Monday, December 1, 2008

Desperate Times Call for Kindness – To Yourself and Others

For many years Maui has been a second home for our family. When we lived in different states, we met up in Hawaii. It was our fun, relaxing, happy place. Today, due to the economy, the kama’ainas (locals) who call Maui home are struggling like so many places around the world. And just like families struggling with mortgages that have reset at significantly higher interest rates – store owners have leases that are nearly impossible to meet. One jewelry store owner looked at storefront space on Front Street in Lahaina which was listed for $32,000 a month in rent, but opted instead for a sophisticated space costing a mere $12,000 a month in the Wharf across from the famous banyan tree.

This conversation came up after I tried and failed to negotiate a mere $5.00 off of a photograph in the weekend art fair under the banyan tree. Normally, it’s customary for a vendor to set a price, a buyer to counter and the vendor to set a new price a few dollars less. The vendor I approached was packing up for the day. He even offered to walk across the street and accept my cash (the banyan tree’s in a public park so money cannot be exchanged there) – but not for a dollar less than his original price.

So naturally, I asked the jewelry store owner about this – especially since he seemed creative and inventive in his approach to selling handmade Maui soaps at the wholesale price to get people in the door to browse the more expensive jewelry inside. He thoughtfully explained that the vendors have already discounted their goods 40% and they can’t afford to discount them further.

While I haven’t written this before, sometimes the first step in creating job security includes keeping hope alive that all things do change – and that you have the power to make positive changes in your life.

Bad economies do get better. Recovery follows rest. Just as marathon runners need rest and recovery before they get back out and train again, people need mental and spiritual recovery to tackle life’s challenges. So be kind to yourself and those you meet along life’s path. And if you live in Hawaii, and you need a great job, or you have one to advertise, check out Mahalo.

Creating Job Security, The 2009 All-In-One Workbook is available starting today from the Graduate Group for $30 at or e-mailing Coming soon, the complementary Creating Job Security Resource Guide, offering 75+ hot job online resources will be available via


Jane R said...

Aloha Debra - please don't forget the beautiful people of the islands when you go home to the mainland. All the islands rely on tourists to visit our attractions and buy our especially made Hawaiian gifts. Our economy is very bad, but I saw on KITV island news tonight that mainlanders are still buying Hawaiian gifts and we are thankful. It's okay to buy from larger places like Island Heritage but don't forget the 1000's of local artists who need you to buy our hand-made gifts. You will love them and so will your family and friends. Mahalo and Aloha.

Berah said...

When we were stationed in Oahu at Schofield Barracks we made a great effort to buy locally any gifts we intended to bring or mail back to the mainland. One of the local artists, an extremely talented bone and wood carver, named Tatafu Langi was one of our favorites ( Even a year or two ago Hawaii was starting to feel the economic crunch. Vacation destinations seem to suffer first when the economy begins to falter. Where we once spent our money on diversion we now consider, "Can I pay National Grid?" But it is still very important, whether your on vacation or going grocery shopping, to remember the small businesses in your area. When possible spend your money locally. It can be considered an investment in your local economy.

Creating_Job_Security said...

Great reminders Jane and Berah! While there are times when families are forced to look to large chains for discount-priced items, "volume-produced" gifts do not compare to personalized and handmade products and gifts from local businesses. Plus, local businesses provide local jobs -- and they inspire others to creatively examine their skills and talents, hopefully expanding local job opportunities even more. Thanks Berah for including a link to one of your favorite artists. This blog welcomes readers to share their insights and recommendations with other readers.