Friday, July 10, 2009

Giving you more signs that the economy is bad

Welcome to yet another edition of "Signs that the economy is bad" here at The Itinerant Librarian, where we do our best to keep you informed so you can tell that the economy is bad. I have come across a good number of stories, so let's get right to it.

  • Things are getting bad on college campuses. Administrators are cutting funds left and right in the interest of saving money. They call it "fiscal responsibility." I call it short term thinking and ridiculous corner cutting. Case in point. Inside Higher Education reports that Florida State University has taken away its English professors' office telephones (the story they point to from the Tallahassee Democrat is here). So, if you are a student in English, and you need to get a hold of the teacher, hope that he or she was generous enough to give out his cellphone number. What I wondered when I read that was what professor in their right mind would give out their cell number to their students for class use? I am sorry, but if you expect me to use a cell phone for work, you better be paying for the phone and the minutes. My personal phone is exactly that, personal. And while there is no mention of taking away the professors' computers yet, which means students could use e-mail for instance, could that step really be far away?
  • You know things are going from bad to worse when loan sharks are asking for uncommon collateral on their loans. Reuters reports on a Latvian loan shark who asks for people's souls as collateral. Apparently it is working since, according to the article, he has had 200 people taking out loans so far since the business started two months ago. Actually, the deal is not too bad: "[Viktor] Mirosiichenko said his company would not employ debt collectors to get its money back if people refused to repay, and promised no physical violence. Signatories only have to give their first name and do not show any documents." So, he is not going to be sending people to break your legs if you don't pay. You just don't your soul back. And, catering to popular need, there is no background check.
  • Airlines are considering selling standing room only tickets. It is common knowledge that the airline industry is taking a big hit in this economy. Personally, there is no lost sympathy from me given their atrocious service and the fact that cattle gets better treatment in a slaughterhouse. The Chinese line Spring Airlines is proposing to offer "standing" seats. That way, they can "pack 40 percent more passengers onto a plane, trim costs by 20 percent and lower airfares for its customers." But hey, at least they have seatbelts. (via MSNBC here). Knowing that Americans in the United States tend to have a sheep mentality, if some airline started doing that here, they probably would line up to pay for it. After all, for all the horrible things airlines do, Americans just don't seem to be totally pissed off yet. Americans will put with a lot of bullshit for some reason. I mean, look at the poor politicians they elect (on both sides). But let us not digress.
  • Weddings can be expensive. So, according to The New York Times, it seems eloping is on the rise. That is unless you can get on some reality show, then you can let them pick up the tab for your wedding as long as you are willing to humiliate yourself in front of the cameras for anyone to see.
  • And you know things are bad when you have to worry about making sure you use the right paper for the right printer. A little library humor from Self Check. Actually this one hits pretty close to home.

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