Friday, January 30, 2009

Consumer confidence

Hi all,

Here is a comment on the blog.
It was great for a lot of reasons....
Read it and we can talk about it.

Our business is doing better than ever, making more than ever, and we are fortunately not feeling the pinch (except for those retirement funds...) But in saying that, or when people ask, "How's business?" I feel guilty being honest, because I think a lot of people are hurting, out of work, etc. It's tough for those hard working people who are laid off because of company cuts, etc. I just hope the people going to the Superbowl and buying new cars have the money and are not running up more credit. Problem is, we've allowed too much debt out there and many people don't know how to live within (or below) their means, and they don't know how to save. Sad, but true.

The first part of this was his/her business is doing great. Sure things not as good as they use to be but every business is not spinning around the toilet bowl.
I have never been a "conspiracy theory" kind of guy but I think it has a lot to do with the media. I think the only thing that matters in the statistics of the whole thing is Consumer Confidence. No one is confident right now.
Because some people have lost their jobs but others haven't and they are scared to death to spend any of it.

The next thing the commentor says is that he feels guilty saying things are great.
I think it is okay to tell people that things are great when everyone else is good. But when everyone else is crappy it is hard to tell them you are good.
Of course, when the media is saying how crappy it is out there and you are doing feel guilty. I feel the same way.
Are things great here? No, but they aren't terrible.

I am always trying to get the pulse of my patients by asking how they are doing. I ask, how are the kids? How is business? How's that car you got last year? You know things like this.
I had a couple of guys last week say that work was busy. Not like busy, but busy and I can't handle the volume busy.
I had a guy come in yesterday and when I called him to see how the $1000 worth of dentistry I did yesterday was doing he said, "Great, and hey, I want to whiten my teeth and replace some of my old crowns." I said, SURE. But you know things are going that bad for this guy.

I did a root canal on a woman today that had a ring on her finger that was at least 4 carats.
While she was getting work done her husband went to the airport to check on his plane.
Come to find out that she is a snow bird and lives in Dayton, Ohio. She lives here 4 months out of the year. They own and house in the neighborhood next to my office and they own a golf villa for when their kids want to visit.
So some people have money and again they are afraid to spend it.
Me, for instance, I don't have a garage on my house. We wanted to do it and not borrow any money to do it. So back in the hey day the project was going to cost $46,000. Just to build a two car garage on our house. Nothing fancy just very expensive.
We built the foundation and the driveway ($11,000) and stopped to save more money.
We now have the money and it would cost probably 60% less than originally quoted but I am afraid to do it. I am afraid to spend because of what the economy might still bring.

You know we are doing our fourth annual Dentistry from the Heart in a couple of weeks.
We usually ask local restaurants to donate food for the volunteers. We ask the local grocery story to donate food so we can grill and feed the patients.
This year no one will donate food. The restaurants will not donate platters or anything and the grocery stores will not give us food. Winn-Dixie will NOT donate HOT DOGS. What is a bunch of hot dogs to a grocery store?
So is this the store is scared or do they really not have $20 in hot dogs.
Even the publicly traded dental supply company, that has helped the past 3 years is balking.
Is it really that bad that I have to strong arm my supply company to donate $150 in supplies?

Last thing in the comment...
People don't know how to live under their means.
Now this might be the best thing that comes out of this "recession".
People learning to live with what we make.
Now I would like to point the finger elsewhere but my office has never been a real tight ship.
We make money and spend it. We make money and then give bonuses.
We have saved in the past but at the end of the year we bonuses it out.
So now we have to do a lot of creative financing with our bills.
I think we lived under our means but only because our we had so much means.
Now we don't know how to live on the means we have now.
We have all these monitors on the ceiling and cool computer stuff that we bought when it was good.
Now a monitor is not working and I have to decide if I want to spend $500 on them coming out and fixing it.
I hate being the guy who has the $100,000 car and then complains about the money when he has to get the tires replaced.

Crazy times,
I am glad to be sharing it with you guys,
Have a great weekend,

ps Zero spelling mistakes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Here on the west coast of FL they just opened up a Ferrari dealership. The president of the company flew in for the grand opening for 600 people. Unfortunately I was not invited. I asked so how many cars have they sold jokingly. I was told very seriously 8 LAST MONTH!!!


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