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To be surprised that in a recession...

(119 Posts)
Joolyjoolyjoo Fri 14-Oct-11 23:04:02

The businesses that seem to be thriving in my town centre are nail bars, beauticians and travel agencies confused Oh, and pawn shops/ buy your gold/ brighthouse.

The nail bars/ foot-eating-fish emporiums are always busy. But other businesses seem to be going under. I have been watching, as I've recently opened my own business (vets) in the town, and I am appreciative that times are tough. Don't get me wrong, we are slowly doing ok (lots of lovely clients and I think I am fairly priced). But it seems to me that when times are tough the first things to go would be the luxuries (to me, acrylic nails etc) but this doesn't seem to be the way it works. I am intrigued by this.

To me, priority is bills, then food, then essential household stuff (kids clothes/ shoes/ necessary repairs etc) I can understand why (sadly) some smaller speciality shops have gone, and even the demise of Woolies (which I loved blush) but every time a long established business closes a beautician/ nail bar seems to open up and be busy.

It seems like the people in my town must be pawning their gear, selling their gold...then going to get their nails/ feet done before booking a holiday! Anyone else's town starting to look like this?

Trills Fri 14-Oct-11 23:06:44

It is well known in financial circles that when times get tough people stop splurging on the large extravagant purchases such as cars and, instead, treat themselves to small luxuries like lipstick.

Lipstick effect - people can't buy big extravagances but they still have some disposable income so they spend it on things that make them feel better.

Joolyjoolyjoo Fri 14-Oct-11 23:12:12

I do get that, but at £20 a pop nails/ feet/ lipstick is it really a small extravagance?? I've also been surprised that the "expensive" baby clothes/ prams shops are still going strong while other middle-of-the-road shops are struggling.

I think you are right. People want to treat themselves to a "luxury" item, but are loathe to pay for a "sensible" item. Just seems back to front for me!

troisgarcons Fri 14-Oct-11 23:14:18

Pawn shops always thrive in times of recession - you can see that from the adverts on the telly-box. Playing on the needy and vunerable.

Trills Fri 14-Oct-11 23:15:10

A recession doesn't mean everyone is on the breadline.

Joolyjoolyjoo Fri 14-Oct-11 23:26:24

No, that's true. But I know my demographic (that sounds v. poncey, sorry!) and I know that much of my town is on benefits/ minimum wage. A lot of the people I meet are strapped for cash, but they all have their nails and hair done. Don't get me wrong, I am not "judging", I just find it interesting.

trois- I feel really itchy around the pawn shops/ cheque cashers/ cash converters. I just don't understand why, if people are having to pawn things to live, (as is evidenced by the number of these places in my high street), how then do the same people afford beauty treatments confused

Blueberties Fri 14-Oct-11 23:28:25

Priorities innit.

aldiwhore Fri 14-Oct-11 23:31:43

The rich are largely unaffected. The poor can't afford the 'big stuff' so settle for things that are affordable up to the value of say £20... you can live without £20 if you really need a treat, if you don't spend that £20 on a treat then your lifestyle isn't drastically made better by saving it.


Find me a 'sensible' item that costs £20 and make me a little bit happier, and i shall spend the £20 I have tucked away in my pants more wisely... wink

To be fair to myself, the bills are paid, food is made (bought, prepped, I can cook etc), everyone's needs are met... I'd rather spend £20 on a new lipstick/nails/shiteyprimanitop than invest it in something useful... is that so bad? Instand gratification is just as important as long term surely? Also, its only £20... its kind of my pocket money after everything else, I'm not rich obviously, and DH doesn't spend much more than me but we have at least our pocket money each week to make us feel a little rewarded for our efforts (in a very childish way).

I'm actually saving up for a kitchenaid/kenwood mixer... is that money better spent?? In some people's eyes, not so!

aldiwhore Fri 14-Oct-11 23:34:29

joolyjoolyjoo have to agree that the best place for charity shop shopping is NOT the posh town to my east, but the poorer town to my west... I bought a top in one charity shop that other day that's still for sale IN the actual highstreet store!! I'm mean WTF??

I love charity shop shopping, keen knitter, jewellery maker etc., great cheap crafty stuff (and the ocassional WTF bargain - after a good old wash)

thenightsky Fri 14-Oct-11 23:34:45

Me and DH were saying the same today... yet another fish pedicure thing has opened... that is now 4 in a small town.

troisgarcons Fri 14-Oct-11 23:35:41

trois- I feel really itchy around the pawn shops/ cheque cashers/ cash converters. I just don't understand why, if people are having to pawn things to live, (as is evidenced by the number of these places in my high street), how then do the same people afford beauty treatments

I know people who have sold their jewelry to feed their children and pay bills - these arent the same people who use nail bars and spray tanning parlours

tyler80 Fri 14-Oct-11 23:35:54

Your town sounds posh. We have charity shops, bookies and chemists grin

sunshineandbooks Fri 14-Oct-11 23:38:36

The people pawning their belongings are not necessarily the same ones who are receiving beauty treatments.

What's the population of your town? How many beauty places are there? How many treatments will they perform in one day? Factor in that and you'll probably find that only a smallish percentage of people in your area are actually doing either - pawning or having their nails done - and only a smallish percentage need to be doing this in order to sustain those sorts of businesses, where turnover is high. Whereas more traditional shops may struggle because they are not selling goods that need replacing as quickly and may not have such a wide consumer base.

tigercametotea Fri 14-Oct-11 23:39:31

A new garden superstore Dobbies opened in my area last month (and I don't live in a prosperous city) and we were a bit surprised to see in this time of recession, there was still a market for all those garden features they sell there in the few hundred quid to thousand price range. Must be a lot of "rich" people around we don't hear about... Or would Dobbies be so foolish as to spend money opening a site in an area where they won't be able to earn enough from sales to cover their overheads??

TartyMcFarty Fri 14-Oct-11 23:40:27

I was listen to an item about this on Woman's Hour on Weds. Like you, I just don't understand the mentality. With money tight, the last thing I could bring myself to splash out on is beauty treatments. I really don't believe that it's those of us for whom money is tight who are splashing out on this shit

Mind you, one explanation suggested was that in a tough job market, people are willing to spend money on their appearance so that they look professional. I always look half asleep when I get to work - perhaps I should sort it out!

WinterIsComing Fri 14-Oct-11 23:40:36

I miss Woolworths and Adams, too.

I can see this phenomenon in my town as well.

But I'm not surprised that a veterinary practice isn't doing well. Where I live people acquire dogs and cats and get rid of them at the drop of a hat sad

<once begged a vet to operate on my £1.25 hamster>

Angel786 Fri 14-Oct-11 23:41:09

Maybe the beauty salons are offering cheap deals?

Joolyjoolyjoo Fri 14-Oct-11 23:41:55

I get what you are saying, aldiwhore (if I want a happy-treat it is a bottle of £3 wine blush) but say, for example, you had paid £500 for a puppy, and it is now vomiting. I discuss with them on the phone, seems like be better to see the pup,they ask how much to have the pup examined. I say it is £20 to have him/ her looked at and people say "Oh. I'll leave it and see how he/ she is.."

I do understand that people are strapped, but then when I've seen them previously (for free puppy check) they've looked far far more groomed then me (nails etc) Again, I am busy enough, am not bitter about lost custom, but why do people have no money for emergencies like sick pets? Would you really spend £15 + on a lipstick if you knew it meant you had nothing left for an emergency (not necessarily pet-orientated)? Personally I would (and do) save that money before having my nails done, if I knew I would have nothing left in the coffers afterwards.

deliciousdevilwoman Fri 14-Oct-11 23:44:33

Since having my DD 10 months ago and giving up work (with no plans to return any time soon) money is definitely a lot tighter-and whilst I won't be hitting the pawn shop, to enable my "pampering" fix, neither can I do without. I get by via making the most of Groupon/KGB deals-same with breaks away. So many salons/companies are offering these deals to "lure" potential customers....but I am a fickle caaah and only go for the discounted deal offered. I don't pay full price for nails, hair, facials, botox,eyelash extensions,one off house "spring cleans" or hotel breaks. It started when I was pregnant, and I knew I'd have to tighten my belt.

WinterIsComing Fri 14-Oct-11 23:45:51

I consider having a dog or a cat to be a bit of an extravagance and a serious responsibility. My sister just has them. And has never had insurance or taken them to the vets. I have reported her for letting animals suffer and die but because she isn't actively torturing them nothing has been done.

Some people are like that sadly.

Kick2down Fri 14-Oct-11 23:46:07

My great grandmother was a hairdresser, and she kept the family going through the Great Depression while her husband's business went under. She always said that no matter what the family budget is, women will always put away a little money and get their hair and nails done. Apparently it's still true.

maighdlin Fri 14-Oct-11 23:50:45

it amazes me too that they are sooo successful. i understand the small treat principle but when there are so many it doe make me wonder.

(btw excess money hierarchy in my house DD, Dog, Me, DH. If me or DH need something for £20 and the dog also needs something for £20 and we only have £20 then the dog gets it, but dog is like a child to me)

Joolyjoolyjoo Fri 14-Oct-11 23:51:42

Winter- don't get me wrong, we are doing ok. I am not just doing this for the money and we are staying afloat. I am quite happy with the way things are going for us- this isn't a "noone will pay me but they will pay for their nails" thread. I am happy with how we are doing, it's just that when I walk through the town centre I feel a bit sad about what people would appear to prioritise.

Our town is a real mixture of rich and poor. I suspect that the better off shop outwith the town, as they have cars etc, and our town centre is pretty shite (I blame the local council and their shitty parking charges and inflated rates, from reading the local paper as well as being on the receiving end) I'm fairly confident that the "sparkly nails" people are not the local professionals/ business people with money. They shop elsewhere, because they can. It is definitely the average Joe (or Joanna grin)

sunshineandbooks Fri 14-Oct-11 23:51:53

Would you really spend £15 + on a lipstick if you knew it meant you had nothing left for an emergency

You see, that's where you're going wrong. Thinking that human beings operate solely on logic.

Some people never have enough money to cover emergencies or to save a little in case of them, whether that's washing machine breaking down, new boiler needed, kids wrecked school shoes, unexpected car bill, school jumper ripped, etc etc.

If you try to cover emergencies before frivolities all the time, yes it's sensible but you're basically consigning yourself to a life of never having the slightest little pleasure in it again. That's such a miserable and depressing way to live life that it's not surprising people think sod it and splash out on something.

BTW, I'm speaking as someone who's never set foot in a beauty salon in my life.

WinterIsComing Sat 15-Oct-11 00:00:13

Oh I wasn't suggesting that you were doing badly, sorry, phased it very wrongly, but was agreeing with you about the priorities people seem to have.

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