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Author: theHedgehog Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 10556  
Subject: Pretty Girls and Bad Drivers Date: 8/29/2011 9:27 PM
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I've been shopping at WalMart since I became disabled, and I have noticed a few things while shopping there. During the bubble, when they tried to go up-scale, the cashiers were pretty and the store was full. The pretty girls are gone now, and the lot is mostly empty in the evening. At first it was because there was no money and God only knows where people were shopping. But something has changed.

Now, it seems that the pretty girls have gone to work at the mall. I say that because the mall lot (an SPG mall) is mostly full, and there are lots of aggressive drivers on the road. More teenage drivers means they have money for cars and gas, or at least their parents do. I've also noticed that the rents are up at the faux-gated apartment complex on the way there. And I scored a Maisto Ducati model in the toy section of WalMart while looking for a nice toy for my granddaughter.

So, at least here, and for now, things seem to be looking up.

Hedge
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Author: jerryab Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 10522 of 10556
Subject: Re: Pretty Girls and Bad Drivers Date: 8/30/2011 12:49 AM
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During the bubble, when they tried to go up-scale, the cashiers were pretty and the store was full.

People were spending money and Walmart wanted it. Upscale sells, as Target knows.

The pretty girls are gone now, and the lot is mostly empty in the evening.

Indiana is still reeling from the auto problems and the overall poor economy. It will take 3-5 years to get near normal again. Walmart depends on volume, so that is a problem for them. That may be a summer thing--and things pick up again after school starts. If the pattern continues through Thanksgiving, that is bad for them. Then again, it may be just that one Walmart. Also depends on competition.

I say that because the mall lot (an SPG mall) is mostly full, and there are lots of aggressive drivers on the road.

Remember what Walmart sells--stuff for families. That is where the $$$ is. They can NOT manage (or tolerate) a lot of competition between products they carry. Their philosophy is "buy the ONE item is in the category becaue that is the only one we offer or don't buy". And teens are VERY fashion/style conscious--so they will shop anywhere BUT Walmart (because they get choices).

I've also noticed that the rents are up at the faux-gated apartment complex on the way there.

That may be due to the economy. Lots of houses foreclosed means many more renters that before. If they take Section 8 housing vouchers, then they raised the rent in order to collect more from the govt due to the relative shortage of apts.

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Author: whafa Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 10523 of 10556
Subject: Re: Pretty Girls and Bad Drivers Date: 8/30/2011 10:55 AM
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This analytic approach is similar to one of my favorite indicators, the Hot Waitress Index:

http://www.investopedia.com/terms/h/hot-waitress-economic-in...

Briefly, during boom times, hot chicks can get better paying jobs than waitressing: modeling or stripping or what have you. When things go bad, they have to turn to waitressing, or, perhaps, working at the mall.

I see your news as a contrary indicator. When I start seeing ugly girls at my restaurants and in the malls, I'll know it's time to start investing.

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Author: theHedgehog Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 10524 of 10556
Subject: Re: Pretty Girls and Bad Drivers Date: 8/30/2011 11:05 AM
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I see your news as a contrary indicator. When I start seeing ugly girls at my restaurants and in the malls, I'll know it's time to start investing.

My point was only that the few WalMart "hot chicks" have stepped up from WalMart to the mall. I felt that that was because of upward mobility to the mall; which implies that either there are more jobs there or better paying jobs somewhere else. I will admit that WalMart hasn't yet returned to the older, tattooed, ex-gang types at the cashier, so good times aren't here yet.

Hedge

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Author: ziggy29 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 10525 of 10556
Subject: Re: Pretty Girls and Bad Drivers Date: 8/30/2011 12:13 PM
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>> My point was only that the few WalMart "hot chicks" have stepped up from WalMart to the mall. I felt that that was because of upward mobility to the mall; which implies that either there are more jobs there or better paying jobs somewhere else. I will admit that WalMart hasn't yet returned to the older, tattooed, ex-gang types at the cashier, so good times aren't here yet. <<

Not intending to make a political point here, but keep in mind that the "luxury" sector and high end merchandise sales are doing quite well and we have a very bifurcated economy in that respect. Seems that the well-to-do aren't pulling back as much as the rest of us have felt the need to.

#29

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Author: theHedgehog Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 10526 of 10556
Subject: Re: Pretty Girls and Bad Drivers Date: 8/30/2011 12:42 PM
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Not intending to make a political point here, but keep in mind that the "luxury" sector and high end merchandise sales are doing quite well and we have a very bifurcated economy in that respect. Seems that the well-to-do aren't pulling back as much as the rest of us have felt the need to.

What's political about that? That high end merchandise isn't actually made by millionaires, you know. We would be in worse shape if the rich stopped spending. What would be political is if you pointed out that they have to buy their Lear jets from Canada, now.

Hedge

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Author: ziggy29 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 10527 of 10556
Subject: Re: Pretty Girls and Bad Drivers Date: 8/30/2011 12:45 PM
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>> What's political about that? That high end merchandise isn't actually made by millionaires, you know. We would be in worse shape if the rich stopped spending. <<

Not disputing that. I was just hoping to make it clear that I wasn't looking for a political discussion on "the rich getting richer" or anything like that -- it was just an observation of what's happening out there today, and in terms of positioning oneself for investing and such it's good to keep in mind.

#29

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Author: brucedoe Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 10529 of 10556
Subject: Re: Pretty Girls and Bad Drivers Date: 9/5/2011 12:54 PM
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Hedge

My wife and I recently went to see the movie "The Help" at a multiplex theater (A very good movie, by the way, and people applauded after the movie ended.). We had to stand in a line of around 50 people to buy our tickets that were $8 each for senior citizens. I looked back when we had our tickets and the line was still about 50 people long. So we went to the concession counter where there were a lot of people but also a lot of servers and got a medium pop corn ($7 and I would call it large) and a small soda ($5). Cost total was $28 to see the movie. There were many getting much more at the concession counter than us. And of course, if you weren't s senior citizen, the tickets cost more too.

My point is that for all the economic pain people are suffering these days there are a lot of people living it up at places like theaters.

brucdoe

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Author: pauleckler Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 10530 of 10556
Subject: Re: Pretty Girls and Bad Drivers Date: 9/5/2011 1:07 PM
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Yes, and they routinely spend $50 or more to fill the tank on the latest batmobile. Of which they may have fleets of 3 or more.

People who are working are not hurting. The upper middle class still buys their iPhones and pay hundreds per mo for electronics services.

But if you fall off the wagon life can be pretty tough.

Still we live in a wealthy country. Look around you at all the houses valued at a quarter million or more. Where do these people get the money? Usually a lifetime of working, saving, and paying their bills.

The less fortunate continue to struggle.

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