So this nasty recession/depression keeps dragging on, and it continues to be amazing all the different ways that people are learning to cope. We already covered the drop in toilet paper sales, and now the word is that men’s underwear has dropped...sales wise that is.
And according to the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, (who some blame for this mess) it is a leading indicator “that people are feeling pinched” (and not just because they are wearing squeezers).
"If you look at sales of male underpants it's just pretty much a flat line, it hardly ever changes," writes Greenspan. "But on those few occasions where it dips that means that men are so pinched that they are deciding not to replace underpants. And [Greenspan] said 'that is almost always a prescient, forward impression that here comes trouble.'"
Well, here comes trouble.
A revised survey shows relatively large drops in the sales of men's underwear in the United States. The study projects a 2.3 percent drop in sales of all men's underwear products in 2009. Underscoring just how quickly the market has gone south, in November 2008, forecast sales were to grow by 2.6 percent in 2009. A serious downturn led to a serious revision.
Greenspan says that if you think about all the garments in the household, the garment that is most private is the male underpant, because nobody sees it except people in the locker room, but who cares," (I don’t) "Your children need clothes, your wife needs clothes that have to change, your children grow, you need clothes on the outside. But the last purchase that you don't have to make is underpants.... [men wear them until they are in] total tatters."
This was the way I operated even before the recession. I only get new underwear when my wife buys them for me, usually because she is disgusted with my old worn out undies, or when my mom gives them to me for Christmas, which she does every year assuming that I have worn out what she gave me last year (she also gives me socks, handkerchiefs, electric nose hair clippers and unique condiments...I have never had to buy any of those items in my life thanks to her).
It appears, that as per usual, men are making a sacrifice for the common good by putting their underwear purchases behind everyone else's needs, but guys, lets admit it, all underwear is more comfortable when threadbare. In fact, NOTHING is more uncomfortable than a crisp new pair of boxers or set of new briefs or squeezers with fresh elastic...its raising my voice an octave just thinking about those horrid things. In the case of the squeezers, they almost have to be old and stretched out to be wearable.
So I took a look at the women’s underwear market for signs of a downturn focusing on the Victoria’s Secret catalog. I can tell you nothing was turning down in that research source, in fact most of their items were looking up quite nicely. And the prices...jeez.
Could it be that women might be upgrading their underwear in bad times?
Not only are they upgrading, they are introducing new technology at the same time. “There is a a new, ‘smart’ bra that boosts a woman’s cleavage when she feels sexy.
The bra “detects changes in body temperature brought on by sexual arousal and squeezes breasts together to create bigger cleavage. expanding foam in the cups will loosen or tighten to adapt to the size of the wearer's breasts as they get hotter.”
Some advice girls from Mr. Science; when wearing this miracle garment outside, make sure you are either facing the sun or have your back to it, never sit with it to either side, otherwise you will develop an embarrassing symmetry problem.
"It's healthier than an ordinary bra because it will always provide the perfect fit," said a company spokesman. Oh...its for their health. Of course, men don’t need this kind of thing in their underwear because Mother Nature has provided a remarkable temperature control system down there which is both useful and potentially embarrassing at the same time.
So in the Great Recession of 2009, the men are walking around in underwear that’s barely holding together while the women are sporting new bras that change the apparent size and shape of their breasts based on their moods. I guess I’m OK with that...whatever it takes to get through this mess. Apparently, for women, feeling sexy is the antidote for feeling poor. I’m just glad I have an excuse for still wearing my 4 year old green boxers with little martini glasses on them. Bottoms up!