It is all about the shoes. When shoes aren’t selling, the end is near. And these are not the fancy high priced discretionary purchase type shoes, that we are talking about here. These are “retail shoes” – your garden variety shoes.
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This excess supply of goods was made evident to us during dinner celebrating our first decade under Chinese rule. One lady is the world’s leader in retail shoes, and the other is very strong in the toy industries. Both are in industries that people need – people don’t have the luxury of going barefoot, and parents don’t have the luxury of not buying toys for their kids. And both ladies are super-smart.
Both ladies said that “nobody” is buying. So, perhaps the overpaid stockbrokers and investment bankers etc. are still frolicking in their millions, the the man on the street is not.
On the other hand, I have some questions about the essential nature of toys. When my kids were younger, one small friend came by and was astonished when my son couldn’t find a particular toy – yes, my son had so many that one toy could be misplace. His friend’s family were recent immigrants from northern Europe with very limited means. The friend had a couple of toys, but there was never a question as to where they could be found – on his toy shelf in the living room (which doubled as his bedroom) in the modest one bedroom apartment he shared with his parents. Just how essential are the tons of toys in glossy packages with high power marketing teams and cartoon connections. I doubt that they will be missed.