If you flip on the news, you'll hear a lot of talk about "the recession" and how "so many Americans are struggling" and how "high gas prices" are making "food insecurity" a more pressing problem. Heck, people are losing their homes!
Next time you see a woe is America story about how "cash-strapped" people are, keep this in mind: on average, we spent 37% more money in May of 2008 (compared to 2007) on stuff to plug into our televisions so we can control pixelated characters in our underwear while eating Doritos instead of working. Nintendo Wii led the charge with Playstation and Xbox second and third, respectively. Grand Theft Auto IV, a hit game where you get to steal cars and kill people, was the flagship product on the software side.
I wonder how many people bought Grand Theft Auto IV and still complain about how they can't afford high gas prices and credit card bills and mortgages. I've always thought of myself as a sympathetic person, but I have to tell you: I look around and see all the waste, the excess consumption, and I just don't feel bad for the average American. Of course: some people are having a tough time and doing everything they can to get by, but a lot of people just need to spend more time working and less time shopping.
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