Christmas Sales

We did some shopping today because here on the Space Coast, there really isn't such a thing as "crowded." When I lived in Louisville, I remember driving around for 20 minutes just to find a parking space at the mall. After living in a big city like that, crowds here always seem like a joke. We went to Target and I was amazed when I saw a microwave for sale for $28.44. I mean that is nothing. It was a decent microwave too, which I know because I inspected the one that was sitting out of its box. Mrs. Businesspundit shopped while I really just walked through the store observing prices, product placement, new items, etc. I saw the new Pulse products from Virgin, which would make Virginia Postrel proud. But what really struck me is how cheap things have become. It seems like every year certain items become cheaper and cheaper. It led me to wonder about Christmas sales numbers. Are they typically figured in dollar amounts? If so, wouldn't lower prices year after year lead to flat sales? If people can buy more for less, that may happen. Some people buy with the goal of spending a certain dollar amount, but I don't think that is how most gifts are purchased. Except for kids and spouses, I would think most people just buy one gift for everyone else on their list. Most gifts, I would guess, are purchased this way – by buying one thing for one person, with a dollar range in mind but not a set dollar amount. Thus if prices are declining, that would offset the fact that the population is growing and buying for a larger circle of people, to some extent anyway. Taking that into consideration, I wonder why people put such an emphasis on holiday retail sales figures. Maybe they aren't that representative of this country's economic health.

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