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Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Christmas Wrap-Up..10 more days of Christmas, Deals Galore and Nervous Merchants

Christmas is over..  and what fun that was..

Or is it?   More on that later..

We can't honestly remember much of the 25th but we're sure it was fun..

We know.. that is Sooo much a 'drunk person' type answer but we swear.. not one sip of hooch; not one bit blotto..

It just didn't stand out much in a positive way.. felt too much like a 'Wednesday'
Something about a specific day being hyped n' Hyped n' HYPED for weeks n' Weeks 'n WEEKS and then pretty much culminating in a 24-36 hour period

In actuality for those who either celebrate the religious or festive aspect of Christmas, the holiday is not meant to be celebrated in one day but rather in 12 i.e. the "Twelve" Days of Christmas..

People often forget than in their rush to get to next Tues night to celebrate the 60-90 seconds which signify New Years' Eve.

But we didn't..  And after a Christmas filled mostly with sleep and napping, the real fun began:  the post Christmas sales.
If anyone tries to tell you this holiday season was another retail success story, they are absolute liars.

Beyond the fact that corporate retailer basically sabotaged themselves by starting Black Friday on Thursday and treated 'Cyber Monday' as a week-long event...

 According to CNBC, shopping traffic for the week ending Dec. 22—which included the crucial final weekend before Christmas—was down 21.2% year over year.

The first two weeks of December saw double-digit decreases, which trailed a 4 % decline over Black Friday weekend..  In-store sales also fell 3.1% from the same week in 2012
And the retail shopping trackers will of course revise the stats at the last moment to show positives..  And the retailers will blame it all on weather as if 2013 was the first year that ever saw snowfall or cold temperatures in December..

And worse comes to worse, they'll say not to forget the day after Christmas shopping which is a 'big' day when all those gift cards get used..  etc... etc...

We can't say for certain that Dec 26th is a kick-ass day for the merchants but it sure is for the smart Christmas shopper...

Because we knew we'd be celebrating a 12 day Festival, we did our Christmas decoration shopping on Thursday..  Got everything 50% off..
Price was so good, we bought not one.. not two.. but three Christmas trees...  Some to enjoy now and Christmas 2014.. and at least one or two to sell this coming November at 25% off and still make a little something...

We stocked up on everything.. Trees, lights, wrapping paper, ornaments, etc..

Its funny.. when we went to Wal Mart late Monday evening the 23rd we compiled a list of everything we wanted and had we purchased it then, we would have paid 100% the retail price.

Two days later and every single thing we wanted was still there and saved a bundle..  We're sure Wal-Mart still made a profit but it certainly wasn't much..
And if that's what the retailers are hoping for to salvage this holiday season, they are genuinely going to be in a world of hurt.

Its common for stores to overstock with merchandise but this is really the first Christmas season since the 2008 crash where the lack of finances are really starting to catch up to people..

Can't tell you how many people we knew who had to wait till literally the last day or so before Christmas to do their purchasing because that's when the bonus check or last paycheck arrived.

And goodness knows the stores tried all the tricks.. the Buy 17, get one 10% off games..  The 12-20 week layaway plans..  The 'Free shipping when you spend a gazillion dollars' deals..
The problem with people is in terms of gift giving, they celebrate Christmas on the wrong day.   On the 25th, celebrate the birth of Jesus if that's your faith..  

But the presents for kith, kin and the kiddies should be done on the 27th if people had a nugget of practicality in their cabezas.

Yes we know.. we know.. the presents symbolize the gifts the 3 Wise Men presented upon the discovery of the birth of Jesus..

That's why Christmas morning you give each other the 'gift' of love, respect, inclusion in your life and opening your arms and hearts to those you normally wouldn't bother thinking about the rest of the time..
The Superman DVDs and Duck Dynasty posters can be given later..

So who are the retail 'winners' and 'losers'?

Well.. honestly who really cares unless you own stock in those businesses..

We do know Target suffered from its bungling of protecting its credit and debit card security data..  We visited our local Target on Friday night, December 20th around 7p..  The parking lot was 1/4th empty...

We had to return some items.. there was no wait.
Sure was a wait to get on the phone to cancel those debit cards though..  We were on hold for 85 minutes late Friday afternoon.. This was after wasting an hour at the local bank opening a new checking acct to protect funds from possibly being stolen from the data breach..

But we were lucky.. family members we spoke with were on hold for literally two full hours..

That weekend Target apologized by giving 10% off everything..  Did that work.. did it bring back shoppers?   Possibly but for every $1 million in merchandise it sold, it took a loss of $100k ($50k for RedCard holders)

And the lawsuits and class actions are just forming..
But as to who 'won' or 'lost'.. who cares?  You'll know a business lost when it closes its doors, ends its lease early and/or files for bankruptcy thus making your gift cards to that business effectively worthless.

JC Penney is in a world of hurt..  Sears/K-Mart as well.. Will they survive 2014?  Who knows..

The sales this year not counting holiday closeouts were pretty pitiful and even more controlled and manipulated than ever before...

But that for us is a worry for another day.. time to decorate the tree, wrap the presents and celebrate Days 3-5 of the Christmas season..
And Day 6 i.e. Monday is looking to be a real Doozy...

Thanks to your continued loyal support, A&G will hit the 4 million page views mark by early Monday morning..   For a 100% free, non-advertisement site the achievement is simply monumental

What a wonderful Christmas gift you've given us at A&G....

So early thank yous and see you all on Monday :)