Recession Mama

By Katy

Almost every girl thinks their mama is the best, don’t they? Well, here at Recession Mama, we think our mothers are special, too. Carla and Heather are mamas, so I’m letting them take a little break today. Happy Mother’s Day to ya’ll! And I’m going to tell you what I’ve learned from my mama.

My mom is the best negotiator I know. She truly embodies the notion that yes, you too can negotiate anything. She’s also a great bargain hunter, when it comes to stuff she really wants. She’s not the coupon-clipping type, like my amazing friend Sarah. And you definitely won’t catch her making her own detergent, like Carla’s friend, Connie. She’s definitely a fashionista, so does that make her a recessionista in this economy? Perhaps. But before I put any labels on her, let me just tell you about her mad “priceline negotiator” skillz. Yes, I meant to spell it with a z. It’s that amazing.

My mom is one of those negotiators that can make you want to give her everything, and then throw in the kitchen sink! You also walk away LOVING her. After a day-long tough session of car buying, the sales guys will say to me… “Isn’t she adorable? Isn’t she cute?” CUTE?! You just practically gave this woman the car for FREE, and you still think she’s cute? Now, that’s talent. She’s also negotiated where no man or woman has, I believe, gone before…at high end stores on Rodeo Drive. And I’m NOT talking about buying $100K worth of stuff. If you’re spending that much cheddar, I do think Chanel, Louis, and Cavalli might be able to cut you a break. Well, maybe not Louis. Did you know they NEVER have sales?

So, how does my mama do it? She doesn’t think there are any secrets, and I do think it’s best to watch her art in action…here are a couple of my own observations:

  • My mama is fearless. Sales people can smell your fear from a mile away, and it’s easier to say no to someone that’s hesitant about asking for what they want.

  • My mama kills them with kindness. She asks with a smile on her face, and if they, at first, say no…she doesn’t seem angry or irritated, in the least bit. (She just tries again a little later when the sales person’s guard is down.)

  • My mama is always prepared to walk away. Even if she really wants whatever she’s negotiating, you would never be able to tell. She acts like there’s nothing she needs or wants, and we’ve walked away many, many times. Now, this one takes a lot of maturity. Some of us (I won’t name names) still act like we’re two and we throw tantrums when we can’t get what we want or when my mama walks away in the middle of a deal going south.

  • My mama knows when to stop. She would be great at “The Price is Right”. She has a figure in her head, and when a sales person reaches it, she knows when to take out her nicely negotiated, never-pay-full- price-I’m-pretty-sure-it’s-designer wallet.


By Katy

Barney's New York in Los Angeles, CA

Barney's New York in Los Angeles, CA

In the last two weeks, I’ve gone to several shopping places in Los Angeles. I’ve been to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and its less famous, but still fabulous shopping destinations off of Rodeo, like Barney’s New York. I’ve also eaten at Barney’s Greengrass, and it was packed for lunch! Of course, Barney’s New York is a pretty swanky boutique department store in the infamous 90210 zip and “Greengrass” is its upscale deli/diner, on the penthouse floor, so maybe the recession hasn’t really affected those who “lunch” there. But I also went to a couple of different malls lately and they were packed too!

Today, I went to the Century City Shopping Center for lunch. They have one of the nicest food courts I’ve ever seen:

photo courtesy of

photo courtesy of

Believe me, this photo does not do it justice. You have to see it for yourself! And this photo was not taken today at the mall because if it were, it would be 10 times more crowded! My TV crew and I could not find parking spots for a good 15-20 minutes. I couldn’t believe that every parking space was filled! We had to park on the 2nd underground level, and in my many, many, many trips to this shopping center…I have never, ever had to park on the 2nd underground level.

But what does this all mean? I mean it’s not scientific, by any means. All I’m saying is…in Los Angeles at area malls and restaurants, I’ve started to see a little bit more movement, a little bit more spending, a little bit more splurging like the Los Angeles I’ve always known, and personally, I’m extremely happy and excited about it.

And if you’re still feeling the pinch of this recession like most of us are, here’s a coupon for a free meal.

et cetera