I’m Not Sure It’s My Responsibility to Go Out and Shop to Keep Businesses Afloat.

Discount signs at a furniture store in California; AP photo

Question/Comment: It seems to me there’s been a shift in market thinking in the recent past. I’m not sure that it’s my responsibility to go out and shop to keep businesses afloat; I always thought that it was business’ responsibility to offer products and/or services to encourage me to got out and shop, thereby keeping them afloat. I’m just wondering when this shift occurred, and whether or not I’ve got it backwards. Don’t business have some responsibility here or have they become the entitlement class?

Paul Solman: It almost seems as if you read the a previous exchange on the Business Desk.

Business is presumably offering just what it did before the crisis began. If goods and services are delivering less for the money, don’t buy. But in fact, prices have FALLEN, suggesting you’re getting MORE for your money these days, not less.

What we’re discussing here is an increased reluctance to spend – REGARDLESS of the cost/quality proposition. You could make the case that business is acquitting itself of its responsibility — albeit reluctantly — by lowering prices. I splurged on three suits I don’t need, strictly speaking, out of a sense of my own responsibility (see the response to Harvey Waxman) and the fact that they were HALFPRICE.