Oh, poor dear old baby Jesus. He might not sleep easy in his manger this holiday season - the retail forecast is so bad. He might have to get a job as a night stocker in Best Buy - which apparently is wishful thinking if you read this.
Look, I went to an outlet mall this weekend, in the hopes of finding some new shoes - combing my local thrifts has not yielded a thing lately - and also to do some Christmas shopping. And what I found was hordes of people huffing around in their puffy winter coats, dragging their screaming, fed-up children into the Gap where they commenced to blitzing a display of folded jewel-tone sweaters like a starving mob in waiting for a food aid dump. There were people circling in cars for good spots. The local food shops were full of slobbering post-shopping lunchers. Even the frickin Waterford Crystal/Wedgewood outlet was jammed to the hilt - come on!
People are still gonna shop for the damn holidays. Feeling cheap and guilty around one's immediate families is worse than feeling broke.
Every year, the local news outlets do the same "on the scene" report at a nearby mall, standing by an escalator as shoppers toting multiple bags gawk or hustle past, with the thrust of the story somehow becoming how sales are down, stores are hurting, poor little Bob Cratchit is going to be lucky if he scores a few packs of ramen, never mind chestnuts, black puddings and ham.
If you watch the news or read the papers, you'd think that scads of harassed store managers would be falling en masse from the nearest skyscraper. But somehow, whenever I go to shop retail during November-December, the stores are packed, the "doorbuster" deals abound, the staff seem exhausted, there's no place to park and I'm as crabby about holiday consumerism as ever.