Doggie-bag use is up
August 28, 2001 8:02 AM   Subscribe

Doggie-bag use is up - Must be an economic downturn (via Fark). Want to know what the Fed is up to before everyone else? Have a look at the Greenspan briefcase theory. Takeout orders in Washington DC are up? Must be a war!

Anyone know of other 'indicators' like these? No, Groundhog Day doesn't count.
posted by jwells (10 comments total)

Two more - Miners used to use canaries to find toxic gas buildup, and I'm pretty sure the U. of Mass. is using Tobacco plants as leading indicators of air quality here in Boston. I'm just curious to see what other indicators are out there that people know of...
posted by jwells at 8:02 AM on August 28, 2001

Or maybe the portions served at most American restaurants have hit critical mass in hugeness and people just CAN'T finish what they get. Seriously, there seems to be no end to how much food restaurants will give you. And people wonder why American's have such obesity issues...
posted by aschulak at 8:08 AM on August 28, 2001

On first reading "doggie-bag use is up", I thought that was referring to picking up dog droppings. Wow, that's quite different than taking home leftovers from a restaurant!

Here in the SF Bay Area, they (you know who "they" are ;-) are saying the lighter traffic patterns at the normal bottlenecks are indicators of the downturn.

Good question, jwells, and I'm going to keep thinking about better examples to add to the thread.
posted by msacheson at 8:54 AM on August 28, 2001

There's the canonical indicator of dot-com failure:

The number of aeron chairs up for bid at ebay.
posted by marknau at 10:42 AM on August 28, 2001

Maria Bartiromo's Hair, of course.
posted by swell at 11:11 AM on August 28, 2001

The increase in info-mercials of excercise related products. Things like the ab roller, all that Tony Little junk, and those miracle pills. Did you know that penis and breast size can be increased by taking a natural dietary suppliment (radio ads in NY).

All this most certainly indicates a likely increse in the chance the world is about to end.
posted by Grok09 at 1:23 PM on August 28, 2001

I recently read Newjack (an excellent book) by Ted Conover. In it he mentions an earlier project in which he lived as a hobo for a while, and says a hobo once told him that you could tell the state of the economy by looking at the length of cigarette butts people put out on the street.
posted by precipice at 2:06 PM on August 28, 2001

Well, the Economist regularly reports on the Big Mac index, which is a measure of currency exchange rates. But more germane to this thread is the "R-index". It seems that the frequency with which the word "recession" appears in the media (most easily measured in newspapers and newswires) goes up right before a recession. It seems to be a better predictor than the more traditional "predictors", which don't appear until after the recession has started, usually.
posted by djfiander at 2:41 PM on August 28, 2001

Forgive my ignorance, but why are people bending over backwards to seek out evidence that the economy is bad? If there are no more obvious signs, then why go to such extremes to find such dubious ones? I don't see the attraction in coming up with more and more desperate 'evidence' that the economy is bad.

I live in Taiwan, and a year or so ago some people started saying "The economy is bad!" It became a popular saying, for some reason. People latched onto it and joined the cry "The Economy is bad! Sell your stocks! Lay off your employees! Stop your company's growth!"
You know the result: The economy is bad! Duh!
posted by Poagao at 7:17 PM on August 28, 2001

Poagao - I was actually just looking for "weird" indicators in general, not just for the economy. I know I lead in with two economic ones but thought the others would shift the focus. Maybe this thread should be considered an indicator...
posted by jwells at 6:29 AM on August 29, 2001

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