This page has been archived and commenting is disabled.

The Retail Death Rattle

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Jim Quinn of The Burning Platform blog,

“I was part of that strange race of people aptly described as spending their lives doing things they detest, to make money they don’t want, to buy things they don’t need, to impress people they don’t like.” - Emile Gauvreau

If ever a chart provided unequivocal proof the economic recovery storyline is a fraud, the one below is the smoking gun. November and December retail sales account for 20% to 40% of annual retail sales for most retailers. The number of visits to retail stores has plummeted by 50% since 2010. Please note this was during a supposed economic recovery. Also note consumer spending accounts for 70% of GDP. Also note credit card debt outstanding is 7% lower than its level in 2010 and 16% below its peak in 2008. Retailers like J.C. Penney, Best Buy, Sears, Radio Shack and Barnes & Noble continue to report appalling sales and profit results, along with listings of store closings. Even the heavyweights like Wal-Mart and Target continue to report negative comp store sales. How can the government and mainstream media be reporting an economic recovery when the industry that accounts for 70% of GDP is in free fall? The answer is that 99% of America has not had an economic recovery. Only Bernanke’s 1% owner class have benefited from his QE/ZIRP induced stock market levitation.

The entire economic recovery storyline is a sham built upon easy money funneled by the Fed to the Too Big To Trust Wall Street banks so they can use their HFT supercomputers to drive the stock market higher, buy up the millions of homes they foreclosed upon to artificially drive up home prices, and generate profits through rigging commodity, currency, and bond markets, while reducing loan loss reserves because they are free to value their toxic assets at anything they please – compliments of the spineless nerds at the FASB. GDP has been artificially propped up by the Federal government through the magic of EBT cards, SSDI for the depressed and downtrodden, never ending extensions of unemployment benefits, billions in student loans to University of Phoenix prodigies, and subprime auto loans to deadbeats from the Government Motors financing arm – Ally Financial (85% owned by you the taxpayer). The country is being kept afloat on an ocean of debt and delusional belief in the power of central bankers to steer this ship through a sea of icebergs just below the surface.

The absolute collapse in retail visitor counts is the warning siren that this country is about to collide with the reality Americans have run out of time, money, jobs, and illusions. The most amazingly delusional aspect to the chart above is retailers continued to add 44 million square feet in 2013 to the almost 15 billion existing square feet of retail space in the U.S. That is approximately 47 square feet of retail space for every person in America. Retail CEOs are not the brightest bulbs in the sale bin, as exhibited by the CEO of Target and his gross malfeasance in protecting his customers’ personal financial information. Of course, the 44 million square feet added in 2013 is down 85% from the annual increases from 2000 through 2008. The exponential growth model, built upon a never ending flow of consumer credit and an endless supply of cheap fuel, has reached its limit of growth. The titans of Wall Street and their puppets in Washington D.C. have wrung every drop of faux wealth from the dying middle class. There are nothing left but withering carcasses and bleached bones.

The impact of this retail death spiral will be vast and far reaching. A few factoids will help you understand the coming calamity:

  • There are approximately 109,500 shopping centers in the United States ranging in size from the small convenience centers to the large super-regional malls.
  • There are in excess of 1 million retail establishments in the United States occupying 15 billion square feet of space and generating over $4.4 trillion of annual sales. This includes 8,700 department stores, 160,000 clothing & accessory stores, and 8,600 game stores.
  • U.S. shopping-center retail sales total more than $2.26 trillion, accounting for over half of all retail sales.
  • The U.S. shopping-center industry directly employed over 12 million people in 2010 and indirectly generated another 5.6 million jobs in support industries. Collectively, the industry accounted for 12.7% of total U.S. employment.
  • Total retail employment in 2012 totaled 14.9 million, lower than the 15.1 million employed in 2002.
  • For every 100 individuals directly employed at a U.S. regional shopping center, an additional 20 to 30 jobs are supported in the community due to multiplier effects.

The collapse in foot traffic to the 109,500 shopping centers that crisscross our suburban sprawl paradise of plenty is irreversible. No amount of marketing propaganda, 50% off sales, or hot new iGadgets is going to spur a dramatic turnaround. Quarter after quarter there will be more announcements of store closings. Macys just announced the closing of 5 stores and firing of 2,500 retail workers. JC Penney just announced the closing of 33 stores and firing of 2,000 retail workers. Announcements are imminent from Sears, Radio Shack and a slew of other retailers who are beginning to see the writing on the wall. The vacancy rate will be rising in strip malls, power malls and regional malls, with the largest growing sector being ghost malls. Before long it will appear that SPACE AVAILABLE is the fastest growing retailer in America.

The reason this death spiral cannot be reversed is simply a matter of arithmetic and demographics. While arrogant hubristic retail CEOs of public big box mega-retailers added 2.7 billion retail square feet to our already over saturated market, real median household income flat lined. The advancement in retail spending was attributable solely to the $1.1 trillion increase (68%) in consumer debt and the trillion dollars of home equity extracted from castles in the sky, that later crashed down to earth. Once the Wall Street created fraud collapsed and the waves of delusion subsided, retailers have been revealed to be swimming naked. Their relentless expansion, based on exponential growth, cannibalized itself, new store construction ground to a halt, sales and profits have declined, and the inevitable closing of thousands of stores has begun. With real median household income 8% lower than it was in 2008, the collapse in retail traffic is a rational reaction by the impoverished 99%. Americans are using their credit cards to pay their real estate taxes, income taxes, and monthly utilities, since their income is lower, and their living expenses rise relentlessly, thanks to Bernanke and his Fed created inflation.

The media mouthpieces for the establishment gloss over the fact average gasoline prices in 2013 were the second highest in history. The highest average price was in 2012 and the 3rd highest average price was in 2011. These prices are 150% higher than prices in the early 2000′s. This might not matter to the likes of Jamie Dimon and Jon Corzine, but for a middle class family with two parents working and making 7.5% less than they made in 2000, it has a dramatic impact on discretionary income. The fact oil prices have risen from $25 per barrel in 2003 to $100 per barrel today has not only impacted gas prices, but utility costs, food costs, and the price of any product that needs to be transported to your local Wally World. The outrageous rise in tuition prices has been aided and abetted by the Federal government and their doling out of loans so diploma mills like the University of Phoenix can bilk clueless dupes into thinking they are on their way to an exciting new career, while leaving them jobless in their parents’ basement with a loan payment for life.


The laughable jobs recovery touted by Obama, his sycophantic minions, paid off economist shills, and the discredited corporate legacy media can be viewed appropriately in the following two charts, that reveal the false storyline being peddled to the techno-narcissistic iGadget distracted masses. There are 247 million working age Americans between the ages of 18 and 64. Only 145 million of these people are employed. Of these employed, 19 million are working part-time and 9 million are self- employed. Another 20 million are employed by the government, producing nothing and being sustained by the few remaining producers with their tax dollars. The labor participation rate is the lowest it has been since women entered the workforce in large numbers during the 1980′s. We are back to levels seen during the booming Carter years. Those peddling the drivel about retiring Baby Boomers causing the decline in the labor participation rate are either math challenged or willfully ignorant because they are being paid to be so. Once you turn 65 you are no longer counted in the work force. The percentage of those over 55 in the workforce has risen dramatically to an all-time high, as the Me Generation never saved for retirement or saw their retirement savings obliterated in the Wall Street created 2008 financial implosion.

To understand the absolute idiocy of retail CEOs across the land one must parse the employment data back to 2000. In the year 2000 the working age population of the U.S. was 213 million and 136.9 million of them were working, a record level of 64.4% of the population. There were 70 million working age Americans not in the labor force. Fourteen years later the number of working age Americans is 247 million and only 144.6 million are working. The working age population has risen by 16% and the number of employed has risen by only 5.6%. That’s quite a success story. Of course, even though median household income is 7.5% lower than it was in 2000, the government expects you to believe that 22 million Americans voluntarily left the labor force because they no longer needed a job. While the number of employed grew by 5.6% over fourteen years, the number of people who left the workforce grew by 31.1%. Over this same time frame the mega-retailers that dominate the landscape added almost 3 billion square feet of selling space, a 25% increase. A critical thinking individual might wonder how this could possibly end well for the retail genius CEOs in glistening corporate office towers from coast to coast.

This entire materialistic orgy of consumerism has been sustained solely with debt peddled by the Wall Street banking syndicate. The average American consumer met their Waterloo in 2008. Bernanke’s mission was to save bankers, billionaires and politicians. It was not to save the working middle class. You’ve been sacrificed at the altar of the .1%. The 0% interest rates were for Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein. Your credit card interest rate remained between 13% and 21%. So, while you struggle to pay bills with your declining real income, the Wall Street bankers are again generating record profits and paying themselves record bonuses. Profits are so good, they can afford to pay tens of billions in fines for their criminal acts, and still be left with billions to divvy up among their non-prosecuted criminal executives.

Bernanke and his financial elite owners have been able to rig the markets to give the appearance of normalcy, but they cannot rig the demographic time bomb that will cause the death and destruction of our illusory retail paradigm. Demographics cannot be manipulated or altered by the government or mass media. The best they can do is ignore or lie about the facts. The life cycle of a human being is utterly predictable, along with their habits across time. Those under 25 years old have very little income, therefore they have very little spending. Once a job is attained and income levels rise, spending rises along with the increased income. As the person enters old age their income declines and spending on stuff declines rapidly. The media may be ignoring the fact that annual expenditures drop by 40% for those over 65 years old from the peak spending years of 45 to 54, but it doesn’t change the fact. They also cannot change the fact that 10,000 Americans will turn 65 every day for the next sixteen years. They also can’t change the fact the average Baby Boomer has less than $50,000 saved for retirement and is up to their grey eye brows in debt.

With over 15% of all 25 to 34 year olds living in their parents’ basement and those under 25 saddled with billions in student loan debt, the traditional increase in income and spending is DOA for the millennial generation. The hardest hit demographic on the job front during the 2008 through 2014 ongoing recession has been the 45 to 54 year olds in their peak earning and spending years. Combine these demographic developments and you’ve got a perfect storm for over-built retailers and their egotistical CEOs.

The media continues to peddle the storyline of on-line sales saving the ancient bricks and mortar retailers. Again, the talking head pundits are willfully ignoring basic math. On-line sales account for 6% of total retail sales. If a dying behemoth like JC Penney announces a 20% decline in same store sales and a 20% increase in on-line sales, their total change is still negative 17.6%. And they are still left with 1,100 decaying stores, 100,000 employees, lease payments, debt payments, maintenance costs, utility costs, inventory costs, and pension costs. Their future is so bright they gotta wear a toe tag.

The decades of mal-investment in retail stores was enabled by Greenspan, Bernanke, and their Federal Reserve brethren. Their easy money policies enabled Americans to live far beyond their true means through credit card debt, auto debt, mortgage debt, and home equity debt. This false illusion of wealth and foolish spending led mega-retailers to ignore facts and spread like locusts across the suburban countryside. The debt fueled orgy has run out of steam. All that is left is the largest mountain of debt in human history, a gutted and debt laden former middle class, and thousands of empty stores in future decaying ghost malls haunting the highways and byways of suburbia.

The implications of this long and winding road to ruin are far reaching. Store closings so far have only been a ripple compared to the tsunami coming to right size the industry for a future of declining spending. Over the next five to ten years, tens of thousands of stores will be shuttered. Companies like JC Penney, Sears and Radio Shack will go bankrupt and become historical footnotes. Considering retail employment is lower today than it was in 2002 before the massive retail expansion, the future will see in excess of 1 million retail workers lose their jobs. Bernanke and the Feds have allowed real estate mall owners to roll over non-performing loans and pretend they are generating enough rental income to cover their loan obligations. As more stores go dark, this little game of extend and pretend will come to an end. Real estate developers will be going belly-up and the banking sector will be taking huge losses again. I’m sure the remaining taxpayers will gladly bailout Wall Street again. The facts are not debatable. They can be ignored by the politicians, Ivy League economists, media talking heads, and the willfully ignorant masses, but they do not cease to exist.

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”Aldous Huxley


- advertisements -

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Mon, 01/20/2014 - 11:17 | 4348093 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture



“I was part of that strange race of people aptly described as spending their lives doing things they detest, to make money they don’t want, to buy things they don’t need, to impress people they don’t like.” ?

Me too!  I changed that. 

One of the ways is that I read this excellent book, On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft, by Stephen King, then I started writing.

A second thing I did is read this incredible book, Born To Run, by Chris McDougall, then I started trail running 3-4 times per week.

Finally, I cancelled my credit cards, and stopped drinking.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 11:19 | 4348111 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

Guess Emile, never hung out at ZeroHedge....

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 11:19 | 4348113 Almost Solvent
Almost Solvent's picture

The sheer tonnage of sunk/lost time & materials to build all these awesome big box stores and strip malls is stunning.

Just like China's empty cities, we have (future empty) box stores/strip malls that can be repurposed. 

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 11:35 | 4348159 cifo
cifo's picture

I just finished "Born to run". One of the most inspirational books I read.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 11:45 | 4348188 gmrpeabody
gmrpeabody's picture

" and stopped drinking"


Lost me...

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 11:45 | 4348190 prains
prains's picture

....while in the act of running

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 12:00 | 4348232 SafelyGraze
SafelyGraze's picture

foot traffic is so old-economy

nowdays, the retail comes to the consumer

whether by usps or courier

and soon, by economical autonomous drone

it is a great time to retail!

the bezos family of retailers


Mon, 01/20/2014 - 12:22 | 4348306 BLOTTO
BLOTTO's picture

SRT: How shall the new environment be programmed? It all happened so slowly that most men failed to realize that anything had happened at all.


OMM: Let us be thankful we have commerce. Buy more. Buy more now. Buy. And be happy.



Mon, 01/20/2014 - 12:55 | 4348380 duo
duo's picture

Isn't resisting the urge to buy crap you don't need with money you don't have what "Fight Club" was all about?

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 13:38 | 4348473 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

"The things you own, end up owning you."

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 14:29 | 4348617 MeMadMax
MeMadMax's picture



It's not entirely because the middle class is out of money, it's a big part but not the entire picture...


It's because the internet has made it cheaper and more convienient.


Why stand in huge lines where you could get mugged, raped, shot, etc for your cheap chinese junk when you can just hop on Amazon and get your crap in the comfort of your own home?

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 15:12 | 4348731 cynicalskeptic
cynicalskeptic's picture

Larger Picture:

We're measuring CONSUMPTION now in place of PRODUCTION.  Production of goods and services - the addition of 'value' is what creates wealth.  Dig ore out of the ground, smelt it into metal, make somethign out of the metal.  Cut down trees, turn them into lumber and plywood, turn the wood into products like furniture.  Grow grain, mill it into flour, bake bread.  At each stage you add value along with the labor expended.  Higher value is added at the end, lesser at the beginning.  Third world countries mine ore and cut trees.    The US is reverting to third-world status.

If a nation does not produce wealth, does not add value, it can no longer afford to CONSUME.   The US has many high earners who are simply taking pieces of existing value NOT adding any.   Banking, finance - all thsoe activities SHOULD exist to allocate capital to PRODUCTIVE endeavors.  Today they are leeches killing off any industry that still creates value.  A 'service' economy - be it 'entertainment', 'software' or plai old retail and food service needs others who have money to pay for those services.

So - the question becomes - Where is 'value' created or added now in the US?  Where is the wealth being created to pay for the consumption?  Answer - nowhere.  Consumption has been fed by increased debt and THAT is coming to an end.

If nobody is working and creating or adding value, nobody has funds to buy ANYTHING.  

A wealthy 0.1% cannot possibly consume the same amount as a healthy 99%   When the 7 Walmart heirs are worth more than the whole bottom 40% of the US population, somethign is VERY wrong.  In the past, during the Robber Baron era, income disparity was bad (though not AS bad) but the Robber Barons built railroard, steel mills and factories.  The CREATED REAL WEALTH and employed others.  Today's rich simply suck money out of the rest of the population.  WalMart is selling goods made elsewhere (Creatign wealth in China) and paying less than subsistence wages to those who work in their stores (many of whom depend on government aid to get by).

You can fake GDP for a while when consumption is debt fed but eventiually the lie becomes obvious.  The US is faking statistics all around - understating inflation (aother way of boosting GDP), redefining components of statistics (affecting GDP and CPI) and vastly understating Unemployment (Now past the 1932 high of 23%) - all in a desperate effort to hide the effects of failed government policies.  'Free Trade' and endless pursuit of the cheapest possible labor has destroyed the US economy.  Some saw it coming - like Perot and Sir James Goldsmith in the following:

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 15:55 | 4348890 ATM
ATM's picture

We have ceased being citizens and are now simply referred to as consumers. And nobody but a few noticed the difference.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 19:39 | 4349546 Manthong
Manthong's picture

wow.. I dunno about that stop drinking thing...

Maybe it helps the toleration of the +155 db (A) wife.  :-D.

As an old rock and roller, I do not mind the sound pressure level..

it's the amplitude at 7 KHz that gets a bit annoying.

.. :-) sweetie, you will never see this little dig, but I love you anyway.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 19:55 | 4349698 ExpendableOne
ExpendableOne's picture

Knat Knattering....

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 20:28 | 4349828 BLOTTO
BLOTTO's picture





Mon, 01/20/2014 - 21:35 | 4350034 mjcOH1
mjcOH1's picture

"it is a great time to retail!

the bezos family of retailers"


Proving daily that there's great money in making no money.

Tue, 01/21/2014 - 06:59 | 4351005 GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture





Welcome to the RecoveryTM


Pick a greenchute...this must be just like living in paradise.


Tue, 01/21/2014 - 09:55 | 4351314 tvdog
tvdog's picture

We have ceased being citizens and are now simply referred to as consumers. And nobody but a few noticed the difference.

When buying - consumers, when working - human resources. In either case, not human beings.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 19:18 | 4349570 rbg81
rbg81's picture

As real wealth has declined, we have created the illusion of wealth by putting everything on the National credit card.  Even 10-20 years ago, the Government hired people to work, either directly or though contractor proxies.  Now, thanks to the wisdom of individuals such as Nancy Pelosi, they just give the $$ directly to the client.

This will end badly.  When the collapse really comes, it will make the Zombie Apocalypse look tame.

Tue, 01/21/2014 - 04:03 | 4350875 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

what Pelosi gives come right back to her husband's construction company via commercial rents from businesses that sell to her voters.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 20:21 | 4349801 spinone
spinone's picture

the dominant paridigm defines the language of the arguement.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 17:07 | 4349094 vulcanraven
vulcanraven's picture

"You are not your fuckin khakis."

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 23:07 | 4350377 NOTW777
NOTW777's picture

"was" being the operative word

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 13:09 | 4348410 Herd Redirectio...
Herd Redirection Committee's picture

So wait a second, HH is Jim Quinn?

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 13:16 | 4348425 NIHILIST CIPHER

BLOTTO         In "THX 1138" all citizens were heavily drugged and told to buy and be happy. Perhaps TPTB will soon require all citizens to take their meds and shop til they drop.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 15:56 | 4348892 ATM
ATM's picture

I think they already do.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 18:15 | 4349335 delacroix
delacroix's picture

drug evasion was a crime, which led to sex which also was a crime

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 20:29 | 4349830 Keyser
Keyser's picture

Who would have thought that George's Lucas' first feature film would have been so prophetic. 


Mon, 01/20/2014 - 18:03 | 4349275 scrappy
scrappy's picture

So much sunk capital...Perhaps families should move in with housing in the back, a retail "store" with whatever they craft, and a green roof garden and solar for the new "Mall Community".

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 20:01 | 4349721 klockwerks
klockwerks's picture

Scrappy, great idea. Once they start closing up, buy the whole center and covert to apts to rent. Zoning might be an issue and time consuming but good idea

Tue, 01/21/2014 - 07:21 | 4351027 Ronaldo
Ronaldo's picture

Parking would be the shit!

Tue, 01/21/2014 - 16:12 | 4352756 7 of 15
7 of 15's picture

Like Dan Tanna in the TV show Vega$

Tue, 01/21/2014 - 16:12 | 4352757 7 of 15
7 of 15's picture

Like Dan Tanna in the TV show Vega$

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 19:44 | 4349665 goldinpenguin
goldinpenguin's picture

Amen , more clicks less bricks.


bad news indeed for retailers serving lower income customers who have been slow to "get it" with online price comparison and shopping. I don't know how Radio Shack has survived but JCP, Sears, Kmart are pretty much doomed to bankruptcy.

JCP should just change it's name to 50% OFF Inc 

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 19:51 | 4349683 johngaltfla
johngaltfla's picture

Exactly Graze. Who the hell wants to put up with zombie clerks lying about how great their bullshit is. I went into Best Buy to find a cheap, common, commodity computer accessory and the assholes actually said, "well, we don't sell it here but we can log in online for you and order it." I told the zit faced moron that if I had intended to do that, I would have done that at 4 a.m. when I wake up while drinking my coffee and still in my boxers and via Amazon where it is shipped to you usually intact. The clueless wonder could not understand why I would not come into their shitty store if I had not intended to order something online!!!?!?!?!?!!?!?

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 20:38 | 4349862 Withdrawn Sanction
Withdrawn Sanction's picture

Did he offer you the extended warranty service contract?

Tue, 01/21/2014 - 00:11 | 4350562 johngaltfla
johngaltfla's picture

Yes, but no blowjob to make it worth the $29.95 per year.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 21:22 | 4349997 uplicidlit
uplicidlit's picture

Yea really, SG.

Measuring store foot traffic in the 21st century as an accurate indicator of retail health?

Good Gawd......can you say "online retailing?"

Whereas there is some other merit in the article, the initial premise is stupid!

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 22:46 | 4350301 ironsky
ironsky's picture

"The media continues to peddle the storyline of on-line sales saving the ancient bricks and mortar retailers. Again, the talking head pundits are willfully ignoring basic math. On-line sales account for 6% of total retail sales. If a dying behemoth like JC Penney announces a 20% decline in same store sales and a 20% increase in on-line sales, their total change is still negative 17.6%."

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 13:36 | 4348470 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture


Mon, 01/20/2014 - 23:43 | 4350492 willwork4food
willwork4food's picture

I quit for 20 years. Got cancer, got cured but finally and decided wtf? I take it easy now.

 Kudos to HH!!! Say hello to Bill.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 13:41 | 4348479 Fail2Deliver
Fail2Deliver's picture

Me too! The ice kept falling out of my glass.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 17:34 | 4349167 U4 eee aaa
U4 eee aaa's picture

That's why they invented sippy cups

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 19:08 | 4349533 HowardBeale
HowardBeale's picture

"...while in the act of running"

Don't need to get extreme. Join the Hash House Harriers, whose motto is: Drinkers with a running problem. 

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 13:06 | 4348402 Agent P
Agent P's picture

I stopped drinking.....well, except for beer, wine, whiskey, vodka tonics, and the occasional margarita.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 13:52 | 4348509 linrom
linrom's picture

I was reading his posts, he could've fooled me? Start drinking!

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 20:01 | 4349719 max2205
max2205's picture

Didn't I read and hear the same shit in 2005 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13?

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 20:29 | 4349836 Blano
Blano's picture

Then just do the first 3 and call it a day.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 12:07 | 4348250 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

Quinn used logic, real trends & real numbers & facts to obliterate the "Recovery"meme bullshit peddled by the Oligarch controlled Main Stream Media.

There's a controlled demolition of the middle class & the economy it moved supported now well underway.

The problem is...the water is about to get way too hot for the frogs. Instead of slowly boiling to death "comfortably numb," hundreds of millions frogs boiling too quickly is going to tip the pot of boiling water over.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 17:58 | 4348345 nope-1004
nope-1004's picture

This one was very well written by Jim.  Good piece of work with clear evidence of something everyone here has been saying for so long:  The FED induced market is a sham.

In my city, since about 2002, whenever I drive by the endless strip mall and shopping center developments I just shake my head.  I've never been able to understand how they stay in business - legitimately.  Of course, easy credit and low rates can skew anything for a time, but that time is up.


Mon, 01/20/2014 - 18:05 | 4349289 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

"we built the City. We though we'd made a few mistakes so we headed on down the road and built another." "this war was brought to you by...

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 21:05 | 4349944 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

The other thing I painfully noticed today was an absolute absence of traffic everywhere. I know this is a holiday but it's really only one for banks, government and students. That I could drive 80mph on the freeway without hitting my brake once is very telling.


Tue, 01/21/2014 - 02:42 | 4350782 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

It should be telling you that there's waaaay to many Govt employees ('cause Govt "worker" is an oxymoron!)

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 14:53 | 4348670 SDShack
SDShack's picture

Your frog analogy is spot on, but never underestimate the power of a sociopath. TPTB are all sociopaths and have engineered the system for their benefit at the expense of the masses. It is the New Feudal World Order that is coming, and the sociopaths have all the basic contingencies covered. First of all, don't assume the frogs will revolt. The frogs ARE the Free Shit Army. Keep them fed and with a roof over their head, and doped up on weed and addicted to mindless tv reality shows, and watch how complacent they will be. For those few that do revolt, why do you think the DHS is stockpiling billions of rounds of ammo? Why is the IRS extorting every freedom loving patriot? Why is the NSA spying on everyone? No, the sociopaths have completely gamed the system for them to win, not us. We are morphing into the New Feudal World Order. Kings/Queens running everything, with Lords in charge of the locals, using bread and entertainment on one hand, and the state security system on the other to maintain order. Compliant serfs is what they want. The chaff will be relegated to Fema camps or demilitarized inner cities to prey on each other. It's going to get worse, much, much worse before there is even a hint of things getting better. Prepare accordingly.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 20:40 | 4349866 Keyser
Keyser's picture

The kleptocrats might have gotten away with their plan for a new world order but for two reasons. 1) The interenet and 2) the BRICS... The sociopaths pulling the levers at the central planning office are shitting a brick and are one step ahead of the public calling bullshit and going native. 


Mon, 01/20/2014 - 22:46 | 4350297 Andre
Andre's picture

Big problem for them. In reality, they are not nearly as smart as they think they are. Every game is founded on rules, which are founded on assumptions.

Sometimes it's better to be 90 percent wrong than 90 percent right. That odd 10 percent can have interesting consequences.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 23:52 | 4350522 Yes_Questions
Yes_Questions's picture



Fucking douchebag trust fund baby PTP wastes prolly hire consultants on this NFWO anyhow.


How can such a shift succeed off paper in the face of righteous indignance armed with metals, integrity and passion?




Mon, 01/20/2014 - 17:59 | 4349261 tankster
tankster's picture

Best Line...'Their futures so bright they gotta wear a toe tag'.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 18:01 | 4349264 tankster
tankster's picture

Best Line...'Their futures so bright they gotta wear a toe tag'.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 20:10 | 4349754 solidus
solidus's picture

Life was so much simpler when all you had to do was chase down an antelope for 20 miles.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 20:45 | 4349880 Keyser
Keyser's picture

I'd settle for 1969... $10 would get you a tank of gas, a pack of smokes, a sixpack and some greasy burgers w/fries... 


Mon, 01/20/2014 - 21:48 | 4350086 mt paul
mt paul's picture

100 $ today

will get you about the same...

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 22:40 | 4350285 Ms. Erable
Ms. Erable's picture

...or maybe just the tank of gas.

Tue, 01/21/2014 - 07:03 | 4351010 Bearwagon
Bearwagon's picture

... but you can have your burger and fries supersized! Ain't that progress?!

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 22:59 | 4350348 Cyberg
Cyberg's picture

i was making ~$1.25 hr '69

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 23:00 | 4350349 Cyberg
Cyberg's picture

i was making ~$1.25 hr '69

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 23:37 | 4350485 All_Your_Base
All_Your_Base's picture

$2.9815 is the rounded silver value for the 1965-1970 silver Kennedy half dollar on January 20, 2014.


20 silver half dollars from 1969 are worth about $59.63 in Yellens. 



Mon, 01/20/2014 - 12:15 | 4348287 Blue Horshoe Lo...
Blue Horshoe Loves Annacott Steel's picture

FEMA camps that'll remind people of their shopping days.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 13:04 | 4348389 Wahooo
Wahooo's picture

We need open-air prisons. That'll keep the sheeple from wolfing.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 12:20 | 4348297 Race Car Driver
Race Car Driver's picture

> Just like China's empty cities, we have (future empty) box stores/strip malls that can be repurposed.

Just take some of all the empty shipping containers we have laying around, stack 'em next to the empty box stores (Circuit City comes to mind) and voila - instant school rooms and gymnasium ... or prison. Because there's not much difference, these days, it's very utilitarian. School today, prison next month ... as needs change.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 23:01 | 4350357 ImReady
Mon, 01/20/2014 - 23:03 | 4350358 ImReady
ImReady's picture


Mon, 01/20/2014 - 15:25 | 4348783 fattail
fattail's picture


Section 8 Housing, or FEMA Camp.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 20:41 | 4349872 aerojet
aerojet's picture

Repurposed into what?  They will mostly be torn down, the materials dropped off as scrap.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 20:47 | 4349886 Keyser
Keyser's picture

That's after all the copper piping and wiring has been stripped by gypsies. 

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 22:54 | 4350330 ratpack1968
ratpack1968's picture

No, they'll be repurposed into homeless shelters and healthcare bazaars.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 23:27 | 4350449 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

There is so much empty retail space and office space most anywhere I look that it seems like insanity to build more. However, I suspect some of the construction is simply relocation of retail to new areas or following the location of populations.

In my American city I also see insane amounts of condo's being built everywhere too and my ZH influenced brain just says "Property Crash II".

Tue, 01/21/2014 - 18:35 | 4353393 Buck Johnson
Buck Johnson's picture

Exactly, and this isn't going to end well not at all for the US. 

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 11:29 | 4348142 Gankfest
Gankfest's picture

We're F**kin Done Son!

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 19:21 | 4349577 THECOMINGDEPRESSION

I am going to spam this page and allow you people to get some FREE BITCOINS every hour for the rest of your life: Just join for free and click on "free play" over and over again..

Tue, 01/21/2014 - 09:54 | 4351311 Notarocketscientist
Notarocketscientist's picture

Spam away muthafucka

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 11:18 | 4348112 Occident Mortal
Occident Mortal's picture

But but but..

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 12:13 | 4348264 Never One Roach
Never One Roach's picture

Consumers are tapped out. Falling prices in retail to incredible cheap levels and houses back with zero down show they have no money even with the 80-90% discounts, bonus points, 'buy 2 get 3 free' and so on....

They're broke. Maybe giving out free golf carts again will help?

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 12:44 | 4348359 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

That dude in the picture above (walking underneath the fading Kmart sign) is goin' to go pop some tags (at The Salvation Army Clothing Depot)...

...he's got $10 in his pocket...

...he voted for Obama.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 18:02 | 4349269 TimmyB
TimmyB's picture

As if that other fellow seeking election would have been any better. I know it's a hell of a lot of fun to blame Obama, but the system is designed so that your "choice" is always between the big business party and the party for big business. If you blame Obama, and not the system that vomited him up, then you are a fool.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 21:28 | 4350018 Not My Real Name
Not My Real Name's picture

Or maybe the system is designed so that your "choice" is always between the big government party and party for big government?

If there is no difference between red team and blue team how can you, at the same time, villify "big business" while giving "big government" a free pass?

Tue, 01/21/2014 - 00:33 | 4350592 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

"the system that vomited him up" - beautiful

Tue, 01/21/2014 - 09:55 | 4351315 Notarocketscientist
Notarocketscientist's picture

Uh.... anyone who votes at all - is a fucking moron.  

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 12:06 | 4348248 El Diablo Rojo
El Diablo Rojo's picture

Hedgeless your list of 100 items in addition to the bug out bag, is no longer available.  Could you please either repost or email it to me?




Mon, 01/20/2014 - 15:20 | 4348759 Citxmech
Citxmech's picture

Thanks for posting the link to the Stephan King book.  Really looking forward to reading that!  That guy is the master of character development and verbalizing the internal thought-process.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 12:13 | 4348277 WaterWings
WaterWings's picture


I've been looking for a refreshing source of "spiritual fuel" to feed the inner flame. 

Thank you for your positive contributions and perspective. 


Mon, 01/20/2014 - 13:34 | 4348462 Fuh Querada
Fuh Querada's picture

cueing DavidPierre.........

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 14:53 | 4348663 q99x2
q99x2's picture

Did the same as HH above only not is such an honorable way.

Thanks for the writing links. I've written parts of a book. I call it "My Book" because no one will ever read it.

Anyhow I'm still going to college. But the stop drinking and the running and the writing. It works if you work it.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 16:06 | 4348925 negative rates
negative rates's picture

Are we working out now too?

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 16:05 | 4348919 negative rates
negative rates's picture

Yea, that's the first sign ur on ur way out for sure.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 16:16 | 4348938 Catflappo
Catflappo's picture

I suspect the run up in 2004-2006 was yet more fradulent/CDO based rubbish and the subsequent collapse has a lot also to do with supply destruction as much demand creation

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 17:15 | 4349108 PF-9
PF-9's picture

Around here, Mountain lions eat trail runners. 

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 18:32 | 4349419 NoLongerABagHolder
NoLongerABagHolder's picture

This is just a test to see if my avatar is working....

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 21:07 | 4349950 MsCreant
MsCreant's picture

The Hello Kitty is very nice, if a little commercial, welcome.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 18:53 | 4349484 BeansMcGreens
BeansMcGreens's picture

Two guys are on a narrow trail when they spy a mountain lion stalking them. One of the men stops and removes his boots and pulling out some running shoes puts them on. The other man says “Idiot, you will not be able to outrun that mountain lion”.  The man replies “I know, I plan to outrun you”.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 23:28 | 4350455 Yes_Questions
Yes_Questions's picture



Ahh, stories from "Trials with Banksters"

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 18:27 | 4349395 PacOps
PacOps's picture


"Finally, I cancelled my credit cards, and stopped drinking."


And then with the money I saved I started Bikram Yoga - (well okay, my daughter pushed me a bit - I'm 71 and have a few issues with my body) - now in 2nd week. I go every day - absolutely the best thing I have done physically for myself!

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 18:28 | 4349399 smcapmachine
smcapmachine's picture

Have you fools ever heard of something called the Internet? It's called channel shift.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 19:36 | 4349640 11b40
11b40's picture

Did you bother to read the article?  If so, you would have seen that Internet sales a a small % to total retail sales.  Growing, yes, but no where near sales driven by foot traffic...not even close, and won't be anytime soon.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 18:31 | 4349415 NoLongerABagHolder
NoLongerABagHolder's picture

Yeah buddy

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 18:40 | 4349437 Rentier
Rentier's picture

This is happening in the cell phone carrier market too.  There are no NEW customers left, only those to steal from competitors...Why you are starting to see pricing wars.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 18:58 | 4349506 RafterManFMJ
RafterManFMJ's picture

H_H I've read both as well, but the original King book. Highly recommend them both.

Ran two marathons so far, and uncounted 1/2 marathons. Now, I suppose I need to start a blog...perhaps in February after I'm done moving house.

I'll continue to use my CC as it's a free float and I pay it off every month, and I'll continue to drink as that's how I cope with my desire for alcohol.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 23:24 | 4350443 Yes_Questions
Yes_Questions's picture



Hear Hear!


you speak the True True.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 19:31 | 4349624 G.O.O.D
G.O.O.D's picture

headless horseman is not much fun anymore.. taking things too seriously I say. Running up and down mountains... sheesh

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 19:36 | 4349641 thestarl
thestarl's picture

Swimming some running and yoga HH keeps the body strong physically and mentally

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 19:38 | 4349645 thestarl
thestarl's picture

And lets not forget good diet and the odd glass of good Oz red wine

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 20:49 | 4349899 aerojet
aerojet's picture

So you stopped consuming by going out and buying a book?

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 21:20 | 4349988 JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

I used to live in a village. It was few hours away by train from the nearest town. Most modern amenities were present - electricity, water, heat, telephone (that was before cell phones). There were stores one would find anywhere in the country. A hardware store, a bookstore, a groceries store etc. There was just 1 store of each kind. There was no electronics store, no car dealership, and most importantly, no banks. You wanted to do any of that stuff - you had to go to the city, and that was perfectly fine. Most people walked around, even if they had transportation. The community was healthy and the economy prosperous. Most people were involved in some form of production. The village fed itself and traded the remains...

Took many years, but eventually the city expanded and reached the village, absorbing it into itself as a suburb and everything went downhill. Now it's just like any other place. Apartments, malls, commutter rush hour, top soil covered in asphalt, turned into parking lots, reserved for future development.

I most regret the loss of good agricultural land - the source of all the real wealth the village used to enjoy. Abanodned houses may get demolished every now and then. The pavement - nobody bothers to remove it. Once covered over and polluted, the land is lost forever.

Tue, 01/21/2014 - 00:17 | 4350418 Yes_Questions
Yes_Questions's picture



Mrs. Horseman know you're going for most eligible bachelor?


or are those wonderful meals hers?


kidding of course and thank you for the inspiration.  


I wonder if the system will hold up long enough for me to quit it at my peak.  


Then again, will I.


Mon, 01/20/2014 - 23:29 | 4350459 algol_dog
algol_dog's picture

One word ... Amazon 

Tue, 01/21/2014 - 02:55 | 4350795 AngelEyes00
AngelEyes00's picture

I don't see anything in this article about increasing online sales, like at 

What is happening is people have gotten wise to the fact it's easier, faster and cheaper to shop online.  Unfortunately it's another nail in the employment coffin as a few big wigs at Amazon make billions forcing retail outlets out of business.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 11:11 | 4348094 Odin
Odin's picture


Mon, 01/20/2014 - 11:11 | 4348095 order66
order66's picture

Time to get longer.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 11:19 | 4348108 Glass Seagull
Glass Seagull's picture



For the sake of accuracy, let's not forget how ecommerce obviously impacts (negatively) standard brick/mortar retail metrics.  Lump ecommerce into the eqn, maybe we get a little closer to the unbiased truth.  Old guard is hurting, but new guard ecommerce is doing okay.


Mon, 01/20/2014 - 11:24 | 4348130 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

Perfect example. Wife wants an iFit for Valentine's day...

It's $125 + sales tax at Brookstone brick store. 

It's $100 + shipping online store. 

It's $75 Free shipping and No sales tax on eBay. 


I chose eBay because I love not giving NJ $7+ every single time. FUCK YOU CHRISTIE 

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 11:40 | 4348171 discopimp
discopimp's picture

With the money you saved perhaps you can get one for Christie as well, his tent...I mean pants are looking a bit smug...snug

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 16:00 | 4348904 BKbroiler
BKbroiler's picture

see maybe this is that manufacturing rennaissance they were talking about.  The only people to survive will be manufacturers, using Amazon or Ebay.  The chain of distribution just got a few links shorter.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 19:38 | 4349646 11b40
11b40's picture

But the point is, good luck selling anything to tapped out consumers.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 12:47 | 4348370 KnightTakesKing
KnightTakesKing's picture

I've been buying some dress pants on eBay over the past year. This week I bought a $185 pair of Nordstrom wool pants (new) for $20 plus $5 shipping. And no sales tax.

Fuck you retail!

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 13:49 | 4348494 Fail2Deliver
Fail2Deliver's picture

But we need retail so the thugs that sold you those $185 pants for $20 have a place to steal them from!

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 19:02 | 4349511 Emergency Ward
Emergency Ward's picture

NJ folks buy from Cali, Cali folks buy from NJ.  Fuck Christie and Brown.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 11:32 | 4348151 williambanzai7
williambanzai7's picture

And let us also not forget the American retail homogenization of style. Everyone looks like an Amadroid, a Wallmart clone or a Target Smurf. How much retail diversity and competition do you need to dress a nation of unemployed slobs? What need is there for a shopping mall full of copycat fashion boutiques selling $100 jeans? In the UK the same phenomena is called the high street. They are in for a rude awakening. 

And now, sadly, the Box Store Globalist Cabal is very very busy trying to set up shop in Asia.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 11:41 | 4348178 discopimp
discopimp's picture

+1 on your board, but +100 for Target Smruf...LMAO!!!

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 12:16 | 4348294 Skateboarder
Skateboarder's picture

I bought a used late 90s pair of black cargo skate pants on eBay for about 25 bucks. They're fucking huge compared to today's metrosexual slim-fit standards. Wore 'em to the skatepark one day, did some styley tricks. No one talks shit about styley tricks or the people who do 'em (unless you're a douche). One of the comments I heard was "good one, big pants."


If you go to the smaller/less populated parks, everyone looks different. If you go to the bigger/more populated parks, everyone at the skatepark looks the same.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 12:35 | 4348339 Race Car Driver
Race Car Driver's picture

> If you go to the bigger/more populated parks, everyone at the skatepark looks the same.

This is what MTV and it's ilk have done.

Tue, 01/21/2014 - 02:25 | 4350759 Freddie
Freddie's picture

We had a name for it when we were young.  It was called Shopping Mall New Wave.  When punk and new wave hit - the fashion was underground then the mall stores jumped on it.  See a variety of bad 1980s movies or music videos.

Miami Vice look was another.  Probably the grunge stuff with Nirvana, etc.

Skateboard dude always has the great stories. "Nice one big pants!"  LOL!

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 19:04 | 4349518 RafterManFMJ
RafterManFMJ's picture

Check out Plato's Closet, or similar; Abercrombie jeans already broken in for 7 bucks...great deals on name brands for less less less.

Lookin' for a come up, this is fin awesome!

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 21:16 | 4349972 Loose Caboose
Loose Caboose's picture

Ha.  Reminds me of what my son used to say when he was a teenager.  "Well, I guess I'll don my 'youth costume' and go to school."

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 12:28 | 4348319 petolo
petolo's picture

$100 jeans? I have a few pairs of jeans and denim shirts  i would rent out for a good price. Free shipping.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 15:30 | 4348798 williambanzai7
williambanzai7's picture

Do you accept Bitcoin forward contracts?

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 19:34 | 4349630 G.O.O.D
G.O.O.D's picture

I hear ya Bonzi, I am sick to death of those sequins on the asses of all the "hip" chicks.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 11:42 | 4348180 arkady
arkady's picture

My thoughts exactly.  While the evidence presented here is interesting, the obvious canary in the coalmine is online shopping.  

Between B&M and online shopping there is most certainly a zero sum game.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 12:07 | 4348258 Singelguy
Singelguy's picture

The most important point is that incomes are falling while real inflation and higher taxes, as well as Obamacare are significantly reducing disposable income. The transfer to online shopping is not a zero sum game. Consumers are looking for lowest price and purchasing only what they need. You cannot continue purchasing at the same rate if your income is declining and you have no savings.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 12:23 | 4348311 Never One Roach
Never One Roach's picture

Don't forget we get hit with another postal rate increase Jan 26th.

shipping costs will soar another 5% !

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 12:00 | 4348234 PrecipiceWatching
PrecipiceWatching's picture

This is correct, although I am not an expert on the extent to which ecommerce is "doing OK".  For example, Amazon absolutely rules on volume, but my understanding is they are having trouble actually making money.

That said, I wonder how long it is before the voracious Communist appetite no longer allows for online retailers (those without brick and mortars in a given state), to enjoy the enormous competitive advantage of "no sales tax".

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 12:15 | 4348283 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

Unless Amazon can build an e-Great Wall Of China (and the original Great Wall never worked in its primary mission), there's a Great Mongol Horde increasingly ready to direct ship to the 'Murican Consumer, and I predict we'll see it within 5 years.

Who needs Amazon? Amazon is just an e-middleman, just like brick & mortar stores are middlemen.

People can buy much more of their iShit than they do at present directly from the places where it's actually made (which is neither the floor of Best Buy nor the distribution centers of Amazon).

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 12:25 | 4348318 PrecipiceWatching
PrecipiceWatching's picture

Good point.

See the Chinafication of EBAY for example.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 13:23 | 4348438 Almost Solvent
Almost Solvent's picture

Exactly. The direct from the Orient (mostly China, but I picked up a .99 free shipping straight from Korea (all packaging only in Korean) Galaxy S4 case on eBay for Christmas) will soon be everywhere.

Tue, 01/21/2014 - 02:29 | 4350763 Freddie
Freddie's picture


Yes.  I saw this with bike parts and stuff on eBay.  Headlights, light things for the spokes etc.  I like to ride a mountain bike at night for exercise.  You want to look like Disney's Electric Light Parade just in case.  Loads of stuff directly shipped from China.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 12:31 | 4348329 americanreality
americanreality's picture

dealextreme dot com, kaidomain dot com already do this, cheap stuff free shipping.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 12:51 | 4348376 andrewp111
andrewp111's picture

Tmart is another one, but shipping from HK takes 3 weeks.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 13:54 | 4348520 John Law Lives
John Law Lives's picture

Good point!

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!