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Crunch Creep

10:16 UK time, Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Forget the decline in mortgage loans, rising inflation and sliding consumer confidence, for the real impact of the credit crunch consider this: tupperware sales are up, takeaways down.

That's according to Sainsbury's - one of many organisations to draw a direct link between trends under its roof and the consternation in the wider financial world.

Almost a year after the financial markets started to witness a squeeze on the one commodity that for insiders had begun to assume mythical properties of inexhaustability - cash - hardly any aspect of life seems to have been left untouched by the growing tendrils of the downturn.

So, true to its name, the Monitor is launching a regular watch on unlikely, sometimes highly doubtful, reported effects of the credit crunch. And it's appealing for your help - if you see a trend, however small and seemingly insignificant, being hitched up to the credit crunch bandwagon, and frankly the whole set up strikes you as a bit odd, send it in using the COMMENTS button below this post, preferably with a URL linking to where you saw it.

Of course, the Crunch has given way to an array of gloomy financial conditions in recent months - but, maybe because of its alliterative appeal, the phrase "credit crunch" has morphed into a catch-all phrase for the financial slowdown. Among the more eyebrow-raising events recently laid at its door, are the following:

  • Middle class children are becoming more withdrawn as their families struggle to cope with the financial squeeze (Times Educational Supplement (25 July)
  • The obsession with celebrity is slowing as wealth exerts less fascination; fiddling work expenses is becoming "tacky"; divorce rates among the very wealthy are growing; English holidays and allotments are enjoying a surge in popularity (Independent, 22 July)
  • More pets are being dumped (Bournemouth Echo, 25 July)
  • Sales of lipstick and fake tan are up by more than a half on last year (Observer, 26 July)
  • Wooden toys, teddy bears and spinning tops are putting on sales at Hamleys as people seek to buy "things that last longer" Times, 19 July)
  • Beer sales are down to levels last seen in the Great Depression (Daily Mirror, 28 July)

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