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Old 09-02-2006, 07:00 AM
 
21 posts, read 85,528 times
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Ok--I have read a lot of the posts re: Schuylkill County and it is depressing! What I wanted to do when I first started researching this area is buy a home that I like in Schuylkill County and rent it out until I retire whereupon I will relocate from Chester County. I had hoped to buy within the next year but I am rethinking this due to some of what I read. I am not looking to make a bunch of money on my investment but I sure don't want to lose $!!!
I have spent a little time (meaning very short visits) in Schuylkill Cty.--Mahanoy City, Frackville and Pottsville. I liked it. Am I crazy for wanting to do this?
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Old 09-02-2006, 08:05 AM
 
Location: Marshall-Shadeland, Pittsburgh, PA
32,225 posts, read 74,215,677 times
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You're not crazy at all. I'm assuming that my post, in particular, is the one to which you are referencing. Schuylkill County just strikes a nerve with me because of the lack of economic vitality and the reluctance of its residents to try to demand labor improvements. While the economy just north in Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties and just southwest in Dauphin County have diversified themselves quite nicely over the years into career options that are more "family-sustaining", most job opportunities in Schuylkill County continue to be lower-paying in nature.

However, if you're looking to retire to Schuylkill County, then that's a whole different story. The previous thread poster seemed to be younger or middle-aged, and I worried how he might be able to secure employment or what would happen if they moved to Schuylkill County and his wife's job offer fell through---Where would they find white-collar work? If you're already retired, then the county offers a more relaxing, laid-back atmosphere that you should enjoy very much (Especially coming from the "rush-rush" of the Philly 'burbs.

During my tenure on City-Data, I've noticed a trend---Areas with higher incomes also tend to have the least-happiest residents, as they're constantly commuting, rushing, and "keeping up with the Jones's." Areas without a lot of economic opportunity tend to have more content residents, those who are more concerned with social gatherings, town picnics, and friendly association than they are with lining the driveway with a car that's nicer than their neighbors'. From the time I've spent in Schuylkill County, I've noticed that people are definitely friendly here and more "relaxed", even moreso than they are in Scranton! It's a nice, quiet area to retire too, but it's FAR if you're going to crave urban conveniences on a daily basis (You won't find Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, organic foods stores, etc. here as you would in the Philly 'burbs). High culture around here consists of Friday night football games at local high schools, church bazaars, and bingo. Personally, as a person who is more in-tune with reading, jazz music, surrealism, and other "artsy" types of entertainment, I would just never consider Pottsville to be any sort of "cultural mecca."

By all means still consider your move if you visited the area and seemed happy with it. As they say "One man's trash is another man's treasure." I'm more of a "city guy" who craves museums, cofeehouses, nightlife, etc., so Pottsville repulses me. On the other hand, if you've lived near that your whole life in Philly, Pottsville will be like taking a step back in time to a "simpler way of living", one that you just may find relaxing enough to make your retirement seem special. Once again, I just say "avoid" if you're a "city slicker." If you're looking for R&R moreso than culture, then have at Schuylkill County by all means! ;o)
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Old 09-02-2006, 08:11 AM
 
Location: Marshall-Shadeland, Pittsburgh, PA
32,225 posts, read 74,215,677 times
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By the way, you won't lose money on an investment, you're just not going to gain much. The housing market in Schuylkill County remains a stagnating buyers' market due to a declining population and large available housing stock. Your investment will likely net you a small positive return by the time you retire, but don't expect it to be nearly as much as it would be in the Philly 'burbs, where explosive population growth continues to pump housing prices higher (Although they seem to be leveling off somewhat in most Philly 'burbs now). Another interested party on here wanted to "flip" real estate in Schuylkill County, which is something I don't suggest. (At least not at this time). Perhaps if the extreme parts of the county begin to become larger commuter locations (Deer Lake/Orwigsburg to Reading, Pine Grove/Hegins to Harrisburg, etc.), then you'll see more potential for real estate flipping in these areas, but I don't foresee that happening at least for another decade or so.
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Old 09-02-2006, 11:23 AM
 
21 posts, read 85,528 times
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Thanks so much! I still plan to look for a house in this area of PA, but I will really check out the specific location before buying. I appreciate your insight.
Just to comment on your observation about the higher income areas as it correlates to the relative happiness of the residents....you are correct. I live in a high income area where I make a good living. HOWEVER I sometimes feel like I want life to slow down and become simpler. It's weird but having more $ doesn't necessarily translate to more contentment!
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Old 09-11-2006, 06:47 PM
 
98 posts, read 415,495 times
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If your looking to retire- then that is another story. You may not loose money but making much in that County depends on where your buying. ( I use to be a Real Etate Agent and worked there as well- I also had lived there fpr almost 25 years).

Poster -Scranton I believe is only 19 years old (from his NY City postings(NY state)and may not have had the Life expereince as some of us (not putting that down-don't be upset) . He does have a keen observation and is well written. (I can't believe he stated he is working at Lowes!).

Keeping up with the Jones is not a necessity for most in that County . It is the coal region-they do not have much. But again there are some developements that are clearly upper scale that I have seen.

The towns are nothing near life and living as you know it in Philly. I have a relative who moved to the Bloomsburg area to retire after living in Camden for 35 years. He was always well dressed when he came to visit from Philly. Now he wears Farmer bib blue-jean overalls and you never seen him dress up(people just do not do that there). Talk about a major change.
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Old 09-11-2006, 07:17 PM
 
70 posts, read 114,844 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sleeplessinpa View Post
Poster -Scranton I believe is only 19 years old (from his NY City postings(NY state)and may not have had the Life expereince as some of us (not putting that down-don't be upset) . He does have a keen observation and is well written. (I can't believe he stated he is working at Lowes!).
I can believe it, because I'm more in his age bracket. Now 19 is still very young, but intelligence is no longer the great marketable skill that it once was. I see people all the time who would have been Mayors, businessmen or entrepreneurs in a previous generation who are stuck in low-wage jobs, seemingly forever, even with a college degree.

I needed two degrees and 6.5 years of post-secondary education to land a job that pays (barely) over $30K a year.

That's the future, folks.
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Old 09-11-2006, 08:08 PM
 
98 posts, read 415,495 times
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Mike:

That is what I was trying to say about SCRANTON-WILKESBARRE.

He is so well written and I really thought he was much older . I happen to go to the NY board and saw him post there and he said he was 19!

I was thinking- OMG! He is an amazing writer! Then I saw he worked Lowes and I thought ! NO WAY! He should be doing something more meaningful!

Your right about Jobs today. This county once was tops in Manufacturing- many people worked in that sector and made a decent living and raise a family!
Not today- my father and mother did not feel I or my other siblings needed college as they thought we could get a jgood ob without one.

I was the only one who wanted school but could not go because they did not have the money and were actually turned down for a loan so I could not go. Loans like they have today did not exsist when I was your age. If you did not have the money then you did not go.

So I went the route they did but with a different perspective. It was not the 50's and 60's or 70's where you could work and make a living and buy a home with that wage of that time in manufacturing. When I went to work it was a struggle to make a living and not make enough to pay rent- so you live at home as long as you could.

Today you need college for jobs men and women had a decade ago without a college education and then you may need to go to school longer to get a higher degree for just a liveable wage.

Your generation has a hard time ahead. It is not fair but this is how we changed in the work world.
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Old 09-11-2006, 08:29 PM
 
70 posts, read 114,844 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sleeplessinpa View Post
Mike:

Your generation has a hard time ahead. It is not fair but this is how we changed in the work world.
I'm not sure who's in for a hard time, us or you. My father is very conservative and even he's been saying recently that if we keep the current situation of millions of young, underemployed, angry smart people, sooner or later one of them (us?) is going to be a new Lenin.

I doubt it will go that far as long as people aren't starving, but who knows?
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Old 09-11-2006, 10:29 PM
 
Location: Marshall-Shadeland, Pittsburgh, PA
32,225 posts, read 74,215,677 times
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Wow! I just stumbled upon these compliments, and I'd like to thank you for them! (Turns bright red!) LOL! As far as working at Lowe's is concerned, I have very mixed feelings right now. I actually do enjoy meeting dozens of different people on a daily basis, initiating conversation with them, attempting to help them with their purchases, etc. On the flip side, Lowe's stores (at least the Wilkes-Barre one) are tremendously busy, and I find that management would rather me "cater to the masses" as opposed to making each individual customer feel appreciated. Our store in particular seems to be more concerned with the "almighty dollar" than it is with customer loyalty. As I routinely gripe about to many other disillusioned co-workers (I feel as if a coup may soon erupt at the Wilkes-Barre Lowe's), what good is being the seventh-largest retailer in the world if all of your customers generally leave feeling like just a number in an online accounting ledger in some sort of sleek office headquarters in North Carolina?

Due to limited manpower, I've found myself often being forced to decide between which customers I should help and which ones I have to ignore. What most don't seem to realize is that a home improvement store, be it Lowe's, Home Depot, or tiny yet stable Ace Hardware, is different from most other major "big boxes" in that a much higher percentage of our customers require individual assistance than others. For example, you don't see half of the customers at Bed, Bath & Beyond, Borders, or Best Buy (I'm in a "B" mood tonight!) cornering employees to ask techinical questions. At Lowe's, it's not at all uncommon for me to push a row of shopping carts into the building and turn around to several people asking me how to rewire their homes or lay down a new roof! LOL! Unfortunately, staffing levels are similar at Lowe's as they are at Best Buy, for example, enabling the same staff at Best Buy to better serve the fewer people with technical concerns than the masses at Lowe's who require assistance. As such, people can leave Best Buy feeling like they were truly cared about on a one-on-one basis while they'll leave Lowe's frustrated that they weren't approached by an employee for customer service. Folks, it's not our fault that the powers-that-be are more concerned with the NYSE than they are with making you happy, so if you are quite honestly becoming this disillusioned with the company as to degrade the "bottom of the totem pole" (a term I used to defend myself against an irate customer today), then please make your concerns known to the very top---The ones who can adopt change but are unwilling to do so, as I've already had some serious talks with management about my customer-oriented philosophy that seems to have been thrown in one ear and tossed out the other. Just because I'm a teenager doesn't necessarily mean that I'm not credible.
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Old 09-11-2006, 10:50 PM
 
Location: Marshall-Shadeland, Pittsburgh, PA
32,225 posts, read 74,215,677 times
Reputation: 18409
It's often said that a customer who has one bad experience with your company will tell many more about it, deterring friends and family from patronizing your establishment, and, conversely, that impressing a customer will lead to not only loyalty in their return visits, but also to potentially gaining a few new customers who hear about their positive experience and want to see if they'll have similar results (If they do, then the process is repeated again with them telling several others about the wonderful time they had!) As such, it does pay to "put the customer first" in retail. I suppose many of my co-workers and I are becoming increasingly bitter with Lowe's because we are continually being intentionally short-staffed to "reduce labor expenditures" while we see such obvious wastes of money as a shoddy recent repaving of our parking lot that is already ridden with potholes, and the repainting of our structure that looks identical to how it did previously!

I'm actually the "bottom of the bottom" in the company, a loader. I'm one of the grunts you see meandering throughout the parking lot, helping people load purchases, pushing carts into the building, etc. What angers me the most about this is that my job is crucial towards that whole "repeat business" scenario I mentioned in the last paragraph, as I'm the last Lowe's associate they'll encounter before heading home. If they're met with a smile, an offer for assistance, and a "Have a nice day/evening/Christmahannukwanzaakah", then that may go a long way towards erasing a negative experience they had inside the building. For example, I helped two customers today who truly boosted my self-esteem a bit---One said he was a regular Home Depot shopper, and he was never offered help loading his drywall before! To me, this made me feel great to know that I had impressed him, potentially leading him to pick Lowe's over our orange-clad competitors the next time. On the flip side, Home Depot should feel embarrassed to have allowed this customer of theirs to be neglected so many times. Another customer, a middle-aged woman, stopped me after I helped her to load her myriad of purchases to tell me she was calling the main store manager directly to tell him that my courtesy and patience in helping her today completely overshadowed the negligence she experienced inside the store. Now, if I were my manager, I'd immediately come out to tell my employee about the compliment in order to boost his/her morale (which he did not), and I'd check into the other departments mentioned to see what issues may have arisen at the time to have caused this woman to have such displeasure (which he did not). It's just becoming tiring being considered "worthless" basically just because I'm 19 and employed as a grunt when I see so much injustice being committed all around me by the avarice-crazed "higher-ups." Whenever I make a suggestion, it's fobbed off. Granted, I know I'm not going to be working for Lowe's forever (I have ambition to earn more than $9/hr someday!), but I do envision myself working with the public as a CPA. As such, it's important that I cultivate as much of a "client-focused" personality as I can now to "wow" that future prospective employer in Manhattan.

Injustices are being committed daily in chain retail, and I think some of the more well-educated people in our nation are finally starting to notice this phenomenon of "greed." I'm noticing more and more people are starting to take me seriously when I decry the "big-boxes" (Including Lowe's) and promote "mom-and-pop" to them. Does Lowe's offer you the best price possible on your everyday home remodeling needs? Most of the time, yes. However, those low prices come at a cost---Understaffed departments + high turnover rates+ low wages = Discontent, unknowledgeable employees + long lines + aggravation. More people are beginning to realize that it's worth paying an extra $5 overall if it means that they can be treated as a living, breathing soul instead of a "target quota." I don't only mean to pick on Lowe's here---Home Depot is even worse in this respect! (At least in NEPA) Then you have Wal-Mart...which I don't even have time to start ranting about! LOL!
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