Thursday, November 13, 2008

Not Weel

Way back when in the college days, I was out on the town one night with my buddies in my hometown of New Orleans. It was late in the evening and we were exiting Pat O'Briens and as we were turning left and approaching Bourbon Street we came upon the famous fast food eatery, Takee Outee. Takee Outee was a tiny little Chinese takeout that was quite questionable in it's cleanliness, but at 2 a.m. the egg rolls were to die for. That evening I was needing a late night snack so I walked up to the counter and ordered one eggroll. The Chinese man behind the counter quickly said "no eggwoll". I said, "one eggroll". He again said "no eggwoll". I said "no I just want one eggroll". He emphatically said "no eggwoll". I pointed in the glass covered area at the last eggroll and said "I just want THAT eggroll!". He reached in the case and lifted the plastic eggroll up in my face and yelled "not weel". Reality quickly set in and I realized that I had been arguing with the man for two minutes trying to purchase a plastic eggroll. I concluded it was time to head to the house!

When I look at our current financial markets and our "super size me" lifestyle, I often think of the Chinese man at Takee Outee and think "not weel". For twenty six years, we've inflated the system with massive amounts of credit. All presidents since Reagan participated in the process. Are our big cars, big houses, big vacations, and big appetites real? The savings rate for the average American is below 0%. Now that eggroll is real. Our debt is real. When we fully grasp the reality of the situation and come to grips with our past credit-driven lifestyle, I wonder what our gameplan and mindset will be. It's time to pass on the eggroll and head to the house. How will we handle that long ride home??

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