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Continued from here (& here). In this post, we’ll turn our attention to the distressed consumer.
You may just consider this exploitation of the great unwashed – but in reality, they’re often the most expensive customers (pro rata) to acquire & service. (Illegal) immigrants also fall into this category – a fairly unavoidable cost of freight they pay in light of their status. [As US-listed Hispanic plays become increasingly touted & expensive, distressed consumer businesses are a cheap back door play on a sub-set of that population]. Also, the amounts involved with these customers is (inevitably) small. Actually, businesses are really targeting a much bigger & more lucrative opportunity – the democratic exploitation of an enduring human frailty:
The obvious place to start here is with the usual vices – drinking, smoking, gambling, luxury goods… 😉 But these sectors are huge & everybody’s doing ’em – I’m going to skip anything so mainstream (but I’m fascinated how highly rated they are!). I probably should consider drugs too, with marijuana access now increasingly legal & convenient across the US – but the real stupidity here might actually be investing in marijuana stocks!?
While I’m at it, we could make a case for including healthcare – people who make poor financial decisions surely make even worse decisions about their long-term health? [Especially with the communist approach to healthcare in the US & most other developed nations: All good deeds go unrewarded, and the worst 20% consume 80% of the resources… Which simply encourages everybody to race to the bottom (of the ice-cream tub). Look, I’m all for providing a safety net, but not when it’s stuffed with cheese burgers!] Let’s skip healthcare as a whole other mess… In similar vein, a trillion dollars of US student debt could have mutated into the biggest distressed consumer play around – since everybody seems to have now decided they can’t/won’t pay any longer – but that’s underwritten by a suckered population also.
Right, let’s move on – picture you’re an average distressed consumer: