Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Trip, Interrupted

So the big story yesterday was Well Fargo bank booking a big trip to Vegas to reward their biggest sellers of 2008. Rooms were supposedly booked at the Wynn and Encore for the stay, something that WF does on a yearly basis, and by all accounts it's a pretty swanky affair. Thing is, WF got 25 billion dollars in so-called "bailout money", so cries were quickly heard about how wrong it was to take such a trip, even though WF was one of the few banks that wasn't teetering on the banks (so to speak) of closure. I'm sure those people who were supposed to take the trip had something to do with that success. Long story short, the trip was canceled.

We're now into a frame of mind where no one can do anything even considered remotely lavish without being made to think that it's wrong, all because times are so tough. True, 92 percent of people are working, but that's not good enough. Forget for a minute that it's ALWAYS been this way. Some people have more, some people have less. Taking an expensive trip? How dare you! Buying a Hummer? Thoughtless bastard! 

What was lost in the WF brouhaha were the positives that would have come from the trip: 1) Wells Fargo must be doing well or they wouldn't have scheduled a trip. This may have created confidence, both in the baking and consumer sector, something that's been missing for a while. 2) It's would be a boon for Vegas, which has seen visitation rates plummet faster that a U.S. Airways jet with birds in the engines. People were coming to spend money. 3) Whatever airline being used would have benefitted greatly from the sale of first-class seats. Again, helping out the bottom line. Well, shame on them for that. And here's the truth, kids:

Spending money is good. very good. It benefits you, it benefits them, it benefits all. 

Unfortunately, what we have these days is a two-fold problem; people are scared to spend, either because they're constantly told how bad things are, or they're ashamed to buy a big ticket item because they'll be made to feel badly while others are suffering. The economy can't bounce back unless people invest in the businesses that make the economy go. WF should have been hailed instead of assailed. Maybe next time, I'll put a "thank you" note in my deposit envelope.

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