Spending On Gambling And Low-End Hookers Slides; Weak Booze Sales Blamed On Weather

Tyler Durden's picture


In yet another indication that the US consumer is tapped out and rolling over, a report from the "Vice Index" reporting firm SouthBay Research which tracks spending on gambling, liquor sales and prostitution, says that "spending on vices wasn’t very strong in December, a sign that overall consumer spending was weak, according to the latest reading of the Vice Index from SouthBay Research’s Andrew Zatlin" as the WSJ reports. "The Vice Index for December points to stable but subdued consumer spending," according to SouthBay's head Andrew Zatlin further predicting that retail sales slipped 0.1% in December from November.

For those unfamiliar, "The vice index is a proprietary creation of Mr. Zatlin’s, who has developed his own – very accurate – methods of measuring the economy, and who we’ve written about a few times. He culls spending data on gambling, liquor sales and prostitution (he doesn’t disclose exactly how he tracks these) and plugs them into a program that he says allows him to predict overall retail spending with a lead time of several months. The vice index fell to 101 in December from 105 in November, a range it’s been in all fall and most of the year. What the index is really illustrating, though, is the split in the economy between the haves and have nots, Mr. Zatlin told MoneyBeat. That may not sound like an usual state of affairs, but it’s the lack of spending among lower income levels that’s keeping the economy from taking off, he said."

And while the split between "the 1%" and "everyone else" was evident in the faster decline in beer sales compared to wine sales, as well as gambling where the low-end contracted while the high end expanded, nothing says a recovery for the 1% like the following sentence: "High-end escorts successfully raised prices,” Zatlin wrote in the report. “Lower-end escorts did not.

Ironically, some still refuse to admit that the US economy is now running on a fast (1%) and slow (everyone else) track: the same people who blamed the plunge in alcohol sales on, you guessed it, the cold weather. From the FT:

New figures from GuestMetrics show that advertising initiatives from beer and spirits companies have struggled to lure drinkers to imbibe more alcohol at bars, clubs and restaurants in the US. Beer sales fell 4 per cent from 2012 to 2013, spirits sales were down 2.5 per cent and wine sales slipped 1 per cent.


Bill Pecoriello, of GuestMetrics, attributed the declines to weak traffic at bars, clubs and casual dining restaurants. Bad weather and a shorter holiday shopping cycle was responsible for the declines accelerating towards the end of the year, he said.


Moreover, in spite of signs that the economy is picking up, unemployment remains elevated. Mr Pecoriello said traffic declines at clubs and bars was "likely symptomatic of young adult consumers in the United States remaining under significant economic pressure".

Because nobody frequents bars when it's cold outside, like during the winter...

Finally, for those who aren't still stuck in denial, here is once again, Zatlin's accurate assessment of the farce that the US economy has become: "If you don’t [have money] you’re pulling back and pulling back even faster, ” Mr. Zatlin said. He noted that gambling revenue (remember, we’re talking about vices here) continues to contract, especially in places like Detroit and Atlantic City, which cater to more working class patrons. "People who are at the lower end are screaming now."

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Tue, 01/07/2014 - 09:29 | 4307565 GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture



Can't afford that stuff anymore....I have to buy healthcare now......thanks Obama.


On the bright side....if I get pregnant now.....I guess I'm covered.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 09:31 | 4307580 Stackers
Stackers's picture

This story is worthless without pics !

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 09:38 | 4307587 knukles
knukles's picture

The 1% just keep....

Ah, Jesus H Fucking....


Heads on Sticks as warnings, butt boys in Joliet, FFA, please
And JPM this a.m., another settlement and no personal liability....

Fuck me fuck me fuck me fuck me

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 09:53 | 4307647 williambanzai7
williambanzai7's picture

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 10:01 | 4307666 TeamDepends
TeamDepends's picture

Thought she had bigger, erm, pork barrels.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 10:40 | 4307813 IridiumRebel
IridiumRebel's picture

I cannot unsee this. 

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 10:05 | 4307681 nmewn
nmewn's picture

I'm really gonna have to pass that one, I don't want to see whats in it.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 10:20 | 4307733 akarc
akarc's picture

God I hate to admit it but back in the day I have been drunk enough to go for it. Had to quit drinking.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 10:25 | 4307755 nmewn
nmewn's picture

STD's have a way of getting ones mind right ;-)

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 10:29 | 4307769 akak
akak's picture

So THAT'S how they dress for the lobbyists!

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 10:08 | 4307694 Stackers
Stackers's picture

My eyes ! My eyes !!! .... aaaaahhhh

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 10:37 | 4307803 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

"I am gross and perverted
Im obsessed n deranged
I have existed for years
But very little had changed
I am the tool of the government
And industry too
For I am destined to rule
And regulate you"

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 11:02 | 4307904 Citxmech
Citxmech's picture

Are you vile and pernicious?  I can't seem to look away. . .

One of the best albums ever IMHO.

"Dirty Love" is another good one for this thread.


Tue, 01/07/2014 - 10:41 | 4307814 KickIce
KickIce's picture

Enable, enable!

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 11:05 | 4307919 Blano
Blano's picture

Oh God Banzai, too early for this!!! : )

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 20:58 | 4309899 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

ow, now I need bleach for my eyeballs.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 10:25 | 4307756 Woodhippie
Woodhippie's picture

I wonder if they are factoring in the cost of the "Devil's lettuce"?  Colorado lettuce is a lttle high (fuckin' pun intended of course!), compared to some rather inexpensive good ole fashiond Ozark lettuce going for the price of just the seed.

Oh, and do they factor in porn costs?  I imagine if you aren't having Suzy Rotten Crotch giving you a happy ending that you are servicing yourself.

Kinda like an ATM now that I think about it.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 09:28 | 4307570 butchee
butchee's picture

Peak car dates.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 09:37 | 4307574 Popo
Popo's picture

Prostitution is a near-perfect capitalist dynamic.  When demand drops and supply doesn't, prices slide too.   Sexual desire pretty much stays constant.  In the slums of Dhaka you've got prostitution.  On the French Riviera you've got prostitution.   The amount of paid-fucking doesn't change much.  But the costs swing in perfect unison to the marketplace. 

So when we hear that spending is "dropping" it may mean (as the article suggests) that men are broke.  But it also just as likely means that women aren't. 

Given that women are the grossly unequal recipients of every tax-dollar collected, and are far more likely to collect any given dollar of social services:  The drop in spending is just as likely a sociopolitical indicator as it is an economic one.

And given that a true "gender-balanced" drop in wealth would keep the amount of sex-work constant, it looks to me like men are taking this recession straight in the nuts.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 10:18 | 4307726 akarc
akarc's picture

"So when we hear that spending is "dropping" it may mean (as the article suggests) that men are broke.  But it also just as likely means that women aren't. "


Considering the economy I suspect more women have entered the field making for stiff competition lower profit margins related to increased backroom medical care until able to find a way to get on the website that sell full coverage insurance. 

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 09:30 | 4307576 youngman
youngman's picture

Beer sales are down because the football season was bad....hookers because we are all the pyjama man now...metrosexuls....its more HOW we look than what we do with it....who needs to get off..when you got it on.....lol

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 09:35 | 4307589 Charles Nelson ...
Charles Nelson Reilly's picture

Fucking Jackie Treehorn treats objects like women, man.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 09:41 | 4307604 knukles
knukles's picture

That's just so wrong.
Powerful women should be treated like the sexual toys and beasts of burden that they were made to be.
Should be placed up on a pedestal
So we can look up their dresses

I love Hil
Just you fuckers wait for that Lezbo song to come back again


Wherethefuck are my meds?

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 10:15 | 4307717 akarc
akarc's picture

Their hidden up that dress. Very short half-life however.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 10:19 | 4307731 Woodhippie
Woodhippie's picture

Everyone should up vote you brotha!!  A nice twist on the Big Lebowski!

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 09:36 | 4307590 Jayda1850
Jayda1850's picture

So what's the threshold between a high end escort and low end one? over an under $150 an hour? Wanna make sure I'm not getting ripped off.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 09:56 | 4307652 toady
toady's picture

Sluts ate kewl.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 10:00 | 4307662 tarsubil
tarsubil's picture

If you are having sex with 150 an hour prostitutes, I'd recommend a constant regimen of a high spectrum antibiotic.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 10:14 | 4307710 akarc
akarc's picture

nah, they got shit out their Ajax won't take off

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 10:13 | 4307708 akarc
akarc's picture


Tue, 01/07/2014 - 20:41 | 4309860 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

low-end $200 , high-end $2000+

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 09:38 | 4307596 Rainman
Rainman's picture

This data gathering is flawed. Choom sales have gone through the roof.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 09:49 | 4307629 toady
toady's picture

The local news must have mis-read, but they said $1B in sales in CO on the first day .... $1M, hell, $10M, I'd believe, but $1B?

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 10:08 | 4307693 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

I see that alot in the past 5 years. People don't even know the difference between millions and billions any more. They are just words. Thanks Hank Paulson.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 20:24 | 4309811 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

I'll take propomaganda for 1 berzeeelyun dollerrrrs, Alex

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 10:14 | 4307713 Rainman
Rainman's picture

It was $ 1 million first day .....enough to cause shortages and rationing ! Without a doubt, USSA politicos will be all over this new tax revenue source.

,,, " Everybody must get stoned " ....Bob Dylan


Tue, 01/07/2014 - 12:56 | 4308358 Cthonic
Cthonic's picture

And they're probably overlooking NJ online gambling

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 09:42 | 4307610 migra
migra's picture

And how exactly do they know know any of this. Is southbay research doing conference calls with a bunch of pimps every week? Are they polling truck stop hookers on I-95?..... Ohplezz..

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 09:50 | 4307632 Carnegie_IB
Carnegie_IB's picture

TER or the erotic review can serve as a good resource.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 10:22 | 4307704 akarc
akarc's picture

My wife was having a problem with headaches so I got a government grant to do on the street Hooker interviews. To date data suggest, "lifes a bitch!"

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 09:46 | 4307622 Iam Yue2
Iam Yue2's picture

Reading between the lines of this report, one suspects, that we may have just hit "peak bartenders."

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 09:47 | 4307624 JustObserving
JustObserving's picture

a report from the "Vice Index" reporting firm SouthBay Research

I thought the Vice Index was the Dow. How much printing, lies and manipulations do you need to levitate it?

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 09:50 | 4307628 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

I'm doing my part to support the beer and wine vices. The rest of you vice industries are on your own. My wife says I'm only allowed to have one vice.

Edit: I wonder if she'll let me switch up every once in a while.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 09:53 | 4307643 toady
toady's picture

Way to wear the pants, dude.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 10:02 | 4307670 SmallerGovNow2
SmallerGovNow2's picture

Go local Doc with your favorite micro-brewery....

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 10:09 | 4307695 akarc
akarc's picture

Beer on Monday, Hooker on Tuesday, cigarette on Wednesday, Divorce on THursday. Gives ya 3 day weekend to look forward to.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 09:49 | 4307631 SystemOfaDrown
SystemOfaDrown's picture

Time to cut back to: Natural Light Beer, penny slot machines, and 55 year old hookers.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 10:01 | 4307665 SmallerGovNow2
SmallerGovNow2's picture

30-pack of Naty-Light about $15.50 here in south Texas...  Nuttin' wrong with that...

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 10:07 | 4307689 akarc
akarc's picture

180 mixed with a little 180 cuts down on belly fat

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