Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Consumer confidence fell...that's a surprise?

We splurged on dinner last night. $5.35 for the two of us from a value meal menu down the street. It was hot. We were tired.

And we apparently were not alone. An unexpected drop in consumer confidence rattled the financial markets Tuesday. Confidence had fallen flatter than bird splat, but some forecasters thought improved home sales and more chattering about the end of the recession would perk up our spirits and spending.

It might have once. But as CNN's Paul R. La Monica points out, look at what we do, not what we say. And what we're doing, by several accounts, is cutting our spending as much as we can and looking for ways to cut more. If we as consumers are still going to be driving 67 percent of the economy, that will have consequences.

Restaurants, for example, are being hit harder than anytime in the last 28 years, researchers at NPD Group, a major consultant to several industries. Convenience Store News finds we're spending more of that money on value menu items and private label products.

Deep thinkers still wonder if such shifts are short-lived reactions or signs of a bigger change.

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