Drinking from the Lowest Shelf
Alright, so it’s not the most compelling or sympathetic example, but this is as good an instance as any of the ways in which middle-class-and-down Americans translate money (especially taxes):
Americans’ love affair with top-shelf booze cooled last year as the recession took a toll on high-priced tipples.
A new report by an industry group shows people drank more but turned to cheaper brands. They also drank more at home and less in pricier bars and restaurants.
As I walked out of last year’s financial town meeting, in Tiverton, having just played a visible role in a budget-cutting coup, the air was thick with comments snidely dismissing the amount of money that the average household would save. Perhaps to step-10 teachers, another night out each year is a sneer-worthy inconsequentiality, but to folks who only splurge for one a year, it’s not so minor. For those who never go out, the same amount of money translates into small luxuries like egg sandwiches on Wednesday mornings or a more palatable brand of rum.
It all seems so minor… until it doesn’t.