Uncool To Buy Things

The economy has changed how some people think about shopping.  At least based on local coffee shop chatter, it seems uncool to admit you are buying anything at all.  We have more than our share of residents who sound and act cautious because we’re in the recession.

Well, marketing mavens have labels for everyone, and so-called Pragmatic Spenders “cut back and are engaging in thrift like others but seem less troubled by the recession.”  We’re guessing there are plenty of them in the Montclair area.

According to Decitica, Americans fall into four post-recession segments:  Steadfast Frugalists (20%); Involuntary Penny-Pinchers (29%); Pragmatic Spenders (29%); and Apathetic Materialists (22%).

Yesterday, I overheard discussion between two Pragmatic Spenders, who were right next to me at a Mountain Avenue coffee shop. Here’s a quick paraphrasing of their exchange:

Woman X:  Carries in nice clothing catalog and sits down.
Woman Y:  Leans over from next table, “What is it?”
Woman X:  “I found this catalog outside.”
Woman Y:  “I just throw them out, so I don’t buy things.  Anything good?”
Woman X:  “Yes,” and flips through.
Woman Y:  “If you keep stuff long enough, it comes back into style.”
Together:   They discuss pants, and ways to mask old styles.
Woman X:  “I don’t need things, but it’s nice to look.”

While Montclarions likely fit in all four spending attitudes, it feels like the frugal mindset is everywhere. With the holidays arriving now, we wonder how much frugality is burnished versus pushed aside for seasonal largesse.