Even in hard times — perhaps especially in hard times — people drink. That has been the historical pattern, but apparently not so these days. A recent issue of the Los Angeles Times Business section (1/10/2009) reported the following: “In July, trade publication Wine & Spirits Daily reported that more than 40% of bar managers, bar owners and bartenders surveyed said they had seen a decrease in consumer traffic, while 25% noted a decrease in the number of drinks ordered and 22% said that customers were ordering less expensive drinks.”
It’s true that this news is not all bad, because it presumably cuts down on the number of drunk drivers on our roads. That’s a good thing. But the reduction in bar business is one more example of the downward trend in, well — pretty much everything. On a daily basis we’re getting news that retail sales are down, movie ticket sales are down, construction is down, jobs are down, broadcast TV viewing is down, car sales are down, etc. Now we find out that even “bottoms up” is down.
But everything can’t be down, can it? Doesn’t it stand to reason that if, for example, new car sales are down, then auto repairs (for the clunkers we presently own) should be up? That may not be the ideal illustration; I’m just saying that even in difficult financial times, people don’t just sit in a corner and stare at the wall for 18 hours a day. Here’s what I’m wondering: What’s up? (Besides anxiety, of course.) Any thoughts?