Foreclosure, the Shoemaker and the Economy
Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal picked up on the story that I have been talking about at cocktail parties for a year. My shoemaker has never been busier! It’s true. In this economy, while thousands of foreclosures in Florida are filed each week, shoemakers’ phones are ringing off the hook!
While it is generally well accepted that men would rather have their favorite shoes fixed than buy a new pair, it’s now women’s shoes that are also piling up for repair. While the WSJ chose not to get into the gender issue concerning shoe repair, I thought the major behavioral shift was extremely foretelling and even foreboding.
For one, this notion suggests that either women on their own or by subtle influence from their male counterparts are becoming frugal or financially desperate or both. Now, a Channel shoe that requires a new strap or heal gets fixed instead of given to Goodwill and Fendi pocketbooks that require a few stitches or a new zipper get repaired instead of ditched.
So what does this shoe analogy mean for our nation? As a foreclosure attorney, I see it like this. Shoe repair rather than purchase reflects that our savings rate is going up as a nation, as was just reported by the New York Times today. While, ordinarily that would be good news, it’s not. Increased savings means people are spending less at the malls (2008 was the worst holiday shopping season in 30 years), which means failure of local stores and decreased sales in malls and in turn, our economic crisis will first only worsen.
Residential and commercial foreclosures in Florida will continue to rise, as more and more people are fired (Macy’s yesterday). People will have less disposable income and thus will have to do with what they got — like old shoes! In fact, at my shoemaker they hired a seamstress last June so people could take out or in waistlines and lengthen pants for the kids. Certainly, the increase in shoe repair is only one of the numerous signs that American’s are finally getting the message.