Monday, November 17, 2014

The Rise and Fall of the Mobile Home Empire

The following chart shows the 5-year moving average of manufactured and mobile home dealer employment per capita. There is an exponential trend line in red and a blue area that shows, well, you know.

Click to enlarge.

Got cardboard box? Sigh.

July 7, 2004
The Onion: D.C. Site Of First Homeless Depot

"We've got some very interesting offerings in the cardboard division," Alberts said, gesturing toward a 200-foot-long aisle of appliance boxes. "Now, it used to be that, in order to get a refrigerator box, you had to search high and low, with no guarantee you'd ever strike gold. No longer. We sell our top-of-the-line, Kenmore 25.5 cubic foot double-door refrigerator boxes right here, only $4.79 each."

Alberts added that, while much of the store's inventory is available curbside at no cost, customers should be willing to pay for quality and availability.

"Our sheets of corrugated cardboard are coated with a polymer that will withstand intense rain and snow," Alberts said. "It may cost more than something you'd find on the curb, but we guarantee that a temporary shelter built from our products will provide you with several months' protection from the elements. That's the Homeless Depot promise."

That's what makes The Onion America's finest news source. It wouldn't be funny, in a gallows humor sort of way, if its underlying message wasn't at least partially true.

Source Data:
BLS: CES Databases
St. Louis Fed: Population


Unknown said...

The sad part is that the banks will start providing 30 year mortgages on the cardboard boxes and then sell them as AAA-rated securities to the pension funds.

Stagflationary Mark said...


You've clearly been paying attention!

Nicely put. Sigh.

dearieme said...

When I first saw the American expression "big box store" I wondered about the source of demand for big boxes. The matter is now resolved to my satisfaction.

Stagflationary Mark said...


Cardboard Box Cities are popping up all over. The following is just one example of many.

Reporter’s Notebook: Night in ‘Cardboard Box City’ Offers Eye-Opening Look at Homelessness Close to Home