Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Now, every penny counts

Battered by the bleak news from Wall Street and Washington, many Americans are frightened about the prospect of yet another blow.
“I don't know what's going to happen to the economy,” said Barbara Foster, after doing some banking at a Washington Mutual branch near Bellis Fair mall.
“It seems like it's going to collapse. I'm horrified. I haven't even looked at my retirement account, it's so scary.”
Ms. Foster, who has held health care positions and is looking for work, is in full scrimp mode, where every expenditure, from whether to buy blueberries to even renting a movie is scrutinized. “We've been living on credit for so long, the government and the people, it's insane,” she said.
Near Bellis Fair, at the Slo Pitch pub and casino – open 24 hours a day – it's also pretty empty. “I'm cutting back on all and any extras,” said Mike Glick, a technology consultant, nursing a beer.
“Like gambling. I'd be playing pull tabs, I'm not doing that. And I took the bus here,” Mr. Glick said. He figures he's in good company. “Normally, this bar would be full. People are in conservation mode, to pay mortgages, rent, those basic bills. Just in the last six months, it's been a huge change.”
And Mr. Glick, who has closely followed the amazing implosion of Wall Street this month, has little faith the situation will turn around any time soon.
“I don't think we've seen the real depth of how far this'll go,” said Mr. Glick, in a ball cap, sweater and blue jeans, dismissing the rescue plan. “You have to be a real fool to believe that. This isn't going to be solved by Congress approving $700-billion.”
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