In what appears to be a case of Carrie Bradshaw-onomics, the New York Times reports that, even amid these current financial straits, Americans have been buying more things they don’t actually need over the past year. But this doesn’t mean anything is actually getting better in the economy. It’s just that people can’t resist giving themselves little presents.
Experts told the Times, that this boils down to people’s inabilities to stay thrifty for so long.
Consumer psychologists say that in this uncertain economy — coming after one of the worst recessions in generations — it is just too hard being good all the time.
“People have a limited supply of energy to put toward controlling their urges,” Kathleen D. Vohs, a professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota, said in an e-mail. Ms. Vohs studies spending behavior at the university’s Carlson School of Management.
People aren’t going for the exorbitantly-priced goodies, but what are people getting? Well, alcohol for one thing: wine and premixed cocktails and coolers are all on the upswing. Also, baked goods — Junior’s Cheesecake saw a rise in sales after experiencing an unfamiliar dip during the recession — and cosmetics. Basically, Americans are spending their money like a couple of girls who plan to stay in for the night and watch a marathon of romantic comedies starting with When Harry Met Sally… and ending with Legally Blonde.
What aren’t people buying? Batteries, diapers, bleach, car wax, and fertilizer are among the many items the Times lists.
We tried to think of ways the unnecessary items could stand in for the basics. Maybe bloody Mary mix really stimulates the soil. Maybe the creamy goodness of a piece of plain cheesecake is good for car-care. Perhaps white wine makes a nice bleach. We don’t recommend you try these substitutes out. Unless you happen to have already broken into those cocktails.