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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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.

Stackers's picture

This story is worthless without pics !

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

TeamDepends's picture

Thought she had bigger, erm, pork barrels.

nmewn's picture

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

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.

nmewn's picture

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

akak's picture

So THAT'S how they dress for the lobbyists!

Stackers's picture

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

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"

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.


Blano's picture

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

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

ow, now I need bleach for my eyeballs.

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.

butchee's picture

Peak car dates.

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.

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. 

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

Charles Nelson Reilly's picture

Fucking Jackie Treehorn treats objects like women, man.

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?

akarc's picture

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

Woodhippie's picture

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

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.

tarsubil's picture

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

akarc's picture

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

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

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

Rainman's picture

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

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?

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.

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

I'll take propomaganda for 1 berzeeelyun dollerrrrs, Alex

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


Cthonic's picture

And they're probably overlooking NJ online gambling

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..

Carnegie_IB's picture

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

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!"

Iam Yue2's picture

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

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?

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.

toady's picture

Way to wear the pants, dude.

SmallerGovNow2's picture

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

akarc's picture

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

SystemOfaDrown's picture

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

SmallerGovNow2's picture

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

akarc's picture

180 mixed with a little 180 cuts down on belly fat