The hot teen trend is spending less at the mall. The Obama Administration is stepping in to save us from evil credit card companies. Unemployed high-powered dads are taking over PTAs in suburban New York. And who among us HASN'T wanted to just kick the kids out of the car and drive off?
These are just some of the stories I got to read all the way through this week, as I spent some quality time in medical waiting offices. So I thought I'd save you the time, link you to these gems, and provide a bit of pithy commentary because I don't Twitter and they haven't come up with a way to actually show people's thought bubbles, although isn't that basically what Twitter is -- the thought bubbles of the technologically-enabled?.
First - you can take the cash away from the teen, but you still can't take them out of the mall. The NYTimes reports that "spending by teenagers, a closely studied but rarely understood segment of the population, is off by 14 percent." This is having a "profound impact on mall culture," where teens are lining up at once-shunned deep discounters in search of the deal.
The Village Voice found the news heartening, because gay porn retailer - er, I mean Abecrombie & Fitch - has lost its appeal among teens who no longer think it's cool to pay $30 for a T-shirt. However, The Voice found fault with the Times' premise that teenagers are no longer brand-driven. "Kids might have less money now because their parents lost a bundle in the market, but they will always spend on trendy shit and never care about anyone but themselves," writes the Voice's Karen Benedikt.
Second - Washington is finally taking on the credit card industry, which thinks that it's been transparent with consumers about its shady-and-bordering-on-illegal business practices just because it sends out "Changes to Your Credit Agreement" letters on a daily basis, which, if you look really close at the extra fine print, it's just the unabridged text of Moby Dick.
The President met yesterday with executives from major credit card companies to discuss their industry's roll in this recession, and what can be done to keep America from being crushed by its self-made mountain of credit debt. The words "increased accountability" and "Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights" were bandied about. Strangely, no one is proposing the solution provided by a simple pair of scissors.
Third - The Times reported this week on the recent influx of unemployed "Mr. Moms" into the world of the suburban mom, as evidenced by the testosterone increase in the pick-up, drop-off, and check-out lines, and at local PTAs meetings. “I hope all these good guys who need good jobs find them,” Gina Fidele, a New Jersey PTA president tells The Times. “But I also hope that maybe this taste of what it’s like to be more involved — not just taking the kids to school, but really helping to organize and direct the policies in the community." Let's hope they constructively help all these mother-heavy PTA boards find solutions to real world problems....and not take-over for a few months only to be abandoned again when they find new jobs.
And finally - the now famous "Don't Make Me Stop This Car" case, which in some circles is being called the "Monster Mommy" case -- while in others it's the "I Can't Wait To Tell My Own Bickering Kids About This Story Because There's Got To Be A Lesson In There Somewhere" incident
Personally, I hope the Scarsdale lawyer/mom isn't prosecuted for her parenting tactic, which has provided us all food for thought as we swerve through traffic trying to break up the bickerfest in the back. And while ditching the kids on a street in White Plains may not have been the smartest of moves - at least she had plenty of quiet time in jail overnight to think about it.
It's a hecka way to get away for a much-needed night alone, donchathink?
Have a good weekend.