As I stood in line, rummaging through my bag in an effort to scrounge up enough change to buy a cup of coffee, a story in the newspaper caught my eye. The headline read, “Study: One in five in PitCo barely making ends meet”.
My immediate reaction was to think that the study was flawed. Only one in five? It seemed like a sampling of the very coffee shop I occupied would produce a statistic closer to nine in ten. However, without having read the article – I was still trying to piece together $1.25 for a coffee – I thought that the headline could possibly be true, given a slight modification.
For example, “Study: One in five PitCo Doctors barely making ends meet,” or, “Study: One in five PitCo trust fund recipients barely making ends meet”, or, (this is the last one, I promise), “Study: One in five in PitCo with three or more jobs barely making ends meet.” Such headlines would have made more sense.
Another explanation, I suppose, would be that the statisticians conducting the study took a sampling from a random four-block section of Aspen’s West End.
Excerpt from the study
Of the forty-two West End addresses involved in the study, only five were occupied with year-round residents. Of those five, one was having trouble making ends meet. This family, who asked to remain anonymous to avoid ridicule from neighbors, said that they had recently purchased a twelve passenger Learjet, and frankly, things were tight. In fact, the family’s finances were in such shambles that they were forced to cancel a private three-month Mediterranean cruise aboard a 202-foot luxury sailing yacht. “I’m still sick over that,” the woman said, holding back tears. “I don’t know why we just can’t put it on the black AMEX and pay for it later, but my husband said ‘no’, we have to use the black AMEX to gas up the LearJet.’ Hopefully, our situation improves so we can take the trip next year, but I just don’t know.”
Still unable to accept the headline, I decided to conduct my own study. Over the course of the next few days, I spent time approaching random people on the street. “Are you making ends meet?” I’d ask. The most common reply was “barely”. In fact, only twice did someone give an answer other than “barely”. In both cases, the answer, instead of “barely”, was “no”.
Thus, I concluded my hypothesis to be true. The study was a load of crap. However, I must inform the reader, I still have not read the article, or the actual study for that matter. With three jobs, I just don’t seem to have the time.