On the fourth day of Oprah's first-of-2009, Best Life Week, her guest was ass-kicking "internationally acclaimed personal finance expert" Suze Orman (as per her own website, complete with ass-kicking, irritating bombastic intro fanfare).
Orman was flacking her new book, Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan (note: you can download it for free until next Thursday, January 15). And in the midst of her usual quite basic advice - pay off your credit card debt, pay off the card with the highest interest rate first, pay more than the minimum each month - she attempted to get the studio audience (and, by inference, you at home) to agree to the following pledge:
Don't spend money for one day.
Don't use your credit card for one week.
(so far, so good) -and then- DRUM ROLL!
DON'T EAT AT RESTAURANTS FOR ONE MONTH.
This seemed to be the big stumbling block for the audience, akin to previous shows in which Orman would order people to cancel their cable or satellite TV. ("You can pry my remote from my cold dead hands," seems to be the prevailing sentiment in that case.) One woman gasped, but said she would "try" to comply.
Now, I'm not an economist by profession, but it seems to me that in order to keep restaurauteurs, chefs, prep people, dishwashers, waiters, busboys, farmers, butchers, grocers, wineries, distilleries, and landlords gainfully employed and in business, supporting your local restaurants of ALL stripes is a good idea. Estimates of Oprah's weekly audience in the U.S. was between 23 and 26 million in 2004, when the show was broadcast worldwide in 107 countries. If even a fraction of those 23 million took the pledge...oy.
Oprah was famously sued years ago by the Texas Beef Industry when learning about mad cow disease made her say she was too disgusted to eat a hamburger.
I wonder what the National Restaurant Association ("growing the workforce of tomorrow") has to say about this.