Does anyone else, I wonder, feel that this recession has been just a little too easy? That might seem an odd thing for me to say considering that it cost me my job of twenty years, but hasn’t it been? For sure house prices have dropped a bit but my next door neighbour, keen to sell (was it something I said?) dropped his price fifteen thousand and got it gone pretty darn quick. That’s not much of a drop compared to the six figure rises that took place over the last ten to fifteen years. The dole queue went up a bit (this I know, having been on it) and then came down a bit. And sales of big ticket items (cars and holidays and whatnot) stalled quite badly and then got back into gear again.
This was the big one, this was the Great Depression of the 21st century. It brought banks to their knees and exposed trillions upon trillions of ill-advised lending, most of which was unlikely to ever come back. The country was in debt crisis, personal finances were in debt crisis, the balloon had well and truly gone up. Lots of scary graphs on the news, big red arrows pointing south, and worried small businessmen discussing cash-flow and debt restructuring.
And then… Nothing. A new government, a lot of stern talk about tightening of belts, new austerity, and then it was carry on chaps, nothing more to see here. Can it really be that easy?
It’s a question I ponder as I gaze out over the sea of polished metal on the other side of the plate glass windows of our modest showroom. Car sales has been quite good to me. The final quarter of last year spent trapped in the blind panic of needing to know everything instantly, and then I emerged into the new year finally getting some traction and powering forward. And I’ve shifted some cars I can tell you. Shifted some cars and earned some fairly decent money in the process.
Not now though. For the last couple of months it’s been scarily quiet. Not dead. But not far off. Like not seeing a soul all morning quiet. Not so good when you’re on a commission based income. I’m very lucky, I can live on my basic (and it is basic I can assure you), but there are one or two worried faces at work right now.
All of which makes me wonder, did we get off lightly last year? Or was the real recession simply postponed, put off like a debt addled household that managed to obtain another credit card in order to keep the plates spinning just that little bit longer.
Maybe the challenging times ahead we’ve been forewarned of for so long are finally upon us…