Posted by: nickgerlich | November 8, 2007

Back In Black

Yesterday was a bad day. As one of my students pointed out, there was a Triple Play of bad news: The Dow dropped 360 points, General Motors posted a $39 billion loss in the 3Q, and the US$ continued to sag against the Euro and other currencies.

OK, let’s make that a Grand Slam of bad news: Oil continued to get eerily close to $100 per barrel.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. From the sound of things, the turkey may be the lucky one this month.

And speaking of Thanksgiving: Retailers are suddenly very concerned about their holiday sales. As some Retailing texts point out, up to 40% of a retailer’s sales occur during the six weeks prior to Christmas. With all the gloom and doom of the past few months, it is no surprise that retailers are saying prayers as fervently as a Vegas gambler who just lost his shirt.

So here’s the big question: Can we buy our way out of this slump?

Black FridayAs we all know, the day after Thanksgiving is Black Friday, the traditional kickoff to the holiday shopping season. It’s retailing on steroids and shoppers on speed, as both parties seek to get the most bang for their buck.

But things are different today than they were 15 years ago. If you can’t wait to see what ads will be in your Thanksgiving newspaper, simply jump over to BlackFriday.info, where you can get a sneak peak at what’s going to be on sale at 5am that glorious day. (And if this is not enough, simply Google “black friday ads” and see what comes up.)

Ad inserts are smuggled out of printshops, scanned, and posted to the internet weeks before their release (or, if you subscribe to conspiracy theories, were they purposely leaked by worried retailers?). With the economy in a weakened state, there may never have been a better time to buy a large flat panel TV than this Christmas season.

My philosophy (and it’s always easy for someone in my seat to philosophize) is that a soft economy is great for anyone with discretionary cash laying around. Bargains abound, waiting to be scooped up by cash-rich vultures circling overhead waiting for dinner to die. The only problem is that I cannot figure out if I am the diner or dinner.

Will the shoppers come through in the clutch and save the day (and the economy)? Or will we stay home, drop a few people from our shopping list, and be content with our old TV? Time will tell.

But until then, I can at least dream. I’m going to look through all those ads just the same. You never know. My ship could come in between now and then.

Dr “Not Counting On It” Gerlich

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