On today’s episode of “Dreadfully-Embarrassing Thing
The Setting: Lunch-time in a crowded, noisy Qdoba with my two daughters (approximately age 7 and 4, at the time).
7-Year-Old (talking loudly over the restaurant chatter): “Daddy, why do some mommies change their last names when they get married?”
Note: My wife did not change her last name.
Me: “Well, honey, some people want everyone in their family to have the same last name and others have reasons not to.”
7-Year-Old (channeling Veruca Salt): “Well, I’M not changing MY name when I get married…”
At this precise moment, the entire restaurant coincidentally goes completely silent.
7-Year-Old (voice booming): “…because I love DICK!”
Yep. It was that bad. I swear I heard a record scratch. Then, the disapproving stares. The awkward silence. Then, the murmurs. It felt like an eternity.
Why am I sharing that story right now, years after it happened? Because you deserve a chuckle on a Saturday morning. And, because moments like that taught me how little I ever thought about gender norms before I had daughters.
How do dads explain to little girls why wives take their husband’s names and not the other way around? Why has there never been a woman president? Why don’t most religions allow female clergy? Why do female pro athletes make so much less money than male athletes? Why do women make less money than men everywhere? Why, why, why?
Maybe you have satisfying answers to those questions. Maybe you believe many of the ills facing our country stem from the dissolution of traditional gender roles and family constructs. Maybe your religion just says so. Fine. I get it.
Good luck explaining that to a 7-year-old girl who doesn’t know how to spell the word ‘patriarchy.’
If you read this email regularly, you know we don’t touch things like the Kavanaugh controversy. I have no idea who’s telling the truth and who isn’t – and like I always tell you, we’re in the truth business.
Is there a “war on men” happening right now? Perhaps. Does that suck? Sure, all war sucks.
But has there been a war on women for thousands of years? Abso-fucking-lutely. And if you see otherwise, get a service dog, because you’re blind.
Here’s what we’re seeing right now:
Consumer confidence stayed eerily flat again. For the second consecutive reading, our Economic Sentiment Index barely budged, continuing a period of stagnancy unprecedented since we began measuring it 8 years ago. We saw subtle nuances if you care to read the details. There’s just something weird about it when everything else in the country feels so volatile.
CBD has the potential to be a formidable niche product category. I wasn’t hip enough to know much about CBD until I read my way through a short study we did this week. Apparently, it’s marijuana oil that doesn’t get you high. Doesn’t that sound appealing? It must to some people because our new trend adoption model predicts that it could reach a market greater than 20% of the U.S. adult population. Millennials have driven early usage (because they’re the cool kids) but the upside looks highest among Xers. The unifying thread across generations is environmental consciousness – which I told you last week was more of a Gen X proclivity.
Even in our rosy economic times, one in four Americans still can’t afford to go to the doctor whenever they need to. When you think about all that’s happened since 2013 – the Affordable Care Act, rising consumer confidence, tax refunds – it’s crazy how consistent this number has remained year over year. Obviously, something is still broken.
Millennials aren’t buying tablets anymore. Ok, that was hyperbolic. They’re just not buying them nearly as much as they used to. Tablet ownership peaked in the U.S. in 2017 and has been sliding slightly ever since. Most of the decline is coming from our favorite over-hyped cohort, who maybe feel like their larger smartphones already do the trick. It’s worth noting, however, that we aren’t studying kids under 13 – nearly all of whom in America have school-issued tablets. Maybe they’ll carry that habit into adulthood and we’ll see a tablet renaissance someday.
Wealthier people are less likely to spend the extra cash on extended product warranties. This made more sense, the more I thought about it. We found that 10% of people purchase the extra warranty “all the time” when buying big-ticket items. 51% do it “sometimes.” Warranty-buyers are more likely to be female, but the largest correlations were income-related. People making >$100k annually are the least likely to purchase warranties, by far. That was counterintuitive to me at first because you’d think those higher earners could shell out a few extra bucks at checkout. But no. They’re just not worried about replacing the whole item altogether.
Most Popular Questions of the Last Couple Weeks
Ever since I started sharing these every few weeks, somebody always gives me a hard time when I don’t. Judging by all the clicks, I guess you like them. So here are the latest (as you know, click to answer them and see the results):
- Are you good at keeping in touch with old friends?
- Have you ever contested a ticket in traffic court?
- Did you talk about the Kavanaugh / Ford hearings with your friends?
- Do you think more stores should be dog-friendly?
- Are you good at killing houseplants or keeping them alive?
- Anchovies: love them or hate them?
- Do you think hypnosis is real?
- Have you ever dated someone you worked with?
- Do you find it impolite when people ask what you do for a living right after meeting them?
Hoping you’re well.