Recession, anyone?

Pray for Real Groovy. I was in there today for the first time in a few months, and they’ve started reducing their floorspace by fencing off a big empty area with racks of $1 CDs. Sadly, this is the same physical space which they proudly expanded into a few years ago. It’s like watching a tide recede.

They’re carrying less stock, which is understandable considering they depend on a churn of second-hand material, and if people are buying fewer new CDs and DVDs then eventually there’s fewer second-hand sales. What I can’t understand is their disastrous decision to get rid of the big display of new CDs and their biggest sellers which used to be right in front of the tills. No impulse purchases for you! Now if you want to find new music, you have to know exactly what you’re looking for, and dig for it. The New Zealand music section is looking particularly sad.

I remember during the last big recession (mid-nineties) I started building my CD collection by pouring over sale stock from independent stores which were closing, like an impossibly sexy ginger vulture. Those stores never re-opened when the economy improved. We’re assured that such is the cyclic nature of capitalism, that things will eventually get better. Of course they will, but for whom?

The damage from the latest recession is affecting everyone in different ways. The richest can afford price rises, and they may even be lucky enough to have incomes rising at the same level as inflation. Things for them are fine. Unfortunately the vast majority of us are not-so rich, and are struggling to stay solvent as our income levels stagnate. Then there’s the growing number of the poor who were poor to begin with, but after three years of everything (especially the basics) going up, they’re double-poor. You must keep in mind that, despite sizeable civil service cuts and freezes, Wellington is still unusually insulated – it’s worse outside the cities.

The difference between this recession and the previous one is segregation. We are a less egalitarian society. If you go to Moore Wilson’s, the recession is over. Everyone is eating healthily and can afford fresh vegetables. They can go down the street to Magnum Mac and queue for an iPad 2, which they don’t really need, but they want because it’s a distraction. If you go down Tory St to The Warehouse, the recession is in full swing.

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Capital Times reports that Left Bank’s Graffiti Alley has been fenced off by the council, before being repainted as part of the gentrification of Cuba Mall before the World Cup. Because nothing offends international lager louts more than pissing against a wall that’s covered in graffiti.

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2 Responses to “Recession, anyone?”

  1. Rhinocrates Says:

    Interesting to see that Slowboat hasn’t changed. Looks like they had the right strategy for their scale. Well, I hope so.

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