Believe it, underwear sales tell the truth about the times. It all comes form former US Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan: Holes in the wallet indicate holes in men's underwear. In the past year, purchases of men's unmentionables have fallen down to the ankles.
The brief case for optimism: Underwear sales have started to firm up.
Still, economists suggest we've got a long way to go before men are back replacing their underpants on the regular. Don't look to women's underwear sales as a similar barometer. Research shows women stop splurging in bad times, but still spend on the basics.
Another sign that economic recovery is some time off? Restaurants are laying out fixed-price deals worldwide, as the dining industry feels people's pinched wallet. Downtown San Jose restaurants are the latest to pick up the trend, offering the best deals yet on prix-fixe menus. Good news if you're in the mood for a discount filet, but probably bad news if you're waiting for stocks to rebound.
From Lettuce Wraps at PF Chang's to filet mignon at Morton's, three-course prix-fixe menus are going for a great price. $30 will get you in the door and out on a cheap night on the town.