Tough Times Hitting Gifting, Parisian Cafes, and More

Posted on: Sunday, November 23rd, 2008
Posted in: Spendology, Blog | Leave a comment

Oh jeez.  Looks like Santa’s going to be a bit of a Grinch this X-mas, among other signs of the times…

  • 88% will spend the same or less on gifts
  • 83% will buy more items on sale
  • 75% feel pressure from debts
  • 62% will wait for a sale
  • 61% will focus on practical gifts
  • 58% will cut back because of credit concerns
  • 49% will cut travel plans
  • Source: America’s Research Group/UBS, Maritz, Deloitte, Accenture, Consumer Reports, Thrivent

This stuff, or most of it, just don’t break my heart very much. I mean, who doesn’t complain about the over-commercialism of the holidays? What’s wrong with buying stuff on sale? What’s not to love about buying practical gifts instead of impractical ones?

Elsewhere in the newspapers, though, lurks news that strikes sadder notes. The downturn is causing closings of the little cafés that make Paris so distinctive—taking countless jobs and proud professions. Once there were 200,000; now there are 41,500. A way of life goes down the drain, rather like America’s farm crisis murdered small-town culture.

Meanwhile, in Boston, just outside the ivory-pearly gates of Harvard, a decades-old newsstand and gathering place is calling it quits. No longer can you get newspapers from all over the world, pick up the latest MAD magazine, or possibly meet a new friend.

Then again, who needs all that when you got texting on your Blackberry?

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