Friday, November 13, 2015

1554 What Day is It Again?

1554 What Day is It Again?

It’s Friday the 13th, and a very special day: Black Friday.  But wait.  Isn’t Black Friday the day after Thanksgiving?  

Yes.

So does that mean we’ve already had Thanksgiving and some of us slept through it? Missed all the fun of family fights?  Burning a turkey or serving it raw? Hiding the uneaten cranberry sauce amid bones on the plate?  Secretly feeding the dog from the table? (They always know who to ask first.) Falling asleep in the least comfortable chair in the living room? Getting reamed after everyone’s gone for “being nasty to Uncle Ed?” while you’re cleaning up?

No.  

So, what’s with Black Friday?  Why, the usual manifest destiny that happens to almost all events.  Black Friday sales have been going on for awhile now, including on days that aren’t even a Friday.

Early starts and expanded sales are not a good sign.  Well, maybe for you, but not for the retailers.

Macy’s, almost everyone’s favorite Christmastime store, says it has a lot of merchandise on hand; stuff that didn’t sell over the summer and fall.

Wal-mart worries aloud about sales and is beefing up its loss leaders… those items it sells at a loss to get people in the doors.  And they’re considering something that has never occurred to any of its company higher-ups, ever:  getting the checkout done in less that forever.  (If they come up with a way now, why didn’t they do it 20 years ago?)

Retail stocks are taking a hit.  That means investment computers “think” sales will be flat or perhaps even (shudder) down this holiday season even if floor traffic is up.  

And as everyone knows with sales-per-square-foot only big increases count.

But it’s not just the in-person retailers that appear to be panicking.  It’s the catalogers, shopping channels and internet sites, too.

Catalogs are almost quaint these days.  But you’ll still get plenty, often from companies that you never heard of, but who’ve rented your name address from someone you once patronized even if it was back in the 1980s.

Fruit vendors, geegaw vendors, clothing companies.  You name it… the catalogs will be in your mailbox.  And your email box will get regular updates from every retailer on the planet, most of which you’ll zap without reading.

Desperation.  Fear of a figure lower than last year.  Extra “rewards” and deep price cutting.  We’re not sheep.  We’re fish.  We take the bait even if we know  it’s just a hook covered by a flashy feather.

So happy Black Friday.  Hope you enjoyed the Thanksgiving meal.

Shrapnel:

--In Page, Arizona, on the shores of drying Lake Powell, a big truck got into an accident and spilled most of its cargo on the road. Almost 40-thousand pounds of pizza dough.  Residents from miles around flocked to the wreck carrying jars of sauce, slices of cheese, bags of pepperoni, mushrooms and anchovies and argued about the recipe as the Arizona sun baked the pie.   

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com

© WJR 2015

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