Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Breaking news: there's good news

In the middle of the week, in the middle of a recession - good news.

It might last only a day. It might last less than a day. No matter. Here it is:

The Dow rises 360 points as Citigroup's CEO stuns investors with good quarterly news. "We are profitable through the first two months of 2009," Vikram Pandit says.

AT&T says it plans to add - not trim, cut or prune - 3,000 jobs this year to support customer demand in its wireless, broadband and video businesses. "We expect demand will only escalate when the larger economy rebounds," CEO Randall Stephenson says, encouragingly.

Then there is Mickey Coffino. She is owner of MC3 Salon on East Boulevard. Not long ago she got a call from a client who had lost her job, with kids in college. She had tried to color her hair at home.

There was another call, from another client, with another lost job. "I don't have the money to get my hair done," she said.

Coffino thought about this, and about the news she reads and sees each day about the economy. What can one salon owner do?

She can invite anyone who has lost a job to come in for a free haircut on Monday, March 23. If they need hair colored, they pay only for materials. All they need is evidence of a job loss - an unemployment voucher for example. "We can get them looking good for when they try to get a job," she says.

She will do this one Monday each month, for as long as she can - perhaps until the economy gets better.

When will that be? Analysts are skeptical about Citigroup's optimism. AT&T's job additions will be dwarfed by others' job cuts throughout the week. Recovery will be a series of pleasant surprises, then harsh setbacks, then eventually more of the former than latter, experts say.

But for now, for one morning, a reminder of what good news sounds like - and the generosity that will make the bad news bearable.

"We need to put some positive energy out there," Mickey Coffino says.


Your Morning Edge:

Local governments are launching home-grown stimulus programs to spur spending, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Some banks want to return their bailout money, the New York Times reports.

A little financial diversion: Daily Show host John Stewart and Mad Money host Jim Cramer are feuding.


Vincent said...

You da' man Peter,

Keep posting the good stuff like that, about good folks like Coffino.


Kim said...

Kudos to Mickey! This is a true "pass it forward" message and should be recognized! I am passing this to all of my contacts in the hope that some will go to the salon as a paying customer to offset the costs they are generously covering.

Mike said...

This is a very smart and sensitive business owner. They understand the environment, and positively react to it. When things improve, and everyone knows they will, how much customer loyalty do you think this bisiness will have? LOTS! I commend them for doing a good thing. Its really too bad more businesses, large and small, are not doing the same. It amazes me to read of these high class businesses refusing to lower prices, because their afraid their customer's will come to expect that. Shame on them! Pure selfishness. No loyalty there, and when the economy improves, I am betting many of their former customers will have found cheaper alternatives, and they will pay for their insensitivity.

Anonymous said...

"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them"

Thomas Jefferson

Anonymous said...

I'm optomistic about our
Yes there are layoffs (massive layoffs)from jobs created during the "post 911 spending boom" when people started living above their means, running up their credit cards to maxed out limits, paid hyper inflated amounts for a house (remember the bidding wars), a time when Americans felt they deserved the best of everything (even when they couldn't afford it) and were enabled by banks, credit card companies, mortgage lenders, and the US Government (billions in stimulus checks so we could spend even more).
America got crazy - and now the bottom has fallen out. People now have to repay those debts and have stopped spending and started saving.
Things may be rough right now, but we will survive, American will survive...and hopefully learn a lesson.

Anonymous said...

"I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past." Thomas Jefferson

Anonymous said...

The DOW is at 1996 levels. They call it a dead cat bounce meaning when you drop a cat from a skyscraper window and it hits the sidewalk dead it makes a flat thud with no bounce. The DOW will go to 5000 and remain there as the insiders continue shaking the tree cleaning it out.

Prepare for the worst. Dont be naive and stick your head in the sand. Those in denial are lost.

Once it hits 5000 preparations for the breakup of America will commence as tanks will begin rolling in the streets firing at government buildings or crowds killing many.

The military action by the feds will only serve to antagonize and not prevent the bloody chaotic coup and split up of this terminally sub-bankrupted since as indicated richer states will begin withholding sending funds to the central government creating the crack and ultimate split.

Experts: Financial crisis threatens US security

WASHINGTON (AP) 03/11/09 - Lower oil prices make already unstable U.S. suppliers more volatile. Economic weakness in Mexico empowers drug cartels on the southern border. China faces more domestic unrest, leading to government crackdowns. Increased protectionism stifles recovery at home and abroad, and global perception of America's power is harmed as the nation's economy founders.

Add to those scenarios a U.S. military viewed as weak from scaled-back defense spending to cut costs, and it's easy to see how the global financial crisis threatens U.S. national security, according to testimony prepared for a House panel Wednesday.

``The most important effect of the financial crisis and subsequent recession may be the least tangible - a serious worldwide erosion of confidence in American competence, a confidence which previously almost carried a sense of invincibility,'' Richard Cooper, an international economist at Harvard University, said in written testimony for the House Armed Services Committee. ....

Anonymous said...

John Stewart is schooling Jim Cramer and making him the fool he is...

btw chicken little...

"Once it hits 5000 preparations for the breakup of America will commence"

please leave the country

Anonymous said...

dude, jeesh. you scaring the children. the worst case scenario may well be a split but america is 40 yrs off the gold standard and can print gazillions to cover all the red ink. more debt. thats the ole fashioned american way. let the future worry about it. bush is living off the dole and happy and you be too.

Eva said...

Mickey Coffino....way to go! This really shows true character and integrity by helping those in need! Thanks for making a difference!

Robert said...

What a compassionate and thoughtful thing to do for others. I am with Kim and sending this to others PAY IT FORWARD!! Thank you to Mickey with MC3salon