Sunday, February 22, 2009

Thoughts on the Economy--Not Heard on the News



I just returned from a fun filled family trip to Walt Disney World. I come back with some fresh perspective on life and the economy that you will NOT hear on the news tonight.

THE GOOD
We are NOT in a depression. Recession is really bad for some, but really not that bad for many. Airfares and Valet Parking can still charge extra for gas prices from last year. Small pieces of light up novelty plastic command top dollar. Not as much as those Disney pins--but still a good price. $7.99 for Chicken and Fries has to be doing some good down the corporate line. Let's hope that the layoffs at Disney are not the ride operators, cashiers or cooks. The Disney dining plan allowed me to enjoy meals that I would otherwise never elect to enjoy for the prices they are charging. Kind of annoying to overhear everyone's solution to the recession while they ate a $40 plate of food. Most of the guests visiting the park had some form of Designer or Disney based clothing on. I've often wondered why a 10 yr old requires Hurley, Holister or other really expensive clothes designed to look like worn clothes from Target.
Regardless, most kids (myself included) had smiles on their faces.

THE BAD
Ok, maybe I am officially getting old around this new fangled portable technology but really...
1) Watching Mini DVDs and text messaging on rides or while walking through the parks is just plain stupid. Why not sit at home on your couch at home N TOK 2 UR BFF N SAV SUM $. I actually watched two girls sitting next to each other...texting back and forth... LOL.
2) Moms and Dads...YOUR ARE ON VACATION. Get off the cell phone and blackberry. Yes I have a Blackberry, yes I brought it, but didn't scream into it while pushing my tired child through the February vacation crowds.
3) You just spent a LOT of money to enjoy a theme park. Pull the iPod headphones out of your ears. Yes the music and Sound FX are corny--but it adds to the overall escape from your regular world effect.
4) I finally figured out the "Rock-Paper-Scissors" equivalent for navigating crowds. Scowling mom pushing strollers beats Dad carrying sleeping child. Dad carrying sleeping child beats Large Man on Scooter. Large Man on Scooter beats Mom with stroller--makes her scowl even more.


THE UGLY
Some parents are convinced that the recession is the cause for more prudent decisions. Dad can grab his $12 beer in a souvenir plastic mug, Mom bought that nifty organic free range cotton grown recycled bag for $10 (and then stuffed it into an extra large plastic bag), but purchasing the stitching on the back of those mouse ears...maybe next year. 3 bucks is 3 bucks...might be a able to share a Powerade later on. And what's the deal with organic shirts anyway. Why spend $36 on a organic shirt? -- you are not helping the environment! Try spending $16.95 on a standard T-Shirt and put the other $20 towards a real savings...how about water control valves for showers. I tried to avoid the news and its constant barrage of depressing factoids. Here is what I overheard in the park: 'Looks like that mother did have something to do with her daughter's death'; 'Another child gets killed..'; 'Kenseth won the Daytona'; 'More companies benefitting from TARPA and other stimulus packages are sending executives to resorts', and 'Rihanna should have better standards in men'. So bottom line: Fear not liberal media...even on vacation your constant negativity is still seeping through the masses -- "old-school" style.

All in all, I say the economy is hitting people differently. Let's hope for the best and not hedge all our bets on the new man in the White House. Probably best to not blow all your vacation spending money just in case. My wife and I have a job today. That is no guarantee tomorrow. If it wasn't for the Disney Vacation Club, I would not have been taking that trip this year. Guess it was a wise investment. So ... make that extra mortgage payment and pay off that revolving credit quick. Then, let's all just relax, spend with caution, and rack up those gains in investments again as the recession subsides.

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