With the near constant barrage of unemployment statistics, budget deficits, and bankruptcy announcements, it’s easy to get swept up in all the doomsday rhetoric surrounding the recession. But not all the effects of the economic downtown are bad. Some of them are actually a cause for celebration.
Source: Steve Bronstein/Stone/Getty Images
10. The Five Dollar Cup of Coffee
Source: Ryan McVay/The Image Bank/Getty Images
It doesn't take an economics degree to see that the overpriced coffee craze was getting out of control. When the fake money ran out, so did people's desire to fork over more cash for a cup of java than a gallon of gasoline, as indicated by the situation Starbucks finds itself in as of late.
9. Junk Mail
Source: Jeffrey Coolidge/Iconica/Getty Images
Advertisers like to refer to junk mail as "direct mail" but we know better, because this crap is completely useless on the vast, vast majority of the populace. So when cash gets tight, advertisers cut back on their direct mailing to save money. Hey ad guys, here's a pro tip: Stop sending useless crap to people who don't want it to achieve maximum savings!
8. Celebutaunt Culture
Source: Phil McCarten/Stringer/Getty Images
Back in the carefree days of the early 21st century when tons of credit was readily available, living beyond our means was hip, and being slutty was not only acceptable, but embraced, with "celebutaunts" like Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie heralded as the pinnacle of pop culture. Thankfully, the dose of economic reality handed to us recently proved once and for all that your dog does not need its own jewelry.
7. Useless Junk Stores
Source: ULTRA.F/Digital Vision/Getty Images
Another by-product of a society with too much money on its hands is the "Useless Gadget/WTF is This??" store. You know, kind of places whose entire purpose to exist is to sell you things you never knew you needed.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, when the extra money dried up, people came to the realization that they didn't actually need an iPod dock in their shower, and places like the Sharper Image took a nosedive.
6. Cribs-style TV Shows
Source: Richard Drury/The Image Bank/Getty Images
Can't say I'll miss these types of programs, either. These shows were the apex of the worst aspects of "bling" pop culture -- a trend founded on an obsession for consumerism and vanity. The purpose of each episode was to show the viewer how much better famous people lived than mere commoners.
These shows seemed to have been designed to create a sense of jealously and want in those viewers so they'd go out and spend more money on things they didn't need so they could pretend they were also famous rap stars. Guess it's tough to get people excited about glamour when their house is getting foreclosed on. Funny thing is, all that expensive crap we saw wasn't even theirs.
Production of Cribs ended over a year ago, and we can only hope that other shows of this ilk will soon follow suit.
Source: Scott Olson/Staff/Getty Images
More than any other large SUV on the market, Hummer took a real hit from the economic turmoil of the last few years--so much so that GM has been desperately trying to sell off the brand, but even that is proving difficult.
The "go green" trend that's been sweeping the nation lately also isn't doing those gussied-up Chevy Suburbans any favors either, so it looks like Hummer just might be headed straight to the junkyard very soon.
4. Crazy Gas Prices
Source: Jens Lucking/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images
Was it only a year ago that a gallon of regular gas cost upwards of four-and-a-half bucks a gallon in California? A lot can happen in a year. Like the near-total collapse of the global economic infrastructure! As much as oil companies like to say that demand dictates the price and that the speculators in the stock market were also to blame, we all know that was almost entirely B.S.
When people ran out of money they could spend on overpriced gas and oil company executives watched their profits go from record-breaking to practically nothing overnight, gas prices were magically sliced in half. Did everyone you know stop driving their cars or even reduce to half as much as they did last summer? Didn't think so.
3. Ridiculous Housing Costs
Source: Diane Macdonald/Photographer's Choice RF /Getty Images
When a fifty-year-old, three-bedroom shack located in a bad neighborhood in Los Angeles is valued at over $1,000,000, something is obviously really friggin' wrong. And when mortgage prices go up, so does the price to rent those properties.
So now that pretty much all real estate across the country has lost nearly a third of its value over the last two years, some of us can go back to fantasizing about someday actually owning a home.
Source: Halfdark/fStop/Getty Images
I'll put it simply: Bling makes me angry. It is the epitome of the "OMG I have too much money and I must buy shiny things" mentality. A culture of excess that champions the largest amount of misuse. A trend founded on wasting money on things which literally serve no purpose whatsoever. Bling, I am glad to see you go. Your spinners are stupid, your jewelry is gaudy, and your precious metal teeth make you look like a loser.
1. The Perception of Total Unaccountability
Source: Yamada Taro/Digital Vision/Getty Images
Before the financial apocalypse, CEOs were faceless entities in ivory towers who we never heard from unless they were barking orders to us from megaphones. If things went wrong, the buck got passed and passed until nobody knew where the buck was or what it represented anymore.
While we're still a long way from full corporate accountability, it's nice to see at least a few major players had their feet held to the fire. If nothing else, it serves as a warning to the rest of the racquetball club that the next person on the hit list might be them, so it might be time to go back and work on that fatally flawed business plan, rather than expecting the taxpayers to foot the bill.
One can hope, anyway.