Ah, perhaps Billie the issue is all about perception? I have no doubt that you put a lovely sailboat watercolor print up for sale on the web for $15, and was offered $7. What if you would have put it up for sale for $100? Would you have been offered $50? I remember reading a story like this scenario that I am proposing. For some reason, value perception perhaps, the person increased their prices and sales increased!
Having said that, the recession has obviously hit everyone hard. A lot of small business owners who are clients of mine, really got hit hard. Lines of credits decreased, interest rates increased, and business slowdown's occurred. Besides that, prices have increased on virtually everything, even though supposidly there is no inflation.
One of those small business clients said to me, it use to be in "vogue" to own all the fancy toys and really nice things. To buy, buy, buy. Now, he said, it is vogue to see how thrifty you can be. How cheap you can get things or better yet, live without.
In closing, I don't think American's are cheap, I think they are just being frugal. They got knocked up the side of their heads and "woke up", now they are being more wiser in their selections on how, when and what they spend their money on.