Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Sign of the Times

My sister, a regular gym-goer, always complains how busy the gym gets in January and the early part of February. Folks have obviously made their New Year's resolutions to get fit/lose weight, and they pack the work-out facilities. By the end of February and into March, as folks start breaking their resolutions, attendance starts to peter out and just the die-hards remain.

It appears that this downturn in the economy has made people start their resolutions now to cut back on expenses even though January is still 2 months away. Like those exercise-resolution-makers who pack the gym, people who have resolved to save lately are packing my Rite Aid drug store at 7 AM on Sundays!

In the past 3 weeks, I've been in town -- and at Rite Aid -- on two Sunday mornings. Rite Aid has had some great deals, many of which are free after rebate. I've learned over the past 3 or 4 years of being serious about sales, rebates, and coupons that you do have to get to the store early to ensure you'll get items you want. The best deals go fast.

A Rite Aid that's not too far from my house opens at 7 AM on Sundays. Knowing there really is no other fool who is going to be there at that hour on a Sunday, I drag myself out of bed and swoop in to get my pick of everything during the first minutes of that week's sale. I may run into one or maybe two other people -- usually a senior citizen buying a newspaper -- but I rarely see anyone honing in on the sale and rebate items like me...until recently.

Three weeks ago there were so many people there after the rebate items that I thought it was Black Friday! I couldn't believe it! This past Sunday there was similar crowd. Now the store wasn't really packed, but usually it's just me. Now I have 4 to 6 fellow early-bird deal-finders.

Then on Sunday afternoon, I read an article in the business section of the Washington Post about Snipping, Clipping, Scrimping. Apparently, it is a sign of the economic times.

It's hard to say when, but the economy will one day get back on track. I wonder if people will continue going after the sales, rebates, and coupons -- continue saving money -- after the stock market works itself out. Or will they fall off the bandwagon like so many of the exercise New Year's resolution people at my sister's gym?

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