The flamingos seem less pink lately

Apparently there is a formal index, derived from Washington’s Consumer Expenditure Survey, with an informal but nonetheless precise name:

The Tchotchke Index, it turns out, is an excellent gauge of the economic wellbeing of American households. Spending on tchotchkes — a.k.a. trinkets, junk, yard sale detritus, and the raison d’être of the self-storage industry — rises when Americans are feeling flush and falls when they are feeling pinched. Spending on tchotchkes tracks the economy’s ups and downs with the precision of other, better-known measures such as the the Consumer Confidence Index, the unemployment rate, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

According to this index, the economy continues to spiral down the bowl:

Sadly, the Tchotchke Index has plummeted to the lowest level on record. In 2013, the average household spent just $103 on decorative items for the home — less than half of the $240 it spent on this category in 2000, after adjusting for inflation. The 2013 Index is even lower than the $108 spent in 2010, in the aftermath of the Great Recession. An ominous sign, for sure.

Come to think of it, I don’t think I spent anything in this category last year.

(Via Roger Green.)


  1. Cripes Suzette »

    2 October 2014 · 7:00 am

    Don’t worry – I’ve got us both covered.

  2. fillyjonk »

    2 October 2014 · 7:39 am

    Well, I’m doin’ my part. (Abby and Penelope – the two lawn flamingos in my back yard – are still there and still proud)

  3. McGehee »

    2 October 2014 · 7:41 am

    Hmm. I have a few tchotchke weaknesses, but even at the best of times I never tended to buy them in bulk, nor from retailers that like to put commas in their prices.

    Which makes it easier in lean times to justify buying one if I want to.

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