It’s Labor Day, Let’s Play!

Yesterday, I was walking across the parking lot, on my way into work, when I spied this guy walking in ahead of me. What I noticed about him, was his attire, shorts, T-shirt and flip-flops. This is taking business casual to a whole new level, I thought. About the time, he entered the building the company’s president came barreling out the same door, with a briefcase and suitcase in each hand. I drew up to the president just as he reached his car and asked him if we had a new dress code. This just elicited a smile. In truth, the other guy was probably coming into work on his day off; to attend to something or other that just couldn’t wait. Dressing down would only underscore his extra effort to his co-workers.

Friday is the last day of the work week, not Thursday, but pulling into the parking lot this morning, you could have been easily fooled into thinking that the weekend had already begun. By the time I left work on Friday, it was even emptier. A lot of people take time off from work around these holidays, because things quiet down around these weekends and they are right in thinking that they won’t miss any important action. I got lots of quiet seat time on Friday and was able to complete my week-long debugging effort on a new computer model and got it queued to run over the weekend before I left work.

I’ve spoken of the Starbucks Index before. My version of this popular economic index is very simple; I just count the number of people in line when I walk through the front door. At its nadir in the winter of 2008/2009 there was no line, and I just breezed up to the sales counter only to be attended to by the standard three baristas. These days it is a lot different and this difference was even more underscored when I returned from summer vacation. School was back in session by then, so the usual summer doldrums had ended. Anyway, today, the line was long, the index was through the roof and there were now four baristas instead of the previous three.

Then there was Friday’s jobs report. This was dismal news to say the least and was especially disappointing news on the eve of Labor Day. One guy at work though was not disappointed. This would be my friend, the Perma-Bear. He views everyone one of these downturns as clear evidence that this Great Recession is really the Great Depression II. If history truly does repeat itself and if we really have learned nothing in the intervening seventy years, then the economic pain and suffering of the last few years is only the preamble to the true misery yet to come. This is what he believes. I chose not to believe him, because he speaks of too dour a future. So, instead I take delight in poking him on the markets’ up days and avoiding him on their down ones. If on a down day I find myself cornered, I resort to a Pollyanna attitude and bite my tongue, so as not to sing, “The Sun Will Come out Tomorrow”.

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