I went to my local coffee shop this morning and, oh joy, got a park right outside.
As my coffee was being made I commented on the lack of people around and Raf, the barista and owner, said that at 7:35am I was the first coffee she had made that morning.
35 minutes and not one coffee – this, in a place that is usually lined 3-4 deep and full of people at tables enjoying the outstanding authentic French breakfasts that Raf dishes up.
She then said she hoped that it was not as bad as last week, which was one of the worst since she opened about 5 years ago.
As a local business that I visit regularly I often ask Raf how things are going as I know she in turn discusses conditions with other establishments she visits. According to Raf , last week was nothing but doom and gloom.
People are not on holiday – we are mid-term and the traffic can attest to that but there appears to be a quietness around the shops that we rarely see.
From Tropicana in Darlinghurst to the Coogee Butcher the story was the same – less customers, lower spend and business generally very quiet. So if a butcher is feeling it and the local cafes are feeling it, it would seem spend is not being diverted from one category to another, rather it is down.
The fear that this budget will hurt the back pocket would appear to already be affecting the local economy.
If this anecdotal evidence is pointing to a wider trend then the government needs to do something to turn the negative reception that the budget has received into some good news for the economy or the chances of the economy recovering in the long term will be further jeopardized.