Saturday, May 25, 2013

To the best of my calculation the next recession is already here, at least in New York it is, anecdotally speaking of course.

Here's what I can tell you:

Not only taxi drivers report this, bar tenders and strippers and waitresses do too. I know because when they spend their tip money to get home at four in the morning they at least want a conversation in the deal and it usually comes down to "how was the night?":

Tips are down.

The passenger will end the trip one or two meter clicks ahead and say: "thanks I can walk the rest of the way."

The drinker still drinks, just off a lower shelf.

The strip club John tips less and wants "more."

Tell me I'm lying!

Back in 2007 I knew we were in a recession because these were the things I was experiencing and hearing from these economic mine canaries, the bar tenders, the strippers, the waitresses. It's happening now again.

Back in 2009 I was driving a restauranteur somewhere or there and on the radio was the voice of an expert talking put of his anecdotal mind : "I eat out a lot and I see the restaurants in Manhattan seem to be as busy as ever." (Or words very much to that effect.) The guy who was sitting in back of me just about flipped. What he said was this: "Sure my restaurant is busy like before, but they're eating and drinking a bit cheaper, and tipping my staff a bit less." (Or words very much to that effect.)