Commentary

Gaffney Singlehandedly Sends Nation Into Recession

Eric H. Holder Jr., most-powerful-man-on-the-plant-elect-Obama's choice for Attorney General, lost no time in showing the nation he will not tolerate slackers at any level when he announced a suit against John Gaffney, a well-known freelance journalist and father of two. The suit, filed in Connecticut District's Second Circuit, alleges that Mr. Gaffney has failed to "appropriately stimulate the local economy of his hometown of Madison, CT by cutting back on discretionary purchases and shopping at discount stores."

"If we are ever to get this nation back on its economic feet, we need consumers to step up and do their part," Mr. Holder might have told, say, The New York Times--but probably didn't, since he has yet to actually become the AG. "We can't allow guys like Gaffney to skip over well-known, heavily marketed brands in favor of generics and store brands. He has to understand there is a ripple effect of his decisions that impacts not just manufacturers, but retailers, advertising agencies, media and ultimately the effective CPM of online impressions. We cannot let this stand."

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"You know, I thought we elected this guy to end the war, restore privacy and establish a college football playoff system," Mr. Gaffney tells Over the Line in an interview so exclusive even HE doesn't know about it. "This is worse that the frickin' Recording Industry Association of America suing me for downloading some 35-year-old Brewer and Shipley song. Does the government really have nothing better to do than harass me because I like Stop & Shop's oatmeal cookies more than Nabisco's or Keebler's? I'm trying really hard not to ask for a federal bailout or a mortgage reduction, unlike some auto companies and banks I could name."

Apparently, the Attorney General-to-be dispatched FBI agents to tail Mr. Gaffney and record his purchasing behavior. The suit claims that Mr. Gaffney routinely bypassed well-known oil-company-branded gas stations to buy less-known gas for, at times, 10 cents a gallon cheaper. Moreover, he reportedly bought off-brand bread, shampoo, spaghetti, cooking oil and ice cream. Most unAmericanly of all, Mr. Gaffney started checking out books at the local Madison library instead of buying them at retail. The last straw was his decision to accept generics instead of brand-name prescription medications.

"You know, Exxon's profits have exceeded $10 billion in nine of the last 12 quarters," says Mr. Gaffney. "I expect they won't miss my $50 a week. I just got my 401K statement last Thursday and I have lost about a third of my savings. It is not like I have a vendetta against established brands, but you know I don't think my ass can really tell the difference between toilet paper that costs $3.99 vs. $6.99. I think I should put that $3 spread into one of my daughters' college savings plans instead of P&G. Call me crazy."

"He's crazy if he thinks that the actions of the individual don't matter," says an anonymous FBI source Over the Lines works out with at the gym (and NO, we were not in the shower at the time--or the hot tub). "Take Citizen Gaffney's penny-pinching attitude and multiply it by 200 million and you've got a recession on your hands. Think of the bonuses at the big investment firms--er, I mean big banks--that won't be handed out to the deserving denizens of Greenwich and Morris County. They have gardeners and pool boys and dog socializers and pediatric psychotherapists and caterers to pay. So, Gaffney might want to think twice before reaching for the Rite Aid mouthwash and look a little farther down the aisle toward the brands that support America!"

"You know, I always thought if I went to prison," concludes Mr. Gaffney, "it would be for my taste in movies or because I drive like a bat out of hell. But living in the Big House because my knit shirts don't have little polo players on them....? If this is life under Obama, I'd like to apologize to all my warmongering Republican neighbors."

The story you have just read is an attempt to blend fact and fiction in a manner that provokes thought, and on a good day, merriment. It would be ill-advised to take any of it literally. Take it, rather, with the same humor with which it is intended. Cut and paste or link to it at your own peril.

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