Friday, March 20, 2009

Consumer guilt and how it is hurting the economy.

OK, serious post here. I've been thinking about this a LOT over the last week and I need to talk about it. I am, as I have mentioned before, frugal. Or Cheap. Depending on who you talk to. I don't go throwing around money willy nilly. Tsu is not the tightwad that I am (I wish he was, just a little, but what ya gonna do?) but still... I'm all about "save save save, only buy what you have cash in hand to buy, avoid debt!!!"

The things going on in our economy are terrifying. A lot of people, myself included, would have been much better off if they had not carried so much debt. So what I am about to say is not typical of me, and I want to be clear that i am NOT talking about borrowing money to buy "stuff" right now. I am just NOT. Ok?

So, here is the deal, last week Good Morning America sent several of their head reporters to various places on earth to do stories. They received a comment asking how they could justify doing that considering the current economy. This comment has been annoying me for a week now. First of all, if GMA can afford to send reporters to the Amazon why should they not just because YOU are broke? Personally, I was delighted to be able to escape the mundane details of making ends meet and trying to find money to buy my horse for a few hours while I learned about the rain forest and got to see that adorable Sam Champion swimming in the jungle. But this got me to thinking about one of the things that is hurting our economy... consumer guilt.

Let me explain what I mean.

Let's say Bob and Sue both get laid off. They lose their house, their car and end up living with their adult children. Bob's brother Bill doesn't lose his job or his house or his car. In fact Bill and Sally are doing OK. Not great, since their retirement fund is now almost worthless and they are paying out the butt for health care since the company cut their coverage to save cash. But when it comes down to it they have cut expenses and are doing OK. In fact they finally have saved enough money to take that cruise they have always dreamed of and to buy that motorcycle Bill has wanted since he was a teenager.

But every time they talk about booking their cruise they think of Bob and Sue and feel guilty. So they have decided to hold off on buying their bike and going on their cruise "until the economy improves". They care about Bob and Sue and feel bad for wanting to go on a cruise while Bob and Sue are stuck living in the basement with their children. So they just don't spend that money.

And because they don't spend that money the travel agent and the cycle shop don't earn their commissions, the cruise company doesn't earn it's cash to pay employees, none of the tourist traps along the cruise route get any of that money.

Yes, fear is causing some of this trouble with the economy, but I suspect that we are overlooking a huge issue that is making things worse... guilt.

Listen, if you can afford to buy things, travel, etc. PLEASE DO IT!!!! Every dollar you spend is a dollar that may help save someones job! YOU should not have to do with out just because people you know HAVE to do without. If you are one of the lucky ones who is doing well, remember that by spending money you are helping the economy. And those of you who can't afford to buy things stop guilt tripping the folks who can. Do not begrudge them the things they have worked hard for, even if it is nothing more than luck that puts them in a better position than you find yourself in. Yes, being broke sucks. Being broke and seeing people around you NOT broke sucks even more. Trust me, I've lived most of my life broke. I KNOW. But getting pissy at the folks who aren't broke is NOT the answer!!!! Every dollar they sit on to keep you happy is a dollar that is NOT going back into MAKING JOBS and getting this economy back on it's feet!

So, IMO, GMA should keep sending folks to the Amazon as long as they can afford it. Or better yet, how about sending them places in the US and pumping some cash into our economy through their own spending and through the spending of the people who show up to try and get their 15 minutes of fame because someone famous is in town?

And those of you who can afford those new shoes and are holding back out of guilt... buy the shoes! Give those shoe makers a job! And the stock boys and the cashiers and the guy who collects the carts from the parking lot and... you get the picture.

Sure, if you can't afford it then spending is not the best idea. But if the only thing stopping you is guilt because you can afford it when others can't? Well maybe you can donate some to a local charity and THEN spend some on yourself but when you spend money instead of feeling guilty be proud of doing your part to help boost the economy!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Musical moment of the day, 3/19

I have been seriously remiss... my blogging this past week. I promise to make it up to you now that I am feeling somewhat better. :-D

First, due to a lengthy bout of the flu I will not be doing a march give away. But in April I will have that up and running again! I'd like to revive the ask pony blogs as well, but I need questions. Have relationship questions? Silly questions? Informational questions? Just zip me out an email to and I will answer your question in a future post!!

I'll be posting more later, just wanted to check in quick and let you know I AM still alive!

I'll enhance this blog post with a picture I took in the front yard a few days ago:


EWWWWWW!!!! Can you believe people eat those things? *shudders*