A late surge saved last week from the disaster that I prematurely reported in my last post. It was still behind LY, but not dramatically so. Thank you, customers, for playing the cavalry. Don’t scare me like that again.
Last week I reluctantly stopped advertising DayClocks because bottom-feeders have driven the price into the ground. The very next day, DayClocks announced their first new model in years – a smaller version of the Oak Contemporary. The day after that, I actually sold my first DayClock in over a month, followed by another one the very next day. I’d like to wait 10 days to see if the discounters will ruin the new clock, too, but I can’t waste valuable Christmas days on indecision. So I spent the $200 price of admission, even though my open to buy is $2,600 in the red and the old Contemporary DayClock never sold well.
But last week is ancient history. This week began with an uphill slog when one of last week’s customers canceled a $116 order that she had placed in error. Watching a day struggle to reach zero is depressing, but these things happen. Right now it’s a nail-biter whether the week will achieve LY or not. Forget about plan. Merchandise shortages are appearing. Manufacturers were conservative this year, so supplies of the most popular stuff are spotty. Retailers would rather miss incremental sales than mark down leftover inventory, so stock levels are light. Virtually everybody is understaffed from job-cutting – yesterday I gave up trying to reorder Temperature Controlled Faucet Lights when the manufacturer’s phone went unanswered. And because companies fired their oldest, most experienced workers, the overworked cheap youngsters who are left can't meet the pace. If you're one of those shoppers who waits for last-minute markdowns, you’re only going to find crap this year.
Several months ago I read a news report about the Mass. Medical Security Program running out of money. Enrollment had spiked from 3,800 to 27,000 people as of August. The state had sent us information about this program when Anne was first laid off, but there was no way we could qualify at the time. I trashed the paperwork and forgot about it. Six months later, with her salary a distant memory, our circumstances were sufficiently reduced to give it another try.
Yesterday we were accepted! The state’s 80% reimbursement will reduce our stifling $770 monthly health insurance premium to a manageable $154 for as long as Anne’s unemployment checks hold out, surpassing the expired federal COBRA subsidy. This is not the first time I’ve thanked the gods that we live in the most liberal state in the US. Saved by socialism! I don't know how people in miserly red states survive without lifelines like this. They just suffer, I guess.
Now I can cheerfully mothball the health insurance topic until the next threat comes along. It looks like we’ll be OK until COBRA expires next August. I think Anne’s unemployment checks will continue into Fall 2010, although the DUA seems to be unable to tell her when her claim extensions will all be exhausted. Maybe the national economy will take another plunge and Congress will keep extending benefits forever.
Welcome to Curious Business
Every Friday, I post a small insight into running Curio City and/or Blue Hills Editorial Services. My most recent posts are directly below. You can also start with the first post, or use the subject labels to the right to home in on particular topics. Feel free to comment on anything that interests you.