You know, things change, and sometimes that happens slowly so we don't really notice it.
I was in a local convenience store the other day, and I just happened to remember some of the guys I used to work with overseas. What I was remembering was when a group of us were together, and someone said something about one of us who wasn't present at the moment (almost sounds like we were gossiping, but of course we wouldn't do that).
What was said by one of the group - and keep in mind we liked the guy he commented about - was that this particular person blew through money so fast that he was the only person he knew who could spend $100 in a 7-Eleven.
Since this was some time in the '90s, when no one back then could conceive of spending $100 in a convenience store, that was a pretty funny statement.
The reason this came into mind for me was that I filled up one of my trucks at a convenience store, and it cost me $125. So, it seems that I have become such a big spender that I'm now the person who blows through money so fast that I can "spend $100 at a 7-Eleven."
Apparently, times do change.
What does that have to do with trees and landscaping?
Well, for one, it really drives home how things have changed. Unfortunately, at least in this instance, by changed I mean become more expensive, Sometimes much more expensive.
Not only that, but because of other things going on right now - combined with some rather unusual natural events - availability of a lot of things, including equipment and supplies, has become scarce or no longer available. Of course, when you have too few products facing large demand, the result is — you guessed it — higher prices.
Just to be clear, I am not an economist in any sense of the word. Any financial advice I might give should be carefully considered (frankly, all financial advice and decisions should be carefully considered), and giving financial advice is not the point I'm about to get to.
What I'm trying to get to here is that my crystal ball has become very clouded. I've seen a lot of changes in the landscaping industry, or as I generally think of it, the green business over the years. Post change, it's always pretty easy to figure out what drove the changes, but realizing what's happening as it's taking place is a lot more difficult.
I think the much higher cost of doing work and having work done is going to drive some big changes across the entire green business, and I think those changes are going to start happening soon. But I don't know what they are going to be.
Actually, I bet things are changing already, but being a little caught up in current events myself, I haven't picked up on them yet.
I will tell you one thing that I have noticed is that a number of people started getting into the tree business last spring and during the summer, which happens every year. But this past year was a little different because of the amount of damaged and dead trees this year, so there were more of them than normal.
Despite the fact that there is a lot of work out there, most of those people are just ... gone. I find that extremely puzzling.
What I'm saying here is that while the last couple of years have been different, to say the least, I think it's about to get really "different" moving forward. But other than predicting coming change, I'm at a loss as to what it will look like.
Well, it is a new year after all, so let's see what the new year brings us.
This article originally appeared on Abilene Reporter-News: Bruce Kreitler: Changing times in tree business