Friday, October 30, 2009

Scary, but yes, the economy is STILL bad

Welcome yet again to another edition of "Signs That the Economy is Bad" here at The Itinerant Librarian. This is the Halloween edition (sort of).

  • People can't afford to get a divorce any more.Very often people who don't know better or are single tend to say, "if things are so bad, get a divorce." Well, guess what, the economy is really bad, and people who usually would get a divorce, can't afford to do so. They end up living under the same roof much like roommates in college (and I don't mean that in a good way). After all, hiring a lawyer, going through the process, then setting up separate households, and so on can cost a lot. And yet, having said this, as I tell my students, look at the source. Who is pointing this out? The fine legal eagles of American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), who are noting that there are fewer divorce filings these days. I guess things are bad when divorce lawyers are losing business.
  • Death is another big expense. Well, Wal-Mart, whose slogan is "Always Low Prices, Always," has decided to help out with some of those last details. According to various news sources, including the BBC, which I am linking, "Wal-Mart Starts Selling Coffins." Prices start at $895 for a basic steel model. So now, we see that "catering for cradle-to-grave needs, Wal-Mart already sells everything from baby wear to engagement rings." You can see some of the models here. Funeral directors may worry that Wal-Mart's prices undercut them, but on the other hand, according to the article, they add that they still beat Wal-Mart on something: the human touch. By law, a funeral home pretty much has to let you use your own casket if you so choose. This article from the Lousiana TownTalk website discusses that a bit more. You can find the actual funeral rules at the Federal Trade Commission. By the way, for the record, I personally want to be cremated (and yes, my better half already knows of this wish).
  • You may decide to skip the funeral home altogether and do the funeral yourself, a DIY funeral. It may sound like a joke, but this is serious, and there is some information out there for people to consider if this is an option. You can start with this post in BoingBoing on DIY funerals, which provides some information and links. NPR had a program on the topic as well, and here is the transcript for it. It is part of an NPR series on "The End of Life." The Free Geek has a small list of what to do if you plan your DIY funeral.
  • Are you thinking about graduate school and getting a doctoral degree? Maybe you should consider unemployment as the author of the PhD webcomic proves, "it pays more to do nothing than to get a Ph.D." If only I had known that back in the day.
  • On a serious note, another aspect of the economy that may be doing well in this time are vasectomies as well as other contraceptives. Something that the sky fairy followers and conservatives tend to forget, in their zeal for preventing responsible contraception and choice (as long as it is for someone else. As soon as their little Susie gets knocked up by the local high school jock, they themselves pack her up and run to the nearest abortion clinic under the radar), is that "that rational people facing hazardous economic times need to control the number of children they have to support. And, by the way, that kind of responsible behavior is good for the economy which can hardly afford the social programs to support families who can't make it on their own" (emphasis mine). Christina Page has the details in "Vasectonomics" (via the Huffington Post).
  • This is not new, but it certainly is interesting. Escapist reading is doing well in the bad economy. You know it is a sign of a bad economy when people just want to forget about it.

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