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Send Me Your "Signs Of The Times"

Monday, 9 Mar 2009 | 8:55 AM ET
Empty GM Dealership
Photo: Jane Wells
Empty GM Dealership

There are so many signs around us that things have changed. Send me some of your observations, boiled down to a couple of sentences and include photos if you can.

Here are a few of mine:

CAR WASH UPSIDE

I got the car washed Sunday, which is usually a busy day. The place was nearly empty. The upside—the guy wiping down my car had nothing else to do, and so he did a really, really good job.

NAPKIN INDICATOR

The bagel store I go to every morning has stopped putting napkin dispensers on tables. You have to walk to get a napkin. The result: fewer napkins used, a cost savings. You gotta pinch pennies any way you can.

"SISTER CAN YOU SPARE A DIME?"

I've noticed an uptick in the number of women on street corners asking for help. "Single mother just lost job" reads one sign. They've taken over areas long dominated by homeless men. The men have moved on. This is one area of commerce where women have an edge.

EVERYBODY'S AN ECONOMIST NOW

My dry cleaner says, "I think the first quarter will be the worst, then things will flatline, and finally start to improve in the second half." He's probably smarter than 99 percent of the highly paid analysts we hear from.

For one thing, he has a track record of learning information before anyone else does. He predicted hard times at Countrywide and Amgen in 2007 based on less dry cleaning. A month ago he told me the Chevy dealership across the street was about to close. Two weeks later, the cars were gone, the place shuttered. When I pointed that out, he replied, "The Dodge dealership is next." He was right about that, too.

Email your stories and photographs to funnybusiness@cnbc.com

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  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

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