The Pressed-Meat Parachute

Apparently the hot dog business is recession-proof. This according to a story in Thursday's Wall Street Journal that tells of folks across the porky plains either hanging 'em up to become hot dog vendors or using it as a back-up plan after getting laid off, Madoffed, or otherwise financially screwed by the economy.

The story states says the frankfooter peddling racket is huge: "Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, Americans typically consume seven billion hot dogs, according to the American Meat Institute's National Hot Dog & Sausage Council." And while dogs might be on every other corner in New York, it's not always the case with less of a, shall we say, meaty history. And Lou Di Raimondo, the new (and self-appointed) hot dog king of Miami knows it. So do the proprieters of the newly minted "Big Lou's" in Texas. One 75-year old codger waiting on line for Chicago-style dog at Big Lou's quipped that before the cart showed up, "you could find a flying frog easier than a hot-dog stand."

So the half-pork-half-beef-lining of this market maelstrom? Vending cart sales are up. Way up. One vending-cart sales guy in Florida reported moving 150 percent more carts this year over last year (there is a 25 percent increase overall nationwide).

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