Sunday, November 23, 2008

Economy Still Going Strong

OK, maybe it isn't. But I'll tell you this: my girlfriend and I went to see a movie in Georgetown yesterday (Slumdog Millionaire -- pretty good, although the love interest part is not compelling), and on the way back we stopped into Tretorn to look at some athletic shoes. Someone on M Street had offered us free hot cider and a $25-off coupon, and my girlfriend had been looking for Tretorns anyway. As we were browsing, I observed that the store had a DJ spinning vinyl records. Putting this point together with the cider and the coupon and the fact that I had never noticed this store before (although it's up a flight of stairs, not easy to spot), I decided it must be the grand opening. But no, it turned out that the spinmeister was a regular feature of the store. And it's not as though he did anything else. That was his job.

And then as we walked home, we passed an Adidas store that also had a DJ spinning records. And he didn't seem to have any other work either.

Now, I'm not a corporate mogul. I don't know what packs in the 20-something customers that these stores seemed to be aimed at. But I will say that, in a down economy, these jobs looked pretty expendable. I don't know what they're pulling down, but it has to be something.

The stock market may have hit its lowest level in 11 years, but things haven't reached the point where Tretorn and Adidas have realized that they could put a CD on the stereo and have one of the shoe sellers change it from time to time. So there must be some life in the economy yet. In a real downturn these DJs would be axed. As John Cleese pointed out to the pantomime horses when telling them that one of them would have to go, the management consultants were questioning why the bank employed a pantomime horse at all.

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