Looking For A Silver Lining Amid Hard Times

The owner of an antique shop in Humble, Texas, says his revenues have triples since the economic downturn became the major story. An acupuncturist in Richmond, Va., says hard times mean a respite from noise, and a resident of Rockport, Texas, says bill boards are empty.

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MICHELE NORRIS, host:

Today, more snapshots of hard times.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

Along with an economic situation that robs people of jobs and takes money out of their pockets, some people have found bright spots in all the trouble, not quite a silver lining, but maybe a bronze glaze at the edges of trouble. Some people like that have replied to our call out for stories about life in these hard times.

NORRIS: Bruce Perry(ph) is the proud owner of Hodgepodge Lodge Antiques in Humble, Texas and this is what he had to say.

SIEGEL: I've noticed that since the economic downturn became the major story in the media, my revenues have almost tripled. When everything was going gonzo in the stock market and housing prices were at their peak, I might see 20 people a week. When things started going bunkers, I began seeing more and more people coming in daily and more amazingly, making purchases.

NORRIS: Bruce Perry says people feel secure in having things around them that remind them of their grandparents who went through hard times years ago.

SIEGEL: And on a side note he adds this - I've also noticed that I'm going through a lot more tea and chocolate candy that I offer for free to customers while they're shopping.

NORRIS: Well, we heard, too, from Douglas Lang(ph) of Washington D.C. He shared his list of observations.

SIEGEL: People will go to movies before 12, folks walk more, subway and bus more, soup is selling like hotcakes, suddenly TV is in, more sex, fewer kids.

NORRIS: There's the acupuncturist in Richmond, Virginia who says hard times mean a respite from noise.

SIEGEL: Anne Fernez(ph) jabs needles into people in her second floor office in a noisy neighborhood.

Ms. ANNE FERNEZ: And oftentimes it's difficult to get peace and tranquility in my office for my patients. But I've noticed with the economic downturn that it's much more serene in my office and there's less trouble finding a place to park.

NORRIS: Please tell us what's changed in your life since the economy turned south. Go to hardtimes@npr.org and share your stories with us.

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