October 28, 2008

Legend of the seeker?Consumer confidence?

...the seeker is the hero that arises at the time of trouble and suffering...

This is how the trailer of a new movie begins. "The Legend of the Seeker" hits US cinemas on Saturday.

You may see the trailer HERE

When I look at what is going on in US media and what are the hottest topics i.e. 'consumer confidence is lowest since 16 years' I really wonder how do you cope with all that?

What are your ways to deal with it?

My Warmest Hugs to you!


Anonymous said...

In Canada, it's not a whole lot different. We just had a federal election and the same Bush-like PM was re-elected, another minority govt. Consumer confidence is low, I think, because collectively, North Americans have had a buy-it-now, worry-about-it-later type of mentality. That's caught up with most of us now and we, personally, have become a cash-only family. Most families are doing well to meet their monthly obligations, let alone have extra to spend on other things. Again, I'm speaking for me. I really think we need to get away from being such a throw-away society and learn to make do. I'm sure that doesn't answer your question AT ALL, but that's my two cents' worth on the economy as I see and feel it. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Ewa, thanks for asking. I agree with Nancy's response, even though I know the Canadians are not as consumer oriented as the US has become. Culture and society have been working on us to buy with credit to expand the economy, really encouraging us to live beyond our means, and deny ourselves nothing. Especially if it means sacrifice or waiting. We have been trained to GET IT NOW! There are many things to blame for this predicament, but I believe the pendulum has begun to swing the other way and we will return to our senses, by force. We have gone to cash only also, and shake our heads at the debt that some good people have piled up. Why did banks lend money to people to buy houses they could not afford? It was criminal and now people are losing their homes. Don't get me started on the solution arrived at by the government with the bail out. I just hope that I live long enough to see things set right.

new url

Anonymous said...

I have a big pot outside filled with sand. Sometimes I go out there and bury my head in it.

garden girl said...

Hi Ewa, I completely agree with Nancy and Frances. This is something that has been going on far too long.

I remember when raising my kids, explaining why we wouldn't be buying all the stuff their friends had, and how we also wouldn't be in debt. I taught them to be financially responsible, and thankfully, they are. My whole life, if I don't have the money to buy it, I don't buy it. And just because I have the money, that doesn't mean I have to buy it. I try to stick mostly to what I need, and save money instead of spending it on worthless, useless stuff that just takes up space and time. I use credit cards only for convenience, and pay them off each month. Actually now that there are debit cards, that's what I use instead. I always bought a smaller house than I could afford and a smaller car, and never had debt except for a mortgage. I save money, not spend everything I have and then borrow more.

There are very, very few people who live like that in the US, and credit has gotten us in trouble. We have been making our economy look better than it is, building houses and strip malls we don't need, buying bigger houses than we need, and buying way more stuff than we need, with money we never really had. Now it's catching up with us, and the economy is in big trouble. The Federal Reserve has been printing money when there are no real assets to back them up, and pumping that money into the economy, which has been masking problems here for a very long time.

I never in my life have understood how or why people here live like they do. We have been a very materialistic country, and now we are going to pay for that. It's not just individuals - our government has encouraged us to live like this by making money so cheap to borrow, and by not setting an example of financial restraint.

We have been reckless with money, and now that has to be corrected. It's not going to be easy or painless. I think if the economy is going to improve, people are going to have to change their attitudes and their spending habits. I think things will probably get worse before they get better, maybe much worse.

It's scary, and it's our own fault - our country is too greedy, and sooner or later we were bound to pay a price for that.

Maggie said...

Well, I'm American, not immune from the disaster surrounding me, and yet...I'm not scared. I would have to think long and hard in order to come up with a full explanation for why I'm not scared. But in fact, in a way, I am really, really hopeful right now. Our society has been on this destructive path for a long time, with no hope of changing course until forced to by an enormous event. Well, that event is here. So I see this as a tremendous opportunity for our economy, and society, to realign along a different paradigm- something more positive, more rational, less me-centered, less now-centered.

I hope we can seize this opportunity. It makes me sad that people are so scared right now. I understand why they are scared. I really do. But we can get through this if we start working together as a community and stop looking out only for our own interests- as individuals, as families, as businesses... It is time to grow up as a society. I think of this crash like the crash of teenage years. Now we can choose to learn something and come out of it as a mature adult or we can continue on the same path and become a deadbeat. It is okay to be afraid; but at a certain point we need to look fear in the face and tell it why we will overcome it- and I think that time is now.

Minerva said...

I had to visit automotive service providers three times this month and I noticed that they try all tricks to get you to spend more, whether you really need it or not - in most cases not, I am afraid. Coping with it is irritating since I know too little about cars to know what I really need and have to rely on somebody elses expertise to be able to say an educated "no" to merchants.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ewa.
I could write many pages about the greed and fraud that created this worldwide financial situation.

In Canada ..
"The global credit crunch and major stock market declines clearly had an effect on consumer confidence in October.
In addition, consumers felt that they would be worse off in six months, indicating concerns that the financial crisis would not be resolved quickly." (National Post)

What can we do? Watch our pennies..

But here is my quote of today:
"We learn from our gardens to deal with the most urgent question of the time: How much is enough?"
(Wendell Berry)

- Cheers from Canada.

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Well Ewa, that's quite a few long comments you got on your question. Let me ask you a question: how is the financial situation in Poland? In the Netherlands we feel the pain too, as we are all connected in the financial world, it can hardly be otherwise.

It reminds me very much of the situation (the depression) we had in 1929 after the first beurskrach (history is one of my specialties). It seems that people and governments have short memories, are not able to learn from past mistakes. Perhaps they will this time, I doubt it, but who knows?

Anonymous said...

Hi, Ewa, Thank you for your concern about America.We are on the brink of possibly a radical shift in which we could catapult our country into an intelligent paradigm that would transcend many of our past blindnesses. Time will tell. Pray for us, dear! Europe is way ahead of us in many regards.

Ewa said...

Thank you for your comment. There are ways to deal with the situation now, but in general as you said - there is something people got used to - changing better life to lower profile is always painful, no matter from what levels you drop.

Ewa said...

Banks - that is similar in Poland - this has changed in last 2-3 years. Banks started to lower their conditions so much, that everyone could get the loan, that brought many of them to problems. Recently I red the results of a research in Poland - people do not believe what banks are saying directly, but they believe in their advertising - that's amazing, isn't it?

Ewa said...

Jim - nice strategy - keeps you away from stress?

Ewa said...

I think it is important to keep the balance and as you said - do not spend more you HAVE. Otherwise sooner or later you get into trouble. OK, it is tempting when it becomes 'later', or you don't see anything bad happening around to people you know, but still...

You made a very wise thing to teach kids the proper approach.

Ewa said...

Growing as a society - this is very good chance you see in that 'tremble'.
I would even say, that if you manage to make a shift in your consumption level - that could be very important step for entire planet.

Don't you think that therefore major changes are needed?

Isin't it personified in coming election?

Ewa said...

Ow yes - you pointed very important thing. It will be difficult to say no to merchants if you don't know what you really need. With cars it is scary for many people that don't know what is really needed.
Any idea how to do it?

Ewa said...

That quote is so wise - thank you for bringing it up.
Gardens teach us a lot - also common sense.
If you don't put in - it is difficult to get something out - right? whether it is labour, fertiliser or education i.e. knowing what is companion planting, that keeps my crop more healthy :)

Ewa said...

Yes, many interesting comments - that is really great :)
Poland is weird nowadays :) Polititians, president, prime minister and finance minister are screaming 'there is no crisis in Poland'. However the facts are following: stock exchange is gowing down, retirement investment funds lost a lot, because they invested in stock exchange, people withdraw the money from ther investments funds. Our economy is more or less OK, but we are part of Central Europe basket, and because there is a major trouble in Hungary, forign investors are drawing back the money from the region, meaning Poland included.
Value of our currency is dropping, but it was not naturally strong this year vs USD and Euro - so, the prices will be going up slowly.

Concerning banks - they changed their diabolic policy "lend the money, whoever wants - without making them to think what will happen later" and they made the conditions more restrictive.

Summing up - there is no major shake, but obviously it affects Poland as well.

Ewa said...

I will pray - the more people will do it, the chances become bigger. And no matter what religion ivolved or even no religion at all. Spirituality counts and power of thoughts - I believe.
America needs it.
There is no way to retain old order - embracing the changes that will be the clue.

Millie said...

Australia is also
experiencing 'challenging' economic times too Ewa. Despite the geographical distance, those of us in the Pacific Rim are not immune, although not to the same extent as the U.S./U.K./Europe.

I'm watching with great interest to see if retail in the U.S. will pick up as Christmas approaches. I think the holiday season this year will be a water-shed for the retail sector & general economy in the US. It really will be a barometer of how confident people are feeling & if they are starting to feel more optimistic about the future. Conversely, it could be a disaster, so watch that space!
Millie ^_^