On November 27th I decided to go by a book from Barns & Nobles on Black Friday. I listened to NPR as I drove down the the Gateway and heard a story about all the Black Friday deals. A plasma T.V. 50% off, Blue-Ray players 60% off, Buy one pair get one free shoe sales. They even interviewed a man who had camped out side a K-Mart since 9:30 the night before.
Analysts predict a heavy turn out despite the recession, in part because there's less competition (45 retailers have gone under since last year's shopping season) and in part because of the promise of big bargains. But with unemployment in double digits will people buy or browse?
When I arrived at the Gateway to my astonishment it was not as packed as I had thought it would be. I was able to park buy my book and get out in under 20 minutes. I had been wondering how the turnout was going to be because of the recession.
More shoppers turned out for the Black Friday weekend this year, but they spent less per capita and favored lower-priced items, according to a survey by the National Retail Foundation.
The survey showed that about 195 million consumers shopped stores and Web sites, up about 13% from the 172 million who ventured out last year. But the average shopper only spent about $343, a drop of 8% from $372 last year. The NRF estimates that a total $41.2 billion was spent over the weekend, compared to $41 billion last year.
The numbers sent mixed signals to the downtrodden retail industry, which hoped its door-buster sales would motivate shoppers.
Even though the economy is evening out people are still treating it like an open soar. If someone breaks their arm or has a serious illness they are going to take things slow once they heal. That is essentially what the American population is doing right now, taking it slow. When I checked the stock market at the end of the day the DOW Jones had gone down. We have switched to the mentality of a budget crisis and a couple of deals aren't going to get us the monkey bars quite yet.