Mothers of America, I ask you: How are we going to save the economy? Because really, it’s up to us, you know. I’ve read that women make 85% of all brand purchases and 93% of food. So if spending has to increase in order for companies to feel confident enough to invest and hire, thereby stopping the downward spiral of our economy that’s turning us Japanese, it’s up to us to get out our wallets.
Take, for instance, this check-out lane display of bubble gum inside plastic bats at my local supermarket. It is so obviously aimed at moms like me.
Think about it: Maybe we’d splurge on a dozen of them as “goody bags” for a baseball-themed birthday party. Or we’d bring five of them for the kids attending our Yankees vs. Rangers (or Phillies vs. Giants) party. Or we’d buy just one so we can get through the @## supermarket without a scene just this once, thank you very much.
We’d buy them, perhaps, if it was 2006 or 2007. But in 2010, we’re thinking twice about putting out the four (or 40) bucks. We’re downsizing the birthday parties and cutting back on the impulse (or, ahem, sanity-saving) purchases. We’re skipping the little extras, the “wouldn’t that be fun?” items. (We’re also picturing a birthday party full of kids taking swings at each other with them, but that’s another issue altogether.)
So if moms don’t buy them, who will? Grandma, maybe, or the coach of the first place Fall Ball baseball team in a fleeting moment of revelry. Or maybe not. Maybe we’ll all turn Japanese instead, as reported this weekend in the New York Times:
“Economists are now warning of “Japanification” — of falling into the same deflationary trap of collapsed demand that occurs when consumers refuse to consume, corporations hold back on investments and banks sit on cash.”
But if we’re not sure our jobs or our husbands’ jobs will be there come the holiday season, then the baseball bats full of gumballs seem like an unnecessary luxury. We’ll simply pass by them on our way out of the store with staples like milk and pasta.
If we’re lucky — if America is lucky — maybe someone else will buy them and save the economy. Maybe some other mother, but not us.