The Retail Apocalypse Continues
The Retail Apocalypse Continues. A new report out earlier this week estimates that 20,000 to 25,000 retail stores of all sizes will close in the next 12 months. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic is one part of a bigger story of the problems brick and mortar retail stores are experiencing.
More Job Losses
Retail is the single biggest employer in the US. There is an estimated 15 million people of all ages working in small, medium and large retail businesses. This also includes all restaurants, bars and fast food joints. As the big box retailers continue to sink into bankruptcy where are all of the workers going to find new jobs?
The Ripple Effect
The coronavirus has affected more than just businesses. Many small states are feeling the double whammy of high unemployment and lower taxes receipts. In Arizona the state is looking at a one billion dollar hole in the budget due to the spike in unemployment. The numbers are gradually going down from their highs. At least half of the people that were let go or furloughed have no job to return to because of businesses closing. Many states reduced or eliminated state income taxes choosing to fully depend on sales taxes to fund the government. Sales taxes are at the lowest since the great recession. It is not just sales taxes that are lower. Gas taxes haver also dropped since no one is driving to work.
What is Next?
If you remember the 2008 economy it will be similar. States will have to cut services, social programs and education funding. The Fed, CBO, European central banks and the International Monetary Fund are all predicting a recession until at least the end of 2021, perhaps longer. Before your favorite clothing store or local shop closes now may be the time to buy that shirt, blouse or pants you like. The same for shoes and underwear. If nothing changes the only places that will still be open are Target and Wal-Mart. The Retail Apocalypse Continues
Cheap parts long drying times.
A few months ago we finally had to buy a new washer/dryer set. I had kept the 20 year old set limping along replacing parts that either broke or worn out. I noticed that the bearings in the washer motor were making nosie. I removed the sheet metal that enclosed the washer. I found grease ws thrown everywhere under and around the washer. The seal around the motor bearing had finally broke or cracked.
After spending a few hours online reading reviews about various brands and talking to my wife we decided to buy the same brand we were replacing. The positive reviews outnumbered the negatives. We really had no choice if we wanted clean clothes. We purchased a new Whirlpool washer and dryer.
Real world use of dryer
I am not going to bore you with complaints about the washer. High efficiency washers are a pain in the butt to use. My problem child is the dryer. The 20 year old dryer just worked. The placement and the vent connections were very forgiving. I had used a telescoping vent extension from the dryer to the dryer exhaust with no problem. The new dryer is not so forgiving. If the vent hose is not perfectly placed the dryer will not vent the moist air for clothes or towels to dry in less then two hours.
The 20 year old dryer exhaust fan moved enough air it had no problem with ninety degree turns in the vent exhaust. The new dryer does not like any turns in the exhaust. I only discovered this after talking to the tech that came out to look at the dryer. The tech told me that the dryer exhaust vent must be a gradual incline from the dryer to the exhaust vent. He suggested I try running the dryer directly into the garage as a test. I did that to find the dryer worked. What I noticed is the exhaust coming out of the new dryer was not as strong as the 20 year old dryer. Hmmmm. To me this means the exhaust fan in the new dryer is not as strong as the fan in the 20 year old dryer. It also means that any minor turn in the vent connection increases drying time.
New appliances and older homes
I fault Whirlpool for using an exhaust fan that only has the minimal CFM for the dryer to work properly. And only when it is set up for newer homes that have at least two feet clearance from the dryer to the wall. Our house, built in the late 1980’s does not have two feet of clearance from the dryer to the wall. I have been able to find a way to run the vent to keep the dryer drying properly. I should not have to placate the dryer because the manufacturer choose to use cheap parts. Unfortunately that is the state of manufacturing in the 21st century. Cheap parts makes for long drying times.
A hot room makes for an irritable wife. My wife was told she will be working from home for an extended period of time. She brought home her work computer and monitors about two months ago. I set up her computer and monitors in our home office. This area of the house is fine with the door open however there is very little air flow out of the room with the door closed. The hot air fills up the vaulted ceiling causing the room to become uncomfortably warm. I knew I had to find a way to let the warm air out of the room without leaving the door open. Why just not keep the door open? Two words. Three cats.
I realized I had to add a cold air return near the top of the vaulted ceiling to let the warm air out. I spent a couple of days looking for a way to add a cold air return to an existing wall. I finally found a product by a company Tamarack that included the sheet metal ducts, an internal baffle and two register covers. I ordered it from Home Depot.Here is the link if you also need this product. https://www.homedepot.com/p/Tamarack-12-in-x-6-in-Return-Air-Pathway-Register-White-Wall-Mount-12X6-Return-Air-Pathway/205983294 I ordered the Taramark product last Sunday and picked it up the past Friday.
The ducts are made to slide into each other. I set about cutting holes in the wall to the width of the larger duct. Ordinarily this would take only about an hour to install. My installation time was slightly more since I need to cut the holes near the top of the wall which is about 13.5 feet. As soon as I cut the second hole in the wall I felt a virtual gust of warm air coming out of the room. I could feel the temperature of the room drop to a comfortable level.
When I was cutting the first hole in the wall I did not see there was a seam in the drywall. when I cut that section a small section fractured but did not fall off. I decided to not use the screws to hold the registers in place. I used magnets. I am going to cut the heads off of the screws and glue the heads onto the registers with a little clear silicone caulking.
Sunday afternoon I checked on my wife as she was working in the office. The temperature in the room has dropped by about 8 – 10 degrees. The room is now a comfortable place to work. A hot room makes for an irritable wife. Now she is less irritable.