This article by Kelly Marages sums up my angst and annoyance with the way being cheap has become being chic. There is NOTHING more frustrating to hear about how people who used to be (and may still be) millionaires are ‘cutting back’ and ‘eating leftovers’ or ‘not eating out’ as much…I could really not care less if fewer people are eating at Le Grenouille or the 21 Club or that more people than ever are packing their lunch. I’ve been eating my lunch out of a brown paper bag since I was a child. There was a time when I thought I was fancy pants and could afford to step out of the office and buy my lunch, but I quickly learned that’s just a quick way to drain your bank account and pack on the lbs. Americans do need to be saving more but this shouldn’t be a trend…it should be a cultural overhaul! As a society we’ve been over spending and over using every resource for WAY too long. It’s something that our entire culture encourages and that our capitalist market and economy require. I think articles that use titles like “Recessionistas” and talk about Recession Chic really down play how important it is for people to take our economy and overspending and living beyond our means seriously. They belittle the problem-give it a cute name, and make it seem like this is all temporary…it’s not…at least it shouldn’t be. We need permanent change…as individuals and as a society.
The author also makes a great point-if you can’t eat out, then DON’T. I’m guilty of posting ‘cheap eats’ but, in my defense…I think my cheap eats, at least so far, are actually cheap…not pretend $40 pre-fixed meals that some of the better restaurants in the city are trying to claim as ‘cheap’. For $40 meal to qualify as cheap, it needs to feed me for at least three days…or make me so sick I can’t eat for three days. When I was a student in London, my friends and I used to hit Mr. Wu’s all-you-can-eat buffet on Sundays. It was £4.50 and made us all so sick we couldn’t eat for two days…now that’s a cheap eat and it wasn’t even for the recession!