Maddie and I did karaoke this week. 

One of my best friends bought an 80-year-old, landmark hole-in-the-wall in our hometown this spring. I say that lovingly – the food, vibe, and beer list are tremendous, so much so that a bunch of Steelers regularly hang out there during training camp, a few miles away. My friend was smart enough to keep the historic name. The crowd’s built-in.

I’ve gone there since I had my first fake ID, a laminated New Hampshire driver’s license, printed on my mom’s old Xerox. Not that bars asked to see an ID back then.

Karaoke is on Wednesdays and it gets packed to the gills. The owner being one of my groomsmen was a plus. He scored us a two-top, which was critical because Maddie isn’t of-age to sit at the bar.   

We’d been meaning to go all summer. Maddie’s instructors at Michigan have counseled her to let her hair down. They feel she’s too polished, too afraid to make mistakes, and it’s holding her back as a performer. It doesn’t help that in musical theater, you’re supposed to be someone else, only allowing a small part of yourself to come through. Finding that last bit is the hard part. You can’t teach it.

Singing pop songs in front of a bunch of drunks she’ll never see again seemed like a good exercise. And it was, if maybe not for the reason we expected. 

Maddie sang “Before He Cheats” by Carrie Underwood and “Someone Like You” by Adele, two songs she never performed before. She charmingly flubbed some of the words and breaks, giggling at herself along the way. Naturally, I sang too – my mainstays – “Wanted Dead or Alive” by Bon Jovi and “S.O.B.” by Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats. If Maddie needed to see someone make an ass of themselves, I put on a masterclass.

It’s a rare sighting nowadays, when everyone’s typically fretting over the perfect Instagram post, the perfect picture. We’re happiest when we dance like nobody’s watching. 

It’s the only way to figure out who we really are. And it’s a blast.  

Just wait until Maddie finds out how much more fun karaoke is when she’s drunk. 

Here’s what we’re seeing:

Consumer confidence is in a lull. Our Economic Sentiment Index fell during the past reading, the second downturn in the past six weeks. Another bump in interest rates seems to have soured consumers’ views of the housing market, while a cooling (but still awesome) job market dampened the outlook for future employment opportunities. That said, consumers are feeling the simultaneous cooling of inflation, as confidence in personal finances and making purchases were in the black.

Apparently, getting charged with 78 felonies may not be bad for you politically. The day after former President Trump hit the indictment trifecta, we published quick-turn data on how voting-age U.S. adults felt about it. Well, a full 30% of respondents believe President Trump is innocent of all 78 felony charges filed against him. Yep, every single one. Nearly half of Americans think he’s guilty of most or all of them. You can read the article above to see the party affiliation splits, but you already know what they are. The interesting question is whether the 16% of Republicans who think he’s guilty of “one or a few charges” think even one felony disqualifies you from the presidency. 

Oppenheimer has Gen Z spooked about nuclear war. In our 3 Things to Know this week, we looked at whether seeing or hearing about the Oppenheimer movie increased their concerns about nuclear weapons – 45% of Gen Z said it did. As expected, Gen X is the most likely group to not GAF, because we all thought we were going to die from nuclear war in the ‘80s. We also looked at voters’ interest in a possible “Unity Ticket,” finding that Republicans are, in fact, more likely than even Independents to support it. Lastly, we found that 1 in 4 consumers believe it’s getting harder to search for things online, again, especially crabby Gen X.

Retail loyalty programs work. Maybe you don’t need to be told this, but the perks and savings of loyalty programs are compelling to most consumers – 66% of us belong to one or more. Sure, about one-third of program members say they do it because why not, but the other two-thirds are flocking for the perks and savings. I thought the comparison between Dunkin’ and Starbucks rewards members was particularly interesting – for Starbucks, their program does a good job of bringing in casual visitors.

Walmart+ is growing modestly, but it appears to have a brand problem (at least compared to Amazon Prime). The percentage of U.S. adults who belong to Walmart+ increased a few points over last year (from 9% to 12%) and another 12% say they’re considering it. That’s small potatoes compared to Amazon Prime, however, which reached a new high this year – 68% of Americans report being members. The gap is unlikely to shrink if Walmart+’s relative brand favorability metrics don’t improve and, right now, they’re going in the wrong direction. We also looked at key differences between members of the two services. 

More awesomeness from the InsightStore™:

The most popular questions this week:

Answer Key: Dear God, I hope not; 2nd; Pretty confident; Underappreciated; Never, because I drink.

Hoping you’re well.

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