Posts Tagged: credit crunch

Occupy library

Housed in a green military tent, the library at the Occupy Boston encampment in Dewey Square is overflowing with books without due dates. (Cheers Joe in Oz)

The growing collection includes more than 500 books sorted by genre – eg consumerism, gender, activism – and overseen by librarians supporting the movement, including some from the Boston Radical Reference Collective. The library has a simple checkout system, an expanding archive of Occupy Boston’s meeting notes and proposals and a nascent program of speakers and writing workshops.

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No frills workout

This summer, easyGroup will venture into the fitness sector with the launch of two pay-as-you-go gyms in Slough, Berkshire and Wood Green, London. Don’t expect luxuries like saunas and swimming pools – the easyGyms emphasise value with no fixed annual contracts and fees starting at £15 a month.

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A tweet price

UK Twitter fans have the chance to control the price of clothes from Japanese retailer, Uniqlo.

The Lucky Counter initiative urges consumers to tweet about Uniqlo’s best-selling items. The more tweets, the more prices will be reduced online. The final prices will be announced on September 9th when the fashion brand’s new website goes live.

Despite the recession, Uniqlo has continued to grow, thanks largely to its marketing innovations.


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Chef Frank Hannon, alumnus of The River Café and Moro, has launched a Friday night takeout service for east London foodies. Orders are taken via text and email at the start of the week. On Friday, he cooks a casserole-style dish featuring the week’s best seasonal produce and delivers them on the evening. Customers only have to heat it up to enjoy a restaurant-quality meal in the comfort of their own home.

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A good measure

There’s a growing trend in Europe for people to manage their lifestyles more closely, as they scrutinise and tighten their grip on their finances, personal health, eating and drinking habits or ethical behaviours and embrace direct responsibility for their personal decisions.

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A little give and take

For a week in November, thousands of Italian bed and breakfast establishments will encourage guests to barter for their stay.

Marking the second annual Settimana del Baratto, or Barter Week, run by the Italian Bed and Breakfast Association, 15-21 November will give cash-strapped people a chance to enjoy time away from home without breaking the bank.

Last year’s event was wildly successful with around 12,000 fans registering to participate on Facebook, and several B&Bs continuing to offer barter arrangements throughout the year. The most common payments were accommodation swaps, live music performances and website translations.

The recession may have officially ended, but that doesn’t mean consumers are flush with cash. How can brands offer them a little financial breathing room?


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All is not what it seems

As high streets are decimated by the recession, councils are installing fake business facades to create the illusion that shops are still occupied. North Tyneside Council is trialling the new window treatment on the crumbling facade of a vacant clothing store in Whitley Bay. The sign asks the question, ‘Delicatessen?’ following up with the line, ‘This retail space could be yours . . .’ (Thanks to Mrs Daily Mail, Claire)

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A flash of inspiration

Book stores that were once filled with books about dreaming and achieving now seem to be replaced with books about suicide prevention and the end being nigh. Is there any optimism left? There is if you look hard enough.

One example is the resurgence of flash mobs.?Just a few weeks ago thousands of Facebook users mobbed Londo’s Trafalgar Square and Liverpool Street Station for a spontaneous dance (a reenactment of the T-Mobile commercial). And at Taiwan’s first flash mob, 50 people showed up to take part in a giant pillow fight.

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Bartering buys you more

OurGoods is a New York community bartering network. It’s established a night school where students offer goods in exchange for education. For example, if a writing instructor wants more locally grown organic produce, students wishing to take her class can sign up to bring a nice basket of in-season vegetables. Ever since the credit crunch, bartering has seen something of a comeback as people look for more creative ways to cut back on spending – without sacrificing quality of life. Bartering can also build social capital, in other words, create new friendships where money cannot.

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Redesigning the downturn

Last spring, as retail sales were tanking worldwide, Italian design firm Alessi ramped things up. And recently, at its flagship NY Soho store, the company announced that it would unveil three collections in 2010 instead of the usual two, so as to accommodate the firm’s record number of products.

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