at pretty much every recession, as it has since Malthus was writing in the early 1800s about how population growth will inevitably outstrip resources. Growth really relates to trade within or between countries and is not solely dependent on the consumption of raw materials - far from it in a service sector based economy such as the UK.

Interest rates are, in the UK, essentially zero. So if you have a mortgage and work in the private sector your real disposable income has risen over the last three years as mortgage costs have fallen.

If you have paid off your mortgage and are a net lender, not a borrower, your income has fallen due to low interest rates. If you also happen to work in the public sector your income has fallen further as real term pay cuts have been applied for the last two years.

Employers groups report both a difficulty in recruiting good staff and very poor consumer confidence (or to put it another way, sales). However, unemplyment is starting to fall.

So, some groups should have high levels of consumer confidence, others less so. But the poor levels of confidence reported seem to be across a wide sector of society. This is where economics breaks down as a financial science and only makes sense as a social science. If you tell everyone that times are going to be very hard, they defer expenditure and a recession becomes a self fulfilling prophesy.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
We have not really affected by the recession as we have never been in debt, and have always lived within our means. Work & income has continued to develop/expand. Main effect on us has been to shop with a keen eye on price, which is easy enough given an imperfect market, but retain an awareness that if everyone stops buying things then unemployment will increase, and not everyone benefits. More likely to go to gigs & pubs rather than restaurants, which works well!

Did Economics up to 1st year degree level but stayed with Theology with Theological Ethics to Masters level, and both inform my thinking and practice.
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Supporter
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13,973
How about a philosophical reply that's not political?
Yes. I'm having to be really quiet here, cos all I want to do is be political. To quote G&S "A policeman's lot is not a happy one"
As "chief superintendent" I would like to say that philosophical replies are fine here. The no politics rule applies to mainly to discussion of party politics, criticism or promotion of political parties, governments, regimes etc. Basically anything that can cause the thread to become inflammatory.

It would be nice if we could have political discussions, but as long as they do stay on the side of philosophy and even economics we should be OK with this one.
 

navarro

Senior Member
Messages
863
As a retired person living off pensions, interest on capital invested etc. I have not consciously cut down on my spending, however for the first time I am comparing prices.

This was brought about by my bank who record in summary form income in, income out, normally income in exceeds income out. For the first time two months ago they were at the same level even though I had not done any specific extra spending.

So I decided to analyse my receipts and shock horror the basics, food showed a dramatic increase. I was fully expecting my fuel bills to be the offenders but as a percentage the increases were much lower than the percentage increase in food costs.

So I took it a step further and made a special note of selected items of what I consider to be the basics IE bread, beverages meat and poultry and vegetables. I carried this out over a course of three weeks using a supermarket which caters to the middle income bracket. I recorded increases in the basics over the first week ranging from a low of two and a half percent to a high of eight percent.

At the end of the three week trial this had not gone down nor had it risen with the exception of wheat products which hit a high of eight and a half percent.

I decided to take this a stage further and sent an email to the said supermarket and I have to admit told them a little white lie, namely I was a student of economics carrying out research into world fuel prices with particular emphasis on the effect it had on bulk purchasing and transport of same. I did not even get acknowledgement of my email.

My next move was to ask questions at grass roots IE managers and supervisors on the shop floor. The stock answer was `We do not dictate price policy it comes from head office.` fair comment.

One assistant manager stated it was due to staff costs and the price of oil but would not elaborate further, but did say that they offset increases with special offers. My conclusion to all of this is if the price of the basics necessary to survive are going beyond the reach of the middle income consumer a domino effect is set in motion curtailing consumer purchasing power be it within the range of investment, clothes, cars etc.

My final observation on all this is, living in a moderately wealthy area of London the rise and rise of the pound shops and what used to be referred to as pawn shops which now come under many different names and guises. Keep smiling:D:):( Regds.N.
 
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thomsax

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3,801
Are you (more than usual) saving for a rainy day? If you are doing this are you buying precious metals?
Yes. I buy brass that is shaped as a saxophone. And I've been doing this for the last 35 years!! So I'm ready for rainy days. :)
 
Messages
70
wasnt it Mark Twain that said there are Liars,Damned Liars and Statisticians.....on a little whim i always add "and Politicians" to the end of that quote
as Navarro has just pointed out over a 3 week period his essentials rose by maybe an average of 3 to 4 percent
over here you could add a bit more because of the little stretch of water between us
we were told just a few days ago great news inflations down from 4 to 2.8% halleluyah lets rush to the shops !!!!
now is it just me being thick or has anyone else noticed that is per month
doesnt that really mean inflation per annum is maybe around 24 to 30 per cent ???yet pay increases are per year...it makes an ever increasing society of empty pockets...i see it particularily in our off licence with sales falling every week

this is all too depressing ...i`m off to blow the familys inheritance....1 tank of diesel and a weeks grocerys should just about see it off
 
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kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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21,947
wasnt it Mark Twain that said there are Liars,Damned Liars and Statisticians.....
Nope, was Benjamin Disraeli and is actually "Lies, damned lies, and statistics". But Twain was fond of using it.

now is it just me being thick or has anyone else noticed that is per month
It's you. I'm not sure about NI, but it's usually calculated using the index for the same month in the previous year. So look on it as May compared to May - one year overall. It's good done this way because it takes into account seasonal variations and stops them from distorting the figures.
 
Messages
70
thanks Kev it just feels like its a monthly rise but Glad to hear its me thats Thick as a plank...i should be locked up for my own safety as we`ve so often discussed:)


Hi Milandro

i nipped back in here in a busy morning because my last was a flipant answer which is now bothering me so from a ground level view in a working class / lower middle class area theres at least once a week im approached by someone asking about a vacancy here
many of these are graduates with degrees wanting a part time job at minimum wages
at least twice a week someone comes in to tell me theyre just about to be or have just been made redundant......it saddens me greatly..
.im just about to lose one of my shop family..young lad with a bachelors degree in philosophy... often lectures in it..speaks fluent japanese/cantonese and is leaving to teach English in Japan..no worthwhile jobs here....
Im replacing him with another young guy taking a year out having finished a degree in chemical engineering and extremely grateful to be given the opportunity to find work evenings and weekends for £5.80 an hour...
profits are falling ..the sales of expensive stuff is stalling almost completely whilst sales of the cheap rot gut are increasing dramatically..every hour i see people who shouldnt be drinking at all coming in for crap they cant afford and like i say this isnt a badly off area by any stretch of the imagination
its a bad situation which i imagine is being repeated everywhere across the country
their boss as you can see is a total thicko with a few o levels to his name who has been exceptionally lucky enough to so far never had a days unemployment benefit since leaving school at 17...which means i cant help but feel theres a terrible amount of very unfair injustice out there and its not going to change for a very long time to come
i hope this is some help to your project


and anyway Kev i can barely read..... so the financial times to me is just for swatting flies....or hanging on a nail in the smallest room.>:)
 
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milandro

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2,483
Interesting how the majority of the economies which previously were centred on the production of goods are now depending on the financial markets and even these, when once they reflected the value of goods and services being traded in the world now are more and more reflecting the hyperbolic value things which value is highly debatable (how much is facebook worth and why?)

So we have been long engaging in the business of creating figures, numbers, both for the debts ad the credits of anybody and anything but what the real value of these things is really an undetermin-ed-able quantity.

So both, countries and people now base their “ wealth" on debts, the height of which is just a (high) figure and doesn’t necessarily reflect the value of whatever the debt represents......that at least until the time comes to show our hand and the aces we thought we had might turn all into 2’s.....


On the infinite growth model I can say that the current growth model has hit one of its problems and that is that any economic growth comes to a energetic cost and that the quantity of available energy is limited is a given and that is not Malthusianism ( I have been studying economics too........albeit Agricultural Economics)


We can realise a certain improved performance by a better use of the resources that we have and use but ultimately it is like running a car, the more gas you give the quicker the gas will finish and maybe you can use the gear changes better and lay off the air conditioning but if you want to go fast you will use your petrol quicker and run short.

At the same time the economic growth seems to come at a cost and that is that the more we grow the longer we stretch the line that it is growing.

In other words we might “ grow" , but some people “ grow" a lot faster than others and the more we grow the wider the gap is between those on top of the growth line and the bottom. The so called Great Divergence has showed this phenomenon to be of increasing significance since the early ’70.
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Supporter
Messages
13,973
Are you more or less likely to buy a new house, a new car, a new saxophone, to go on holiday?


Are you (more than usual) saving for a rainy day? If you are doing this are you buying precious metals?
Just yesterday, we went for a walk on our "local" beach, and spotted some beach huts. Thinking it would be nice to have one of those, and possibly a reasonable investment, we enquired of the estate agent the price:



£126,000
 

Clivey

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,022
Just yesterday, we went for a walk on our "local" beach, and spotted some beach huts. Thinking it would be nice to have one of those, and possibly a reasonable investment, we enquired of the estate agent the price:



£126,000
Well that.. Mr Thomas sums up what the problem is in the UK. Greed.


On a side note. Up until about 20 years ago We still had people living on our beach in the Caves. They are all free now. If you like I`ll sell you one cheap. Good natural reverb for renditions of " Stranger on the shore" .
Only problem is the Rabid Bats .
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
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3,409
Just yesterday, we went for a walk on our "local" beach, and spotted some beach huts. Thinking it would be nice to have one of those, and possibly a reasonable investment, we enquired of the estate agent the price:



£126,000
that's location location location to a T

I agree whole heartedly with what wade said in that this attitude of growth must at all cost be maintained because the large companies feel that no growth is actually decline is actually rubbish and a stable attitude is far more realistic. you always have to remember that to make things worse this attainment of growth is actually a compounding thing and not just a steady increase because they always want x% increase on what the figures were last year and so it has to be bigger and bigger every year,unfortunately for us ordinary mortals they generally feel that sacking large numbers of staff is an easy way of achieving this goal,untill they realise the error of there ways that they can no longer function with the staff levels they have and no one is buying their products anymore because they are all poverty struck and on the dole,I believe that Albert Einstien had something to say about compound interest....john

ONE THING YOU CAN BE SURE OF IS THAT ANY RECCESSION HAS VERY LITTLE OR NO AFFECT ON THE REALLY FILTHY RICH WHO GENERALLY CAN'T UNDERSTAND WHAT ALL THE FUSS IS ABOUT
 
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milandro

Well-Known Member
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2,483
well, unless they like to keep the house for themselves this must be a market price. I watch some of these BBC programs with people moving to France , the other day they were showing houses ( no less than 2 bedrooms and some had land around the house too) in the Burgundy region for around 50.000 euro........, must admit northern France is not sunny Southampton though!
>:)
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
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12,125
Interesting how the majority of the economies which previously were centred on the production of goods are now depending on the financial markets
I will quote randomly various posts here, but some personal background first.
I have a MA on social and political studies.
I left my "safe" part time job (sales assistant) in order to be a full time musician.
I do not have status issues (i.e. my car's size represents how wealthy and powerful I am)

I have the positive feeling that things are going back to their actual value. Inflated prices cannot last forever, and the "property ladder" is rubbish: after all you have to live in your property (unless you are really rich).
The demand for "culture" is still there. I hope the audience will be fed up of paying £100 to see a famous band on a screen and will start paying a fiver to see a local band.

The lack of good staff is an effect of decades of ideology: with a proper fool proof procedure, any fool can do it. It only works if the employee is a fool. Customers got fed up with fool employees and go on the internet. Shops pushed customers on the web to save money (in various ways).

The lack of good staff is an effect of manager culture: If I can manage a vacuum cleaners' company, I can manage a record company (I am not making this example up). Nuff said.

The lack of service is an effect of political ideology: Private is more efficient than public. This means that you better do not run a public service on weekends because you will not make enough money.

Going back to the OP: I try not to buy from supermarkets, I prefer to pay people that DO things rather than SELL things, I do not waste money, but I am happy to pay a bit more for a sausage that is worth it (in Marylebone Lane, if you are in London).
Fairly optimistic.

P.S. Just came back from Scotland where REAL people run REAL businesses and you hear REAL music while having REAL food. I had a feel of a REAL economy there.


Rant mode: OFF
 
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