10:22 – As usual, I’ll be working on science kits this week. I also hope to be able to devote at least a few hours to several longer-range projects. There’s never enough time.
13:38 – I keep seeing these articles in the MSM about how the economy is improving, consumer confidence is up, and so on. I don’t buy it. I think things have really tanked in the last couple of months. We see that in our business. From January through the end of May, our sales were running between three and four times month-on-month 2012 sales. Then things seemed to fall off a cliff. In June, we beat June 2012 numbers by maybe 20%. We may or may not beat last year’s number this month.
But it’s not just us. I’ve exchanged email with several other small business owners, and they all tell me the same thing: sales have really slowed over the last couple of months. And I see other evidence as well. I’m getting a bunch of promo emails from many of our minor vendors. They’re all similar. One formerly offered free shipping on orders over $75. They’re now offering free shipping on any order. Another dropped the limit for free shipping from $250 to $25. Yet another is offering 20% discounts on any order over $100. And so on. And none of these are vendors for whom this is ordinarily a slow time of year. That tells me that a lot of businesses are trying desperately to generate traffic and sales. Even Costco seems to be pushing harder than usual.