Home » alcohol sin stocks » Sloth and envy: How Labor Day contributes to sin stocks

In just a couple of days, employees around America will put down their pens and nametags (and whatever other things they use for work) and they will celebrate a long weekend called “Labor Day” with hotdogs, sun screen, and beer.

Labor Day was introduced as a federal holiday in 1894 as a celebration of the contribution workers make to the American economy. Parades and speeches were intended to raise the spirits of the hard-working men and women (well, mostly men at the time, I guess).

Today, things have changed and Labor Day has evolved to become a celebration of sloth and envy (hey, I’m not complaining!).


Labor Day celebrates sloth because it’s often considered the last day of summer. The kids think about going back to school (unless you live in a jurisdiction where the kids are already in school — suckers!), you enjoy a day off of work. And you put away your white clothes until the next summer season (unless you are an arctic commando — then it’s still fashionable to wear white after Labor Day).

Here’s a movie reference that discusses the in-depth question of wearing white after Labor Day…

Because Labor Day is popularly considered the last day of summer, and it’s the third day of a long weekend, Labor Day has sort of become a bloated “Labor Day Weekend” event with various sloth-encouraging activities like sleeping in, eating too much barbecue, drinking too much beer, wearing ill-fitting clothes, and getting too much sun… and perhaps one last weekend of debauchery for students who will be leaving for college soon.

There are the requisite sloth-related purchases that come with an anticipation of Labor Day: More beer, more sun screen, more Doritos… and then a lot of sitting around and listening to summer music (mostly The Eagles and Def Leppard) while you drink beer from a can and cool your feet in a kiddie pool.

I tried to find some studies about the economic impact of a 3 day weekend and this one seemed quite positive although it didn’t discuss what I believe is an even bigger (positive) impact of what people would spend to enjoy “the last weekend of summer”.

I did find another interesting statistic, buried deep inside an article that was focused on St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco De Mayo: Beer consumption peaks during the summer around 19 million barrels (or so) a month during the summer months and then declining to about 15 million barrels in the fall, winter, and spring.


Labor Day has also become a weekend of envy. Specifically, it’s considered one of the larger retail shopping days of the year (behind Black Friday, of course) and envy drives a lot of purchases — either you envy a product someone else owns or you want someone to envy you for a product you own. Either way, envy drives ownership and ownership drives shopping and shopping drives retails results.

So if people are feeling “spendy”, then they’ll be out shopping and the impact to retail stocks could drive quarterly stock prices higher. (Yes, I realize that retail stocks aren’t specifically sin stocks in the strictest definition of “sin stocks” but if you think of retail stocks as envy sin stocks then you can include them… and why NOT think of retail stocks as envy stocks???).

(It’s funny to me that Labor Day was meant to be a holiday for the worker and yet retailers will require their staff to work on this day because of the amount of shopping that people do. And since retail has one of the largest percentages of national employment, this “workers’ holiday” has become a “non-retail workers’ holiday”.)


If you think beer consumption is going up this weekend then alcohol sin stocks should be on your radar. If you think retail sales will be up this weekend then retail stocks should be on your radar.


Nothing on this site is a recommendation because, hey, I can't read your mind and I don't know what you have in your portfolio, and I'm not a licensed financial advisor. So never EVER trade without doing your due diligence. If you want more information about this fascinating topic, please check out the Sin Stocks Disclaimer page which basically says the same thing but more emphatically.