Ten GOOD Things to Come Out of the Great Recession

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It’s not all gloom and doom. Businesses are struggling, the housing market may have crashed, and jobs may have disappeared en masse, but today’s consumer is in the driver’s seat. And perhaps as in any crisis, people are being reminded about what’s really important in life.

1. Grocery stores are battling for customers with a new focus on discounts and value.

2. Electricity prices are cheap.

3. People are trying to get healthier and ease stress with yoga.

4. There are $1 DVD rentals everywhere you go.

5. Bottled water is a fading trend.

6. Sensible ideas for consumers—like college students having the option to rent rather than buy expensive textbooks—are coming to life.

7. We’ve turned back the clock and again become a nation of backyard farmers, with vegetable seeds selling in record numbers.

8. New York’s professional sports franchises have been hit with the slightest dose of humility—see how the Yankees, and more recently, the Giants have had to lower some ticket prices because they weren’t selling.

9. It’s become increasingly clear (to businesses, I hope): The American consumer is not dumb. Products with good value will thrive, while fads will fade. If offered something for nothing, we’ll take it. See the success of Cash for Clunkers.

10. In tough times, people discover anew what’s really important to them. Many folks have gotten a little closer to figuring out what truly makes them happy—and it’s not money or material possessions.