Take a sip of your coffee and soak this in for a minute:

In ten years sifting through CivicScience data, I’m not sure I’ve seen a chart that better encapsulates the socio-cultural shitshow were living through. It explains everything. Narcissism, tribalism, relativism, denialism, and other evil isms, right there in one graphic.

“I’m diligent, informed, objective, and honest. Everyone else is lazy, uninformed, biased, and intellectually dishonest.”

Keep in mind, people said this about their friends, not their enemies. Our contempt for our “friends” doesn’t stop there:

We judge their parenting – “Why would they let their son play tackle football?”

We judge their lifestyle – “Maybe they wouldn’t be overweight if they didn’t eat food like that!”

And yes, we judge their politics.

Social media allows us to judge everybody and everything. Because that’s how we validate our own lives. As long as were not as bad as those people, we must be doing fine.

More proof:

People keep getting more and more attractive by the day, apparently.

Not really. I still look the same. Everyone else is just ugly AF.

Violence is ugly. But so is racism. Reveling in the president getting COVID is ugly. But so is the president’s rhetoric.​​​​​​ And around and around we go.

Tara and I didn’t watch the debate. I can’t stand cringey television.

Besides, I already made up my mind about the election. What I thought about the debate wouldn’t matter. What matters is how the masses react on Twitter and Facebook. That’s what I watched.

And how can I objectively assess what everyone else thinks if I’m biased by my own opinion?

That’s where we are. We’ve all taken our sides. So, we obsess over the post-mortems of every bombshell, desperate for a sign the pendulum is swinging in our direction for good.

Only, the pendulum holds steady and our blood boils.

How can those people still believe that?!?! 
They’re brainwashed by cable news!
They didn’t even read the whole story!
They’re ugly!

We all feel powerless right now, so we cling to whatever power we can find. Maybe it’s the power of being a better parent or healthier eater or better looking.

Or simply the power of believing were more informed and everyone else just skims the headlines. It’s why conspiracy theories are all the rage.

Because real power is knowing something nobody else knows.

Just know this. Were all pretty ugly right now.

Here’s what were seeing:

Consumer confidence is continuing its climb to pre-pandemic levels. Our Economic Sentiment Index registered its third straight positive reading this week. Consumer resiliency has been remarkable, particularly when you consider there are no signs of more stimulus on the horizon, the employment recovery seems to have slowed, and COVID deaths tally over 200K. But the housing market is booming, the election is almost here, and hope springs eternal. Hope matters most.

Even while paying off their credit cards, people have been using them more. COVID sparked all kinds of credit card trends – more usage for things like grocery and restaurant delivery, online shopping, you name it. Some branded cards did better than others and Visa is in a league of its own. Rewards matter, but interest rate is still king.

Speaking of online shopping, Prime Day should be massive this year thanks to all the remote workers. Amazon moved its big annual shopping holiday this year and it might work out. Intent to participate in the event is relatively flat compared to last year, dragged down slightly by people who are out of work because of the pandemic. Remote workers, however, especially Millennials and Gen Xers who are generally more cautious about shopping in stores, should provide a big boost this year. Cha-ching.

Streaming music has taken a hit during COVID. One in five Americans have canceled at least one paid streaming music service in the past 6 months. After a quick bump when quarantine started, reduced travel and commuting are cutting into music listening across the board, but Pandora seems to have been hit the hardest. People who are most pessimistic about the end of the pandemic are driving the trend.

Online furniture-buying, on the other hand, is having a great run. Companies like Wayfair have seen a nice boost during COVID, driven by consumers who feel the most unsafe venturing out. With 1 in 4 U.S. adults saying it will still be 6+ months until they feel comfortable shopping in stores, the market could stay hot for a while. Online furniture sellers need to figure out how to identify and reach the COVID-cautious. I may know someone who can help them.

I’m atypically bad at fantasy football, but stereotypical in every other way. For someone who has played in a fantasy football league every year since 1984, you’d think I wouldn’t suck so bad, but I really do. If I draft someone on my team, their insurance premiums should immediately increase because they’re destined to suffer a season-ending injury. Anyway, probably my favorite study we did this week was about fantasy sports and the people – mostly men between ages 25 and 54 – who play them. The brand affinities among fantasy geeks are interesting, particularly for the likes of Under Armour and Dick’s Sporting Goods. Puma and Nike, not so much.

Ordering pizza has been all the rage during the pandemic and were happier for it. Most shocking in this deep dish, I mean dive, we did into pizza delivery this week is the fact that 30% of Americans haven’t ordered any pizza in the last 3 months. Weird. For the other 70%, local shops reign supreme, with Domino’s being a slice above the other national chains. Pepperoni is the top topping but the rest of the list might surprise you. What won’t surprise you is that people who eat pizza are happier. Plain and simple.

We cranked out a few more studies you should read:

And our most popular questions this week:

Hoping you’re well.