Google Plus 1

Monday, June 1, 2009

Consumers Are Alive And Well And Hiding

Except for a small group of people – maybe five percent of the population – consumers are alive and well and spending about as much as they usually do, but they are hiding what they are doing from a critical and disgruntled public scared about high unemployment and a weak economy, and tired of being taken advantage of by the rich.

It has become fashionable to wear last years gown to the charitable ball, but that doesn’t mean the dowager in question doesn’t have the recently purchased latest in fashion from Paris sitting in her closet waiting for the appropriate opportunity. The problem is that when she finally wears the new frock, it may be next year, and last years gown that she is wearing.

Buying habits die hard. Yes there is much token switching from high price brands to private labels, and those that do buy new cars are opting in some cases for smaller and Ford or Toyota over Cadillac or Mercedes. The days of ostentatious show are over at least for a while.

Reminds me of many splendid villas in Mexico. What you see from the road is a crumbling gatehouse, but when you get past the high walls ad tall shrubs you will find a magnificent, freshly painted villa with tennis court and swimming pool and hordes of servants beckoning to the owners every whim.

The big spenders are still there. What has been eliminated is the fringe element that tried to live beyond their means with borrowed money. Those with inherited wealth are still spending just as they always were. They of course were never ostentatious about their spending habits to begin with. Their household checking accounts are not affected by reduced credit card debt limits, or a decline in the value of their multiple dwellings. As long as their monthly trust fund checks come in, they don’t care or count. They don’t have mortgages anyway.

The people who are really in the middle are the new middle class. They were squeezed by a past administration hell bent on favoring the rich and eliminating regulation, and now they are being over taxed and over regulated by a new administration hell bent on favoring the blue collar worker and the poor at their expense. They don’t know whether to try and maintain their spending habits to impress their neighbors or become frugal to save for the coming winter of their financial discontent.

Most people faced with these conflicting circumstances, and a faltering economy, are hiding what they spend. They don’t want the public to know that they are still all right economically lest the government try and take away what they have left in a massive redistribution of the wealth scenario.

It’s an economic and social anomaly brought on by the times we live in. The dream isn’t dead. It is only in hiding. Our innate desire to consume is still there. Our instincts are unchanged. We’re just scared, but we’re still big spenders. It’s our nature just like tax and spend is the government’s.

What are you hiding? Please remember to keep that forty-dollar pound box of chocolates in the back of the refrigerator, right next to the caviar and that special bottle of Champagne you’ve been hording for a special occasion, or the candies might melt. While you’re at it stop hiding that two hundred dollar pair of brand new running sneakers at the back of your closet. You have nothing to be ashamed of. Who are you running from – yourself?

No comments:

Post a Comment