For all of Stanley Bing's columns on TheStreet.com, click here.This week we passed by a certain milestone for a modest little community like ours. We posted our 10,000th comment. It came from Laurel, of Santa Barbara, Calif., whose observation on that day was typical of the kind of thing that has made this blogspace such an addictive experience for me. Here is our 10,000th comment, rich with personal anecdote and interesting observation from someplace that is not here:
I live in a tourist town, Santa Barbara, Calif. I have been watching the stores close for a few years now and the staff in the remaining ones becoming more harried. I see the workers taking on so much more and thankful to boot, that they still have a job. They are tired though.Thank you, Laurel. And thanks to all of you first-time commenters, long-time bloviators, story-tellers, complainers, philosophers, cranks and wisenheimers, for making this space what it is, whatever it is. You've given me your thoughts on airline travel, recession, depression, incessant solicitations from Chase ( JPM); the triumphs of Apple ( AAPL) and, sometimes, Microsoft ( MSFT); Bernanke; Paulson; Madoff and other great symbols of high finance up to and including Mike the Headless Chicken and Alan Greenspan. Right now it's pretty unclear what the future holds. I hope, frankly, that it starts surprising us in a completely different way pretty soon. But either way, if it does or if it doesn't, I'll keep showing up if you do. And who knows. I may have a few surprises coming soon myself. And Laurel? Send me an email to email@example.com with your info. I'll send you something nice.
I also could swear I see new workers in the grocery store and banks, and they appear to be more qualified. Maybe I am imagining this, that employers are merging, hiring and keeping only the best. I don't know what to think of this, but everyone is nicer to each other. Small business owners have usually sunk all that they have in their business, and watching them lose everything, their hopes and dreams, everything, is reason enough to spend whatever it takes. So, if people are saving just in case, think again and spend a little, tip more, and drop the "we're doomed" attitude and see what Bing sees: We can, we will, and we are going to make it. On a personal note, I lost my job in epidemiology, but found out I could make the same teaching high school science, and demand is high for females teaching math, statistics and physics. I recently had a legal matter, so I had to refinance for cash. The refinancing rate actually saved me more money then I lost. (I thought of Bing's article when I calculated the new mortgage rate and realized my luck.) Thanks, Bing. You made my life a little better by pointing out to look for the cracks of light!