Oil Can -- "Waves and Spurts"

My other job is at a big box bookstore selling DVDs and CDs. Starting about a year ago, I noticed a behavioral characteristic of the shoppers. We would have slow to mediocre sales, and then a shopper would come in and drop $150-200. Very few people bought two or three CDs. It was like one, or six. Partly, this behavior can be attributed to the substitution of hard copy CDs and DVDs for internet streams, torrents, youtube videos, etc. But partly, I would attribute this to the economy. Save austerely, and then treat yourself, like an Alaskan survivalist making his/her twice-yearly trip into Anchorage. ___ has said that it is decreasing inventory due to decreased sales. Last night, for instance, I had all of five transactions, and sent the last two Dizzy Gillespie solo albums we had in stock back to the warehouse. When you fully deplete an artist's catalogue at ____, you have to remove the cardstock label that sits behind the CDs. That was emotionally difficult in the case of Dizzy.

I was on a plane last weekend, speaking with a Duke University Investment Officer in charge of monitoring and selecting vehicles for their endowment. He thought after last November, we were headed for a total market crash. And this guy had studied with Ben Bernanke and Paul Krugman at Princeton. So he said that he took lightly the phrase, "green shoots", and thought that the government greasing up the money supply with low interest rates doesn't solve the question of where an economy can grow when 70% of that economy is based on domestic consumption and most of those consumers are heavily indebted.

So what is the lesson here? Companies suspended orders last December, "wait and see". Then, simply to go back to baseline demand without drawing down their inventory too heavily, companies made orders in the Spring. Chinese companies drew down their inventory/glut over the Spring/Summer, and now are hiring again. But does this foretell growth, or stagnation?

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