Streams

Rut or Recovery: Safe Space

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The Rut or Recovery project is gathering your stories of economic troubles and signs of progress. Many economic questions are difficult to discuss out loud with friends and family, so we're creating a "safe space" of sorts. Call in and discuss some of the unspoken economic concerns you have and share tips, stories, and advice with fellow listeners.

How do you balance shopping local with shopping cheap?
What's the policy for tipping during a holiday recession? Have your end-of-year giving habits changed?
Are you not suffering as much as others? Do you feel guilty, or as if the recession isn't actually affecting you?
What's the line between watching your money and being stingy?

What other conversations or questions do you not talk about in public, but want help with? Adam Davidson of NPR's Planet Money helps field your calls, and joins for an online "safe space" chat at noon.

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Comments [11]

wally

Heard your on-air listener comment on the money he saves by getting into his car and driving to Westchester to go to a Walmart.

My question is what is the cost of having a car in Manhattan--the parking, license, insurance, the gas? Is he considering this into his savings?

I believe we decide to live in an urban environment to better interact with urban community, and although we must be aware of its costs, we should not discount the positive value of our local community stores, merchants and relationships.

Dec. 08 2010 03:30 PM
Mary from Fort Greene

I'd shop locally at The Greene Grape (a caller's store), but it doesn't take food stamps.

Dec. 08 2010 01:47 PM
EugeniaRenskoff from Brooklyn, NY

Hi, Brian, My new normal, if you want to call it that, has been the soup kitchen for about 2 and a half years and The Salvation Army. For someone who used to live a lot better, this is most distressing. Eugenia Renskoff

Dec. 08 2010 01:21 PM
gzip from Manhattan

More choices are better.
Megastores offer commoditized products, whereas local stores differentiate
themselves with precisely what makes their location unique.
As for the neighborhood grocery stores that compete with the megastores,
their advantage is convenience.
However, with free or low-cost delivery and medium-sized chains spreading into the city,
their position is becoming more and more tenuous.

Personally, I do most of my non-food shopping either online or at chains that have a physical
presence in town (e.g., Bed Bath and Beyond). I buy most of my food at either Fairway or Whole
Foods. My neighborhood is not distinguished for small stores. Overall I try to balance savings with quality, I'd say I shop locally but save globally.More choices are better.
Megastores offer commoditized products, whereas local stores differentiate
themselves with precisely what makes their location unique.
As for the neighborhood grocery stores that compete with the megastores,
their advantage is convenience.
However, with free or low-cost delivery and medium-sized chains spreading into the city,
their position is becoming more and more tenuous.

Personally, I do most of my non-food shopping either online or at chains that have a physical
presence in town (e.g., Bed Bath and Beyond). I buy most of my food at either Fairway or Whole
Foods. My neighborhood is not distinguished for small stores. Overall I try to balance savings with quality, I'd say I shop locally but save globally.

Dec. 08 2010 12:43 PM
margaret from Soho

Yes. I am ashamed that I shop at one of those ugly chain drug stores instead of the local pharmacy to save a little money.

Dec. 08 2010 12:31 PM
David from Greenpoint

The obsession for tipping is absurdly out of proportion. Salaries are compromised by executives because they know that they can rely upon the staff earning tips, putting more of the burden, psychological as well as financial on the consumer. Furthermore, there is less income tax collected due to the cash nature of tips, again burdening the middle-class tax payer, for he will eventually make up the loss in his paying higher taxes. Don’t you love to see the tip jar at the cashier’s counter, so that you can tip the cashier for the service of taking your money for your bill? Ridiculous, this society has gone completely mad!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dec. 08 2010 12:21 PM

Does anyone here tip the newspaper carrier? If so, how much?

Dec. 08 2010 11:58 AM
susy from Manhattan

Occasionally, we shop at the big boxes.

But, as far as saving money, people often go into the big box to buy "mouthwash or whatever" as a previous caller said - and leave with "a couple hundred dollars worth of stuff"...like he also said.

So, I wonder if he really saved any $??
It sounds like he just spent an extra $175 or so.

It's a judgement call - when I go to a big box, I often ask myself if I *really* need the stuff I see with prices slashed. If not, I walk by and purchase what i went to get in the first place.

Dec. 08 2010 11:57 AM
Dave

Your guest is crazy. A good analogy is we should only have megabanks because they are sooooo much better for us than small banks that care about their customers.

The efficiency argument is crazy. New York has been ruined by huge stores. Look at Broadway in Soho. It has ruined that area, it's just an outdoor, midwestern mall.

Dec. 08 2010 11:56 AM

I'm the shabbas goy of walmart shopping.

it used to be that friends and family would hear that i was going to walmart and ask me to pick up a few things. now they come to me with their lists.

Dec. 08 2010 11:53 AM
Mike from Tribeca

To be frank, what's the point, besides making hard times into some kind of fashionable trend? All times are hard times for working people.

Dec. 08 2010 11:44 AM

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