1) Was looking over economic reports last night (shut up). Discovered that my puny town of 40k people pulls in about $750m in revenue from sales tax - a quarter of the entire county and about $20m shy of Everett, which has three times the population. Why? We've got a mall, we've got a bunch of shitty chain restaurants, and we've got a bunch of car dealerships. When they talk about the "retail apocalypse" they're not just talking about the death of stores and the jobs that go with them... they're talking about the infrastructure that supports them. I honestly have no idea how a town of 16,000 people rates three anchor department stores in the first place, but if your town could support them once, and now your town can't, y'all are fucked.
In the corner of the case, Barbara found a $124 pair of earrings on sale for $31.79. The jewels were cubic zirconia, but the thin metal loops were 10-karat gold.
“A bargain,” she promised. A.J. gave her a thumbs up.
Barbara looked at her watch as she rang them up. She had spent nearly 40 minutes helping them. She knew she wouldn't meet her sales goal today.
Yeah that one hurt, a bit. When my family was tight for money (see: my entire childhood) my elderly, health-decaying dad ended up with a second job at Kaufmann's (now, Macy's). It really sucked barely seeing your dad, and knowing your family was subjected to that type of work. Definitely echoing rd95 with the bleak statement.
There's not much else to do in parts of Appalachia, industries died and didn't really come back, and service/insurance/other "white collar" jobs dwindle when there's no economic base propping them up. So, what do you do? You work in the mall, but eventually that closes because people buy online or can't afford to buy anything. Then you end up where we're at now.