I was talking to a friend who works at Microsoft and he told me that starting January 1st, Microsoft has offered employees a choice within its benefits package that is both unusual and potentially interesting when it comes to the economy. This year they are letting staff either sign up for a health club membership as usual (this was part of the old package) or they can spend up to $800 on something like a bike or a kayak. Anything in fact that will be good for your health and Microsoft will pay them back. I believe Microsoft employs some 50,000 people in the US. If all of them were to spend their $800 on leisure equipment it would have quite an impact on the sales of Bike and athletic stores. It makes me wonder what would happen if all the major employers in the US were to re-look at benefits and do something similar.