Last month, the Joneses of Jonesboro, Arkansas bought an HDTV refrigerator, leased a new 2012 Lexus, and bought the latest Sony Vaio laptops for their three school-age children. The Joneses have been buying things like this for at least the last fifteen years and could always rely on their neighbors to buy similar products in order to keep up with them.
But this month, not one neighbor rushed out to buy any of the new items purchased by Fred or Emily Jones, and Fred says it is quite unsettling.
“I’m starting to think that the economists are onto something when they report that we may be entering into a double-dip recession,” said Fred. “Usually, we buy new stuff and before we’ve even taken it out of the box, we see our neighbors either bringing the items home or having them delivered. We even get bonuses in the way of toaster ovens or microwaves from our local appliance stores for being able to spur our neighbors into competing with us for bigger and better things.”
The neighbors were asked what was going on—why they were no longer trying to keep up with the Joneses. Fred’s next door neighbor, Sam, who, by the way, has always been a very good neighbor, said that while he couldn’t speak for everyone, he, personally just couldn’t keep up with the Joneses any longer since losing his job over eight months ago.
“Don’t get me wrong,” said Sam, “I loved getting a new car every year, a new refrigerator every couple of years, and a bigger and better big-screen TV as soon as the technology changed.” But Sam says not having two incomes has severely curtailed his spending habits.
Sam did say that he believes the Joneses may not be the trendsetters in his neighborhood much longer either as he’s heard rumors that Fred may lose his job due to his company shipping all their management positions overseas. “Looks like the times are a changing,” said Sam. “Instead of us keeping up with the Joneses, I’m betting more and more folks in India will soon be able to keep up with the Guptas.”