I ask because a big part of the news coverage this holiday season, as it was last year, was how our retail economy is faring in a generally bad economy. And while I don't know anyone personally who's forcibly unemployed, I'm sure that people I know DO know such folks, as you might. So, with all of that going on, the media has been highlighting every trend in retail sales since Thanksgiving, trying to divine some meaning that will tell us where the economy is headed.
And today's morning news coverage spoke volumes about how fragile this economy has become as retailers all along the east coast suffered because of the wintry blast that dumped feet or at least many inches of snow on major cities. But what I didn't see is any mention of a corresponding jump in retail sales by homebound shoppers looking to check off their shopping list.
I actually had a customer once who ran a family-owned business and surrendered the child-rearing and housekeeping duties to her husband. When the seasonal subject of Christmas shopping arose she sighed and said, "My children don't get anything for Christmas that cannot be bought online." And she meant it, as well as her own emotions, as that meant that there would never be anything that could not be shipped, so no ponies or anything absurdly large. And that also meant that there would be nothing unique that she would simply encounter by chance in a store on a side street where she was forced to park.
Kinda takes the fun out of it, don't you think?
For my part, we do some shopping online every year, although the amount varies from year to year. And in some years we have to shop online for the Colorado branch of our family, as there are retail establishments, restaurants and such that we simply don't have in Kentucky, so if you want to buy from them, that's the only way. But for the most part it works, stuff is in stock, they'll gift-wrap your items and the shipping is often free. But most importantly for me the lines are a hell of a lot shorter than at the traditional bricks-and-mortar store locations.
So I don't think I'll be following the lead of my former customer, but if you're already there, good for you, as you've injected a little more efficiency into the process. Unless you simply can't stop shopping, which means you now have about eighty hours until Christmas.....