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Thread: America's small businesses are running out of workers

  1. #1
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    Default America's small businesses are running out of workers

    This is sadly becoming our reality for our business.

    The pandemic forced Freed Bodyworks, a wellness center offering massage therapy, yoga, acupuncture, mental health counseling and other services, to shut down for four months. But while clients returned when it reopened in the summer of 2020, workers did not.
    Almost two years later, owners Frances Reed and Jessica VonDyke were forced to shut the business' doors.
    "I couldn't hire anyone," said Reed. "We never had trouble with our demand for services. It was 100% a supply issue for us."


    https://apple.news/AFEMydQ6NQCC5YRulXW2ldw
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    Default Re: America's small businesses are running out of workers

    I mostly work alone. But I have a small group of folks who - depending upon their schedules - are available to help with bigger projects. Our issue is that most of them are older. Getting too old to do the heavy lifting... or just dying off.

    But the young folks I know with marketable skills are adjusting their lives to give themselves more flexibility. And are less inclined to 'pledge allegiance' to an employer... since most have had bad experiences with bosses. And they're more inclined to quit when unfairly treated. Seems to be an expansion of the 'gig' approach to work.
    David G
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    Default Re: America's small businesses are running out of workers

    It's not just small business - my 'big-box'store where I work ( details redacted ), which used to hire new employees from, say, Valentine's day to Memorial Day, then slim down over the summer, is STILL advertising for workers. I guess people would rather dabble in stocks or do some other source of income . . . .





    Rick
    Charter Member - - Professional Procrastinators Association of America - - putting things off since 1965 " I'll get around to it tomorrow, .... maybe "

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    Default Re: America's small businesses are running out of workers

    Businesses are getting the results that the system they have profited from for decades has created.

    Free market, baby. You don't own workers, and you can't make them do anything they don't want to do. The thing to ask if you're a business owner who wants to find workers is:

    Why don't they want to work for you? And what can you do about that?

    I have some sympathy for small businesses--my parents and my sister have owned and run their own businesses--but the reality is, businesses are finding out that it's now time to lie down in the bed they have made for themselves.

    Tom
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    Default Re: America's small businesses are running out of workers

    It's a complicated issue. One cause is the declining number of younger workers who will accept entry-level jobs, low pay, and a lack of job security.



    Another set of trends is a steep increase in the share of income business owners and corporations keep compared to what they pay in wages and salaries, especially after the Trump tax cuts.



    A third trend is the huge increase in the cost of both purchase and rental housing, especially in areas with more economic opportunity. Recently, inflation (largely owing to corporate profiteering with the blame on the pandemic) has added to the burden.

    One sad note is that a lot of the money disbursed under the American Rescue Plan, that was intended to support small businesses and their employees, was lost to fraud. Business owners laid off workers and pocketed the cash, claimed ghost workers, filed claims for businesses that didn't exist, etc.

    Summed up, more people feel that the US economy is dishonest, rigged against them. Not exactly an incentive to join the labor force. There's likely been a jump in people in service jobs and gigs asking for off-the-books cash.
    Last edited by Chip-skiff; 08-20-2022 at 02:00 AM.

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    Default Re: America's small businesses are running out of workers

    ^^^^ Excellent points
    David G
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    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

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    Default Re: America's small businesses are running out of workers

    Many of those previously viable businesses were only so because they didn't pay a living wage, underpaid illegal workers or were subsidised by the taxpayer.
    Free lunch is no longer available baby.

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    Default Re: America's small businesses are running out of workers

    It's the same in the UK, a great shortage of people.

    We had the company annual barbecue a couple of days ago. I didn't recognise a large amount of the staff. They're now running on around 50% hired in temporary staff from agencies in the production area.

    They've been advertising three jobs in our section of 6, including mine.
    Two jobs have effectively been vacant for over a year, no takers, the third job ... Mine, I retire at Christmas, they've either had hugely over qualified who I and my manager know would reject the poor pay, or unqualified who couldn't do the job...
    This is a big multinational American owned company .

    You drive down our local roads, there are vacancies everywhere from small shops to pubs and other businesses.
    Just an amateur bodging away..

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    Default Re: America's small businesses are running out of workers

    Same in NZ, almost record low unemployment by whatever the official definition is.
    I don't recognise half the staff in our factory, they change from one week to the next - it's reasonably well paid, clean, not too physically demanding electrical equipment assembly work.
    Management sent out a company wide begging email last week - if you know anyone who might be interested in some work....
    I have been with them 20 years in November, it is a genuinely nice place to work, they look after the staff, and I have never seen them struggle to get people before. We aren't even that busy at the moment, what with supply chain issues in the electronics industry.
    I was talking to a woman in the pine-nut business a couple of weeks ago - they have 300,000 flowers to bag so that wild pollen doesn't fertilize them. After the wild pollen goes, they have to be unbagged and pollinated with the good stuff. Normally they have around 120 people, this year they could only find 40.

    Pete
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    Default Re: America's small businesses are running out of workers

    It seems that it's not just the climate that's breaking all the old 'normal' rules.
    "May you live in interesting times" seems quite relevant. The old world is being tossed up in the air and where and how it comes down is very uncertain.

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    Default Re: America's small businesses are running out of workers

    Among other positions the airline I work for has a serious shortage of ramp workers. These are the folks that load baggage, and park and push the jet back.
    Years back this was an entry level position at the company. Lot of management types started as rampers. Then the positions were moved to a shell company. No benefits, low pay. Dead end job. The quality of worker understandably dropped.
    Now they can’t find people that can pass the necessary security and drug tests. I had a crew try to push me over a set of wheel chocks the other day. I told the tug driver the chocks were in. She didn’t believe me, and tried 2 more times. Fortunately nothing broke. This type of situation is typical now. People who need to be fired are keeping their jobs.
    Fight Entropy, build a wooden boat!

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    Default Re: America's small businesses are running out of workers

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Businesses are getting the results that the system they have profited from for decades has created.

    Free market, baby. You don't own workers, and you can't make them do anything they don't want to do. The thing to ask if you're a business owner who wants to find workers is:

    Why don't they want to work for you? And what can you do about that?
    I agree.
    Life is complex.

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    Default Re: America's small businesses are running out of workers

    Almost all businesses here (Mount Desert Island, ME) have help wanted signs. As in the OP there is no shortage of demand for services, but a very significant shortage of workers. The reason here is a lack of affordable housing. There is virtually no rental housing available with a term longer than a week. Short term rentals are MUCH more expensive than long term as in a house down the street rents for $295/night and four years ago when it was a monthly rental it went for 1,000 with a one year lease. The reason is that this is a resort area (Acadia National Park) that gets millions of visitors in the summer season (most July-September). There isn't enough housing for the tourists in hotels, RV parks and campgrounds so houses are rented via AirBnB and Vrbo on a nightly/weekly basis to fill the gap. The demand for that type of housing is huge. There are currently 4 of 9 houses on our road that are nightly/weekly rentals and two more houses for the rental market are being built. My neighbor is building one of those houses and already has it fully booked for the 2023 season (150 nights at $350/night). He will likely get more bookings for the winter when he opens booking past October 2023.

    The impact of the housing situation is that there is essentially no housing available for seasonal workers, which make up the bulk of the workforce here. A consequence of that is that most restaurants are under staffed and open only 5 days a week. There is plenty of demand to keep those restaurants open 7 days a week. The exception is that there are a few places that bought housing for their summer staff. For example, here in Southwest Harbor, ME there are about 22 restaurants and only two are open 7 days a week. The two that are open every day provide housing for their staff. Both are hotels with restaurants that converted a few rooms into bunk rooms for the staff. All restaurants here are seasonal businesses since the only restaurant that was open year round closed this year.

    Incidentally, it doesn't matter how much you pay a seasonal worker here since you can't pay them enough to rent a place to live. This has impacted the year round businesses too since there is no housing for new hires to move to the area. Boatyards are an example. They are all under staffed. One prominent local yard was refusing to do service work on boats that didn't store there until they finished launching all of their storage boats. They only started doing service on non-storage customers about a week ago. In about two weeks, they will start hauling boats for the winter and will stop doing service for non-storage customers. Other businesses have cut back hours, mostly by closing a couple of days a week when they used to be open seven days a week. Getting any construction work done means either having a big job or waiting indefinitely. For example, last fall one of my neighbors was having his house reroofed. About 2 days into the job the contractor quit when he got a big job (doing a copper roof on a 20,000 sq ft. summer home) and left my neighbor with half of his shingles stripped off. Fortunately my neighbor is a carpenter and quit his job to finish the roof on his house. He had no trouble going back to work when he finished his roof. Last winter we had a major wind storm which damaged my roof. I was unable to find a contractor to repair it and ended up doing it myself since a roof with holes in it is not a good thing in February (70+ year old men with balance issues don't mix well with 45 degree pitched roofs on three story houses).
    Last edited by Todd D; 08-20-2022 at 09:36 AM.

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    Default Re: America's small businesses are running out of workers

    So what are young people doing? Are there to few of them, do they simply live home with parents, are they studying? They cant just have dissapeared
    Ragnar B.

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    Default Re: America's small businesses are running out of workers

    Quote Originally Posted by mizzenman View Post
    So what are young people doing? Are there too few of them, do they simply live home with parents, are they studying? They cant just have disappeared
    Locally there are few young people. The housing costs have driven people of an age to have children out. For example over the last 20 years our local school enrollment has dropped by about 70%. In addition, unless they live at home with their parents, young people can't afford to live here. So finishing school here and moving out of the family home means moving away.

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    Default Re: America's small businesses are running out of workers

    Businesses are going to have to treat the wage slaves better. Outsource and create shell companies all they want.

    No benefits, fine. No workers.

    In this day and age, it will be harder to lie to workers about the pension and retirement than it was in the past.

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    Default Re: America's small businesses are running out of workers

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Businesses are getting the results that the system they have profited from for decades has created.

    Free market, baby. You don't own workers, and you can't make them do anything they don't want to do. The thing to ask if you're a business owner who wants to find workers is:

    Why don't they want to work for you? And what can you do about that?

    I have some sympathy for small businesses--my parents and my sister have owned and run their own businesses--but the reality is, businesses are finding out that it's now time to lie down in the bed they have made for themselves.

    Tom
    I can see that for a large portion of the minimum wage market and the big box stores. But if you read the article its about small business and we tend give more “love” to people that work with us.

    For us in particular, I was extremely proud that during the pandemic I kept everyone working and able to pay all their bills. I’ve helped staff get apartments, written letters of recommendation and advance them when they need something. I’ve given phones, computers and fixed their cars. I bring chicken soup to sick workers. I treat them like family and I pay them as I’ve said before very well. My top groomer makes $80K a year and most of these twenty something’s make more than I ever made at that age, counting in the difference in years they still make significantly more. Yet they leave.

    READ THE FULL ARTICLE
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    Default Re: America's small businesses are running out of workers

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe (SoCal) View Post

    For us in particular, I was extremely proud that during the pandemic I kept everyone working and able to pay all their bills. I’ve helped staff get apartments, written letters of recommendation and advance them when they need something. I’ve given phones, computers and fixed their cars. I bring chicken soup to sick workers. I treat them like family and I pay them as I’ve said before very well. My top groomer makes $80K a year and most of these twenty something’s make more than I ever made at that age, counting in the difference in years they still make significantly more. Yet they leave.

    READ THE FULL ARTICLE
    do you pay their health insurance? company supported retirement accts? paid time off? profit sharing?
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: America's small businesses are running out of workers

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    do you pay their health insurance? company supported retirement accts? paid time off? profit sharing?
    I actually looked into that and consulted with several insurance companies it comes down to because im very small to $300 - $400 per staff per month and the worker has to contribute $300 - $400 then the co-pay is huge and the plan is not that good. If anyone has a better plan I’m listening.
    I was thinking if helping then fill out all the paperwork for Covered California and then just paying that smaller amount for them.

    I give 10 days of paid leave you can use it anyway you want, feel like going to the beach I don’t care, get sick same thing. I’m trying I’ve only got a staff of 8 Including Renee & myself.
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    Default Re: America's small businesses are running out of workers

    Your people are actively screwing with you. I wonder why?

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    Default Re: America's small businesses are running out of workers

    Quote Originally Posted by bluedog225 View Post
    Your people are actively screwing with you. I wonder why?
    Uuuuuuuug I give up it’s like no matter what I say everyone thinks what they wanna think.
    Read the OP article then comment - try it you might learn something other than your preconceived opinion
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    Default Re: America's small businesses are running out of workers

    The situation is the same as for any raw material. If demand exceeds "available" supply then prices go up.
    2 weeks of PTO (including sick time, taking care of sick kids, doctors appointments AND vacation) SUCKS.
    No health insurance SUCKS
    If you want more people (better people) you have to offer better packages (pay and benefits) and you have to pass it on to your customers (or take it out of your profits)
    Business owners love capitalism when they have the upper hand, but when workers have the upper hand (like now) they hate it.

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    Default Re: America's small businesses are running out of workers

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe (SoCal) View Post
    I can see that for a large portion of the minimum wage market and the big box stores. But if you read the article its about small business and we tend give more “love” to people that work with us.

    For us in particular, I was extremely proud that during the pandemic I kept everyone working and able to pay all their bills. I’ve helped staff get apartments, written letters of recommendation and advance them when they need something. I’ve given phones, computers and fixed their cars. I bring chicken soup to sick workers. I treat them like family and I pay them as I’ve said before very well. My top groomer makes $80K a year and most of these twenty something’s make more than I ever made at that age, counting in the difference in years they still make significantly more. Yet they leave.

    READ THE FULL ARTICLE
    ^^^^
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
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    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

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    Default Re: America's small businesses are running out of workers

    Goin' down the road, feelin' bad
    Goin' down the road, feelin' bad
    Goin' down the road, feelin' bad
    Ain't gon be treated this a way.
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    Default Re: America's small businesses are running out of workers

    Quote Originally Posted by rregge View Post
    The situation is the same as for any raw material. If demand exceeds "available" supply then prices go up.
    2 weeks of PTO (including sick time, taking care of sick kids, doctors appointments AND vacation) SUCKS.
    No health insurance SUCKS
    If you want more people (better people) you have to offer better packages (pay and benefits) and you have to pass it on to your customers (or take it out of your profits)
    Business owners love capitalism when they have the upper hand, but when workers have the upper hand (like now) they hate it.
    Have any of you taken a basic math course ?

    Most small business are not raping their staff if we were to provide all those things and still paid above average wages we would be out of business faster than losing some staff. Ok so I pay H/I $400 per staff per month cheapest plan for my size company is $400 per month ( they have to chip in $400 as well ) That’s $400 x 8 = $3,200 a month , Or How about I just pay the full freight thats $6,400 a month. My payroll is $6,000 a month. Most small business will not pay themselves when things are tight so the staff always gets paid. Then there is rent, business insurance, supplies, taxes, for us fuel, registration, insurance, maintenance, Van payments of $1,600 per van per month X 4, Pet licenses for each city we service, etc etc etc

    Those that have never run a small business don’t get. As of now my staff makes significantly more than we do on each job, now you want us to basically loose money on each job so I can get better people ? For how long before we have to shut down ?

    Funny this from people that have always worked for someone or worked self employed and never actually had to run a small business.
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    Default Re: America's small businesses are running out of workers

    What kind of life is 80k per year buying in Southern California? If that is the top wage then the next question is what kind of life are the other groomers living…

    Jeff C
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    Default Re: America's small businesses are running out of workers

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe (SoCal) View Post
    I actually looked into that and consulted with several insurance companies it comes down to because im very small to $300 - $400 per staff per month and the worker has to contribute $300 - $400 then the co-pay is huge and the plan is not that good. If anyone has a better plan I’m listening.
    I was thinking if helping then fill out all the paperwork for Covered California and then just paying that smaller amount for them.
    Of course that amounts to having taxpayers subsidize your employment expenses. But that's not meant to slam you; I get that it's a real dilemma for employers for sure--I wish I had answers for you, but obviously I don't. It's sad that this is how our country runs, and that even those of us who want it to run another way are stuck in the current system.

    Tom
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    Default Re: America's small businesses are running out of workers

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe (SoCal) View Post
    I can see that for a large portion of the minimum wage market and the big box stores. But if you read the article its about small business and we tend give more “love” to people that work with us.
    Sure, I get it. Like I said, my parents ran their own business (electric motor repair, commercial/residential wiring) with about 30+ employees for 40 years.

    It's not the small business owners' fault that they can't offer a package good enough to attract good workers. But it is the reality. Two weeks off, and no health care? That does suck. It sucks in absolute terms, even if it's better than what the competition is offering. It's a sh*t deal and I think that Covid has woken a lot of people up to just how much of a sh*t deal it is.

    Business owners should be demanding free national health care, and parental leave, and child care. Energetically, and continuously. But they tend to oppose the very things that might save them by providing for the workers they need.

    Tom
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    Default Re: America's small businesses are running out of workers

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post

    Business owners should be demanding free national health care, and parental leave, and child care. Energetically, and continuously.

    Tom

    I keep thinking this will start happening.

    Jeff C
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    Default Re: America's small businesses are running out of workers

    My son has just been promoted and will be looking for two new hires to work for him. I fear he's going to have difficulties finding and keeping good ones given the pay and benefit limits he has to work with and will have to carry a bigger part of the work load himself without commensurate pay to go with it. It may drive him to look elsewhere for better work conditions himself. It can thus become a vicious cycle.
    "Be curious, not judgmental." - (Misattributed to Walt Whitman as recalled by) Ted Lasso

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    Default Re: America's small businesses are running out of workers

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post

    Business owners should be demanding free national health care, and parental leave, and child care. Energetically, and continuously. But they tend to oppose the very things that might save them by providing for the workers they need.

    Tom
    I agree 1,000 % We need this more than any stimulus bandaid
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    Default Re: America's small businesses are running out of workers

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe (SoCal) View Post
    I agree 1,000 % We need this more than any stimulus bandaid
    Indeed. With the present system, it's a race to the bottom. All the incentives are against any individual firm supplying health care. Because it's way expensive, crappy product, and puts your firm at a competitive disadvantage compared to firms who don't offer it. Sure, it helps with bringing in better talent, and retaining it. No doubt. But those are Long Term benefits. The added costs and competitive disadvantage are immediate and unrelenting.
    David G
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    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

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    Default Re: America's small businesses are running out of workers

    Taking into account the location of the OP does any one else see the irony? I'm not saying the OP isn't valid, but the timing is kinda funny
    Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business.
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    Default Re: America's small businesses are running out of workers

    Quote Originally Posted by switters View Post
    Taking into account the location of the OP does any one else see the irony? I'm not saying the OP isn't valid, but the timing is kinda funny
    Que?
    David G
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    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

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    Default Re: America's small businesses are running out of workers

    I'm terrible at keeping up but I thought he was on vacation at the moment in Italy?
    Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business.
    TOM ROBBINS, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues



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