The Ultimate Recession Diet (Part I)

With all the news about the economy, I’ve been hearing a lot of news stories about how people are changing their behavior to save money. Take this story in the New York Times from a while ago about how people are eating differently nowadays:

Burt Flickinger, a longtime retail consultant, said the last time he saw such significant changes in consumer buying patterns was the late 1970s, when runaway inflation prompted Americans to “switch from red meat to pork to poultry to pasta — then to peanut butter and jelly.”

It hasn’t gotten to human food mixed with pet food yet,” he said, “but it is certainly headed in that direction.

<b> added. I’ve heard references to people being so poor they had to eat dog food, but I suppose I just assumed it was a figure of speech. But an expert said it! It must be true! Right? So I turned to my trusted advisor in all important matters: Yahoo Answers. In case you aren’t familiar with the service, Yahoo Answers is a place where the stupidest people on the internet go to answer the stupidest questions on the internet. It is responsible for the “How is babby formed?” meme. So let’s see what wisdom the Hive Mind has for us today.

I found two questions on human consumption of dog food out of necessity. For each posting I will quote a summary of the question as well as some highlights from the answers.

**Post #1: **Would poor people really eat dog food? There is a stereotype image of poor people having to eat dog food because they don’t have enough money for anything else. Isn’t a tin of tuna or Chef Boyardee just as cheap or cheaper?

  • I have never been poor, but I doubt if they have had to eat dog food. Chef Boyardee is pretty cheap. Some of that dog food, is pretty expense [sic]. I am sure they would go to the $1.00 menu at McDonald’s if necessary
  • Can of tuna does not have the nutrition [sic]. If you look at the dog food ingredient [sic], you see a wide variety of food. Corn, meat, fat, protein, everything’s in there.
  • If a poor person was hungry enough, they wouldn’t have a dog just sitting around, they would have it run deer [sic], or they would eat it. Poor people also grow there [sic] own food, hunt there [sic] own game. They are way more independent then rich people, because if the world was to go to heck…they wouldn’t suffer that much!

Post #2:How did the urban legend that poor elderly people eat dog food get started?

  • unfortunately, it is not an urban legend. it is quite true.
  • Elderly people on fixed incomes started buying dog and cat food because it was cheaper, and has the same if not better nutritional value. However, that was quite some time ago - pet food is not always cheaper than cheap canned foods. This was a big concern and story in many places in the late 70s, early 80s.

So there’s some disagreement on whether there has ever been a widespread trend of eating dog food out of desperation. It’s worth noting, however, that the only response that didn’t appear to be written by an idiot supports the idea. But does eating dog food actually make economic sense? Does it provide all the basic nutrients needed by the human body? Find out next time, in a very special episode of…Matt Meshulam pathologically overthinks everything.