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  Tuesday January 27th, 2015    

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  (ARCHIVES)Back to Current
Practical sacrifices (07/19/2009)
By Janet Lewis Burns
The current economic recession has hit the wealthy much harder than the less prosperous. You canít lose what you donít have.

One businessmanís downfall can be anotherís upswing. In these depressed times, many establishments struggle for decades, finally biting the bullet. Thereís an upside to this conundrum, like many flip-flops in the commercial world.

As people make do with the old and worn, car repair shops and parts suppliers are seeing a boom in business. Those who would never set foot inside resale or thrift shops are now grabbing up used and imitation accessories and trendy clothing.

McDonaldís profits continue to grow, earning last year more than $4.3 billion, an 80% increase from 2007. As one can imagine, the three-martini, three-course lunches at exclusive restaurants have been replaced by that office break room, once an uneventful place.

Try going natural. Bring a light, picnic lunch for yourself. If you have any green space close enough to your place of work or school, make a stroll a part of your noon hour experience. Take a break all by yourself, to meditate and to clear your mind, as you rest in summerís fragrant, inviting embrace. Youíll likely eat less and enjoy it more, and feel invigorated for the remainder of the day.

What about those little extras the gals treat themselves to, but can no longer fit into a tight budget? Those costly beauty salons will likely be replaced by the local beauty shop located in the hairdresserís basement. Friends can get together and do each othersí nails and hair color, all the while keeping up to date on the current scuttlebutt.

A massage therapist told me her business has actually picked up. New clients keep calling. The culprit is stress. Tension and fretting can knot those muscles. Other stress relievers include working out at fitness clubs with a trainer, but there are other ways.

You canít beat Winona County when it comes to green spaces where one can jog, walk together, toss a Frisbee, and take the kids on outings. Keeping up with lively youngsters at outdoor play during our four exhilarating seasons is one healthy way to stay in shape; besides, spending quality time with the family is priceless. Moms and dads of this present-day society have been too anxious to go off and ďdo their own thing,Ē which removes them from the family picture and opportunities to bond in lasting togetherness.

I read that pawnshops are liking the present state of the economy. No longer the last resort, pawnshops have been issuing larger loans to white-collar business owners so they can meet their payrolls and operating expenses, virtually unheard of in this day and age.

ďI met a million dollar baby in a five and ten cent store!Ē That old song brings to mind those days of simple pleasures. (A high school fella and his cheerleader date sit on stools at the dime store slurping strawberry malts after the big baseball game at school.) Back in my day dating didnít cost big bucks. A carload of teens would pool our pocket change together and pull into the outdoor theatre in Goodview, and then, as the old joke goes, weíd park down by the lake and watch the submarine races.

Garage sales are ambitious endeavors in this new millennium. People are, also, discovering that purchasing cheaper, off-brand names in the grocery and clothing stores doesnít mean inferior quality. It doesnít take an economist to tell the man and the woman on the street how to cut our cost of living and how to stretch a dollar Ė weíve just been suffering from a temporary lapse of common sense.

Perhaps the things we no longer have abundant funds for donít actually bring happiness and satisfaction after all. Take a long, leisurely lunch break and think about it.

Janet Burns has lived in this neck of the woods all her life. She can be reached at patandjanburns@embarqmail.com.



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