US Economics This Year Versus Last

US Economics This Year Versus Last

I surprised my special needs sister with a visit on her birthday again this year the same time as I did last year (birthdays seem to occur on the same date often).  She burst into tears when I saw her but it was an emotional visit all around as the economies of the state of Pennsylvania between this year and last were astounding.

Last year stores in and around Hershey, PA were empty as everyone seemed to be on-line shopping.  The rare one I saw in a store argued with the clerk over the pricing of on-line delivery to the store versus home.  A store seemed to only be where one went to try clothes on prior to ordering on-line.

This year they were filled with shoppers and over-eager salespeople trying to get my email or phone number in exchange for money off my purchase no matter how often I stressed I was visiting from central Mexico and wouldn’t be a regular shopper.  One gal actually followed me into a dressing room to see if I needed help, like I didn’t learn how to put on my own pants over a half century ago.

Plus men’s clothing had a whole new size available everywhere called XS.  What was extra small I wondered?  I held up an XS shirt and recognized the size I once wore in seventh grade.  What adult male wears something that small when I looked up and realized the store had many a lad from the Far East that would fit into such a size quite nicely.  Like in Mexico, I felt like a giant in comparison!

Plus every store was looking for help and, at times, you could apply and be hired on line, from your cell phone, while shopping.  My former entrepreneur self could not imagine hiring without a face-to-face interview!

There were also lads my age working in stores discussing retail issues with a seriousness reserved for unexpected pregnancies leaving me thinking I guess retail as a job for teens is no longer the norm.

And despite not yet being fluent I found myself speaking Spanish constantly.  Seeing that the grocery store was a mini-UN it worked there but other times I’d catch myself thinking “What am I doing?”  While buying shoes at a DSW there was baby I got laughing speaking in Spanish about her boyfriend and what not, when her mother came back to her speaking in in a series of clicks and clucks.  It was then I realized I made her laugh, in the States, and in Spanish, when her parents spoke to her some language I had no clue what it was.

Even when in a thrift shop it was hopping though mostly with pasty Amish gals in their teens expecting their second child, but still.

Since I was buying clothes for a gal that I held up to my body knowing her size in relation to mine I was fully aware I looked like a transvestite mentally trying stuff on.  To compensate for that image I’d engage the women around me in conversation.

For example I’d hold up two pairs of heels and ask “If I asked you to dance in which shoe would you more likely agree to dance with me in?”  Or I’d turn to the gal besides holding up a dress and say “It’s too dark for a colorful gal like you.” Or “Pink is more your color to look pretty in than Molly Ringwald’s.” which always got an immediate confirmation and an exclamation along the lines of “You’re right, Baby!”

The economy seems to be doing great from my observations and was surprised to learn a burger and soda would run over twenty dollars.  Plus heaven help you if you plan on spending cash in a US airport.  No one knows what that even looks like and you’ll need a credit card for your three dollar soda, or a meal priced at what I went to community college for.

I’m no macro-economist or political maven but it was obvious the differences in the US economy between last year and this year is extreme. How that will affect us in Mexico only reminds me of the famous quote stating, “Poor Mexico, so far from God yet so close to the United States.”