Consumers cut Corners on Food, but Not Electronics

Some rather interesting and seemingly backwards thinking is discussed in this article from the New Yorks Times.  It seems that like myself, many Americans are making different food choices and spending as if we are in a recession.  For the most part the trade off are meat and name branded goods.  On the other hand people are not necessary skimping on gaming or electronics.   Why is this?  Even in my own little world I have this weird thinking going on in my head.  I’m conciously cutting back hard on the household food purchases, but at the same I’m frustrated that our 4-year entertainment laptop is barfing on the playback latest high-def video files.  As for the food, I can report from grocery shopping this weekend, it difficult to distinquish more store brand products from name brand, so I actually did that switch a while ago (much to my husband’s chagrin).  Cooking is very flexible, so you make what you can with what you’ve got — it really isn’t that big of deal to change things around — at least for now.  I don’t understand why I think it’s okay to consider buying a computer now, though, other than I’m delusional.   I have a friend who is behaving the same way, skimping on food, but recently purchased a DSLR camera to capture her kids while they are young because they won’t sit still long enough for her point-and-shoot.

Personally, I not sure about what to think about “recessionary” spending and the priorities of Americans.  In a way I think it makes it seem like the whole lot of us is crying crocodile tears over food cost when our solution is to switch to a store brand or to substitute pork for beef while still continuing to buy electronics.  On the other hand, I don’t know what to make of the “news” in this article.  The changes in spending don’t seem that drastic to me.  Of course there’s also the possibility that we’re all delusional.  I doubt it though.  In many ways and economic slowdown makes for great news — so it’s tough to say what the real situation is when the creation of a dire situation benefits the news providers.


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