Buy Nothing Day is only a few weeks away, but perhaps we should skip it this year, as we are already in the middle of a buy nothing season. According to the Wall Street Journal, nobody is doing much shopping these days. "It's definitely all of a sudden very cool to be cheap," says one former serious shopper. It happens every recession, but they suggest that this one combines economics with the environment.
"Our retail and manufacturing clients are seeing almost an aversion to consumption," says Todd Lavieri, chief executive of Archstone Consulting, which tracks retail spending patterns. "In previous downturns [such as in 1991 and 2001], we have often seen shopping as therapy." Now, with credit conditions so tight, Mr. Lavieri says, "people aren't shopping to feel better. They actually are not shopping to feel better."
The Journal says it's not just the money:
Over the past year, some affluent Americans have simply "given up the fight to keep up with the Joneses," says Pamela Danziger, president of Unity Marketing, a research firm in Stevens, Pa., while others have decided that "spending money on luxury is a poor use of resources in a climate of high gas prices and rising carbon footprint."
Wendy Liebmann, chief executive of consulting firm WSL Strategic Retail, has noticed that the economic downturn is accelerating mainstream acceptance of the thriftier behaviors of the green movement, like cutting out bottled water and growing vegetables. "People are saying, 'We are going to save money, and we are going to save the environment,' " she says.
No doubt, next week the American Enterprise Institute and friends will be quoting the Journal and blaming the recession on the environmental movement because we convinced everyone to stop shopping.
Watch for it.
Wall Street Journal via Paul Kedrosky
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