Wednesday, March 25, 2009

NYT: People Buy Fewer Expensive Things when Things Get Expensive

Hello from Vacationland!

I don't normally blog while on vacation but this morning's hotel copy of the International Herald Tribune (aka The New York Times a day late) got me riled up.

On the front page--the front page--was this article: When Economy Sours, Tootsie Rolls Soothe Souls. Ignore the enticing title and don't encourage the NYT by clicking on the link. Here's the summary: when people don't have money they buy cheap things--like candy.

Duh. I bet they are also are more likely to buy rougher toilet paper, generic cereal, and trade in their Starbucks for their own home or work brew.

The story is so typical NYT.

1. "Journalist" (a well-connected New Yorker) makes observation about personal life, i.e. "Gee, I sure seem to be eating a lot of Jolly Ranchers these days. And I'm buying fewer Godvia chocolates. Is there a link?"

2. Journalist asks one of his New Yorker friends, "do you think you are buying more candy rather than spending money on lavish chocolate orgies?" "Sure," says the friend, and voila! a story is made. Journalist proceeds to interview a few other people--typically a random company in the Midwest (to provide a touch of Americana) and a young New York transplant (to extend the demographic) who they know through a friend of a friend.

It reminds me of another NYT story I read a while back, written by a freelancer living in or visiting Norway. His story was basically like this: "Two of my Norwegian friends bring their lunch to work. I asked them if it was to save money. They said 'sure,' so here's my story about how despite the supposed strength of the Norwegian economy people still make their own sandwiches. Ta da."

Although the NYT's human interest pages are lame products of nepotism, I do hope my candy-selling friends (hey Pam!) are doing ok. More power to them if they can bring back Brachs and Tootsie Rolls during the recession.

4 comments:

Robin said...

Did Mr. Moko-to-be hijack this blog?

Moko said...

There would've been a lot fewer commas if he had! You're just seeing the darker side of Moko ;-)

Pam Walter said...

So what's wrong with Brachs and Tootsie Rolls?

Moko said...

Nothing! I love them! Particularly Brachs. But I've found it harder and harder to find them. They used to be in all the big supermarkets; nowadays they seem relegated to the bottom shelf of a Walgreens or Longs...