October 3, 2005
-- by Dave Johnson
My wife was talking to the owner of our favorite local Indian restaurant. He's saying the dinner business is way down. He thought it was just him, but asking around found out that other restaurants are also seeing quite a downturn. They all say it's gas prices.
(P.S. in the picture on the Little India website, my wife is the top left dancer.)
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I don't buy it. Given all the Indian restaurants on the peninsula and especially further south, I doubt very much that people must drive very far to find an Indian restaurant they like. So, even though Little India is reasonably priced for the quality, the percentage of a dinner outing attributable to gas is not much. More likely it's just people finally starting to live within their means in this sucky economy.
It's not about driving to the restaurant, it's the increasing bite on household budgets that is causing people to cut back on other things.
That's just stupid. Cut back on their insane commutes! Get a job at a reasonable distance, and be sure you can telecommute as much as possible. That would do something. But cutting back on your LIFE so you can continue to be an insane American commuter. Do people do that? Are they that stupid? That crazy? Maybe so. People have to wise up fast.
"Cut back on their insane commutes!"
Richard, if it was /that/ easy, then I'd agree with you.
But come on, have a little empathy for people who aren't that able to just pick up and change jobs that easily. Sure, the choices of moving to the suburbs were their choices, and as a devoted city boy I condemn them for it too. But these choices aren't undone just because of a season or two of high gas prices. Many people can't even move closer to their job if they wanted to, whether it's because they live close to their spouse's workplace which is way the hell over from their own, or just because zoning doesn't place their jobs anywhere near their homes.
Posted by: ArC at October 4, 2005 2:50 AM
I think Dave's right. One of the first signs of a major downturn coming is that people become cautious about doing things like eating out, going to the movies, etc. And this time the obvious difference in the economy is gas prices. The whole economy is dependent on transportation by car -- and truck. In NYC people can usually switch to public transportation, but in the rest of the country it's not quite so straightforward. Even here, food prices are rising fast because of the cost of transporting everything by truck. What's going to sink us is heating costs this winter.
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