Recreation in the Recession

In the troubled economy, Americans are still spending money. Some limit their funds to the basics – things like toilet paper, groceries, gas, and bills. But others find it in their budgets to invest in fun. Industries like movies, recreation, and lotteries are booming in these hard times. The "discretionary dollar" is being spent here and there on things that end up making millions and billions of dollars. Last year, the business was worth $55 billion dollars alone.

But what if nobody invested in the lottery? The dollars that go to state-sponsored lottery programs end up giving high school students scholarships for college, among other things. Some claim that the lottery is one big hoax, and that new marketing schemes make it impossible for the average Joe to get a slice of the pie. But either way, the lottery is an important part of the American economy, both on the state and national level. The industry creates new business, and maintains the clientèle it has seen for years. Men and women alike have confessed to spending upwards of $25,000 over the years on lottery tickets, with receiving little to no cash in return.

Likewise, the movie business is booming. In times past, the movie industry was popular during hard times. The Great Depression saw the rise of Hollywood's Golden Age, and in the current American recession, movie sales are generally up 15% from this time last year. One has to wonder – is this rise in sales because of the weather, the time of year (because students are on spring break), or are we as a population seeing more movies in theaters? In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where I live, the price of a movie ticket has gone up two dollars from two years ago. Similarly, the "rush hour" price has been discontinued, and the deal they offered to movie-goers of student age is no longer available. It makes sense that people would avoid the theaters, and yet, even our local movie business has seen a jump in sales. Analysts in marketing trends are beginning to wonder if we are in fact entering a revival of the 1940's power hour of Hollywood.

Recreation in the recession – a marketing man's challenge, proving to be worth it entirely. Americans are spending money on the things they used to love, and now need. Time and time again civilizations have shown that watching film, plays, and shows help ease tough times, and the other miscellaneous things we can do in life also help to take our mind of the things we cannot avoid. The lottery is said to give citizens hope. By spending a dollar here, and a dollar there, people are able to hope that one day in the near future they too will be millionaires. Unfortunately, those dollars may be better spent helping the economy by investments or savings accounts.

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