Matte’s Blog

It’s the Economy

It’s been known since the beginning of the COVID pandemic that the shutdown, while necessary to slow the progress of the epidemic, would damage the economy.

And that’s been the case even though the shutdown has not been sufficiently long, stringent, or consistent to bring the epidemic to a stop. So we’ve ended up with going on 200,000 dead while unemployment skyrocketed and evictions and foreclosures soared.

Just a couple of days ago, Dr. Fauci said in an CNN interview that normal life would not be back until the end of 2021. My immediate thought was that instead of curbing our enthusiasm, he was being wildly optimistic. Not that I don’t expect sufficiently strong vaccines to have reached many millions of people by then and thus put an increasingly tight lid on COVID infections. That’s eminently plausible.

But “normal life” is not just about the pandemic but rather also about our economic life. I’m sure many economists have pointed out that an economic slump of the order that we’re now experiencing cannot be reversed in a matter of months and that we have yet to feel the long-lasting effects.

Now this is damn trivial, but I just ran into an example of an effect that is minor for society but major for me. Ummm, I guess “major” is relative. It’s not like the country is running out of the long list of meds that are now propping me up or that my senior housing is going to close and dump us all out on the street. But still, it’s making a significant impact.

See, yesterday I noticed that I was down to my last case of the 8 oz. jars I use for my jams and jellies, so I went online to Target to place another order for five cases of the jars that they kindly deliver for free. Oops. Couldn’t find the jars on their website. Combed the site and then called customer service. After some digging, the nice representative told me that the reason I couldn’t find them on the website was that there weren’t any. Out. Totally out. No projected date for availability.

Oh well, I thought, my loyalty to Target being a thin veneer, I’ll just buy them elsewhere. So I looked, and looked, and looked only to find that everybody is out. Well, except for a couple of vendors willing to sell me the jars at four times the regular price. Supply/demand and all that.

I’m hoping that in a couple of months or so Ball or Mason or Kerr will light up a factory and start churning out those jars again, but my fear is that this outage is merely a harbinger of similar breaks in many supply chains.

Meanwhile, I’ve been on a roll of late photographing door treatments that I find interesting, many of them beautiful. Well, here’s another, all too common one.

homeless doorway

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  1. ckm3
    Posted 7 December 2013 at 09:18 | Permalink

    For most people, what stays in Las Vegas is the money.

    Most excellent turning of the phrase

    • Matte Gray
      Posted 7 December 2013 at 14:26 | Permalink

      Many thanks.

  2. Chimpus_Dorkus
    Posted 21 December 2013 at 19:59 | Permalink

    Ouch. Poor bb, here’s hoping you have some good holidays etc to cheer you up and a speedy recovery.
    Be careful, will ya?!?

    • Matte Gray
      Posted 21 December 2013 at 20:50 | Permalink

      The holidays are most definitely cheerful, the recovery is progressing apace, and the caution level has been dramatically increased.

  3. Posted 24 January 2014 at 12:08 | Permalink

    Thank you for remembering Barry. And for loving him, as I did. I am glad he got to see a loving face before he died. You are right, he wanted to go out on his terms and it was never going to be pretty. Barry, even though he’d be cleaned up, was always disappointed after falling or having a heart attack, being picked up by ambulance, treated and then dumped right back onto the streets… He gave up hope for a place indoors after realizing that even that level of frailty was not enough to deserve housing in this city. he did admit to me he would have preferred to live inside. As you said, he was not crazy. 🙂 Again, thanks for the love and kindness you and others showed him. I know he appreciated it.

    • Matte Gray
      Posted 24 January 2014 at 12:26 | Permalink

      Since i wrote that account i’ve been back to the makeshift shrine several times and have talked with folks who knew him longer than i, people who were also there the afternoon before he died and to whom he also expressed very clearly that he did not want to go to the hospital. Some of the people who knew him better are organizing a little wake for him on the 1st of February, and i’ll post more details here as i learn them. Meanwhile, a useful resource is, with an article on 22 Jan that has extensive comments.

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