Restaurants, Retailers Gulp as Consumers Tighten Belts

Penny pinchers shifting to generics, eating in
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2008 11:46 AM CDT
The supermarket is often the locus of change in uncertain times.    (AP Photo/David Kohl, file)
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(Newser) – The rising price of staples like milk and gas, coupled with layoffs and flat-lining wages, is creating a nation of penny-pinching consumers, the New York Times reports. Industry is taking notice as buyers substitute generic brands for top-of-the-line products and skip eating out at restaurants.

“It hasn’t gotten to human food mixed with pet food yet, but it is certainly headed in that direction," said one consultant. Comestibles aren’t the only market hit. Travelers are booking flights at odd hours to save money, and downgrading their hotel reservations. One retail corner oddly unfazed? Big ticket electronics. One shopper rationalized his $2,000 TV because “at least we can watch movies at home."