"But something is different this time and it's got people taking a pass on this dip. This time the decline feels more like the 2007 to 2009 period where buying stocks on the way down just meant you were going to lose money," Cramer said. (Tweet This)
Meaning, for the longest time, the best strategy of the era has been to wait for the stock of a company that you like to come down to a bargain price and then buy it.
There have been 60 new stock lows in the S&P 500 in the past few days. That means 60 stocks where investors were annihilated if they bought them on the dips.
On top of that, there have been entire sectors that appeared to represent value but didn't. First it was coal, and then it spilled over into copper and iron. Investors who bought on the dips of those groups did nothing but watch the stocks go lower.
The contagion then spread to the oil and gas complex, including pipelines. The first time oil collapsed down to $43, many investors bought these stocks on the dip and thought they were rewarded. Now that crude is almost back to that same $43 level, oil stocks are so far below where they were the last time oil hit that level that they are now regarded as some of the most dangerous stocks out there.
Even the master limited partnerships that have been long regarded as safe havens with outsized yields have fallen apart. Some of them are down 30, 40 and 50 percent.
Next the sickness spread to the rails, brought down because they were involved in the transport of oil and coal. Then it plagued the industrials and techs, which were hit by a strong dollar and Chinese stock market.
These drastic moves have completely devastated the crowd of investors who used to buy on the dips.
The buy on the dip strategy once again failed in some of the most reliable companies on Earth on Thursday—the cable and entertainment stocks like Disney and Viacom.
As a result, investors were spooked that some of the best bouncer stocks were slammed and decided to sell many of their growth stocks.
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The only real leader on Thursday was Netflix, which Cramer referred to as the slayer of all things media. But what is good for Netflix, is good for Netflix alone unfortunately.
So with a market with new lows and no new followers, Cramer came to one conclusion: buying dips has become the equivalent of falling off a tight rope without a trampoline or safety net. It is now a symbol of complacency.
Cramer warned investors that it is time to keep cash on hand. Do not fall in love with stocks as they dip, and accept the fact that you are no longer buying a dip. (Tweet This)
"You're trying to catch a falling knife, and unless you're a butcher block, you'll have very little to show for it except bright red losses oozing from your portfolio," Cramer said.