The Recession vs. The Consumer

Alissa Wilkinson — who spearheads The Curator and I met in passing at IAM Encounter 09 — quoted a quote from a New York Times story titled Conspicuous Consumption, a Casualty of Recession that I found worthy of quoting again .

    “I think this economy was a good way to cure my compulsive shopping habit,” Maxine Frankel, 59, a high school teacher from Skokie, Ill., said as she longingly stroked a diaphanous black shawl at a shop in the nearby Chicago suburb of Glenview. “It’s kind of funny, but I feel much more satisfied with the things money can’t buy, like the well-being of my family. I’m just not seeking happiness from material things anymore.”

The Times article basically goes back and forth on whether the changes people are making in their personal lives during this economic hardship will last. Some say yes; some say no. Economists point out that The Great Depression did create a very cautious generation of savers. My great grandmother was one of these people.

This youthful recession probably has some years to go before causing such significant change to our die-hard consumerist mindsets. President Obama is suggesting things will be back on track in a year or so, which won’t do it in my opinion — although his estimate seems a tad optimistic.


On a related note, what does this recession do for more expensive fads such as shopping organic — which shouldn’t be a fad, really, but still is at this point — that were just gaining steam? If people need or want to save money, buying generic peanut butter is a whole lot cheaper than organic, freshly ground from Whole Foods. I personally don’t want to see the organic movement lose ground; it replaces an unsustainable, mass-producing, preservative laden food monster than should have been banished decades ago. But it might.

I’ve read The Curator since it’s inception. It contains some good observations on American culture. My only complaint is that you can’t make comments on the posts of what is essentially a blog.

Image from Post Secret.


About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at

One Response to The Recession vs. The Consumer

  1. Pingback: Recovery of a human scale in economics « The Aesthetic Elevator

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: