Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Lack of Shopping This Season

Today I'm not going to bemoan the commercialization of Christmas, or how we have to use the word 'holiday' in substitution of the various holy days we celebrate this time of year.

But, I do a lot of shopping at discount outlets for goodies to sell on Ebay and I have to say I've been shocked to see how few people are shopping at this time of year. And, those who are shopping are carrying far less parcels than they did last year.

And yet, as the government cheerfully tells us, employment is at an all-time low! What they neglect to mention is that people who used to have high-end high-paying jobs are now employed at McDonald's.

Yup! Unemployment's at an all-time low: So are our salaries.

So it's no wonder that when you walk through Macy's you can hear your footsteps echoing throughout the vast cavern of glittering holiday-themed outerwear and assorted tchochkes. However, try to elbow your way through a Dollar Tree to get a simple pack of tissue paper, and you'll find out where everyone is buying stocking stuffers this year.

Even our local outlet stores are offering additional discounts off their already low prices and many people are agreeing to forgo gifts this season. In fact, my parents, Sonosaur and I have an agreement to go out for a very elegant meal at a 5-star restaurant, instead. It makes sense for us, since we all have what we already want and need: What's the use in receiving one more sweater, one more necktie, one more Christmas ornament?

The shoppers look different, too. They have an almost haggard look about them, as if they are worn out from pinching pennies too fiercely. There are few smiling faces, no carefree swinging of bags, and a look of intense concentration as they carefully compare merchandise: "Should I spend the extra $20 for this sweater? Is it really worth the extra money?"

Perhaps as we near Christmas, we'll see a difference. But for now, there is a dearth of happy Holiday shoppers.


Anonymous said...

I think speaking in terms of economy Florida is one of the hardest hit right now, as the housing market issues have affected Florida more than a lot of other places. So what you are seeing may not be a good indicator of what the national economy looks like.

I could not tell you what the shopping feels like around here but I would imagine it is the same as normal, our shopping outlets seem to be crammed year round. I don't generally venture out to them anymore, I simply do my shopping happily from the comfort of my own home.


Jamie Dawn said...

I haven't noticed that here, but I'm one of those people who spends a lot of time at the Dollar Tree, Dollar Deals, and Walmart.
I think you meant to say that UNemployment is at an all time low.

Ed Abbey said...

I hadn't noticed. This is the time of the year when I lay low from shopping to avoid the hordes.

Paul said...

(Jamie Dawn's correct. UN...)

My first Wife and I are still employed, Praise the Lord, and are having one of the greatest shopping seasons we've ever had. Everything is fun: parking places are close, on-line vendors are quick to ship, the malls are full, everything is going smoothly. Of course, we haven't been to the Post Office yet, but...

Oh, Merry Christmas! Christmas!

The Lazy Iguana said...

I think that the shopping season will heat up late in the season. Stores will panic and start to put things on super mega sale - because excessive inventory on January 1 means that the whole retail sector is in real trouble.

BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

Good luck on Ebay. It can be tricky.

Since I shop all year long, this is a time when I slow down.

Have a good holiday.

daveawayfromhome said...

Boss announced at the 1st of the month; no Christmas Bonus this year. So I'm one of those glum types. As for government cheerfulness, they're gonna deny deny deny, at least until Jan 2009, at which point it will all be the fault of the next administration.

Advice: give gardening tools for gifts, because those may come in handy if it all goes to shit.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Daveawayfromhome, Sometimes it's weird to think how much your read my mind. I was thinking it's about time to start an old-fashioned WW2 Victory Garden!

Barbara, Thanks. I'm hoping we'll do better. This is a yucky couple of months, though.

Lazy, yeah, but retail's in trouble anyway. They're already announcing lower-than-expected sales. No one wants to officially say the "R" word yet, though.

Paul, Wonderful! Maybe some of your good fortune will rub off on ME. Merry Christmas!

Ed, You sound just like my dad. :D

Jamie Dawn, thanks for the correct and you're right - the discount stores are always full.

Ange, excellent point about Florida. Thanks.