Thursday, April 2, 2009

More signs of the times: Libraries, storage unit operators feeling the hurt of hard times; but garage sales are made more expansive, exciting

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that a new and rather exciting opportunity has emerged for officiandos of garage sales to discover hidden treasures.

A lot of folks can no longer make payments on storage units, so the operators are allowed to put the possessions in the unit up for auction. People are allowed five minutes to look inside the unit, but are allowed to wade through the stuff.

Bids go from $10 to $3,000. One buyer discovered a Harley autographed by Elvis. But most of the stuff usually is not that valuable.

You can Google auctions in your area.

The New York Times reports that libraries have turned into gathering places for the dispossessed. And library workers feel ill-prepared to deal with outbursts from these newest patrons whose stress level is peaking. One dispute ended up in a stabbing outside the library.

It reports in this excerpt:

As the national economic crisis has deepened and social services have become casualties of budget cuts, libraries have come to fill a void for more people, particularly job-seekers and those who have fallen on hard times. Libraries across the country are seeing double-digit increases in patronage, often from 10 percent to 30 percent, over previous years.

But in some cities, this new popularity — some would call it overtaxing — is pushing libraries in directions not seen before, with librarians dealing with stresses that go far beyond overdue fines and misshelved books. Many say they feel ill-equipped for the newfound demands of the job, the result of working with anxious and often depressed patrons who say they have nowhere else to go.

The stresses have become so significant here that a therapist will soon be counseling library employees.

Why relay these pictures of despair on this blog?

Because things are not getting better out there, no matter which way the Dow is going and no matter what nonsense Dave Ramsey and others disperse.

Prepare your own budget for these times. And see what you and your place of worship can do to address these hard times affecting so many new people each day.

No comments: