December 19th, 2008
06:51 PM GMT
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NEW YORK - As I was walking home from work the other night, I was saddened to see yet another restaurant in my neighborhood closed down.

Sign of the times for Mama.
Sign of the times for Mama.

A typed note was posted on the door.  "Dear Friends and Neighbors, We tried our best, but December 7th will be our last day. Thank you for a great time! With Love, Mama"

The global financial crisis has been unfolding for months now, but the damage to the real economy is more and more visible. And it is more personal.

I felt for the owners when I read the line, "we tried our best." I imagine this was a dream of theirs to open a restaurant. In better economic times they just may have succeeded.

But this is a harsh environment where even big companies are struggling. A few doors down from Mama, a larger clothing chain, puts a sign out everyday offering Big Sales! It is not about profits these days, it is just about survival.

I spend my days trying to explain the complicated issues involved in this global financial crisis, but sometimes an image tells the story best. Right now, when people ask me how the U.S. economy is doing, I think of the shop with a gate across the front and a "for rent" sign in the window.

What are you witnessing?  What is happening in your town or city that is a sign of these economic times? If you can, send us a photos and video along with your post. It may be a sign of just how tough things are...or maybe you are seeing signs of hope or humor.  We want to know.  Send your photos, videos and stories to

soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. earle,florida

    Perhaps, just perhaps, people will realize that money is," the root of all evil",and become more humanitarian. Of course we all yearn for some kind of financial security blanket as we grow older, but to put it on a pedestal was a prophesy waiting to unfold. Time, and time again we lose our moral compass, only to be reminded that the meaning,and sustenance of life is more than the fleeting beliefs we here on earth hold so dearly to be true,...vanity all is vanity when we think we are above the fray.

    December 19, 2008 at 11:32 pm |
  2. János

    Hello People

    I don't really understand all of this crisis. When I was growing up in Switzerland, I learned about savings and buying something when you had the money. I won't say that my parents never helped me, but it was for important things (school, car, opening a business). And now that we are knee deep in this mess, it's seems that all we are hearing is: consume, consume, consume. And the biggest problem seems to be the lack of easy credit. Isn't it what got us in trouble in the first place? Yes, it would be nice if everybody had its own house in the suburbs full of wonderful things, but it"s not to be for everyone.

    Time to go back to a simpler system.

    December 20, 2008 at 11:42 am |
  3. john hill

    Had enough....

    massive bailouts of the american auto industry...

    answer they should have compellled them to consolidate..
    maybe then they could produce a reliable car-once again..

    the up -side eleimininate those who drove the auto industry into the ground ie way overpaid executives-ridiculous union concessions...
    bad product....etc etc. this will be just another money pit. billions more for losers

    wallstreet greed and illegal business practices...lock them up..cease
    all assets acquired during these decieitful practices.

    a common person steals a grand from a company till and the next thing they know they are going to court,reputations ruined and jailtime.
    yet wallstreet and it moguls continue to collect millions for a job not done. while the losers us the american taxpayer and invester is left broke and destroyed.

    nice country we have created...tell you children tobe honest when its clear the road to riches is through illegal activities..

    crime ,drugs ,gangs on our mention of that problem in the us. not only do we have to be broke but must live in neighborhoods
    that are more dangerous than iraq. my president whats your thoughts on this.

    not all poor people are president. if we must eat spam let us feel safe while we do so.

    I am not alone in my concerns...personally america has failed due to self interest they're all crying in their beer.

    not enough space here to err all that is wrong..

    lets not forget 2 wars and REAL threats to our shore and way of like.


    December 20, 2008 at 1:49 pm |
  4. Barry Tuddenham

    They say that a true sign of insanity is when you think everyone else is crazy..... so I guess I can expect free room and board in a nice air conditioned asylum while I watch the world go to hell in a hand basket. 17.4 billion from the US and 4.2 billion from Canada ( might as well round off to 21.5 billion...what's a 100 million these days...) is the equivalent of over 43,000 start up loans of a half million each for green projects...and it is merely the beginning. THEN, when we loan more money to the car industries, we will be spending money to rebuild roads and bridges so that everyone can pollute at a faster rate! I spend my life trying to help stray animals...and they call ME nuts?
    Barry Tuddenham

    December 20, 2008 at 10:45 pm |
  5. a.m. deist

    Rather than get depressed at the economy, or my losses in the market, I put together a book of internet jokes for the past five years and just published it on under the title "Don't let the economy get you down. Laugh a little." Under the current circumstances, Reinhold Niebuhr wrote the correct thinking: "O God, give us serenity to accept what cannot be changed, courage to change what should be changed, and wisdom to distinguish the one from the other."

    December 23, 2008 at 3:24 am |
  6. Nam(South Korea)

    Hi, Maggie.

    My country's automakers in bad situation.(Hyundai, Samsung, Kia....)
    2009 outlook is not good in South Korea.

    But most of people's daily life not much changed.
    Almost same as usual.

    December 23, 2008 at 8:27 am |
  7. A.M. Deist

    In America things are just starting to get bad. The worst is still far in front of us. We have built a consumer society and allowed almost everyone to spend someone else's money. The chickens are now coming home to roost, or as stated in Galatians 6,7: For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. My pain is not as severe, as I have chosen to live below my means. For those who haven't, I have published a joke book on entitled "Don't let the Economy get you Down. Laugh a Little."

    December 26, 2008 at 8:12 pm |
  8. Ignatious

    Most people in the Dallas metro seem to think they'll cruise unaffected through this economic downturn. Unless of course they're currently unemployed. I just filled three positions of varying salaries and I saw real desperation in external applicants (the overwhelming majority had worked in banking/finance). I was unemployed for an extended period after the dot com bubble burst and so know what they are experiencing. Sadly, I expect things will be getting considerably worse before they improve for job seekers.

    January 1, 2009 at 9:48 am |

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