A couple of weeks ago I reacted harshly when Philips, purveyor of high-end goggleboxes and hairdryers, blamed ‘poor consumer sentiment’ for the company’s disappointing results. Now, British economists are expressing ‘fears for consumer confidence’ following the July 7 bombings in London. ‘Some people may feel that conspicuous consumption is not appropriate at a time of national tragedy said one economist in today’s Guardian. An upbeat colleague anticipated that “the reaction of the UK consumer will, after an initial nervous reaction, be to carry on as normal’. Confident? Normal? It’s a hot day, so I won’t labour the point: Conspicuous consumption is not ‘normal’, it’s a form of cultural madness. It’s good news, not bad, if consumer sentiment is moving away from the mindless purchase of stuff we don’t need.