The Times West Virginian

Opinion

November 24, 2013

Ready for some robust Christmas shopping?

Well, Christmas is coming, and the goose is getting fat.

Maybe not too fat. The goose may be a little thin these days. With all that’s going on right now — recovering from a government shutdown, furloughs, a budget battle — people don’t really feel good about the economy. And when people don’t feel good about the economy, retailers worry.

They worry so much that Black Friday is spilling over to Thanksgiving Day, even earlier this year. Major box stores are offering can’t-be-beat sales as early as 6 p.m. and promising customers that they will get that coveted item if they stand in line, or will guarantee the item will be shipped to them before Christmas.

“The earlier times, competitive deals and spike in ‘guaranteed’ products signify retailers pulling out all the stops to bring in more customers, as they enter a shorter shopping season with more wary shoppers,” Annika McGinnis of USA Today writes.

So will extending Black Friday and pulling people into the stores work? After all, consumer confidence is at its lowest since 2011.

Probably.

“Confidence gauges only reflect what people say about how they think they feel,” Justin Lahart of the Wall Street Journal writes. “Other more tangible forces suggest spending through the end of the year should be robust.”

Other tangible forces. We are consumers after all. We spend. We give. We buy. We love to save. We’ll spend twice as much to save a little. With six fewer days to Christmas this season than last year following Thanksgiving, it could be that shoppers will get in a frenzy and prove they are confident after all, especially when it comes to getting Johnny and Suzie the gift they’ve been asking for all year.

We wanted to know just how confident our readers were about shopping this holiday season, so we asked, as we often do, on our online poll, which can be found at www.timeswv.com.

Last week, we asked our readers, “How would you describe how much you plan to spend on Christmas shopping this year?” And here is what you had to say:

• Santa, baby — I’m getting great deals on Black Friday and will be shopping the sales all season — 3.7 percent.

• George Bailey — I always worry, but in the end the most important thing is time with family — 46.91 percent.

• Scrooge — Things have been tough this year so I’m paring down — 49.38 percent.

That’s what readers said last week. Time will tell, as the kickoff to be holiday shopping season begins in five short days. Or four, if you plan on shopping right after turkey.

And speaking of turkey, let’s talk about that this week. Many are upset that stores are staying open on the holiday this year, meaning employees can’t spend the day with their families. Where do you stand on the issue?

Log on. Vote. Email me or respond online.

Misty Poe

Managing Editor

mpoe@timeswv.com

@MistyPoeTWV

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