Christmas shopping slowdown...a "bad" thing? You tell me...

in General Discussion edited January 2014
Okay, so I'm off work today and I've been here in the apartment for the better part of the day with the TV on in the background, hovering between Fox, CNN, MSNBC, local news, etc.

ALL DAY LONG I've heard about 3,000 various stories about how "we're just not shopping this year" and how this Christmas shopping season is shaping up to be "the worst in over a decade".

And every one of these stories is hanging the hook on "fear and apprehension", related to the events of September 11th.

My take is completely different (and kind of dovetails nicely with other post-9/11 behavior and mindsets we've all witnessed).

What if this Christmas shopping slowdown is a bad thing ONLY to an economist or to actual retailers?

We MAKE it a bad thing because we SAY it is.

But what about this: what if people, since September 11, have, as a whole, come to the conclusion that "hey, this ain't what it's about anyway...".

What if the nation - instead of having the raging heebie jeebies and the living crap scared out of them, as the media seems intent on portraying - are simply saying "I just want to be with the ones I love this year...".

If you've noticed, there was really no trendy, "gotta have it!" toy or gift out there this Christmas season like in years' past. No Tickle Me Elmo, no Power Ranger, no Furbie, etc.

Maybe this is the year that it dawned on millions of people that material things and fighting over mall parking lot spaces and standing in long lines and going into debt for a bunch of crap most people don't want, don't need and haven't ASKED FOR is really not what this time of year is about?

ESPECIALLY this particular time around?

I'd like to think that maybe the idea of friends, family and the true meaning of this time of year seeped through a little stronger this year and for millions of people, it's simply enough just being together and safe?

That's what I'm attributing any "slowdown" or "bad economic news" to. That's my own little reason and it sounds good to me, so I think I'm going to stick with it.

Merry Christmas, everybody.


  • Reply 1 of 14
    The "gotta have it" toy this year is a DVD player -- they've been selling like gangbusters.

    Yhe shopping slowdown is seen as a "bad" thing because with manufacturing and tech spending in the toilet, consumer spending was almost singlehandedly keeping things going there for a while. Still the conventional wisdom (whatever that's worth) is that the economy will perk up in mid-2002.

    I think you're right, though ... it's clear people are "cocooning" at home this year ... and that's not a bad thing
  • Reply 2 of 14
    emaneman Posts: 7,204member
    I don't see what everyone's talking about. This weekened I wanted to go to two malls and I couldn't even get near them. There wasn't any spots anywhere in the parking lots.
  • Reply 3 of 14
    It may have been a slower season but that's only because it was a shorter one. And that's good too. EmAn's right. The mall's have been insane the last few weeks. Maybe there was a trend away from consumerism this year in the overall numbers. I don't think it's as pronounced as some imagine it to be.
  • Reply 4 of 14
    fran441fran441 Posts: 3,715member
    [quote]It may have been a slower season but that's only because it was a shorter one.<hr></blockquote>

    I'm not sure what you mean. :confused:

    This year's 'shopping season' was a day longer than last year's.
  • Reply 5 of 14
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member
    What benefits stockholders is often at odds with what benefits consumers. Prescription drug prices, oil prices, liquid spending, margins, etc.
  • Reply 6 of 14
    [quote]Originally posted by Fran441:


    I'm not sure what you mean. :confused:


    People got started later.
  • Reply 7 of 14
    My family didnt spend a cent for Christmas - its not about materialistic ownership.
  • Reply 8 of 14
    [quote]Originally posted by EmAn:

    <strong>I don't see what everyone's talking about. This weekened I wanted to go to two malls and I couldn't even get near them. There wasn't any spots anywhere in the parking lots.</strong><hr></blockquote>

    Holiday-season retail sales will probably rise less than 1 percent over last year. That would be the smallest rise in more than 10 years. Clothing retailers are offering ridiculous markdowns because they're scared out of their wits.

    <a href=""; target="_blank">Xmas Weekend Sales Weak for Retailers</a>
  • Reply 9 of 14
    murbotmurbot Posts: 5,262member
    I know in our family anyway, we're thinking along the same lines as pscates. I'm not saying it's directly because of the events of 9/11, but we all cut our spending way down this year.

    We ended up basically buying one nice little gift for everyone, and just tried our best to enjoy our time together. I honestly get so tired of buying so much for people and going into debt just because it's Christmas. It's like a contest for some people. You only bought mom and dad that much? Well, I got them THIS....

    We went for practical things. We got a really cool toaster. I some great pants, shirts, and a cool pair of shoes. Nothing extravagant, but all things that will actually get used.

    I have a feeling a lot of people went the same way this year. Then again, by the looks of the mall parking lots, maybe I'm completely off...

    [ 12-25-2001: Message edited by: murbot ]</p>
  • Reply 10 of 14
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    The economy works when money changes hands. The more the's not about materialism, per se, just the fact that when you and the rest of the country shops, the entire nation will probably be better off financially...and emotionally.

    And when people aren't being laid off and getting anough money to feed their children and purchase some gifts, that's when they are most happy. If Christmas is about joy and love and all that fuzzy stuff, consumer spending is a plus.

    Heck, speaking of materialism, we're posting in a forum devoted to a corporation and its products...

    It's not like Sept.11 changed a whole lot for the economy. The economy had been in freefall ever since last October. In fact, Sept. 11's events sent defense contractor business sky-high. And don't think tech companies aren't gaining from this either. How do you control a smart bomb...with software and hardware...Open up any of the large munitions and you'll see Motorola, Intel, IBM, Texas Instruments logos all over.

    Bio-tech isn't doing too badly either...If you look at any extended plots of the DJIA and NASDAQ, you will see that where we are at right now is more or less in line with where we should be as far as linear growth is concerned.
  • Reply 11 of 14
    pscatespscates Posts: 5,847member
    Right, but I'm not swinging for the economics professor angle here.

    It just seems to me (and I know several cases firsthand) of people having the MEANS and all to participate, but they've actually said "you know, I'm not doing that this's about more than that" or some variation on that.

    Yes, I know it's bad when people AREN'T spending and buying is down and all. That's obvious.

    My whole take, however, is that I think it's down NOT because people are broke OR are scared shitless to go shopping.

    Everyone I know has the money and aren't scared of anything. They simply "don't feel like it" this year.

    It struck them as a bit hollow and trivial.

    That's been my experience and observation anyway.
  • Reply 12 of 14
    pscatespscates Posts: 5,847member
    By all accounts, my family and friends back home (and myself, as well...even though I'm 3,000 miles away) had the most genuinely enjoyable and fulfilling Christmas in a LONG time.

    I was on the phone with the family several times today and everyone completely toned down, set aside the whole "well, they got him that, so we have to buy her this!" bullcrap and just bought small, simple and MEANINGFUL gifts for those they're very close to (if anything at all) and just simply enjoyed being all together, happy and as a family.

    Just got off the phone with my best friend in Nashville and its the exact same way with hime and his whole family. I asked him "what did you get?" and he was like "nothing to speak of, really...and I don't really care either!"

    [ 12-25-2001: Message edited by: pscates ]</p>
  • Reply 13 of 14
    [quote]Originally posted by pscates:

    <strong>... I asked him "what did you get?" and he was like "nothing to speak of, really...and I don't really care either!"</strong><hr></blockquote>

    Same here. I just got some gloves, a scarf, a pair of socks, a shirt and $25 cash. There are still a few gifts to go but "stuff-wise" I won't get much this year. And for me it was a great Christmas - one of the best ever. Really. I feel kind of guilty because of all those for whom this was a hard Christmas to be happy.

    [ 12-25-2001: Message edited by: roger_ramjet ]</p>
  • Reply 14 of 14
    moogsmoogs Posts: 4,296member
    'cates (calling you that reminds me of the movie 48 Hours...classic!), I'd like to think that if there was indeed a slow down this year, it was due to people waking up and realizing Christmas should never elevate commercialism over the true meaning...however I think it more likely that people are just more hard-up for cash than in previous years, and may also be afraid to go shopping in crowded malls moreso than in the past. Although it seems the mall crowds are still there in general....

    But yes, assuming your theory to be correct, it would be a GOOD thing in my mind. Economy be damned...some things (not many, but some) are more important.
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