I know, I know, the last thing you need is another reason to hate Wal-Mart.
But check this out. Last month Wal-Mart management filed with the patent office to scarf up the rights to a neologism (one they had nothing to do with coining, incidentally): “staycation.”
The idea is pretty clear–what with layoffs, inflation, a recession and $4 a gallon gas, many of us aren't going to be doing much vacation traveling this summer, so let's hang around the crib and Have Fun! It's a Staycation!
Rand McNally, the map people, did some polling, via Harris, in April: 57% of American families are trimming their vacation plans this summer, with only 15% of us intending to travel for more than five days. One in ten are canceling vacation plans altogether.
With their trademark application at the US Patent Office still pending, Wal-Mart went ahead yesterday and rolled out a widget you can install on your home computer so that every day you can see a nifty new suggestion for Big Fun on your stay-at-home vacation. Most of them, oddly enough, involve the purchase of a barbecue grill, an “inflatable outdoor movie screen” or some other piece of crap from Wal-Mart. (See the press release at this business news site–I'm not linking to the swine.)
I wonder what they'll come up with if millions of us find ourselves on permanent “staycation” as the economy continues to go pear-shaped. Waterproof cardboard box liners to keep your new residence dry? Lightweight plastic trays to sell apples and pencils from? 2 for 1 squeegees for the entrepeneurially-minded? Have a nice “staycation”…
[This is the latest in a series of short looks at the economy under the heading “Bite Size Bad News” I've been posting over at Fire on the Mountain.]