Recession? What Recession?

On the weekend, I stopped into a few shops to pick up a couple of Christmas gifts. On most of my trips, I was totally on a mission:  knew what I wanted, picked it up, paid and got out.

However, I was in these places long enough to see how crazy busy the stores are. Maybe I haven’t been in a store for a long time? Still, it seemed to me there were a lot of people out, some frayed nerves, and an awful lot of shopping bags. There was one store I went to without a mission. They had sent me a 15% coupon to use for the month of November, as a birthday present. It’s not my favourite store, but my girls both love it. Thought I’d cruise around to see if there were any reasonable stocking stuffers.

I just left with sticker shock, even with my 15% off coupon. Still, there was a very long line-up of people (primarily young women) waiting to pay for their purchases. As I walked down the street to hit The Bay, the street was covered with pink and blue.  Pink bags from Holt Renfrew, and blue bags from Swarovski. I get that there are lots of people with money, I just find it hard to believe that that many people have that much money.

Did you happen to see the videos or news reports from the shopping fiasco’s south of the border. One clip I saw showed shoppers being trampled as the doors opened to a store. It’s just not civilized. Why do we need to knock down, step on and injure another human being to save $10? I’m gobsmacked.

Add to that a little segment I caught on the CBC this morning.  Apparently 62 million Americans hold credit cards. This is down from 70 million a short while ago.  According to Kevin O’Leary, the banks have taken back 8 million cards. In his words “nobody gives up credit“. The average balance in the US is just shy of $5,000. Yet they’re still stampeding their fellow citizens to put more stuff on plastic?  O’Leary is worried because fewer credit cards in consumers hands means the profits of the big banks go down. The financial sector comprises about 20% of the Toronto Stock Exchange. When the banks falter, people’s investments start to dwindle too. O’Leary can likely take a hit – can we?

Perhaps we haven’t all got the message yet. Is it the holiday season that causes people to put any fiscal restraint on hold?

Next week Mr. Carney will weigh in again when he gives his update to the overnight lending rate. Experts predict there will be no change. I expect there will be no change in his heed to Canadians either: reduce your debt load, because I can’t keep rates this low forever.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by seenonflickr on November 30, 2010 at 10:46 am

    I am on the subway a lot just because of my commute – I see a LOT of those Holt Renfrew and Swarovski bags, too. (Usually held by people who look too young to have that kind of money – but who needs money when you have credit?)

    Reply

  2. I didn’t notice the “madness” here because I did my Christmas shopping mid-week, in early October mostly. lol! But I know now the malls will be absolutely insane throughout December! I’m sooo glad i’m done with my shopping! And.. *none* of my Christmas is sitting on my cc! Woot!!

    Reply

  3. I have a few rules when it comes to shopping:
    1) I only shop when I have to buy something – NO BROWSING just for something to do.
    2) NEVER shop on a Friday night, Saturday or Sunday – too crowded and I detest lineups (I am fortunate as I can leave work as early as 1pm Mon. – Fri. if I need to pick something up)
    3) Pre-shop online so I know the store has the item I want and what the price is.
    Michael needed to buy a couple of things on Sunday so I tagged along. He went to Canadian Tire, Future Shop, Homesense, Winners and The Shoe Company. I bought ZIP, wasn’t even tempted. I’m on to their tricks – they can’t lure me anymore!!
    I’m sure the number of my shopping trips per year (excluding groceries) average out to maybe once a month. I have really gotten out of the habit and I’m so HAPPY!

    Reply

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