Thursday, October 8, 2009

Good things about the recession - part 2

A few months back I wrote an entry about good things about the recession - like easier parking, good deals on travel, less traffic, etc.

Here's part 2!

1. Sucky companies going away. Sure, there are some really sad losses from this recession. I've had some heartbreaking news of things like Yahoo's Launchcast radio going away. But we've had some sucky companies leave too.

*Linens 'n Things - Did anyone ever shop there? I might have bought something there once but they were far more expensive and had a worse selection than rival Bed, Bath & Beyond.

*Washington Mutual - Now while I certainly found it cute when they officially changed their name to "WaMu" I never really liked this bank. And while the marketing genius who decided the "WaMu" name change would work, how can anyone take a bank seriously that has a "cute" name? I want a bank to safely protect my money, not be clever like a Carl's Jr. or Jack in the Box commercial. Anyhow, the "free" checking or whatever was good but you get what you pay for. Waiting in line forEVA with every other Tom, Dick & Harry. WaMu you won't be missed.

*Merrill Lynch - While times were good, I think in the 1980's, I was probably making 18% interest on my money. But generally their advice was poor. Like my broker, who told me it was "silly" and "a waste" to buy only $1000 worth of AOL stock in 1996. Well, flash forward a few years and that $1000 of stock skyrocketed to $50,000! I wish I could say I sold it at its peak, but like most suckers who believed things like "housing prices go up ForEVER", it seemed like it would keep going up. If only I had sold at the peak. Instead, I made a few thousand dollars. Still, a nice gain from my $1K investment. And because of this lesson, I learned that nothing goes up "forever" and when your gain from an investment seems "too good to be true" that's probably when you should get out. I bet a lot of homeowners are kicking themselves for not learning that lesson sooner.

*Earth Wind & Flour - I think only one location went bust but this West LA restaurant always served bland, mediocre, blah Italian wanna-be pizzas and pastas. Some Lebanese restaurant is moving in. That's gotta be an improvement.

*Lehman Brothers - I am never happy to hear of anyone losing a job but I'm pretty sure if it has to happen, it should happen to the greedy bastards that worked at this company, not school teachers or social workers. (The only exception to this is Kathleen - she is a good person and no doubt an exception to the rule - so if you're reading this Kathleen, here's a shout out and a "get out of jail" free card for this blog entry). If you're making so much money you can blow it on an overpriced car, expensive shoes and clothes and other wasteful things, maybe it's a good thing you lost your job. I read an article on CNN recently that featured many people laid off from the financial sector (investment banking) and how they've all started new careers and wouldn't go back if they could. They now come home early and spend time with their kids. That's gotta be a good thing.

2. It's GREAT for the environment. People driving less, eating out less, buying cheaper items, cooking at home, recycling for the $2.85 in bottle return money, that's all good news for mother earth. I bet people are also drinking less bottled water! Yay. Now if only we could get India and China and other overpopulated countries to clean up their mess...and stop using so many cell phones that are no doubt killing all the bees...

3. In many ways, the people that just cared about the glitz, glamour and MONEY in the entertainment business have left or are leaving. As the money gets pulled out of the entertainment industry, the only people who are left are truly passionate about their jobs. Of course, as things get worse, I've also seen people becoming increasing unethical and greedy. But oh that's the topic for another blog entry. This one is supposed to be "positive".

4. With more free time on one's hands, we have more time to eat right and exercise. After all, if you're unemployed, you have nothing better to do but work out every day and make dinner.

5. Your Tivo/DVR is never lonely. With so much time being spent at home, people have more time to keep up on their favorite TV shows.

Got anything to add to the list?

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