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TK's MORNING BUZZ: After What Happened Sept. 11, Are You Finding It Hard to Proceed With Business as Usual?

24 Sep, 2001 By: Thomas K. Arnold

It's been nearly two weeks since terrorists struck the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and I am still finding it incredibly hard to address topics ofconcern to our industry.

A talk show host I was listening to on the radio the other day said he had a real problem with the phrase, "business as usual." "Life is not 'as usual'," he said. "Everything has changed. It was a different world before Sept. 11, and there simply is no way we can proceed with business as usual -- or anything 'as usual', for that matter."

He's got a good point. Thoughts of what happen, and what might happen, affectus throughout the day -- and, for some of us, throughout the night. I live in Carlsbad, a pleasant coastal town 30 miles north of San Diego, but just a few miles south of the Camp Pendleton Marine Base. Sandwiched between a military town and a military installation, I feel particularly vulnerable. From time to time, I hear bombing exercises; these days, I get a shiver with every "boom" and wonder if it's another exercise or the real thing.

My buying habits have changed as well. I'm on a tear, outfitting my 3-year-old's room, driving myself -- and my wife -- crazy with the urgency with which I'm getting furniture, books, sheets, comforters, pillows, and other items. My wife last night said "What's the hurry?" and I couldn't answer her. It's just something I feel.

By the same token, I have noticed a marked decrease in what I call pleasure expenses. I used to buy one or two books on eBay every week, checking the auction site daily for good deals. I haven't been on in more than a week.

I sell used books on Amazon's auction site. Sales have dried up, and from the Amazon discussion board it appears I am not alone.

Factor in the surge in video rentals many retailers are reporting in the days after the attacks and you can conclude something like this: We want to shore up bunkers (stuff for the home) and then enjoy transitory pleasures (a rented movie we can watch one night and then bring back), but our hobbies and otherinterests have been put on hold. Our home, our family -- and beyond that, nothing else matters much.

The books I used to treasure mean nothing compared with spending an hour reading to my kids. No, I'm not putting them in front of the TV when I get home from work -- I read to them, tell them an extra bedtime story or two.

I wonder how what happened is affecting you, as well as your businesses. Buzzreaders, I'd like very much to hear from you.

Comments? Contact TK directly at:TKArnold@aol.com

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