From what I have heard, purchases on Black Friday where in the millions upon millions and cyber Monday sales set new records. People were actually shown spending their hard earned cash and buying items in addition to the ones on sale! Several very cheerful consumers reported to the camera that they had more confidence in the economy and that they felt things were turning around. Make note of the fact that reporters are going out of their way to tell you people are using cash this holiday season. You should do the same! No one cares if you have had to wipe some broken piggy bank dust off of your coinage to pay for that sweater.
Could it be that in the land of milk and honey we are getting back on our feet again? Or is it all just a clever ruse portrayed by the media to make us look like we are? That of course, depends on whom you listen too. According to most of the merchants the consumer is optimistically cautious and on average spending around three hundred and sixty to three hundred and ninety dollars on Christmas; those figures a tad higher than last year. Yet in the same newscast, unless we extend unemployment benefits another 19 months, people are going to go hungry. Hmmm. New smart phone for Johnny or dinner next week?
One might get the feeling they are being played. I take a walk through the stores and they look empty to me. Shelves not nearly as stocked as one might think for this time of year, and certainly no long waits to get anything. On line, retailers despite what they say, have less in their stock rooms as well. If you didn’t order before Thanksgiving, you definitely got the olive instead of the red one, and not necessarily in the size you wanted. The good news is returns are easy on line and the receiver of your gift can return it for something they really wanted anyway!
Perhaps those consumers portrayed as “optimistic” are just having short-term memory problems. Might I remind you that prior to the election many could not find a job. The number of people who were out of work was in the millions and the chance of them finding some gainful employment was very low. If you wanted health benefits you might get a job at a LOWES or shoveling some fries to a grabbing teen out of a fast food restaurants window. The idea of a job with benefits, a future and one that actually challenged your intellect was nil. Then, lo and behold the election was over and gasp, the holiday season miraculously found us the jobs we had all been looking for.
Not one week after telling us that the Democrat running for office here in town had blown a local construction project, spending millions upon millions, the same newspaper reported that the project was right on schedule and would come in under costs in many areas. That of course after we got a new Republican governor! What gives?
Knowing the simple fact that sales and the economy are so dependent on the mood of the people should come as no shock to you. So if the media at times appears a little schizophrenic I guess we have to take that with a grain of salt. As for looking in a mirror and feeling better about the holidays and the real world around you, well, you’re on your own there; like it or not!