Posted by: endithinks | November 28, 2010

Three Days, Three Visits

This last Friday November 26, 2010 was the largest recorded sales day in the past fifteen years according to various sources that measure just how much we consume in our never ending quest to replace affection with material goods.  An estimated 200 million Americans were out and about shopping for the upcoming holidays, almost two thirds of the entire United States and I was among them, three times.

Visiting my girlfriend’s parent’s house for Thanksgiving in a nearby town to my own hometown always brings back some interesting memories about my childhood.  Thankfully they are ninety nine percent good ones, with most of them bringing amusement or a bit of 20/20.  We spent the week relaxing, eating, and watching a TV that has seen better days as its expected two year lifespan had eclipsed a year ago.  I could go into the problems with making products artificially fragile and short on purpose to drive the purchase of another equally short fragile product, but that is an essay in itself.  Long story short, making sub par products drives away business not bring it in.

On Black Friday we headed to the Silverdale Mall, my stomping grounds in my teen years, and we took place in the rush for savings and products.  The funny thing was, the rush was well oiled and very polite.  As far as rushes and mad dashes go it was a surprisingly pleasant experience.

I’ve had Black Friday experiences that would chill your soul.  I’ve seen the avarice and greed of people surface and explode in passionate throws.  I’ve even seen a man grab a toy, a “Tickle Me Elmo,” from an elderly grandma and rush to the front of the store and slam down a twenty dollar bill and run out of the store screaming to keep the change at the nodding an understanding store clerk.  Funny thing is the rest of the crowd not only did not comfort the woman, but actively hectored her about how she had let that “snake” get the last Elmo.

This year it was almost as if the air conditioning was mixed with Soma.  The crowd was not hurried or harassed.  They were simply browsing with the shopping lists on their iPhones and scraps of paper.  There eyes never wandered or fell for the flashy schemes ad showmanship of sales and discounts.  Everyone had a shopping agenda.  Mall Rats be damned.

Friday was orchestrated by the numerous sales and discounts that were plastered in our in boxes and posts.  People were conveyor belted through the hallways checking off the deals as they purchased early for their family and friends.  The food court was eerily empty except for the overly anxious Cinnabon lover and the ever present teens who rested their feet before they strutted off again.  The mall was packed, but felt like a friendly gathering where everyone knew each other.

The next two days the malls were back to their normal levels, but everyone was spending big amounts.  Every baby buggy had presents and bags with the baby hitched to the back, on a leash or crooked in an arm.  The in mall restaurant “Hales” was slammed as people ignored the overly priced cheap fair of the food court and paid the price for food that will leave only the feeling of satisfaction instead of a screwdriver in the gullet.

This weekend saw almost 45 Billion dollars spent according to the LA Times article linked earlier and most of that was spent at Best Buy.  I kid, but honestly the purchases were heavy on the electronics as per usual for holiday shopping and most of the “get them in the door” sales were for Laptops, PCs, TVs, and every video game system and a few that don’t even exist yet.  We are spending so much even with people constantly talking about our economy being in the tank.  I think the economy is actually more in balance now than it has been in such a long time.

In the world economy that is more and more connected we cannot expect everyone to have work if we continue to expect our consumption of material goods to be the main driver of our economy.  We simply do not support enough of our own workers as the price is the main determinant in a purchase for most people.  Prices are set by the profit margin desired and the cost of the product getting to the shelf.  American made products have a larger profit margin and a higher price to shelf if you take into account just the material goods, and labor costs.  Unfortunately, most people do not take these considerations into account and buy the product with the highest quality for the lowest price they can find.

We are seeing an economy that is more in line with our behavior.  There is a saying, “You reap what you sow,” and we have been sowing cheaper goods and cheaper goods and cheaper goods.  We were naive in thinking that we could continue our behavior and not harvest the results.  What we need to do is refocus on economy on what we are truly good at, services, ideas, education and engineering.  We need to educate and educate in order to remain viable.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: