The Holidays, Working and Shopping

I couldn’t think of a compelling headline this morning. Maybe my nerves are still frayed from yesterday’s first — and for me at least, last — holiday shopping excursion of the year to a local mall. Hey, what happened to the Great Recession? I expected a modest crowd, not a scene that resembled the finale of Braveheart.

Oh well. I guess it’s good for me to leave the mother ship on occasion and mingle with the masses. No point adding recluse to my list of personality quirks. And even being quasi-retired, I have to concede that this is one of the least productive working weeks of the year. Might as well push back from the computer, pocket the BlackBerry, silence that damn chirping sound and venture out into the real world.

And I’ll admit it. It’s kinda of fun to get swept up in the frenzy of trying to find the best possible item at the lowest possible price. Forget baseball, football and so on. Isn’t discount shopping now the great American pastime? Hey. I’m being robbed unless the price tag proclaims 50 percent off or more. Don’t you feel the same way? Woot.

But for all the merriment and mirth, holiday shopping is big business and extremely important to our economy and to jobs. The National Retail Federation estimates that we spend some $437 billion in retail sales — online and in stores — during the holidays. And that’s why last weekend’s snowstorm that brought life on the East Coast (except in the Senate) to a halt raises some big concerns for retail outlets — with maybe $2 billion in lost sales.

Hey. This year we bailed out the Wizards of Wall Street and bought a controlling interest in Government Motors on the premise that they were too big to fail. Better add holiday shopping to the list.

So c’mon folks. Let’s go for it.

And the spending on holiday gifts is good for the economy and jobs.

Are the holidays too big to fail? Clearly.

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