I had an all-time great prologue planned for this week.

OK, not really. I didn’t even put much thought into it, but that’s not the point. 

I’m not going to burn good material on a weekend when you should be too busy relaxing, frolicking, or shaking off a frolick-induced hangover to read it. 

The fall and coming winter are going to be a hell of a ride. Hopefully we arrive wherever we’re going safely. Wear your seat belt. 

Our business is poised for the wildest – and busiest – stretch in our history. I’ve got presentations and speaking gigs galore (fingers crossed, some of them will be in person) and a new season of our podcast to produce. 

So, I’m giving my schtick a rest today. And enjoying one final summer weekend to gear up for the adventure to come.

Here’s what we’re seeing – the slightly abbreviated, Labor Day edition:

Apparently two-thirds of Americans never get a respectable buzz in a given month and I can’t decide if I feel better or worse about myself. With all due respect to people who are in recovery, I generally assume most other people would be better off letting their hair down a few times a month. But it seems a full supermajority of drinking-age adults disagree with me – they don’t even have 4 or 5 drinks on one occasion in a month. Maybe I’ll try that in October. Lol. (P.S. On a more sober note, women are binge drinking more since the beginning of the pandemic, while Gen Z and younger Millennial women are now more likely than men their age to binge-drink).

 

A lot of Americans look down on people who get Botox and I really don’t know why anyone gives a shit. This is one of those things about people I’ll never get. Thirty-three percent of Americans say they have a negative opinion of people who get cosmetic procedures, versus 24% who have a positive opinion, and 44% who don’t really care. Yes, a lot of the characteristics of the Botox-getters and Botox-judgers are completely predictable. The good news is that people generally think the stigma is improving. Still, if somebody wants to get a cosmetic treatment to feel better about themselves, mind your own damn business. I fully reserve the right to be extremely judgmental of judgmental people.  

Amazon is opening brick-and-mortar stores and they should be a particularly big hit with younger adults. In one of the more ironic developments in the retail space, Amazon is getting into the physical store game. Just about half of Americans are at least somewhat interested in browsing the aisles, especially the Gen Z crowd. Notably, while the new stores will primarily sell home goods, electronics, and apparel, the most likely customer is a big buyer in the toys, kids, and baby category. But I’m sure Amazon already knows that.


I really wanted to leapfrog over a holiday without talking about gloomy COVID numbers, political dysfunction, and consumer (un)confidence – if only for my own mental health – but it’s impossible. If you want to keep a positive vibe for the rest of the weekend, just breeze on by. If you’re a masochist, feast your eyes on these:

  • Even after FDA approval, 60% of unvaccinated Americans still insist they will never get the vaccine;
  • Support for mandatory vaccines across different business categories actually fell slightly over the past two weeks, but support is highest for kids in schools;
  • Intent to travel, particularly by plane, has started regressing as business travel season approaches;
  • Economic Sentiment is inching toward record lows, as even job optimism is waning thanks to the Delta surge;
  • It’s not all COVID either – after subsiding a little, inflation fears are climbing again.

And here are two less-depressing studies we published this week:

  • IKEA is going to let people buy and sell used IKEA furniture and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if other retailers are paying very close attention.
  • ​​We were among the 10% of Americans who got a pandemic pet, but based on these five things, we’re clearly outliers.

Finally, some of our most popular questions, for your answering pleasure:

 Answer Key: No, I’m usually late; Any and all cased meat; Casual; LOTR by a mile; 90s by two miles.

 
Have a wonderful holiday weekend, my friends.
 

Hoping you’re well.

JD