Alan Greenspan has his indicators, but my economic barometer is based on what I like to call the "Tchotchke Index." If the economy is doing well, goes my reasoning, the quality and originality of trinkets that companies give away goes up. Take, for example, one giveaway I got at a launch party back in '99: A navy blue Polartec fleece hat with bright orange horns sticking out all over it. Warm and visually distinctive, I would give it a 9 on the Index.
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