It's the Economy, Stupid!

Several months ago, I posed a question in my blog, asking you how high gas prices had affected your entertainment activities. Now, of course, things are much worse as the entire economy circles the bowl, even while gas prices ease up a bit. So I thought it would be interesting to revisit the question in light of the worsening economic crisis.

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, sales of HDTVs may be starting to slow as consumers watch their investments and retirement accounts dwindle. This will have serious consequences for retailers such as Best Buy, which reported a 2-percent decrease in same-store sales after predicting growth of over 4 percent for mid-September. At the same time, MasterCard's SpendingPlus service reported that spending in the electronics category dropped by 14 percent compared with September one year ago.

On the other hand, I can't help thinking of the relative success enjoyed by the movie industry during the Great Depression. Apparently, people flocked to movie theaters to escape their dismal reality for a couple of hours. In those days, movie tickets cost around 25 cents, though even this wasn't an entirely insignificant sum under the circumstances.

I wonder if we will see something similar happen now—only this time, people will flock to their home theaters, choosing not to pay 10 or 12 bucks for a movie ticket and burn the gas needed to get there. Of course, equipping a home theater is not an inexpensive proposition, so if you don't already have one, you might be less likely to pony up the required dough in these tough times.

So I ask you—How has the economic crisis affected your entertainment activities? Do you have a home theater? If so, are you using it more and more in lieu of going out? Are you thinking about investing in a home theater? If so, has the economic downturn put the kybosh on that plan, or are you more determined than ever to bring your entertainment home as things go from bad to worse? I invite you to post a comment here or e-mail me at the address below and share your thoughts.

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