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DINKs and the rich crossing bridges for cheap eats

By Dian Vujovich

Well, the word is finally out: The Great Recession has caused those with plenty of disposable cash to turn to quick-pick food establishments where fast food has become more appealing than waiting for a soufflé.

Hard as that may seem to believe, folks who once would rather drop dead than swallow a quarter-pounder with cheese are heading into neighborhoods they’d probably never admit to visiting before to dine at spots like McDonald’s, Subway and Wendy’s.

Locally, I know this for a fact because I’ve seen a number of hoity toity at such establishments. No, I won’t mention any names but I don’t have to because recent data says so and you know how factual data can be— sometimes it even brings out the “Well, Dahl! ” in us.

According to American Express Business Insights, fast food joints like McDonald’s and Subway saw a bigger spike in spending from the ultra-affluent during the last quarter of 2010 than did other types of restaurants. The top 10 percent of Amex’s most affluent customers spent 4 percent more at these kinds of cheapo places than they did at actual sit down, waiter/waitress served more upscale spots.

While the GR has clearly changed some things for those with money to spend, there are limits to how far one will go.

“No one will do without their iPhone or iPad, and very few people want to forgo travel, but there are other categories that are not priorities,” said Milton Pedraza in the story. He’s the CEO of the Luxury Institute, and it tracks spending among wealthy consumers with a minimum annual income of $150,000.

But when it comes to choosing between eating out and buying a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes, it boils down to a matter of taste.

“Dining out on a daily basis was completely normal for us,” said Lori Riviere, an attorney interviewed for the story who refers to her and her husband as “DINKs”—that would be “dual income no kids” couple. “Now we eat in or get some form of take out of less expensive food….. I think it’s a sacrifice, but when you have to choose between that and a pair of Jimmy Choo’s, I’m going to choose the Jimmy Choo’s.”

Gotta love the DINKs.

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