There are many ways to look at what is happening within a nation. You could conduct a survey but one of the best ways is to look at the most popular types of businesses that are being requested by telephone directory enquiries. The telephone directory 118 118 recently released some fascinating statistics which give us an idea as to how we are all thinking, given the economic situation that we all find ourselves in !
In the run-up to Christmas, for example, calls to 118 118, the directory enquiries service, seeking the telephone numbers of debt charities rose by 415 per cent, compared with December of the previous year. That I suppose is no surprise, but I would have thought that most calls would have been made after Christmas.
Health is also an issue it seems. Calls for the telephone numbers of psychiatrists rose by 43 per cent compared with last year, as did calls for masseurs, saunas and acupuncture. Inquiries about aromatherapy were up 62 per cent. It looks like we are all very stressed with our lives at the moment !
Whilst many people turned to alternative therapies, others took refuge in excess. Inquiries about pole-dancing and lap-dancing clubs rocketed by 599 per cent. City bankers looking for somewhere to spend their huge bonuses, perhaps?
People have been dining in as well, apparently. Calls for takeaway pizza were up by 22 per cent. This probably explains why restaurants are having a rough time at the moment as we all look to save money.
The big losers in the 118 118 report were expensive electrical items like computers and televisions, with inquiries about both down more than 30%. The evidence also suggests that we are scaling back our holiday plans as calls to travel agents and hotels are down but, surprisingly there is a demand for motor home suppliers. Maybe people think that driving a motor home around the busy lanes of Cornwall is a cheap alternative to a foreign holiday. Being in the travel business, I can tell you that hiring a motor-home is an expensive business. You might be surprised to learn that foreign holidays are not as expensive as you may imagine. My travel agency is selling some holidays to Greece for as little as £199 per person at the moment for some off-peak dates !
Finally, it seems that we are all wanting to spend more time at home. As well as calls for takeaways being popular the library also appears to be back in fashion, with calls up 50 per cent. Inquiries about satellite television, computer games and games shops also rose many times over.
It looks like we are all going to get fat eating saturated fat loaded takeaways whilst playing computer games. This credit crunch has got a lot to answer for !