Spam's fortunes rise and fall

posted by Jason Kottke Nov 17, 2008

The amount of spam email decreased by more than 66% last week after a single company was knocked offline by their ISP after the Washington Post dug into their activities. But sales of Spam, the midwestern delicacy, are up, up, up because of the crappy economy.

Through war and recession, Americans have turned to the glistening canned product from Hormel as a way to save money while still putting something that resembles meat on the table. Now, in a sign of the times, it is happening again, and Hormel is cranking out as much Spam as its workers can produce.

In a factory that abuts Interstate 90, two shifts of workers have been making Spam seven days a week since July, and they have been told that the relentless work schedule will continue indefinitely.

People are also buying fewer socks and more frozen pot pies. And Spam can be added to the list of unlikely economic indicators, joining sushi, Big Macs, cigarettes, and others.

Update: Oh, and lipstick.

An indicator based on the theory that a consumer turns to less expensive indulgences, such as lipstick, when she (or he) feels less than confident about the future. Therefore, lipstick sales tend to increase during times of economic uncertainty or a recession.

(thx, dann)