DAVID BRANCACCIO: I wonder what Shakespeare would have written on savings versus spending through a time of extra uncertainty. Can’t help you with that. But we did call up our friends at LiveWire Radio! in Portland, Ore., for their dramatic take.
HUSBAND: Diane, are you here?
DIANE: Yeah, what’s wrong?
HUSBAND: Nothing’s wrong, honey, everything’s right.
DIANE: What are you talking about — is that your brother out there?
HUSBAND: Yeah, hang on. Hey, Mike, come on in here. Diane, Mike and I figured it out.
DIANE: Figured what out?
HUSBAND: A way out of this financial mess.
DIANE: No, we already found a way, honey, we’re watching our spending, we’re adding to our savings every month. Remember?
HUSBAND: OK, OK, but let me add a wrinkle. The whole savings idea is great, but the Fed just locked interest rates because it’s time to spend.
HUSBAND: Sweetie, consumer spending is what drives our economy — you’re being un-American.
DIANE: I’m unemployed. That’s about as American as you can get these days.
MIKE: Did you tell her?
HUSBAND: I was just about to. All right, Diane, picture this. We are building a giant mattress.
DIANE: Come again?
HUSBAND: Giant mattress.
MIKE: Remember how during the Great Depression, the banks would say to put your money in? So where did they keep all their money? In a giant mattress!
DIANE: Oh, OK, you bought a giant mattress
HUSBAND: No, silly head, you can’t just buy a giant mattress. It’s not even online. We’re going to build it.
DIANE: Out of what?
HUSBAND: Seven thousand pounds of padding, 30,000 yards of fabric, and all the springs I could get from an abandoned pogo stick factory.
DIANE: OK, what did you use to buy all this?
HUSBAND: Oh just all our credit cards, savings and bonds, and my coin collection and Mike’s kidney money.
MIKE: I’m just glad it went toward a sound investment.
HUSBAND: Hang in there, Mike. Then we put anything we own that’s worth anything into the mattress. Our house, our car, the kids braces.
DIANE: They’re still attached to the kids honey.
HUSBAND: Well, they’ll go in, too — we’ll all go in!
MIKE: Along with the flatscreen TV and the pizza oven we bought to keep us living in mattressy comfort until this all boils over.
DIANE: Oh, Mike’s coming too?
MIKE: Sure am!
DIANE: OK, all right honey, before I hit you in the head with a frying pan — and I will hit you with a frying pan — but before I do, how exactly does spending all of our money solve all of our financial problems?
HUSBAND: I didn’t spend it all so much as invest it — in mattress futures. Our mattress future. Eating delicious brick-oven pizza and watching season two of Dr. Who while encased in 10 feet of soft posturepedic padding to protect us from a financial world gone crazy.
DIANE: Sweetheart, you’ve gone round the bend.
MIKE: I thought it was cool.
DIANE: But you’re a moron.
DIANE: All right, we’ll do your plan, but let me add a wrinkle: we don’t do your plan.
DIANE: Listen to me, first you’re going to return everything.
DIANE: Everything except season two of Dr. Who. Then, we’ll order a pizza and we’ll sit on our perfectly soft and comfortable couch
that I don’t want to sit inside of, and discuss any future investments.
HUSBAND: So, you don’t even want to consider panicking?
DIANE: Maybe later.
MIKE: I was really looking forward to moving in with you guys.
HUSBAND: Maybe you still can Mike. Honey?
DIANE: I’m getting the frying pan.
HUSBAND: Mike, run.
DAVID BRANCACCIO: Our Mattress Futures sketch was written, performed and produced by Live Wire! Radio in Portland, Oregon.
We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.
Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.
In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.
Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.