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Friday, April 2, 2010

Untapped Market: The Un(der)employed

"Rich in Time," or,
Making Lemonade
Out of Un(der)employment

No, they don't have a lot of disposable income -- that's kind of the whole point, actually.

But it turns out that the nation's 20 million-plus un/underemployed represent a huge, untapped market -- and companies with a recreational and/or social networking angle are catching on.

Apple Computer sure has.

It makes sense, actually; after all, how much reality TV can one person really watch?

How many resumes can you launch into the ether on

(Hey, they didn't have those things during The Great Depression -- not to mention iTunes, the Internet, Google, flat-panel TV's, Facebook, etc.).

Consider this headline from today's Wall Street Journal:

TGIFF: Some Idled State Workers Find "Furlough Fridays" Can Be Fun: Forced to Take Time Off, Some Hit the Ski Slopes; a Discount on Sushi

It turns out that some California ski resorts are offering steeply discounted lift passes to state workers every Friday, when literally tens of thousands are now "furloughed."

Making Lemonade

Instead of wallowing in one's idleness, why not use it, productively?

To educate one's self.

To get in (better) shape.

To spend quality family time.

To prepare cheaper, healthier food (at home, of course!).

To connect with friends -- or make new ones.

Why not, indeed??

None of the above activities needs to cost a fortune (skip the health club and go hike in a state park); some -- like cooking at home -- actually save money.

And, of course, more companies are targeting such consumers with discounts and other price breaks.

"Furlough Friday"

Stigma loses it power when everyone is similarly affected.

So in the housing markets that dropped the most -- places like Las Vegas, South Florida, etc. -- "strategically defaulting" on one's mortgage isn't such a big deal.

How long until being under/unemployed is viewed similarly?

Unfortunately, it just doesn't pay so great . . .

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