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The Spending Crunch Is Official: "We Are Confident There Is An Issue With The Consumer"

Tyler Durden's picture


Think the Walmart "disastrous" sales memo was a one-off event, which net of Walmart's damage should be completely ignored (something the market has been perfectly happy to oblige with)? Then listen to a separate perspective on the US consumer, this time from a very different angle: that of Town Sports International which operates such gyms as New York Sports Club, and specifically its CEO David Gallagher, who in last night's conference call just confirmed what everyone knows: "As we moved into January membership trends were tracking to expectations in the first half of the month, but fell off track and did not meet our expectations in the second half of the month. We believe the driver of this was the rapid decline in consumer sentiment that has been reported and is connected to the reduction in net pay consumers earn given the changes in tax rates that went into effect in January."

It goes on:

Based on how broad-based the slowdown has been quarter-to-date, we are confident there is an issue with the consumer. We were going to do everything in our power to make up for this January member shortfall, we continue to see softness and expect to net less than half the net member gain that was achieved in Q1 of 2012. Unfortunately, we are also seeing the softness in our ancillary revenue.

And on:

While the consumer has recently turned much more cautious again, we were hoping that it will be temporary, and we are confident that the foundation and ability to execute at a very high level that we now have in place will serve us well. We have worked very hard to rebound from the recession and rebuild our membership base from the low we experienced in 2009.

And on:

So we’re seeing the behavior very similar and we’re very confident that it is coming from the consumer. As I mentioned earlier in my script part portion, when we look at our business there are really 3 components that we’re watching closely all the time. The first is execution and how we delivering our product and services. Second is, what the competition looks like how it has changed mark-to-market, year-on-year and then in terms of consumer behavior. We’ve seen consumer sentiment change drastically within the last couple of months. We saw that after the first really payroll period in January, which is about the second week of January, we really start seeing a slowdown in Ancillary, Personal Training and membership sales. And our sort of increase that we’ve seen on the cancellation side is directly related to the members that are non-users. So it really does go to the consumer side of the business.

And on:

We believe that once consumers understand our average member is probably losing somewhere in the area of about $1,500 a year once our members understand the impact they have on their daily living with the rising cost of gas and the lower income from social security or the taxes that they’re seeing now.

But there may be hope:

We estimate close to half of this loss is membership attributable to Hurricane Sandy.

Luckily, in a centrally-planned, command economy, who needs such meaningless fundamental staples as cash flow, consumption or even trade...

Source: CLUB earnings call transcript


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Wed, 02/20/2013 - 11:46 | 3259477 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

The average consumer is a debt slave, no more debt, no more consumer.  Humanity is a fucking non-sustainable ponzi folks, hedge accordingly.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 11:55 | 3259517 The Juggernaut
The Juggernaut's picture

Its because of Sandy and Nemo, God damn-it!!!!  ...And people sleeping in!  And traffic!!  ...And ...And asteroid D14!!

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:00 | 3259557 WayBehind
WayBehind's picture

Calm down. Everything is just fine! Just look at Guns & Ammo. Sold out everywhere. It must be a sign of good economy ... 

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:03 | 3259580 brewing
brewing's picture

totally unexpected...

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:08 | 3259610 notbot
notbot's picture

Apparently he didn't get the memo from Krugman that the Laffer Curve is snake oil.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:13 | 3259639 The Juggernaut
The Juggernaut's picture

Where's MillionDollarBonus_ and her talk about recovery?  I'm calling you out!!!

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:25 | 3259712 DJ Happy Ending
DJ Happy Ending's picture

She is commanding and controlling her menstruation.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:35 | 3259758 Ying-Yang
Ying-Yang's picture

Sports Clubs Network has since grown to include over 150 health and fitness facilities in four major metropolitan areas–New York, Boston, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia–with nearly a half million members. There are also three locations in Switzerland: the Forum and the Joggeli Fitness Clubs in Basel and the Luxor Club in Zurich.

Stats for 500k members saying "fuck you"

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 13:46 | 3260122 fonestar
fonestar's picture

T-Bill babies.  It's not that there's too many people on Earth.  Just too many people for a ponzi-planet to support comfortably.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 17:07 | 3261091 Stuffs And Stuff
Stuffs And Stuff's picture


We could change the system to where it could support any number of people, but the elites don't want to do that. The elites would rather keep the system as it is, and kill the 'useless eaters.'

I can't think of anything more disgusting than this.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:08 | 3259613 Sudden Debt
Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:18 | 3259661 toys for tits
toys for tits's picture




Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:24 | 3259699 Pooper Popper
Pooper Popper's picture

Just turn the other cheek!

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 18:07 | 3261320 zerozulu
zerozulu's picture

Raising price may help but you need to increase size too.


Wed, 02/20/2013 - 21:50 | 3261896 NumNutt
NumNutt's picture

Guess what? If you take peoples money, they have less to spend, go fucking figure.  The PHD's in Washington DC are just now figureing this out.

Thu, 02/21/2013 - 03:30 | 3262475 swiss chick
swiss chick's picture

TPTB probably think that people should take out loans to cover it...

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:02 | 3259577 Bad Attitude
Bad Attitude's picture

More people need to drink Dear Leader's KoolAid, then everybody would feel better.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:17 | 3259656 toys for tits
toys for tits's picture



It's Bush's fault.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 13:49 | 3260145 fonestar
fonestar's picture

Asteroid D14 likely caused by global warming according to MSM blonde talking head:

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 17:14 | 3261119 mt paul
mt paul's picture

forty two below zero

on the tundra this morning 

long global warming ..

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 18:45 | 3261416 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

What's your point?

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 14:03 | 3260213 Groundhog Day
Groundhog Day's picture

Perhaps its the DEFLATION effect retard.  With all the empty retail space available at rock bottom prices, Gym's like Retro-Fitness and Club Metro offer all the ammentites for 19.99 a month and you can use any of their gyms,  HHMMM 50/ month or 20/mo this is a real tough decision

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 14:07 | 3260235 Groundhog Day
Groundhog Day's picture

But Krugman told us the damage and loss from Sandy will add to GDP and spur on economic activity and lead to more jobs in construction and small business and they will in turn spend money at New york sports club?  WTF happened?

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:04 | 3259582 Cdad
Cdad's picture


You fail to embrace the perfect efficiency of the Federal Reserve.  Thanks to their hard work, cash flow is no longer needed.  Jobs, wages, wage raises...all perfect relics of the past.  Credit card become SNAP cards.  Home values no longer require market forces, and are simply seasonally your favor!

You must be taking the wrong colored pills.  I would suggest that you speak to your physician about how certain medications might help you to better assimilate per the Bernank's desires for you.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:16 | 3259629 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

Bernanke has altered fundamental ECONOMIC mechanics forever.

He has created a utopia whereby he can instruct every person to buy shares in Facebook, then he can direct/urge unlimited amounts of conjured (and debt derived) fiat towards the purchase of Facebook shares, which will create 1000% to 50,000% returns for those people who purchased it, they can then realize their gains, pay taxes on those gains, and stimulate the economy with massive purchases of goods and services derived from those gains.

There are no losers in this equation. Investors get slam dunk and massive "virtuous circle wealth," government gets massive tax revenue from the liquidation of that "virtuous circle," and the economy gets a "virtuously circular" stimulative benefit post virtuous circle liquidation.

Or something like this.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:20 | 3259669 syntaxterror
syntaxterror's picture

Yep. The Perpetual Motion Machine has in fact been invented folks.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 13:37 | 3260061 piceridu
piceridu's picture

TIS, just described, with such eloquence, the "virtuous circle" jerk 

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:19 | 3259665 Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

The average consumer is a debt slave, no more debt, no more consumer.

The avg employed consumer is deleveraging.  Why? Because (like me) they know that the next shoe is to drop soon, maybe as early as 2014-2015, and we want to hedge accordingly against our corporate system, which will throw us under the bus once it falls. 

I'm out of debt by April.  It's going to be fucking sweet.

Humanity is a fucking non-sustainable ponzi folks

I wish I could say no - but maybe you are right.  We don't have the gumption in us to be honest with each other, never mind helping one another to fix things (until SHTF).

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:24 | 3259696 Boris Alatovkrap
Boris Alatovkrap's picture

There is not hedge against pure debt. Debt is to use future output. When catch up impossible, collapse inevitable.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:50 | 3259800 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

A glaring deficiency in economies that are fueled by endogenous fiat money, where the volume of fiat in circulation-- or not circulating depending on the engineered gameplan-- is controlled by private banking entities (that just happen to control monetary and fiscal policy via their control of "elected officials" and "regulators").

Economists often realise that disequilibrium and finance are important, but their faulty view of the banking sector causes them to miss the mark. Take neoclassical models such as Krugman’s, which argue debt is merely a redistribution from savers to borrowers, and have to add ‘special case’ considerations to make debt matter. But this is misguided – debt always matters, because money enters the economy primarily as new debt, which the economy must expand to service. Hence, debt must go into productive investments, which create future income streams, rather than bidding up the price of assets

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:31 | 3259733 Lewshine
Lewshine's picture

Of course the consumer is dead. They have been since 08. Ben knew that, he saw this coming - his answer was to pour liquidity into the economy through QE - We are quickly finding out it ain't working!! The only thing keeping this POS economy adrift is the banks taking the QE cash and buying equities, couple that with the media lies regurgitating fake government stats and you have what we see today. We are hanging by a thread, and reality looms large. It can't happen soon enough for me.

I want to see these CNBC anchors and guest jumping out of windows and hanging themselves based on their realized losses. I want to see 200 million standing in front of the whitehouse and the Fed building in NY demanding warm bodies. Ben knows how real these circumstances are which explains this parabolic rise in stocks...It his fawkin waterloo and he knows it!

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 15:45 | 3260758 Omen IV
Omen IV's picture
NYT: Public Recreation Centers Looking to Stem Exodus




Under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, the city has made fighting obesity and improving public health one of its top priorities.

But pricing decisions by the parks department resulted in a 45 percent drop in paid memberships at its recreation centers, essentially city-run health clubs where New Yorkers who cannot afford memberships at expensive gyms, can work out. In an effort to raise revenue, the department doubled its annual fees a year and a half ago, to $150 for recreation centers with pools, and $100 for those without.

The department had projected a decrease of 5 percent in memberships in the first year after the fees doubled; instead, almost half of the adult and senior members did not renew. Similarly, the department had hoped to realize $4 million in new revenue, but in fact, it lost about $200,000.

In a clear acknowledgment that the policy had backfired, Veronica M. White, the parks commissioner, announced at a City Council hearing on Jan. 30 that the department would create a new lower-priced membership category for young adults, ages 18 to 24. Memberships were — and still are — free for children under 18, but with the higher fees, those turning 18 suddenly had to reach into their pockets. As a result, that age group had the steepest drop in memberships — 55 percent.

Ms. White has proposed charging 18- to 24-year-olds $25 a year, the same rate that members older than 62 now pay. The department must get approval for the new fee schedule, which is expected. “This new category will help us to engage a very vulnerable population,” Ms. White testified, adding that health department statistics showed that 51.5 percent of young adult males in New York City and 30.7 percent of females were overweight or obese.

Doubling the fees might have seemed like a good idea, said Holly M. Leicht, executive director of New Yorkers for Parks, a nonprofit advocacy group. “The parks department is so strapped that when it is asked to do these mandatory budget cuts or revenue increases, it really doesn’t have good options without cutting into its core functions and services,” she said. “It seems like we are cutting off our nose to spite our face.”

At the hearing, Ms. White said the department was also trying to reach out to older people who had dropped their memberships. The pricing set in 2011 not only raised the annual senior membership fee to $25 from $10, but also raised the qualifying age, to 62 from 55. While existing members were grandfathered in at the senior rate, the recreation centers did not always make that clear. As a result, 8,000 adults between the ages of 55 and 61 dropped their memberships rather than pay the adult rate.

The parks department will reach out to the older defectors by phone, mail and e-mail with a “limited time offer to rejoin at the senior rate of $25 a year,” Ms. White testified.

Ms. White pointed out that memberships at the recreation centers had started to climb back since last summer. At the end of January, there were 122,851 members, an increase of 10 percent from late June.

According to New Yorkers for Parks, hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers cannot afford the fee increase. “Thirty percent of Bronx residents alone — more than 400,000 people — are living at or below the poverty rate of $23,021 per year for a family of four,” Ms. Leicht said. “For these families, an extra $50 or $75 is often prohibitive.”

Thu, 02/21/2013 - 02:11 | 3262409 Joseph Jones
Joseph Jones's picture

We sent all our manufacturing overseas.

Do we have the skill and tools to make enough guillotines for these folks?  How did that "drawn and quartered" thing go again? 

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 11:47 | 3259479 Lendo
Lendo's picture

I'm going to sarcastically use Hurricane Sandy as an excuse all year to upset my statist friends.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 11:51 | 3259513 Cursive
Cursive's picture


When I read that bit about Hurricane Sandy I had to keep myself from exclaiming, "Hurricane Sandy?!"  

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:04 | 3259592 brewing
brewing's picture

bush's fault...

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 11:48 | 3259483 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

People's checks are a little smaller and their expenses are higher. Thank you for the wealth effect, or the lack of it,  Bernank.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 11:50 | 3259499 IridiumRebel
IridiumRebel's picture



there....fixed it for ya

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 11:55 | 3259526 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

Bernanke did give a Service Manual with his QE's....


Wed, 02/20/2013 - 11:59 | 3259556 MiltonFriedmans...
MiltonFriedmansNightmare's picture

David Gallagher, keep an eye peeled to the sky for the black helicopters and/or drones.  Your candor is not appreciated.



Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:23 | 3259620 McMolotov
McMolotov's picture

The Wealth Effect: A small number of well-connected bankers and their friends get wealthy while the rest of the people see none of it, the effect of which is a growing chasm between rich and poor that is typically resolved with bloodshed.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:11 | 3259630 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

"consumer-sentiment"  is that the new word for poverty? 

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 14:34 | 3260379 SDShack
SDShack's picture

Add to the fact that the sheep that bought the lie that the economy was improving 4Q12 and spent for the holidays, are now seeing their credit card bill come due. Higher expenses for gas and food, no wage increase, no housing wealth, higher taxes, less take home pay, and no way to pay off the credit cards... means no more consumer spending. Hello double dip.. or more acurately... recession dip into depression.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 11:48 | 3259488 suteibu
suteibu's picture

"...we are hoping that it will be temporary."

Hope, the motto of the 21st Century economy.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 11:57 | 3259536 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

Well... as my History teacher always said:


Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:13 | 3259638 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

...and after that Skype, Twitter and Facebook became a verb 

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 11:58 | 3259548 tango
tango's picture

So true.   I was thinking the other day of the paradigm shift in thinking about the economy, the future and personal goals.    Growing up, your "goal" was to get married, get rich and live happily.  You knew that savings and planning and prudence and sacrifice were necessary elements to life.   No more.  Savings are not needed now that handouts are ubiquotiously available.  Planning has been replaced by temporary fixes.  Prudence was thrown to the wind as folks willingly took on massive debt.     Sacrifice was traded for immediacy. And now, the vast majority truly believes we can keep down this path forever without consequences.  

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:04 | 3259574 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

Growing up, your "goal" was to get married...

well... mine was a bit different...

1. Get laid

2. Get drunk

3. Get laid

4. Get drunk


 I think my decade was more fun...

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:06 | 3259599 notadouche
notadouche's picture

Good plan and always never forget that getting married signals the beginning of the end of your goal of getting laid, especially with the addition of children.  

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:20 | 3259670 espirit
espirit's picture

Pay by the piece, or pay for the rest of your life.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:31 | 3259734 ihedgemyhedges
ihedgemyhedges's picture

I am the king of that subject......

Wed, 02/06/2013 - 08:42 | 3219586 ihedgemyhedges

Vote up!

Vote down!


Glad you asked.  A "reborn virgin" is a woman who no longer think the marriage contract applies to sex. In other words, she longs for the day when giving her body to a young man felt very special and was like a precious thing she was giving away and should be cherished.  And that shit doesn't work after a few years of yeah, cut off.

Still here? Yeah.  Divorce atty said "You will lose your kids, you will lose half your assets and the alimony will not be pretty."

That's why I've said on this board SO many times: Renting is cheaper than buying...................

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:37 | 3259765 Vincent Vega
Vincent Vega's picture

As a good friend of mine once said: "if it flies, floats, or it."

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 14:04 | 3260223 chubbyjjfong
chubbyjjfong's picture

Yep, and your not paying for the service, your paying them to fuck off afterwards.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:15 | 3259648 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

Congress has the same goal posts

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:15 | 3259649 azzhatter
azzhatter's picture

get a shower in there once in a while, the rest is all good

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 13:17 | 3259943 Central Bankster
Central Bankster's picture

Couldn't agree more. Live in the now, it can't last much longer, a decade at most. 

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 11:49 | 3259492 IridiumRebel
IridiumRebel's picture

Just go bankrupt like Detroit. I am sure the public employees there will be totally considerate when you explain to them that their pension will be restructured to a pittance. 

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:18 | 3259658 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

states will be kind enough to take over bankrupt cities which will then implode the bankrupt states. Then the feds, kindest of all, will run everyone

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 14:16 | 3260290 Bastiat
Bastiat's picture

"Restrustured to a pittance"  or inflated to one, more likely.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 11:49 | 3259493 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

Blaming Sandy makes sense.

Treading water is good exercise.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 11:49 | 3259495 Freewheelin Franklin
Freewheelin Franklin's picture

The answer is obvious. We need to raise the minimum wage.



Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:20 | 3259675 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

for Congress?

I feel the same way about campaign limits..and donations 

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:21 | 3259682 WillyGroper
WillyGroper's picture

Might help PM's.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 23:54 | 3262206 jerry_theking_lawler
jerry_theking_lawler's picture

i vote for 1 milllllllllion dollars an hour....for everyone (whether you work or not). that should do it. /sarc on

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 11:50 | 3259496 mjorden
Wed, 02/20/2013 - 11:50 | 3259497 Son of Loki
Son of Loki's picture
Moment of Truth: Will JC Penney and Sears Survive? (Forbes)

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 11:50 | 3259502 mcl2177
mcl2177's picture

Obama knows it's coming to.  Thats why he's going to force sequestration then his lapdogs in the media will blame the down turn on that and thr Republicans.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:07 | 3259608 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

That has always been the plan. Crash it and blame it on everyone else. They require crisis to enable them to make changes to the laws that limit their power. If you shouldn't waste a crisis, why not make your own?

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:29 | 3259726 helping_friendl...
helping_friendly_book's picture

I don't know if you noticed, but Obama kept the same crew after getting elected in 2008. He kept Bernanke, Geithner....the whole lot of them.

He is either incredibly corrupt or an evil genius.

He doesn't have to blame anyone because the same people have been running the show since 2000.

Quit bashing Obama. he just signed on for the all expense paid trip around the world for his whole family on Air-Force One.

A tower room at Eden Rock
His golf at noon for free.

Obama has been out of the country more than in.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 14:05 | 3260228 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

You make no sense! Obama is running the show. He decides who runs the Fed and he selects the cabinet, but it's not his fault? I would never suggest that is only him doing this but listen to him speak. His policies as directed either by himself or his chosen minions are crashing the economy and every day he is out screaming about how everybdy is to blame..except he and his! And its all about blame and the destruction of any opposition. They have relentlessly attacked Fox news and any conservative voice and did what ever they could to point the finger at these people as the cause of our problems. I'm not here to defend Fox either as they are just another corrupt news source, but they do present contrary view points that you will not find on other MSM. It is more than obvious that this administration is not about putting America on a path to recovery, but one of conflict and failure that only benefits those few at the top.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 17:31 | 3261191 helping_friendl...
helping_friendly_book's picture


The economy was shredded before Obama was sworn in. 

Don't you remember Hank Paulson saying to Congress "give me 740 billion dollars or the world will end and I'll tell you later how we are going to spend it!". He said he was going to buy toxic assets. Did he? NO! He opened the discount window and the FRBNY dropped the discount rate to 0.25%

Don't you recall? If you think Lehman was an unplanned event you are just kidding yourself.

The very fact that Obama, on his first day, didn't hire 100,000 Federal Prosecuters means HE IS IN ON IT.

It is not his policies crashing the economy. 

Congress is supposed to make monetary policy.

The FRBNY makes fiscal policy. Since the Congress won't do anything the FRBNY has been doing both.

Neither of those duties are Obama's responsibility or are the responsibility of the Executive branch. Right? Monetary policy is the realm of Congress, the Legislative Branch, not the Executive branch.

Obama is doing as he is told. Have you noticed BiBi Netenyahoo has addressed both Houses of Congress more times than Obama! Lecturing our Congress on foreign policy? 

That should tell you who your master is.

This was all planned well in advance to occur just as "W" was leaving office.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 11:51 | 3259511 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture


Wed, 02/20/2013 - 11:52 | 3259516 TahoeBilly2012
TahoeBilly2012's picture

My fucking yoga unlimited is $120 a month! It does provide amazing health and the booty patrol is unreal. But, I am have missed a few months due to "economic uncertainty" so I totally get this.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:14 | 3259576 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Do women think of the men in their yoga class as the butt patrol? Or just as gawking butts?  :)

<Maybe Mrs. Cog can clue me in.>

Edit: Mrs. Cog informs me that it does indeed work both ways. Then she glanced at my butt and suggested I get back to my daily walks. :)

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:29 | 3259694 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

you need both Yoga and meditation to reach a higher butt

it's very hard to crack these truths

and I've gone cheek to cheek with the best

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 13:31 | 3260028 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

I love your tongue in cheek reply.

<Wait.......that's not exactly what I meant to say........never mind.>   :)

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 14:47 | 3260450 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

anything but the rudest gluteus

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:40 | 3259783 hardcleareye
hardcleareye's picture

Living in a college community we get quite a number of young men in our yoga classes...   are you suggesting the women are on butt patrol or the young men???

It is amazing the "buffer" the young men the less limber/flexible they are.

Like my Mom taught me... just cause you are on a diet doesn't mean you can't enjoy the menu, (just do it discreetly...).

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 13:35 | 3260043 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

"...are you suggesting the women are on butt patrol or the young men???"

We know the men are. I suspect some of the women are as well though they might have a higher standard than the mens' "just breathing'.   :)

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:09 | 3259621 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

I can see how remaining "flexible" would be an advantage in this economy.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 11:55 | 3259528 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Is this what it means to be "Going Greek"?

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:00 | 3259532 Dewey Cheatum Howe
Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

Wait until the sticker shock of obamacare rears it's ugly head. Also wait until the middle class realize they got snookered concerning the earned income credit on their tax filings. Taking away deductions without raising rates IS A STEALTH TAX INCREASE. You think the mood on the street is ugly now.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:27 | 3259718 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

The beauty of Obamacare is that as costs rise they will need to kill off all of us old turds and they can do it by eliminating our pain and suffering, right? Its all good! No need to worry about retirement, and it lightens up the load on unemployment. Genius, no?

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 13:19 | 3259946 Dewey Cheatum Howe
Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

As I joke with my old man, the only insurance he is getting is pillowcare (pillow over the face). They are without a doubt rigging the system that unless you have money or decent private policy, you won't be seeing a doctor in a timely manner if at all. Emergency room for you, getting anything more than going through the motions care is about all you get. The more I look at the setup the more it looks like another stealth way to steal the wealth of the middle class and cull the herd of old people (except for ones that have cash or private plans) all in one fell swoop. They fucked the doctors on reimbursement for medcare, medicaid and obamacare plans. The private doctors most are either not going to see patients with those plans or put them on the very back end of the priority queue when it comes scheduling of appointments.

All you need to do is look at the British healthcare system for how this will most likely play out.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 14:25 | 3260333 SDShack
SDShack's picture

Exactly right. I remember a study years ago... I think it was done by MIT when HillaryCare was being designed... that showed 25% of healthcare costs happen in the last year of life. That is why 0zer0care has Death Panels. The only way 0zer0 could say 0zer0care would save money is if they could get this 25% reduction by ending end of life care. Hence the "take the pill' for Grandma that 0zer0 talked about. The problem is, that the insurance lobby has jacked up rates 25-50% in anticipation of 0zer0care and all it's mandates for covering the uninsured, so that 25% future savings will just go into the pockets of the insurance lobby. It was all predictable in 2009, and it will all be proven in 2014.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:35 | 3259754 Lord Blankcheck
Lord Blankcheck's picture

The "rich" is now defined as having any income.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:01 | 3259534 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

I was tempted to view the "leaked" Walmart memo about the cratering consumer with skepticism at first, given the politics behind the scenes (e.g. call for raise in minimum wage, e.g. ObaMao Care, etc.) - despite my belief that consumers really are cratering.

But with Whole Foods, Tiffany's, the NYSC, and many, many others reporting (officially) anemic numbers...

....Man, these FOOLS don't know...the shit is gettin' REAL...

...they even took kombucha off the shelf...

The only real question is whether The Bernank is able to keep his "Virtuous Circle" Hindenburg from crashing, LEAD Zeppelin style, before he's able to crawl out beneath the crack in the door like the cockroach he is, prior to the end of his term.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:19 | 3259667 adr
adr's picture

I sell to almost every major retailer in the country, not the high end hedger playgrounds though, and sales are beyond terrible.

The sales reports they send out are just about as accurate as the housing reports. They are adjusted with just about the same level of bullshit. Walmart actually tends to tell the truth because their store isn't really channel stuffed with publicly traded crap. Walmart is just about the only retailerleft that actually sells. Dick's Sporting Goods truly sells about 1% of what they claim. Store "sales" are actually channel stuffed inventory transfers of whatever stock Ed Stack wants to pump that month. The flavor of the year was Shock Doctor. Really, every store will sell 1400 mouth guards?

I get real EDI sales reports, what actually gets checked out at the register on a daily basis. I used to see 20-30 units a week move out of each store, now I see 2-5. Each total sale is smaller as well. There may still be a lot of customers but they are buying far less.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:25 | 3259711 espirit
espirit's picture

Disposable income has all but dried up.  What little remains is being spent on ammo, guns, ammo, ammo, bullion, beans, etc... and not necessarily in that order.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 13:37 | 3260051 GCT
GCT's picture

Adr I was amazed at Wal marts ability to report actual sales.  Their email should be taken seriously if you have ever worked with them.  Hell they can even track the temperature of a certain location within a store to cut enegy costs.  Whatever people think about Walmart is irrelevent. Wal Mart is spot on in repoting actual sales and not channel stuffing.  What most do not realise is most stores do indeed channel stuff just like the big auto manufacturer's do.

Of course alot of the EBT folks do indeed shop at Wal Mart.  I shop there from time to time for some items.

The problem in my mind is the tax increase and most people are just flat broke and those that do have disposable income are trying to keep if for real needs now instead of the latest and greatest gadget or vehicle.  Some auto dealers have filed suits to stop the channel stuffing or change the term of payment to when they actually sell the vehicle now.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 13:42 | 3260097 Darksky
Darksky's picture

I shop there from time to time when i travel to colorado or florida and need a fishing license. Havent bought anything else there in years.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 11:58 | 3259554 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

well, this is what happens when you kick 1/3 of every American consumer out of unemployment benefits...

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:24 | 3259702 Everybodys All ...
Everybodys All American's picture

No one got kicked out.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 11:59 | 3259559 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

Its nothing. Just go about your business as usual. And please...don't forget to stop and buy some more crap you don't need, especially Chinese goods, and pay for it with a credit card charging 17% interest. Your country needs you!

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:00 | 3259562 Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

Who deserves your hard earned money more: Walmart, or the Federal Government?

That's a no-brainer.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:00 | 3259567 firstdivision
firstdivision's picture

reduction in net pay consumers earn given the changes in tax rates that went into effect in January

I love the fact that no one (besides ZH) will mention that not only was pay reduced by taxes, but that it has been nearly stagnant for the past 5 years, unless you are an executive of a company, while costs have skyrocketed.  But then again that would prove that the current capitalistic structure that the US follows, is fundamentally flawed.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:00 | 3259570 101 years and c...
101 years and counting's picture

this is BS.  if the US feeds people, the US should also be subsidizing a person's right to have a gym membership they use for about 3 weeks and then completely forget about.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:01 | 3259572 Pairadimes
Pairadimes's picture

Surely there is a central planning solution to the problem of consumers unwilling to stick to the script. In fact, I think DHS has already ordered the materials necessary to address the problem.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:05 | 3259596 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Everrything you always wanted to know about shale gas and oil...

DRILL, BABY, DRILL Full Pdf (166 pages)

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:07 | 3259604 Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

0 pages.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:10 | 3259618 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

You fucked up my re-editing of the link....

The executive summary 

Tight oil plays are characterized by high decline rates, and it is estimated that more than 6,000 wells (at a cost of $35 billion annually) are required to maintain production, of which 1,542 wells annually (at a cost of $14 billion) are needed in the Eagle Ford and Bakken plays alone to offset declines. As some shale wells produce substantial amounts of both gas and liquids, taken together shale gas and tight oil require about 8,600 wells per year at a cost of over $48 billion to offset declines. Tight oil production is projected to grow substantially from current levels to a peak in 2017 at 2.3 million barrels per day. At that point, all drilling locations will have been used in the two largest plays (Bakken and Eagle Ford) and production will collapse back to 2012 levels by 2019, and to 0.7 million barrels per day by 2025. In short, tight oil production from these plays will be a bubble of about ten years’ duration.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:11 | 3259628 Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

Hee, hee.


Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:17 | 3259654 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

So you are saying we have at least ten years then, right? Cool! I was worried there for a minute.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:20 | 3259673 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

If you dig a bit, you will see that the cost of new gas wells outstrips the value of the dry gas produced by ~$10 billion p.a....


Wed, 02/20/2013 - 14:35 | 3260384 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

it's almost as if...they don't care

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:18 | 3259662 respect the cock
respect the cock's picture

Flak...please try again.  I'd like to see that document.  Thanks.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:53 | 3259837 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Link can be found above....

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:05 | 3259597 caimen garou
caimen garou's picture
you know when it's bad when new yorkers can't afford to go to the sports club, what ? bloomberg did'nt ban that? want some excercise new yorkers? see if you can get a golf game with master O!
Wed, 02/20/2013 - 13:37 | 3260060 Darksky
Darksky's picture

Hold on. Bloomberg banned soda causing people to lose weight and the trans fat ban caused cholestrol levels to go down. Seems like his policies have worked and the gyms are fucked. Coming soon to a city near you. Maybe our dear first lady leader can be the spokes....person.....

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:09 | 3259617 tahoebumsmith
tahoebumsmith's picture

Riddle me this Gym man...What will happen when interest rates go up to curb the upcoming inflation crisis caused by careless monetary policy enacted to protect the Cartel? And you think Sandy was a disaster? you ain't seen nuttin yet...

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:13 | 3259641 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

As long as the government can retain control of the mass's perception of reality, all will remain calm. So stop rockin the boat! Welcome to the Outer Limits! Have they returned control of my TV yet?

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:10 | 3259623 ElvisDog
ElvisDog's picture

we are confident that the foundation and ability to execute at a very high level

Hey, Einstein, it doesn't matter if you "execute at a very high level". With increasing taxes, health care, and food and energy costs, people don't have any money left over for fancy gyms. Gyms really are at the bottom of the discretionary totem pole because most people don't really want to work out anyway and you can work out at home for free.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:24 | 3259691 respect the cock
respect the cock's picture

Work out in your garage.  All you need is a cage, bench, a barbell/weights, and a rower or an airdyne.  All can be bought off CL. Pays itself off quickly.

Plus you don't have to watch fucksticks do curls in the squat rack.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:32 | 3259741 IridiumRebel
IridiumRebel's picture

Wife and I bought a professional elliptical for the house. It was on fire-sale on craigslist. I also bought a weight set and a bike place holder collectively for about 900 bucks. My gym is in the home. Tack on the gas and time also saved by having it here and you are talking about a big deal. I love the people who would circle the parking lot looking for the best spot close to the door.....

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:39 | 3259766 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

I think you have a new marketing angle for commercial gyms (and a few other things): "fucksticks"

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 13:23 | 3259975 krispkritter
krispkritter's picture

Was dumb enough to join a gym once. Big membership drive for one in downtown Philly. Went there 3 days after signing up and pre-paying 6 months, employees were standing outside along with members, sign on the door said they were bankrupt. Haven't joined another one since...with even a small room in the house or an apt. complex with one, never needed to.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:10 | 3259624 wstrub
wstrub's picture

Where would we be if we forced the credit card companies to cut the usurious interest rates they charge?

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:12 | 3259634 Temporalist
Temporalist's picture

In my "douche o meter" economic barometer I have used gym membership marketing as one of the metrics.  For years these people have been whoring themselves, dropping prices, expanding their demo and market reach to find any consumers.


This is no surprise to me but I'm glad an executive has come out and stated the obvious about their "industry".  The owners of many of these gyms have the philosophy that they are selling a "club" to meet people, the pretty people as it were in their special sweaty social club, and they tried to make it exclusive at first.  Now they are just trying to survive.


I look to see Lulu hurting from this same depressed market as well.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:24 | 3259704 adr
adr's picture

As long as LULU owns thier entire business chain and can self report "sales" to their own stores, they will keep "growing".

A company wouldn't claim inventory shipped to stores as sold, that's unethical. Oh yeah, forward booking of profits is a GAAP now.

LULU is just below the NAR on the bullshit meter.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:37 | 3259768 medium giraffe
medium giraffe's picture

""and can self report "sales" to their own stores, they will keep "growing".""

Ditto cars, ditto banks.

I have worked in several businesses (before realising the stupidity of working for others) and have always seen the same ego-crap laziness from leaders, and the same creative accounting when their return doesn't stack as high as their bullshit.

It's rotten to the core and we all know it, but we can't get past it to find a better solution with out these same ego-warriors dragging us into war and poverty.

And that, in a nutshell, is why the survival rate is dropping to zero on a very much shortened timescale.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:27 | 3259650 medium giraffe
medium giraffe's picture

Spend more you consumer f*cks! It's un-'mercan if you don't!

This is all your fault you greedy consumer bastards, hoarding all of your thousands of dollars to yourself instead of helping out businesses...

You want us to come around with our billion rounds of ammo and make you see sense?

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:17 | 3259652 syntaxterror
syntaxterror's picture

That memo was leaked on purpose probably to secure more welfare from the government via more food stamp issuance or more Beranake free money helicopter drops. Wal-Mart is on the record as saying some of their stores' sales are driven by food stamps.

This whole economy is a centrally planned farce.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:17 | 3259653 RunningMan
RunningMan's picture

Hypothesis for the ZH community to discuss. I think the market sees this as bullish because there is a belief - affirmed by 5 years of bailouts and liquidity pumping - that articles like this will signal further intervention. So markets go up or at worst sideways, because mom and dad (the Fed and Treasury) will step in to pick us up. Moreover, we see every other country doing the same best they can.

I think the sentiment is that bad is good...but it cannot go on forever. I think, as I did five years ago, that there would be a reset financially or through a crisis (e.g. war). It hasn't happened yet. Others now believe it is time to be bullish, and I feel like I'm in a small minority here. Yet the fact that consumers are tapped out is a clear sign that there is no all-clear signal yet.

What next? Further bailout of the voting masses for another couple of years, or a big crisis?

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:28 | 3259723 Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

I have an opinion.

No reset - ever. Either slow grind down (what they're really trying to accomplish), or a series of small(sic) steps with shocks representing the risers.

Opinions are like assholes...

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:36 | 3259763 Winston of Oceania
Winston of Oceania's picture

Try thinking of it as a hypothesis and it won't smell so bad.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:41 | 3259788 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

yes, adding syllables to the name of any ugly truth helps its digestion 

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:40 | 3259782 RunningMan
RunningMan's picture

Thanks SR. Is the "grind down" just the currency devaluation, and if so, what role is an equity bubble? To prevent panic of the top 15% by income, which are the dominant equity owners?   Look for the country with nothing left to lose, to start the whole chain off... Greece? Italy? Or maybe China.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 13:07 | 3259894 Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

What's dropping is the aggregate living standards of the West. Notice I said aggregate - many people are doing just fine and will continue to do so. Our leaders would like to see the decline happen as gradually as possible in order to minimize disruptions. The economic "reality" presented by the state and media will be reflective of those not left behind, always with the promise that if we collectively follow the right path (whose design will vary slightly by ideological orientation), everyone will always have the opportunity to improve their own socio-economic standing. Nobody is going to publicly forsake the American dream.

Bubbles will be the risers on the stair down.

War is always an option - even big war - but a big war won't be a reset, just a big step down. I don't think our leaders want that.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 13:35 | 3260050 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture


Nailed it...

TPTB are rightfully worried that the computer won't reboot after a reset in which case nobody wins, and I really mean nobody...

Well, maybe the ultrarich on their selfsustaining island and the Kalahari bush people....

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 13:45 | 3260116 Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

I'm at the point now where I feel like the symptoms point directly at a particular malady - and there's nothing at all to be done about it. It's a strange feeling. I've always suffered from nearly crippling personal doubt, but I have little doubt about this anymore. I believe I know where we're going, but I don't know what the trip is going to look like.

I also realize my lack of doubt doesn't make me right.



Wed, 02/20/2013 - 13:47 | 3260134 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

I think this is how having terminal cancer feels....

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 14:13 | 3260273 RunningMan
RunningMan's picture

Great insights - thanks again. While reassuring on one level (I agree on the direction), I also cannot tell "what the trip is going to look like".  I feel there will be elements we can point to (e.g. crises like US student lending defaults which come to a head within the next 2 years since there are no new jobs), there is no macro picture telling how these elements will interconnect.

Slow grind down indeed.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 16:20 | 3260895 helping_friendl...
helping_friendly_book's picture

TPTB WANT the student loans to default. The loans are gov't (taxpayer) guaranteed and the buyers of that debt want borrowers to never pay the debt so they can get it from Uncle Sam once the debt has grown 100 times over.

It is the ultimate money changer scam. Undischargeable debt guaranteed by the taxpayer. borrow $50,000 and  the gov't ends up paying the money changer 


Junior borrows $50,000 for college, never pays back a nickel on the debt and lives another 50 years. The debt is well in excess of one-million dollars and Uncle Sam is on the hook to pay it back.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 16:34 | 3260967 Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

(Brilliance+Evil)^Public Credulity=Profit

+1 for you.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 14:40 | 3260412 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

I'll take the Kalahari bush people. I hear their vegetable oil is not yet GMO

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 14:48 | 3260451 Shell Game
Shell Game's picture

Such high youth debt, unemployment and hoplessness.  I don't see how that can unwind gently..


Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:50 | 3259827 McMolotov
McMolotov's picture

I see the slow grind thing, too. They know we're fucked, but they don't want riots and chaos so they'll do everything possible to avoid a sudden catastrophe. Not because they actually care, mind you, but because it would reflect badly on them. It's all about saving face and securing their positions of power at this point, and that can only happen with a managed decline.

Reset = chaos = revolution, and the only way they'll allow that is if they think it will benefit them somehow.

Thu, 02/21/2013 - 04:32 | 3262505 Notarocketscientist
Notarocketscientist's picture

I agree that this is what they want - but whether it is possible is another thing.

The problem is that this is like a snowball - as we start to push on a string (which is where we are now as QE is clearly not helping maintain GDP) the consumer disappears - jobs disappear - a deflationary spiral kicks in.

Govts already groaning under massive debt either default - or they go Weimar/Zimbabwe. 

Either way they WILL collapse.

And that is why I believe there will be a tipping point into disaster rather than a slow sinking into the mud.

How to play this?

- will it be a deflationary collapse?

- will it be hyperinflationary?

Impossible to tell but collapse there will be - and it will be epic.

Gold is down - I bought a lot in 07 and quite a lot more since - probably averaging about 1300 per ounce.

I will NOT sell - I will buy more. 

Because even if gold continues to deflate I am quite certain at some point there will be some sort of massive collapse and the only asset that will have any value will be GOLD


Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:42 | 3259791 Winston of Oceania
Winston of Oceania's picture

Big crisis is needed to execute the remainder of the progressive plan, gun confiscation along with retirement pensions, 401Ks and IRA's of all stripes. A nationalized pension for us all comrades, if the date of retirement is "pushed back" we must all just work harder like Boxer did...

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:17 | 3259657 MFLTucson
MFLTucson's picture

Where are the green shoots?  Bernake is a liar!

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:28 | 3259700 medium giraffe
medium giraffe's picture

They're called 'tracer bullets'....

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:19 | 3259663 Navymugsy
Navymugsy's picture

So when this second quarter in a row of negative growth previously referred to as a "recession" occurs, how will they spin it not being a "real" recession?

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:34 | 3259751 syntaxterror
syntaxterror's picture

Changing the accounting rules is these motherfuckers' modus operandi. So just have the NARB change the defition to '4 quarters in row'.

Thu, 02/21/2013 - 04:15 | 3262493 Notarocketscientist
Notarocketscientist's picture

Just as they suspended mark to market .... they will suspend the terms of recession.

Or perhaps they will just abolish the word recession and use something more palatable such as pause.... we have taken a 'pause' in growth

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:20 | 3259668 Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

File under: "NO SHIT"

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:25 | 3259713 JR
JR's picture

The logic of the fall rings true. The central bankers have created a global death spiral. The economies are on the final lap while forced to deal with a whole lot of greedy people -- the politicians and the investment bankers.

Obama’s speech was just one lie after another. It was incredible. For a country such as America to have a president such as this means it’s the last chapter for this government. These are the tyrants taking it the point it breaks. And the tyrants fall with it.

The financial elite are not building a civilization that grows. They are building a death spiral of debt.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:35 | 3259756 syntaxterror
syntaxterror's picture

"It won't cost a dime."

Fuck that motherfucker!!!

Thu, 02/21/2013 - 04:14 | 3262492 Notarocketscientist
Notarocketscientist's picture

A civlization that requires infinite growth within a finite system is guaranteed to collapse.

That is what we are now experiencing.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:29 | 3259725 Catullus
Catullus's picture

It's just spring semester blues. Some seniors are panicking that they might graduate and no longer elibgle for their student loan subsidized spending and party lifestyle. Nothing to worry about, there's a new stock if high school seniors filling out the FASB once their parents do their taxes. It's all good.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:30 | 3259732 Dr_Lucid
Dr_Lucid's picture

Never in 66 years did I think we would see Walmart crying in its beer while at the same time Ferrari roars its engines:

MARANELLO, Italy, Feb. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In 2012 Ferrari posted records results in its best ever trading period in the company's 66-year history. This fact was confirmed when the Ferrari Board of Directors met today under the chairmanship of Luca di Montezemolo to examine the company's end-of-year results.


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