I sat through all the required economics courses and I have the basic understanding that Joe Blow and his wife Mildred invest their money in the stock market. Their two thousand bucks, which they came into following the not unexpected passing of Joe's aging uncle Cyrus, goes directly from the palm of their stockbroker to the coffers at Amalgamated Meat and Cheese. Then the honchos at AM & C buy more cows and cow products (the yellow kind) and sell them and everyone is happy.
That much, I get. But yesterday I was enjoying my third shower of the day and was unable to turn off the radio as the business report came on. As tepid water coursed over me, the newscaster said that sales at McDonald's were down 1.6 % in July, and this is recently unprecedented. It's been a while since business at the Golden Arches dipped, so we were told.
Even that much, I get. People have dozens of choices of where to find chow these days, and Burger King, Wendy's and Taco Bell are advertising like crazy to get your money into their tills. So, when people start using all those buy-one-get-one-free coupons that come in the mail, business will go up at other places.
Here's what I don't get: the woman on the radio talked to some stock analyst bigshot and reported that this dip in McDonald's business was being attributed to "lowered consumer confidence."
I can see holding back a little on buying a new car when things are dicey on the economic front. Maybe the Plymouth will run a few more years and we can forget about the new car. And certainly, when layoffs and belt-tightening are regular forms of exercise in your neighborhood, you don't want to go out on a limb and buy a whole new house or anything.
But if lowered consumer confidence is holding you back from investing in a Big Mac®, then I say "Oh, go ahead and live a little!"