While the majority of the nation’s travel was interrupted by a massive blizzard over the weekend, we’re only just beginning to discover the affect the winter storm has had on the most important thing in the world – money. Early reports indicate that national retailers have lost at least $1 billion in sales because of the blizzard. According to ShopperTrak, which does exactly what the name implies, stores throughout the northeast witnessed a decline of approximately 6.1% in sales, according to sales numbers from the previous year, while stores throughout the U.S. experienced a total decline of 10.1%. Not feeling the snowy pain was my new store, Shovels R Us.
Aside from shopping, the massive snow storm also caused big problems for city, county and state budgets. Snow removal services in the state of Virginia cost upwards of $250 million, while the budget for such a situation is only $94 million. To make up for it, the state has had to cut down on grass-cutting and tree-trimming services, which also reduces work hours for state employees. Cities are feeling the biggest burn as their budgets are far smaller than the states, leaving many of them without any recourse other than increasing debt. My suggestion? Cash for gold.
While this news may hardly concern anyone who spent the weekend living in an airport, there is a great deal of finger-pointing going on as to why they were stuck living their own version of The Terminal. Airlines may have been canceling flights before the blizzard was even a problem because of the new fines that penalize them for planes that linger on tarmacs for excessive periods. A number of airlines have been hit by the $27,500 per person fine this year, as it states that any plane that sits on the tarmac for more than 3 hours will be fined. I have to be honest – you keep me in a metal tube on a tarmac for three hours with smelly fat people and screaming babies, I’m going to push that plane back to the terminal myself.
- Blizzard got you down? A condo in Laguna Beach, California is selling for nearly $3.5 million, but it boasts an elevator that takes you directly to the sand. It’s a corner unit, so you’ll have your privacy, but the HOA fees are a bit pricey. I don’t know, I’m going to check out a place in this nice Compton neighborhood I’ve been hearing so much about. (OC Register)
- Face it, if you’re going to have an elevator that takes you to the beach, you might as well take out the nagging imposition of walking to the refrigerator, too. Luckily, one pioneering iPhone app developer has your best interests in mind. This new app controls a specialized beer cannon that can fire your favorite can of hops and barley to you from across the room with pinpoint accuracy. Finally that toilet recliner doesn’t look so stupid. [With Video] (Wired)
KNOW YOUR STATS
- Mt. Baker and Mt. Rainier, both in Washington state, boast the highest snowfall of any of the world’s premium ski resorts. Mt. Baker leads the way with an average of 641 inches of powder each year, while Rainier is a close second at 624 inches. Coming in dead last is the Sahara Desert Snowboarding Inn. (Ski Adventure Guide)
- During the weekend’s blizzard in the northeast, reports show that foot traffic was down 6.2% on December 26, while the sidewalks were a tad bit emptier on the 27th. On that day, foot traffic was down a whopping 42.9%. Holding steady at the standard 100% was couch traffic. (The Atlantic)