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6 Reasons the Recession is More Depressing Than You Thought |

March 15, 2009 8:20 pm

6 Reasons the Recession is More Depressing Than You Thought

By Lia Romeo, Nick Romeo
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We all hate home foreclosures, rising unemployment rates and Wall Street CEOs bitching about how tough it’s going to be to afford chauffeurs and summer homes on $500,000 salaries.

But it turns out that the recession has also had some less-heralded–but possibly even more depressing–effects. Like these.

People Are Getting Fatter

Since the recession began, workers at the Spam plant in Austin, Texas have been putting in overtime, churning out batches of the pink, glistening, vaguely meat-like substance with “a mere hint of sodium nitrite” for the millions of Americans who can no longer afford real meat.

Anyone up for Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, baked beans, Spam, Spam and Spam?

The disturbing surge in the sales and consumption of Spam is part of a larger trend, in which people are choosing cheaper–and generally more fattening–food (or vaguely food-like) products, and packing on what media outlets are cutely calling “recession pounds.” McDonald’s sales are up, even as privately owned restaurants fail right and left, and Americans–3.8 million of whom already weigh over 300 pounds–are getting even fatter.

In fact, one study estimates that a 10 percent increase in the poverty rate would lead to a six percent increase in the obesity rate. Just what we need.

# 5.
And Uglier

Well, there’s always plastic surgery, right?

Not during the recession. For most Americans, the option of having that extra fat vacuumed out of their thighs has gone the way of new clothes, Caribbean vacations and being able to retire before they’re 85 or so.

Rates of lipo, as well as rhinoplasty, boob jobs, Botox and all those other little enhancements that make it possible to look at our neighbors–and ourselves–without grimacing, are down. Way down. In plastic surgery hub Orange County, business has dropped 30-40 percent. Keep in mind, this doesn’t affect the country club wives who get new boobs because they’re bored. That 30 percent is coming out of the middle class. The folks who’ve been saving up to have the goiter removed so they don’t cause children to run screaming from the room. And what about the plastic surgeons?

So sad.

And if you can’t get depressed about a drop in plastic surgery, in an unrelated but also uglifying trend, ever since the economy tanked, men, for some unexplained reason, have been much more likely to grow bushy facial hair. Yes, that’s right, beards are back. Maybe men are trying to protect themselves– metaphorically–from all the turmoil out there. Or maybe they’re just too depressed to shave.

# 4.
And Can’t Afford Beer

OK, so you’re out at the local bar, and all you can see are fat, hairy people everywhere. This is where a set of beer goggles would really come in handy, right? (At least ’til tomorrow morning, when you have to attempt to tiptoe out the door without waking the Bigfoot look-alike you spent the night with).

Early in the recession (you remember–back before the government actually admitted there was a recession), the media touted beer as “recession-proof.” After all, beer ranks right up there with pizza, sex and more beer in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Surely people would still buy alcohol … no matter how bad things got.

Well, things have gotten really bad … because sales of beer are tanking worldwide. In fact, beer sales fell almost 14 percent in the last quarter of 2008, according to the Commerce Department.

# 3.
Or Romance

Spending on Valentine’s Day gifts went down about 17 percent this year, and while there’s no hard data on how that translated in the bedroom, we’re guessing cheap wine and carnations were considerably less likely to inspire kinky–or even non-kinky–Valentine’s Day sex than, say, a three liter bottle of Dom Perignon sheathed in white gold (retail price: around $24,000).

Hard data. Get it? Yes?

And financial woes are taking a toll on dating and relationships the rest of the year, too. According to a recent poll, 35 percent of Americans are less likely to go on dates given the recession, and when they do go out, 39 percent are likely to spend less.

Married? The news is even worse. 43 percent of U.S. couples say the recession makes them argue more often. And there’s not even any light at the end of the tunnel (and by light at the end of the tunnel, we mean the possibility of ditching that hairy bastard/flat-chested shrew you’re stuck with and running off with your young, tan, well-oiled secretary/personal trainer). Over one third of Americans who want to get divorced are likely to postpone doing so for financial reasons.

# 2.
Or Even Porn

Another traditionally “recession-proof” industry?


After all, there’s nothing like a good money shot to cheer you up when you don’t have any actual, you know, money.


But at present, the porn industry is suffering as well. DVD sales are down, and porn emporiums are closing. So even if you can still afford porn, you might not be able to find it (at least there’s always the Internet).

Perhaps the worst part? The puns. Exhibit A: articles like this one, which manages to get in: “porn goes soft,” “porn has gone limp,” “the porn business has suddenly gone flaccid,” and “shriveled in terms of revenue.”

Given all of the above, perhaps it’s not all that surprising that more people are contemplating:

# 1.

Calls to suicide hotlines are up.

Way up.

For L.A.’s busiest hotline, calls have surged 60 percent over the past year, and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is getting about 50,000 calls a month (compared to 37,000 last year).

Suicide rates skyrocketed during the Great Depression, and some experts are concerned that that current recession will bring about a similar effect.

But come on, people. It’s only money. Well, that, and your home, and your sense of self-worth, which you derived from the stupid job that you hated but that you now look back on with nostalgia, even for your coworker with foot fungus who liked to cut his toenails in the office, and your health insurance, and the possibility of ever going back to that beach in Bermuda where you and your wife/your husband/a really attractive stranger had sex on the sand right at the edge of the water, and it was mad and passionate, and thus the possibility of you and your wife/your husband/a really attractive stranger ever having sex that’s equally mad and passionate again, especially since you haven’t gone on a date in months since you can’t afford to pay for a babysitter–or for a restaurant, and your kids’ college funds, and your retirement.

Sales aren’t down in everything.

Surely all of that’s not worth contemplating suicide.



Lia Romeo and Nick Romeo are the authors of the humor book 11,002 Things to Be Miserable About and the humor blog

Orignal post @

4 Comments leave one →
  1. wonker permalink
    March 19, 2009 5:17 am 5:17 am

    Interesting blog, I’ll try and spread the word.

  2. matthoster permalink
    March 28, 2009 7:09 pm 7:09 pm

    This blog’s great!! Thanks :).

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