THIS time of cuts in services and rises in prices that were living through is very weird isnt it?
We may all be tightening our belts, but if you go to any eating place youll see a crosssection of people enjoying themselves, seemingly without counting the pennies.
In supermarkets, the trolleys are piled high with goods and the leisure industry appears to be holding its own.
Im not saying there isnt still hardship around but these days no-one living in the western world need go without shoes or starve, as in depressions of the past.
There are of course people who would prefer to starve rather than be seen without the latest Apple gadget or designer handbag.
Keeping up with the Joneses has been the subject of a 34,000 person, Europe-wide study,where the authors at the Paris School of Economics concluded (predictably) that looking over ones shoulder seems to make the world a less happy place.
We could have told them that, couldnt we?
Most worrying is that this attitude of keeping up with the Joneses has spilled over into other areas of society, such as the drive to send everyone to university whether academically inclined, or not.
It was a worthy idea to give everyone an equal chance, but it hasnt meant job satisfactionfor all. In fact our manufacturing industries are rapidly going down the pan and many well-qualified youngsters are unable to find work.
Cuts can be good when it comes to shopping in the sales of course, unless like me you find that the top you bought in the Chimes, Uxbridge, for £30 has been reduced to £7.99.
I didnt let it beat me. I just glared at it, called it cheap under my breath, and flounced off.
Later, shopping in Rickmansworth, I couldnt resist buying a tin of upmarket Bloody Mary baked beans, after I spotted them in Tesco.
Now thats really keeping up with the Joneses: the ingredients include Worcester sauce, hot pepper sauce and vodka.
I havent yet been able to face trying them on toast!