Mix supply chain disruptions with the holiday shopping season and the beginning stages of the crack-up boom & dollar hyperinflation, and here’s what you get…
(by Half Dollar) Well, I guess it’s that time of the year again.
As any good Great North American Consumer would do, this weekend I took upon great risk to self and to family with a little family outing into the wild, in the hunt for clothing, a nice meal, and more.
I suppose what makes it special this year is, well, you know, the whole Zombie Apocalypse thing.
Needless to say, I’d like to share some observations from a few different places, and what I think it means with regards to the economy in general, and Main Street specifically.
Walmart continues to be of great interest in my field observations because that place is the quintessential starting point for the option limited, budget conscious shopper.
Walmart’s Christmas section is getting more sparse by the day, and what I really think is going on is the company is working off of its old inventory from stockpiles and/or prior years.
There has been no re-stocking of holiday retail inventory, and interestingly, secondary effects are taking place in other departments because of holiday shopping.
For example, here’s what happens when you are one of the only places to go to for outdoor holiday lighting, yet the retailer, for whatever reason, was unable to get a shipment of outdoor extension cords:
I remember in years prior, Walmart would boost their extension cord inventory to go along with the outdoor lighting.
But since this is the Zombie Apocalypse, or whatever, let me ask this question: What happens when the next shipment of extension cords finally makes it to the shelves of Walmart?
Follow up question: Will the new extension cords cost less, or more?
Sure, the question is rhetorical, but in my opinion, when Walmart is able to restock, the new extension cords will cost much more.
There’s a reason I keep shouting from the rooftops about the signal copper is sending:
Copper is critical to many things, including, oh, say, extension cords!
The slow hyperinflation was the near total debasement of the US dollar, and it took approximately 100 years.
The financial system hyperinflation was, call it, 10 years of money printing in one form or fashion from 2008 through 2018.
See where this is going?
The US Dollar Hyperinflation on Main Street will not take much more than 1 year, if past is prologue.
There’s something else interesting that we can tell about Main Street from Walmart.
Well, a lot of things actually, but everybody knows ‘Ol Half Dollar ain’t no good at playin’ Paparazzi with retail inventory, so I only have one more pic to share.
What does this image tell us:
To me, it says, why in the heck is the US Federal Government bailing out the Airline industry when it is absolutely clear that nobody is travelling?
Side Note: If one needs luggage for travel, or for a bug-out, or for whatever, then one might want to get it while the getting’s good because, much like the extension cords in the pic above, what will happen to the price of luggage when current inventory gets wiped out?
Luggage is a (for the most part) durable good, and like that saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, it doesn’t have enough features”.
Furthermore, luggage doesn’t use motors or batteries, it doesn’t need a connection to the internet, and when all else fails, luggage can be used for, wait for it, storing clothes!
But I digress.
Here’s the question: Are people really going to be travelling all that much when there is so much inconsistency and uncertainty from state to state and even city to city with regards to lockdowns, shutdowns, and heck, even those “stay-at-home” orders?
We might get that second wave of a crude oil crash after all:
I have been thinking that all of the money printing is putting a floor under the price of crude oil, but I’m also starting to think we may indeed see a return of the “how much crude oil is being consumed” versus “how much crude oil can be stored above ground” dynamics.
That said, I don’t think a crash in crude oil will be quite as dramatic this time around because of the sharply lower rig-count and the fact that travel hasn’t been abruptly halted as it was back in the Spring.
THE DOLLAR STORE AND THE MALL
There’s not much to say about the dollar store, which in my particular case was a Dollar Tree, which, to my understanding is part of Walmart/Sam’s Club, but when the Dollar Tree is only half stocked with huge swathes of empty shelves, there’s obviously a problem on Main Street.
Again, in my opinion, these are the beginning signs that the crack-up boom and hyperinflation of the US dollar are imminent.
We were in there to buy one of those cheap pumps for hand soap in the bathroom.
There were five in the store, so we grabbed two.
Here’s the question: Will the dollar stores just go away, or will they rebrand to the Five Dollar Tree, or Ten Dollar Tree or something?
The mall is an interesting story.
Originally, we were going to go to the posh mall a couple of hours away just outside of Detroit.
I can’t stand that mall, but since Michigan’s
Nazi General Governor has even more draconian orders coming down on its residents than our Governor does, well, let’s just say that after some time at that mall, we like to sit down and eat a meal, but all one can do in Michigan is order food for take-out, or outdoor dining, and no, take-out doesn’t mean getting your order “to go” and then sitting down in the food court to eat it because the stinkin’ food court is closed!
Nobody in their right mind wants that kind of shopping or dining experience. so instead, we chose to go to the closest mall.
One interesting thing is that I think I saw a lot of Michigan residents in our mall yesterday, and I would say that in part this dynamic is because our restaurants are still open for sit-down dining.
Think about that, too: Business owners near state lines in states whose Governors have imposed harsh restrictions on Freedom and Liberty get a double whammy because not only are they losing out on any regular business, if that even exists here in late 2020, but those business owners lose out on residents simply crossing state lines to where the restrictions are less onerous.
And a final note on eating out, because we did eat out yesterday: Just because you can go to a restaurant for dine-in, that doesn’t mean there aren’t things that can ruin it.
For example, as we were eating out, a large group of what appeared to be two large families came in to eat.
The group wanted to merge tables together in the restaurant to make one big table for the entire party.
Long story short, not only were they not allowed to merge the tables, something that any restaurant will always do because it’s a win-win for all, but the two families would have had to be seated with one table of separation between them because of the “social distancing” rules, and “maximum capacity” rules, and things like that!
The idiocy of all these edicts and orders.
Needless to say, after making a semi-scene and a minute of arguing with the restaurant’s manager, the party left the restaurant without even being seated, and so instead of being a win-win, it was a lose-lose.
And one final note on the mall: Economic collapse is apparent.
I think this is the first time I’ve been to our closest mall since the Spring, and it was pretty pathetic.
Many stores have already closed down or were closing down and running their “final days open” clearance markdowns.
Yes, the mall was busy.
I suspect there were a good many shoppers from Michigan as I said, but at the same time, I also didn’t see a whole lot of bags in hands, but rather, just a whole lot of people walking around, so the mall may have been busy, but there wasn’t a whole lot of buying going on.
Could it be that the things and clothes the people want were no longer available at all or in common sizes (Xbox, PlayStation, jeans, shoes, etc), and that is the reason for so many bagless shoppers?
A few of the stores were very busy, such as Bath and Body Works, because they had those $10 candles, and yes, ‘Ol Half Dollar had to spring for the entire ration per customer.
There was a line to get in to that store, while most stores looked like they were closing down because there was so little clothes on the racks and shelves, with no line to wait in to enter the store.
In one store, upon asking the retail clerk, “is this store closing down, or why are your shelves so bare?”, the reply was some incoherent rambling that sounded like a bullet-point off of an email from corporate, something to the effect of, “shipments have been sporadic”.
Of course, I wouldn’t expect a teenager to understand the concepts of the crack-up boom or US dollar hyperinflation either, and seeing what the public schools dish out to America’s future as “education”, it’s also understandable she wasn’t able to coherently explain why there was so little freakin’ inventory in the dang store.
Call it what you want, and call me wrong, even though I’m probably just the first to see it, but something is seriously wrong on Main Street, and it’s more than just ongoing, persistent supply chain disruptions.
It looks like we may get that bounce in the Dollar everybody and their brother is waiting for:
Not that it will help Main Street all that much.
It will be interesting to watch yield on the 10-Year Note this week:
This is, after all, the last full week before the Fed’s 2-day FOMC, so expect the Fed’s armchair quarterbacks, apologists, enablers, propagandists and sympathizers to come of of the woodwork.
It appears there is still no fear in the markets:
If I was a Deep State Globalist, I’d really start bringing on the fear over the next couple of weeks, however.
Because nothing says holiday cheer more than a crashing “net worth”, you know:
Remember too, last Friday, “market participants” were looking at the November Jobs Report as adding some sense of urgency to the deployment of the next round of fiscal stimulus, and if the Deep State Globalists decide to fleece the sheep in the “markets”, a plunging stock market would also add to that sense of urgency, and a plunging stock market would also provide the cover to drop yields from where they are right now.
Platinum is having a nice dip:
Recall that we have finally climbed back into the green, year-to-date.
Palladium is right back in its sideways channel between $2200 and $2400:
Perched right on top of its 50-day moving average, too.
Gold was worked lower overnight:
As was silver:
All they’ve done for both, however, is paint the chart even more bullish.
Regardless, the paper gold-to-silver ratio begins the week where it’s pretty much been for weeks on end, in the mid-to-upper 70s:
In my opinion, we won’t stay in the 70s for much longer.
Thanks for reading,
Paul “Half Dollar” Eberhart