Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Last Night

On foot last night, I was headed up to the Dupont Circle area for dinner, but it was too damn cold. At the point when I decided it was too cold to go further, I found myself in front of the Mayflower Hotel, so I headed to the hotel bar.

At the bar next to me was a gentleman who works for the Asia Development Bank. He was in town for some meetings with the World Bank. He told me there was corruption and crooks throughout Asia. When I asked him if anyone had ever tried to bribe him, he seemed a little startled by the question. When he recovered, he said that it wouldn't happen to him because there are too many controls on what he does, but at the level just below him, he said , you really can't always tell what is going on, and if there is any corruption with what he works with that is where it is. He, then, bought me a drink.

Next, I spoke to a buyer for Bed, Bath and Beyond. She told me that BBB was in excellent financial shape because they paid cash for all their goods. They have no debt. She said that sales have been impacted quite dramatically by the downturn, as in the past a lot of purchases were made by new home buyers. She then said that they were readjusting by carrying more everyday things like bed sheets and towels---stuff that wears out quickly. Further evidence of the consumption/production ratio move towards more immediate consumption goods, I thought to myself.

I then asked her what areas of the country seemed to be holding up best. She replied, "Gee, I never thought of looking at it that way, but California and Florida are big disasters, New York and Chicago are weak and the one area of strength is the mid-Atlantic region."

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