I closed our storage facility today (finally got rid of a bunch of crap) and was saying good bye to the lady I've been working with for several years as we've been consolidating, recycling and tossing stuff and she gave me a very hopeful economic indicator. She says things are looking up.
OK, is she crazy? Maybe, she's got kind of a wild look in her eye, but she's been working in the self-storage business for several decades, and like me, she has seen her share of recessions. She told me about five years ago she predicted to her bosses that a recession was coming based on patterns she has seen in the storage usage of Stanford students. They told her she was crazy then, but she started making plans accordingly.
So what is the pattern?
Whenever a recession is about to hit, Stanford students start consolidating stored materials in shared units. Whenever the economy is about to rebound, they start getting their own units for their own stuff. She said the pattern has repeated itself for every recession she's seen since she started in the industry during the Carter administration. It usually takes about two years to see the actual effect of the downside or the upside of the pattern.
So, why does she think things are on the upswing?
She just closed out the last shared unit this morning. All Stanford students using units at the three facilities she manages all now have their own.
Hope, like gold, is where you find it.