THE BLOG
06/28/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

(Non) Supply Side Economics

My second to last pen ran out of ink yesterday. It is getting pretty dicey in my law office as I continue to eke out barely legible faxes and wishy-washy copies from desiccated cartridges, and legal file folders have become more precious than fresh funds to a Ponzi schemer.

Those essentials in many a real estate attorney's office, the stacks of stickies with arrows pointing "sign here" or "notarize here" were used up long ago, affixed as direction guides on contracts in those heady days when sellers were not underwater and buyers did not sweat lenders' credit checks. Now I routinely cut small Post-its® in half, confident my few clients will understand that the bright yellow slips on which I've printed "please sign here" and stuck next to lines just above their names means they should do precisely that.

I'm not above sitting on the floor to rifle through old files, releasing bundled items so I can retrieve forgotten paper clips. Out of necessity, I've discovered phone message books don't need all of the 2½ inches allocated to one memo. If Guinness is keeping track, I believe I set the world's record for most frugal use of a phone log on May 26th, skillfully filling a space designated for a sole message with 11 names and numbers! No matter that all calls were left on my voice mail in less than two hours by only three persons concerning the same on-again, off-again deal. My penny-pinching goal to prolong the life of that book was gloriously achieved as I crammed all those calls into a spot where, in the boom years, I would have wastefully jotted "5/26 Mandy Buyer 631-555-5555."

I have added anxiety nowadays to commit not even the slightest of errors, as correction tape is used parsimoniously and wasting a piece of paper is just as eco-unfriendly as it is wallet-unpleasant. Coincidentally, the engraved envelope supply has dwindled in my office just as postage again escalated, plus my stash of pre-printed return address labels has been substantially slashed. I have stopped myself on more than one occasion from rationalizing that it wouldn't be so bad to occasionally use the least offensive freebie charity labels once my pro supply runs dry. Times are bad, but I figure that there's no way to claim credibility as a completely capable professional in the eyes of a possible client once she receives paperwork in an envelope with a sad-eyed puppy's entreaty to "help save us" beneath my firm's return address.

It's been a long, hard slog downwards from a busy law practice to the place I am today, entreating the machinery lords to ensure no expensive equipment breaks and praying the ink in my remaining pen lasts days longer than the original Chanukah oil. I have the slightest of inklings that we are just months away from smashing into the rock bottom of the real estate market in my region, which will be a supply side blessing, as I have absolutely no idea how to recycle and reuse staples!