Fantasy cures any recession
I can see it now. The
recession has finally swallowed me. The landlord is nailing the last
two-by-four across the entrance to my final retail store. The sheriff is
posting the "EVICTION NOTICE" on the wall.
A crowd has gathered outside, including a tearful group of my
now-unemployed employees and an angry band of creditors. I refuse to leave
the store. The tension mounts.
Finally, when all the television cameras have arrived and the
crowd has spilled onto the street, I agreed to be escorted out the store by
a contingent of sheriffís deputies.
Unshaven, shabbily dressed, I squint at the sunlight as the
crowd roars and moves toward me. As the deputies fight off my creditors and
chaos reigns, a television reporter shoves a microphone in my fact.
"What are you going to do now, Nick?" he asks.
I look into the camera and smile. "Iím going to
While the $50,000 I earn for the plug will go straight to
creditors, I might be able to talk the ad agency into a free trip to
Disneyland for myself. I would need to see, once again, what itís like to
live in a booming economy.
I thought of all this while visiting the ultimate in theme
parks last week with my wife and four children, Muffin, 10, Buffy, 8,
Apollo, 3 and Mercury, 1-1/2.
At Disneyland, the recession does not exist. While the rest of
the country is mired in stagnant doldrums, Mickey Mouse and his gang or
pirates continue to rake it in.
I first sensed this when we had to wait 30 minutes in line. Not
for one of Disneylandís thrilling rides. No, this was for the privilege of
paying $27.50 per adult and $22.50 per child for admission.
As I looked around at the hordes of people waiting patiently to
drop more than $100 per family, I began to wonder what happened to the
recession. I started counting heads and multiplying dollars but had trouble
with the zeroes and had to stop.
Once inside the gates, I was even more mesmerized. Everywhere I
looked, people who had just paid for admission were spending more. With my
children following behind, I headed for the first of countless retail stores
There were five cash registers in this particular store and
they were ringing away, a line at each one. All I could do was stare, my
"Come on, Daddy," said Muffin, perusing the map of
the park. " Letís go to Fantasyland before it gets to crowded, and
then head for Tomorrowland."
I was still staring at customers with armfuls of merchandise.
"Daddyís already in Fantasyland, sweetheart."
Buffy was pulling on my arm. "We didnít come to
Disneyland to look at stores." She said. "Letís go."
I broke out of the trance and grabbed my camera. Ignoring the
groaning, I positioned the kids in front of sections of the store and
snapped their picture. Posing as a tourist with children was the perfect
cover for stealing ideas from a wildly successful store.
Finally, Apolloís whining and Mercuryís screaming drove me
back into the open air. For some reason, Apollo was intent on shaking hands
with a six-foot rodent.
After waiting in a few 25- to 40- minute lines for three-minute
rides, we waited in a 15-minute line to pay outlandish prices for some food
that was not worth waiting for.
When darkness fell, while my wife and children looked for ride
lines with no dead bodies to step over (a sign the wait was indeed too
long), I wandered in and out of stores, wondering where I went wrong.
While my businesses were surviving the recession, it was a
constant struggle. Customers did not come easily, and when they did come,
they purchased warily and frugally, always looking for bargains.
My thoughts were interrupted by a commotion nearby. People were
crowding around a man, waving money at him. He was selling fluorescent
rubber necklaces for $2.50 each and he couldnít take in the money fast
It had been so long since Iíd seen a buying frenzy. I
remembered them from the old days, before the recession, but it took the
powers of Disneyland to bring it all back. What a ride!
This was indeed The Magic Kingdom in all its glory. I only
wished I believed in fairy tales.