Defining Frugality Down

McSweeney’s Internet Tendency features some of the most clever, literate humor out there today.  However, one recent piece, “This Recession Is Awesome!“, where a young kid is happy that his parents’ financial problems are making them give up the expensive things that he hates in favor of the cheap things he loves, had two fatal flaws.

The first flaw is that the “cheap” things he celebrates are hardly all that cheap.  They are:

  • three meals of junk food a day
  • “as much McDonald’s as I want”
  • mini golf, go-karts, and batting cages
  • pizza at “Gilbert’s Goofy Park”
  • Cooler Ranch Doritos
  • Xbox

That’s the author’s idea of scaling down a lifestyle?  Awww, did poor little buddy have to go from middle class to upper-lower middle class?  Wow, our Depression-era grandparents are just super impressed.  One is only left to wonder just how exclusive the author’s gated community must be.  As this recession continues, some of us are going to need to do a lot more adjusting than that. 

The other fatal flaw in the piece, of course, is that it just wasn’t funny.  McSweeney’s must be getting hard up for material. 

On a related note, two days ago I saw this post about all kinds of frugality for the times.  And, don’t forget about Provident Living.

3 comments on “Defining Frugality Down

    • You’re welcome, and thanks again for the great post. I still haven’t looked at it all, but there are some excellent ideas there.

  1. I actually thought it was funny. My husband was laid off. I pulled my son out of piano lessons to his delight but I am now his teacher which is at least slightly better than going to lessons. I would have pulled my daughter out too but the piano teacher wanted to do it for free (she wanted to do both but we compromised). That situation in the article is TOTALLY realistic for both the parents AND kids.
    My funny article would include my son thinking the job loss was awesome because he suddenly got to have hot lunch at school everyday. Normally he had to pack his own lunch because we have 4 kids (2 in school) and $3.25 a day for school lunch each is too much.
    It would have rocked to be with Dad all day long playing Xbox but he ended up getting a job too soon. The first part unemployment required so many hours of resume stuff and interviewing practicing and job searching. That had started to die down so if the unemployment had lasted, he would have played more Xbox with the kids. (He doesn’t drink though). If you had an Xbox before the recession, you don’t suddenly not have one. And Cool Ranch Doritos go on sale for $2.00/bag.
    Now the McDonalds and pizza was part of our regular budget, so we cut that out sort of. But I can see stressed out not great parents with just one kids and used to going out to eat forgetting about nutrition during that time and thinking McD’s and pizza that they were buying was cheap enough.

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