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Charles on… anything that comes along

Sunday 13 April 2008

Filed under: — Charles @ 10:38 pm

Ten signs you’re in a recession

I’m trying to remember these from the last time we had a proper one (1990-2). The title is obvious enough though…

  1. People stop talking about how the price of their house has gone up in the past six months
  2. People start talking about this wonderful new water filter thingy they can sell to you, and actually would you like to buy a few and sell them on? It’s this amazing “multi-level marketing” idea…
  3. Sight of a car with new numberplates makes you blink your eyes
  4. People cut you off if you ask how their house sale is going
  5. Rents drop like stones because everyone’s taking in lodgers
  6. Newspapers get really scarily thin - too thin to mop up, say, a spilt cup of coffee
  7. Starcostabucks start shutting down because people realise that a brilliant way to save £60 per month is simply not to buy one of those bloody fattening lattes in the morning. (Bit of a guess, this one. We didn’t have Starcostabucks in the last recession.)
  8. People at dinner parties and other social events start offering you cappuccino makers - and would you like to buy a few, because they can do them on this amazing multi-level marketing scheme…
  9. Newspapers start running stories like “How to sue your surveyor” and “how to gazunder“. Ooh, look, happening already.
  10. The “six months on” in Property Ladder, Location Location, etc return and find that the people haven’t sold the house and have had to declare bankruptcy.

Come on, tell me all the ones I’ve missed.

Update: one that wasn’t around for the previous recession: blog spam. So, the next one we can add is:

  • you start getting (attempted) comment spam, amidst all the usual crap for poker/pr0n/pharmaaaa that reads “Secured Home Loans for UK Homeowners... Secured loans can be the best form of loan for homeowners when looking for competitive loan rates...

which I’ve just noted in my filters.

11 Responses to “Ten signs you’re in a recession”

  1. Seamus McCauley Says:

    You may not notice it the first couple of times, but it becomes possible to get a black cab almost anywhere, almost anytime, in a few seconds. (Actually you may never notice it if you cut back on cabs just as they become really easy to catch.) Oddly the cabs don’t seem to get any cheaper in response to this phenomenon: there’s just an oversupply.

  2. Chris Edwards Says:

    The price of business-class air tickets plummets - not that I fly business. Some of the business-only airlines have already ploughed into the ground. And now BA has cheery signs at the terminal saying “ask how much for an upgrade” - although BA is probably close to putting up signs saying: “Please, please, please fly with us. We’re not that bad really.”

    However, the comparison with last time is a bit obscured by the First Gulf War: a lot of US businesspeople weren’t flying anyway, so the transatlantic flights were half empty even before you took into account the recession. I remember questions like “London, that’s near Iraq, right?” Well, it’s a lot closer than Mars, yes.

    And a related tech one: videoconferencing companies suddenly start reappearing touting the cost benefits of staying in the office and bad lip-sync.

    @ Seamus

    And they take you to Brixton without grumbling or suddenly finding out that they’re going off shift in ten minutes or their mother’s just rung up about having a bad knee and they forgot to turn the yellow light off…

  3. L. Says:

    Don’t you think that one of the first things to go will be all the Property shows themselves? Most of them are entirely greed based : someone with no project management skills, experience or indeed taste believes they can make money developing properties, probably because they have seen TV programmes about it. The other kind is the “have a house in another country where life is so rustic and cheap” - the transport costs and the demise of the cheap carriers will kill those.

    Which of the cheap airlines will be the first to go to the wall?

  4. Sarah Lafferty Says:

    Closure of Harry and Paul style ‘I saw you coming…’ tat merchants in aspirational neighbourhoods like Westbourne Grove and Fulham.

    People who have an uneasy relationship with excess (myself included) will jump at the first excuse to rediscover their inner Spartans and start baking their own bread and rolling out their own pasta. Look for a spike in consumption of basic food ingredients like yeast, flour and sugar.

    People will start eating carbs again out of financial necessity and hopefully twig that it wasn’t potatoes that was making them fat, but general face stuffing and binge drinking

  5. matt buck Says:

    All the nail bars will vanish

  6. Andrew Brown Says:

    If all the nail bars and hairdressers vanish from this town along with the starcostabucks there will be no commerce left at all.

  7. L. Says:

    Don’t forget tanning parlours!

    Allotment waiting lists will get longer (and the people who own the other half of ours will decide to start working it and not sell it to us grrr…..)

  8. Dave Pulsford Says:

    Tesco Value becomes a little more tasty.

    You don’t have to get up in the morning.

    “I think I heard it’s gonna be a swealtering summer, shall we stay in the UK and do Pontins this year dear?”

  9. A Says:

    Because you are either a fool who’s not scared by the recession or possibly quite savvy, you tell your employer you’re quitting your staff job and suggest that instead of replacing you they pay you to do all the work you do now as a freelance, meaning they save money on holiday and sickness pay and suchlike while you spend all the time you would have spent making tea for people you don’t like and having pointless meetings earning more money by doing other work.

  10. A Says:

    Because you are either a fool who’s not scared by the recession or possibly quite savvy, you tell your employer you’re quitting your staff job and suggest that instead of replacing you they pay you to do all the work you do now as a freelance, meaning they save money on holiday and sickness pay and suchlike while you spend all the time you would have spent making tea for people you don’t like and having pointless meetings earning more money by doing other work. And they say brilliant, when are you leaving?

  11. Dave Pulsford Says:

    oh…, and estate agents hound you to view the new pad on the market that will be sure to go in days, even offer to look after your children while you go and look - this is the big one! Anyway 3 months down the road wonky for sale sign.

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