Black Friday poll: How will you spend it?

posted at 8:40 am on November 27, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week that the annual tradition of post-Thanksgiving Day shopping will be a critical moment for the retail business this year. A new survey indicates that this Black Friday will be less lucrative than 2008′s, which was no prize at all itself. The economy has not rebounded to the point where retailers can rely on free-spending shoppers to materialize at 5 am:

Black Friday marks the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season, but retailers still aren’t sure how strong a showing consumers will make.

New reports Monday didn’t paint an encouraging picture. The Conference Board released a survey of spending intentions that showed U.S. households expect to spend an average of $390 this season, down 7% from estimates of $418 last year. That number is especially distressing because consumers were unusually pessimistic last year as the financial crisis went into full swing just as holiday shopping was getting underway.

“Job losses and uncertainty about the future are making for a very frugal shopper. Retailers will need to be quite creative to entice consumers to spend, both in stores and online this holiday season,” said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center.

A separate report from retail-tracking firm NPD Group indicated consumers may not be flocking to the mall for Black Friday. Just 32% of respondents said that they expect to begin their holiday shopping on Thanksgiving weekend or earlier.

The WSJ quotes another analyst from Miller Tabak + Co as more optimistic.  Dan Greenhaus points to a rebound in the markets and a recovery of retirement plans as a motivator for shoppers to part with their cash.  The market may have rebounded, but the jobs have not.  There are 3.3 million more people not in the work force since last Black Friday, and that’s 3.3 million people less likely to be shopping for holiday bargains.  In fact, they’re probably not going to be shopping much at all, and at the rate people are losing jobs now, there will be at least 450,000 a week joining them, at least temporarily.

But that’s not the only thing that will hold people back.  Higher taxes and fees in the future, as signaled by Congress’ expansionist efforts, means people will be saving more and spending less anyway, even if they feel secure in their jobs.  The Obama administration and its allies on Capitol Hill have made it plain that they intend to hike the prices of energy, food, and health care over the coming years.  With inflation eating away at the value of their money, consumers will be less likely to spend frivolously.

As for me, I never venture out to the malls on Black Friday.  I worked too many of them as a retail employee in my youth to enjoy them as a shopper — and by “too many”, I mean five of them, which was four too many.  How about you?  Take this completely unscientific poll and see how your fellow Hot Air readers will spend today. I plan to spend it in front of the computer for a while, and then perhaps at the movie theater.  I might want to see Dances With Smurfs, er, Avatar.



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unclesmrgol on November 27, 2009 at 10:16 AM

Sorry for your loss.

Cindy Munford on November 27, 2009 at 10:42 AM

Drove back to East Coast from OK for Thanksgiving. In MO not far from Springfield, I passed a huge Tea Party sign planted along the highway. It was hand lettered with the words:
Support Freedom
Buy Ammo

Talk about a sign of the times!

Christian Conservative on November 27, 2009 at 10:30 AM

I love it! I flyfish in that area regularly and I’ve seen a number of pro-freedom/anti-Obama billboards.

flyfisher on November 27, 2009 at 10:42 AM

I am at work. There is hardly anyone here, but inevitably someone will break a computer so I have to be here.

wildcat84 on November 27, 2009 at 8:45 AM

My good friend is a CIO and you IT guys are always tethered to the job. Even though I’m off today, I feel your pain.

TxAnn56 on November 27, 2009 at 10:43 AM

wildcat84 on November 27, 2009 at 8:45 AM

Me too, Only I get to wait around in my Jammies till something breaks. It’s nice to work from Home.

-Wasteland Man.

WastelandMan on November 27, 2009 at 10:56 AM

I’m in Dallas right now, and there is a mall or two I am so tempted to hit while I am in town. But the crowds! Ach!

Sekhmet on November 27, 2009 at 10:58 AM

I’d rather have a root canal than be anywhere near a shopping mall on Black Friday. A nearby Toys-R-Us was looted by 6 AM today. People go nuts the day after Thanksgiving.

simkeith on November 27, 2009 at 11:03 AM

The only exception was when Hudson’s (in the Detroit area) sold the Santa Bear. Sometimes I would go out to get one for the collection because supplies were so small.

mechkiller_k on November 27, 2009 at 9:43 AM

The last time I was at a mall on Black Friday was when I worked at Northland Hudsons during senior year of high school in 1973. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to fight the crowds today if they don’t have to.

I’ve always been a Christmas Eve type of shopper but now I’m an on-line, while watching football type of shopper. What a great country – point/click and somebody ships it to your front door.

PatMac on November 27, 2009 at 11:06 AM

People go nuts the day after Thanksgiving.

simkeith on November 27, 2009 at 11:03 AM

I blame the development of Tofurkey.

thomasaur on November 27, 2009 at 11:07 AM

The wife went out at 4am this morning, she just got back. $2300 later.

I think I’ll take the wallet out back and put it out of its misery; poor thing.

Bishop on November 27, 2009 at 11:13 AM

Once I camped out in the freezing cold, ran through Wal-Mart and knocked over old ladies for a 52″ TV. This year I’m going to watch TV.

Ronnie on November 27, 2009 at 11:29 AM

Once I camped out in the freezing cold, ran through Wal-Mart and knocked over old ladies for a 52″ TV. This year I’m going to watch TV.

Ronnie on November 27, 2009 at 11:29 AM

That was you! I had to pick up old ladies all morning!

portlandon on November 27, 2009 at 11:38 AM

The Conference Board released a survey of spending intentions that showed U.S. households expect to spend an average of $390 this season

Um, these guys are a little of the beacon. Who has $390.00 bucks?

My entire family and extended family canceled Christmas Gifts this year. And so have most of our friends.

Today, I’m studying and painting. And reading HA of course.

dogsoldier on November 27, 2009 at 11:39 AM

My shopping consisted of going to Sam’s Club online and placing a TV for my grad school son in the cart and hitting “checkout.” It gets delivered to my door, so no gas, no crowds and free shipping. :)

Beaglemom on November 27, 2009 at 11:44 AM

Another Amazon year for me, thank you very much!

illustro on November 27, 2009 at 11:49 AM

My wife and I went to Walmart. We got the 17″ HP laptop, and the Hot Wheels jeep for the 3 year old.

paulsur on November 27, 2009 at 11:53 AM

There was a missing option in the poll — went once and vowed NEVER to go again.

GnuBreed on November 27, 2009 at 11:53 AM

It’s also Black Friday for all the ocean and river cruise lines and they’re got some incredibily great deals right now as do all the tour companies. They’re hurting too and I’m taking advantage. I think I’m going to Machu Picchu.

Knucklehead on November 27, 2009 at 11:55 AM

With the economy the way it is I don’t expect crowds anywhere but Walmart or Target here, and those places are aggravating on a normal day so no, not going today. I am only shopping for a 4 yr old grandson anyway, and I can do that online.

scalleywag on November 27, 2009 at 11:58 AM

Knucklehead on November 27, 2009 at 11:55 AM

Want a stowaway?

scalleywag on November 27, 2009 at 11:59 AM

My wife and I went to Walmart. We got the 17″ HP laptop, and the Hot Wheels jeep for the 3 year old.

paulsur on November 27, 2009 at 11:53 AM

Good Trade.

cntrlfrk on November 27, 2009 at 12:15 PM

cntrlfrk on November 27, 2009 at 12:15 PM

Niiiiiiiice.

Ronnie on November 27, 2009 at 12:18 PM

I’m flying to Las Vegas to work on my retirement account.

scrubjay on November 27, 2009 at 12:26 PM

I and the family decided not to do much this year.

50 dollar max per person. Not even going to bother with a huge christmas dinner like we usually do, that is usually prime rib and we are going to make lasanga instead.

Christmas isn’t about money to us.

Besides, we are saving our money and are looking to buy a nice 5 acres and build a new house. You can’t dream a little without holding back a little.

upinak on November 27, 2009 at 12:36 PM

Want a stowaway?

scalleywag on November 27, 2009 at 11:59 AM

You betcha! Those “single penalties” I have to pay are killing me.

Knucklehead on November 27, 2009 at 12:41 PM

I’m done shopping. I hate malls, so for the last few years, it’s mostly online shopping, and let the UPS guys do the work for me.Was going to watch Ninja Assassins with my boys today, but I think I’ll wait and check it out tomorrow.

Sanjoboy on November 27, 2009 at 12:41 PM

How about a “I work Black Friday” option? I worked the 5-10:30 shift today and had a steady stream of customers at my Auntie Anne’s in St. Louis from 6:45 on. It was as busy as any weekend lunch time which I think is a sign of good things.

sluhser589 on November 27, 2009 at 12:43 PM

sluhser589 on November 27, 2009 at 12:43 PM

working here too…. but not in sales. Besides it is snowing like heck, the roads are slick and I would rather make some money then spend it right now.

upinak on November 27, 2009 at 12:48 PM

No shopping. My younger brother died Wednesday and we gotta pay for the plot and the funeral.

unclesmrgol on November 27, 2009 at 10:16 AM

I’m so sorry. I’m praying for you and yours.

DrMagnolias on November 27, 2009 at 12:49 PM

unclesmrgol,
I am so sorry for your loss. The holidays are about the worse time of the year to lose a loved one. Prayers to you and all your family.
L

letget on November 27, 2009 at 12:54 PM

I’d rather have a root canal than be anywhere near a shopping mall on Black Friday. A nearby Toys-R-Us was looted by 6 AM today. People go nuts the day after Thanksgiving.

simkeith on November 27, 2009 at 11:03 AM

I agree with this sentiment. Fights started breaking out in my neck of the woods in overnight lines–before the stores even opened. It’s simply crazy. I never go out of the house, let alone to a store, the day after Thanksgiving.

Enoxo on November 27, 2009 at 1:07 PM

The Conference Board released a survey of spending intentions that showed U.S. households expect to spend an average of $390 this season

That is about half the amount usually quoted

On the other hand, if you are losing your home, in my neighborhood, it takes over a year to get evicted if you keep up the taxes so you are living ‘rent free’. Foreclosure means you will probably also go into bankruptcy, so you may as well shop until you drop and buy things for the new digs before they take away the credit cards.

I see a lot of this go for broke attitude, my region being in the forefront of the new economy.

This season, the stores can get a boost from the policies of their brothers the bankers, if the public stops caring

The last time I was at a mall on Black Friday was when I worked at Northland Hudsons during senior year of high school in 1973. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to fight the crowds today if they don’t have to.
PatMac on November 27, 2009 at 11:06 AM

You have awakened great nostalgia. When my parents dragged me through Northland as a kid, sometimes I got stuck between jams of shoppers and they had to yank me through. You got elbowed the whole time by people wearing bulkier winter clothes than worn today. They celebrated Christmas then with respect and joy, and the old Hudson’s was magic.

Today by Detroit it is a dispirited show. There is very little Christmas oriented material to buy. At Wally-shop the trashy Chinese made Xmas junk is relegated to a back corner. They have started playing a bit of music very low.

I have heard many people tell me the first store that brought back the old Christmas would clean up (their words). People want the spirit but the stores let you know they find the Xmas part of Xmas unpleasant.

What a conundrum. They want the Xmas money but do not want to be soiled by Xmas

entagor on November 27, 2009 at 1:24 PM

No shopping. My younger brother died Wednesday and we gotta pay for the plot and the funeral.

unclesmrgol on November 27, 2009 at 10:16 AM

Sorry unclesmrgol. The best of luck to you and your’s. Take care of yourself.

Itchee Dryback on November 27, 2009 at 1:29 PM

I too worked retail for many years. I think to some extent it has soured me on all the gift giving part of the holiday. I’m not even leaving the house today.

ZeeMI on November 27, 2009 at 1:58 PM

NPR told me the recession is over so I guess I won’t go shopping to help improve the economy.

Dhuka on November 27, 2009 at 2:23 PM

Went today for the very first time ever, probably the last. The reasons? Pregnant wife due in three weeks who wants the shopping done, and funemployment means I can no longer scoff at 50% off. Though it took 2.5 hours standing in line at ToyzRUs, got home after 3 am. Not fun.

And no, I’m not using credit, fwiw.

TexasDan on November 27, 2009 at 2:42 PM

Black Friday is Thanksgiving, Part II for me. I eat left-over turkey and give thanks that I’m still sufficiently employed and have enough money saved that I don’t have to go into that pit of despair called Black Friday to buy what I need.

Big John on November 27, 2009 at 2:55 PM

I went and bought an external hard drive for my crappy computer that crashed last week. Nothing worse than having all your wedding photos and kid’s baby pics lost forever… except having to listen to the wifey complain about it! Now I see why people say you should back up your info!!

TexasTea on November 27, 2009 at 4:18 PM

I bought a Charlie Brown Christmas tree at Walgreen’s for $9.99 ( plus N.J. 7% extortion….er, I mean tax ).

It even came with one red ball.

Jerome Horwitz on November 27, 2009 at 4:38 PM

My teenaged daughter and I have done the Black Friday thing the last couple of years, it’s a girl’s day out/bonding thing. We don’t do the crazy stand-in-line-for-hours thing though. We sit in the nice warm car until the doors open, then walk in. We have a list of things that we’d like if they still have them. If they don’t, no biggie. We stroll leisurely while watching all the crazy people run through the store.

This year, my husband had enough seniority that they offered him the day off, so he went with us. We shopped our list at Target and Walmart (and did pretty good), then got coffee and cinnamon rolls at the mall before doing the mall. We stopped for 15 minute chair massages (the best thing we purchased) and we were home by 10:15am.

Common Sense on November 27, 2009 at 5:30 PM

kelley in virginia on November 27, 2009 at 10:36 AM
conservnut on November 27, 2009 at 10:36 AM
Cindy Munford on November 27, 2009 at 10:42 AM
DrMagnolias on November 27, 2009 at 12:49 PM
letget on November 27, 2009 at 12:54 PM
Itchee Dryback on November 27, 2009 at 1:29 PM

Thank you for your concern. I’m doing ok, but this funeral stuff is the pits. It’s Black Friday taken to a whole new level, buying things you really don’t want to buy, for someone who can’t tell you whether he appreciates it.

Kelley, I fully understand what you’ve told me. When my mom died, my dad took me to the funeral home to help him make the arrangements, and afterwards I told my wife that I’d never have these people handle me because they kept trying to sell my dad useless stuff beyond what we could afford. I’m now about to do business with the same home for my brother, and I’ll keep your sage advice in mind.

unclesmrgol on November 27, 2009 at 6:01 PM

Unclesmrgol:
Godspeed to you and your family right now.

annoyinglittletwerp on November 27, 2009 at 7:12 PM

As far as shopping; my family(except for me) is Jewish. On my husband’s side the family tradition is you buy for the kids and your spouse. All but two of the grand-kids are teenagers or will be in the spring so they’re getting gift cards as is the second to youngest. The almost five year old is getting a “gift” gift and my 15 year old has asked for a “gaming” laptop. He’ll be 16 in April so it’ll double as a birthday present. I handed my husband a Pajama-gram catalog and instructed him to pick something out of it for my Christmas present. I’m fear that what I find on Christmas won’t be a flannel nightgown. LoL

annoyinglittletwerp on November 27, 2009 at 7:23 PM

I work retail. Headed out for work in fifteen minutes. I am so not looking forward to this.

Rusty Bill on November 27, 2009 at 9:25 AM

I should point out that the place where I work deals in collectibles, gifts and holiday decorations – I’m the stockroom/shipping/receiving guy. Got home about ten minutes ago.

Business sucked.

Usually, on a day like Black Friday, I am running – literally running – full tilt from open to close. Today I was wandering around the store wondering where all the people were.

====

Condolences to unclesmrgol & family.

Rusty Bill on November 27, 2009 at 7:52 PM

As I’ve been assigned to be a RACIST by todays Democrat Party [as well as a terrorist, HOMOphobe, etc...] I would never shop on BLACK Friday. /sarc

I guess I’m not much of a follower, but I know I get pretty good deals on the gifts I buy, so why would I want to participate in the hive minds’ shopping activities when I enjoy taking a few leisurely
weeks to do my purchasing of CHRISTmass gifts?

DannoJyd on November 27, 2009 at 9:03 PM

No shopping. My younger brother died Wednesday and we gotta pay for the plot and the funeral.

unclesmrgol on November 27, 2009 at 10:16 AM

I’m so sorry for your loss, just read about this. May od be with you and your family.

lovingmyUSA on November 27, 2009 at 10:15 PM

Got the Star Wars lego thingee that my grandson is crazy about, and just have a few more things for granddaughter and step-granddaughter…Almost done, and I went at 8am to ToysRus…it was a mess–got outta there as fast as I could….

lovingmyUSA on November 27, 2009 at 10:17 PM

No shopping. My younger brother died Wednesday and we gotta pay for the plot and the funeral.

unclesmrgol on November 27, 2009 at 10:16 AM

Our heartfelt condolences to you and yours, unclesmrgol. You will be in our thoughts and prayers.

My SO’s mother passed away last week, and we spent Sat. & Sun. driving down to Dearborn, 36 hours being with the huge number of family and friends who paid their respects and attended the services and memorial luncheon, then Tues. & Wed. we drove back. Thanksgiving dinner was at a local buffet in between unpacking and getting things back to normal, as well as reassuring our last member of a menagerie of cats and dogs, an old cat, that we hadn’t deserted her for good. Then today was a combination of repairs, preparing for winter storms which sock us in for months, and doing laundry. Plus reassessing the Christmas budget which necessarily was depleted.

But we just don’t do Black Fridays anyway, so no biggy there.

KendraWilder on November 27, 2009 at 10:45 PM

Why GO shopping when you can hit the web sites instead? I looked, just in case there was something necessary for sale. Nada until I got a Black Friday offer on a piece of software I was trying out. So I did buy something this year – a whole $60 or so.

{^_^}

herself on November 28, 2009 at 2:44 AM

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