I Don't Hate the Idea of Solo-Bachelor(ette) Parties
Bachelor parties, Mad at baseball (again), Consumers only see the negative (also, again)
Good afternoon! I never know how to start these so I’ll lean on Hemingway:
“To get started, write one true sentence.”
You’re receiving this blog in the afternoon. That’s because I had my family over for lunch yesterday and lunch turned into late lunch which turned into early dinner which turned into late dinner—as these things often do—so I didn’t have time to write.
Better late than never.
→ Bachelor/bachelorette parties are exhausting. I have a group of friends who woke up this morning in Nashville (probably) hungover. They’re (probably) hungover because one of them is getting married this summer so this weekend they celebrated that upcoming milestone by doing quality control on all the bars and breweries in the area. Or, a bachelor party. I used to be a big bachelor party guy. Big bachelor party guy. Not so much anymore. Not at all, actually. The groom-to-be extended an invitation to me, but since I quit drinking I’ve tried to stay out of situations or events that revolve around booze, so I bowed out. He understood.
That is the opposite of what’s going on with a hen in the U.K. who’s asking her bridesmaids to stay home for her hen party. “Hen” is British for “bachelorette.” “Hen party” is British for “bachelorette party”.
Naturally, the Internet is fauxraged1.
Instead of going with the traditional weekend getaway with the girls, this woman wants her bridesmaids to pitch in whatever amount they would have spent on a trip (flights, accommodations, etc) so that she can treat herself to a weekend spa retreat. Her reasoning is that organizing a weekend trip so everyone can celebrate together would simply be too stressful.
And you know what? I think the Internet is crazy for thinking she’s crazy!
Bachelor(ette) parties are exhausting. If the whole point of the weekend is to celebrate the Person of Interest—in this case, an anti-social free-loading hen—then the weekend should be designed to accommodate whatever they want. If that happens to include the absence of others financed by said others, then so be it.
Even before I quit drinking, bachelor parties had started to become a chore. I found myself looking forward to and enjoying them less and less but participating anyway, because, well, I couldn’t say no. Thankfully (?), I have a fool-proof get-out-of-jail-free card in my back pocket now: I’m an alcoholic. Not everyone is so lucky though which is why this is a golden opportunity for these bridesmaids. What you do is you get together with all the other bridesmaids and decide on the amount you’re going to collectively give her (a low number; fuck sending the amount you would’ve actually spent). Then you send it over to the hen take-it-of-leave-it style. What’s she going to do, ask for more? If she does you say no, end of story.
Boom: you just got out of an expensive and exhausting weekend for a fraction of what it would’ve cost you!
→ Yelling at baseball clouds again. Major League Baseball will lose games to work stoppage for the first time since 1995.
“Mister Commissioner, your thoughts?”
In other MLB-related news, Derek Jeter has broken up with my Miami Marlins. This is a weird situation for me. Derek Jeter was my favorite player growing up. It was him and Gregg Maddux. This is a dude I really looked up to. I wanted to be like him on the field and off.
I'm from Miami so I'm a Marlins fan, naturally. His taking over the team felt like a move the universe facilitated just to make me happy. The results that followed didn't make me happy. That was ok though: I'm a Miami sports fan, we're used to our teams letting us down. But trust the process, right? I believe in Jeter, I believe in the Yankee way. The New York Yankees are the most storied franchise in American professional sports history. If you're going to model your franchise after another, you could do much worse than them. And if you're going to model your franchise around the Yankees, then who better to run it than the Captain of some of the best teams that franchise ever produced? Yes, trust the process.
It turns out the joke was on me and everyone else in Miami who was fooled into thinking this time was different. It’s not.
And we didn’t even get a gift basket.
Moving onto amateur baseball. Here are a couple of examples of how to play the game the wrong way.
Sure, throwing 88-91 mph as a sophomore (?) in high school is impressive, but waving at batters mid-windup is a sure way to get your batters drilled. Make no mistake, any opposing pitcher worth his salt is throwing the first pitch of the next half-inning as hard as he can right between the numbers of the first guy who steps in the box. If he has a set2 on him he’ll throw at the next guy too, just to send a message: you don’t do that. In any case, Cozart has committed to Mississippi State which plays in the SEC where hitters eat 91 mph for breakfast. He’ll learn now or he’ll learn then.
On the opposite end of the spectrum (but still in the Wrong Way To Play the Game realm), we have the embodiment of the Participation Trophy Generation in the form of another high school pitcher. This one is so impressed by how far the home run he just gave up went that he felt compelled to congratulate the hitter on his way to home.
I don’t get it.
P.S. Baseball is (still) fun.
→ Consumers are addicted to negativity. A couple of weeks ago I wrote that “Americans don’t know what to think”. This was in response to an increasingly pessimistic consumer outlook which reached record lows last month despite plenty of evidence of a (relatively) healthy economy.
Sam Ro at TKer reinforced some of that evidence this week, highlighting “Three massive economic tailwinds I can't stop thinking about”. One of those tailwinds is the $2.4T in excess savings consumers have accumulated since February 2020. Think of this as armor against the pointed tip of inflation. It also helps to explain why people haven’t pushed back yet on rising prices (ex: record US retail sales last month).
Bank of America estimates that consumers and corporations, combined, are sitting on $19T in cash, which brings us to the second tailwind: a record $80.1B in core capex orders in January. Think of this as companies investing in everything that makes their businesses tick so that they can tick faster. If companies were worried about a recession they wouldn’t be pouring this much money into capex spend.
The third is jobs. As of the latest data there are 1.7 job openings per unemployed person. That’s 10.9M job openings. The unemployment rate is down to 3.8%, but the loudest headlines embellish tales of the “Great Resignation”. While it’s true that a record number of Americans quit their jobs in 2021, it’s also true that the majority of those “quits” were not quits but “job hops”, meaning they were workers leaving one job for another (better) one. And yet 35% of American voters have a distorted picture of the US job market:
As it turns out, the US economy saw record job growth over the past year, but only 19% of Americans believe we’re seeing more growth than usual. This reminds me of the Gallup poll I mentioned in the same blog two weeks ago that showed that Americans are happy with their lives, but not with the direction of the country. We’re seeing the same effect here.
It’s like the average consumer has developed diabetes as a result of the steady diet of negativity it’s fed by the media (i.e., “Great Resignation”), which has robbed it of its ability to see the positive.
Thanks for reading!
Fauxrage: frenzy created by media or blogs to inflate a usually minor, perceived offense into a major scandal or continuing political event.