Business: Struggling to Cope with These Trying Times

The pervasive economic malaise is certainly democratic in its sweep. Almost everybody—whether affluent or poor, young or old, urban or rural, white, black or brown—rightly feels a little or a lot less well off than several years ago. Some examples:

BELEAGUERED BOUTIQUE. When Barbara Edlund opened her bath-accessories boutique The Royal Flush on San Francisco's Union Street 16 months ago, a two-roll package of campy printed toilet paper sold for $1.25. Today the same package sells for $2—a price that Mrs. Edlund concedes is "ridiculous." She is merely passing along to customers astronomical...

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