What the Shoe Saleman Has to Say About the Economy

President-elect Obama has a lot on his plate.  Perhaps most importantly, he’s got to get the economy moving again.  I’m not convinced that getting people to spend money should be the top priority, but let me tell you about Mike, a shoe salesman I met at Nordstrom at Pentagon City last weekend.

I was looking for navy shoes and Mike was my guy.  While I was trying on shoes, I asked him about business.  Mike said that in his 15 years in the shoe department at Nordstrom, this is the worst he’s seen.  I looked around, the store was packed.  The food court had been packed.  A couple of weeks ago, Tysons Galleria was packed.  How could business be down?

Mike said, “look around, nobody’s carrying bags.”  And you know what?  He was right.  Very few people in the store were carrying shopping bags.  I was obsessed with people watching the rest of the afternoon and Mike’s words kept ringing true.  Few people were carrying bags.

As Mike rang up my purchase, he said,  “don’t be a stranger.”