After work tonight, I stopped at a local watering hole to meet my former co-blogger Col. Ollie. While I waited for him with an ice cold Leinie's Honey Weiss in front of me, a corporate event of some sort came in. A well dressed older gentleman bellied up to the bar, tossed down a credit card, and said, "I'm opening a tab, and it is going to be a big one." As I watched on as the bar filled up, I figured I had two ways of looking at the situation:
1. I could think, "What a waste of damn money. How much better off would corporate America be if they weren't running up tabs like these to essentially buy a party for people? Heads should roll for this excess in these times." (I suspect that 80% of the public would fall in line with some variation of this critique).
2. I could think, "Wow, it is quite the crowd in here tonight. I know the owner, and I'm glad he's getting this boost in business. And I see that he's tossing a few free appetizers their way. I hope these people come back, because this is a net good for the community. If it buys the company some goodwill with these individuals they are trying to woo, good for them, too."
I chose the second, but I think that I'm uncommon in that regard. Too many people right now are quick to judge the spenders without considering how essential this type of spending is to both the establishments receiving the sales and the businesses trying to make their own sales, as well as the employees at both. And that kind of judging will only stand to slow the pace at which we try to get back to some sort of economic normalcy.