Monday, November 29, 2010

Consumers Lose Their Minds Over Thanksgiving

I'm the first to admit it when I'm wrong about something.  I had thought retailers were getting desperate by opening their doors days earlier and starting holiday promotions weeks in advance.  Now it seems they were more greedy than fearful:

U.S. consumers spent an estimated $45 billion over the Thanksgiving weekend, up 9.2 percent from last year, the National Retail Federation estimated in a report that brightened prospects for freight transportation.

Wow.  American consumers are unable to resist the siren call of the shopping mall even when European insolvency screams at them from the headlines.  You'll have to pry credit cards from people's cold, dead fingers before they give up the spending habits that have pushed the U.S. debt/GDP ratio to all-time highs. Retailers stocking up for the holidays probably pushed up trucking tonnage in October.  That's nice for national carriers.  It's too bad that a repeat of this stunning news isn't likely next year, with mounting mortgage losses threatening to push banks back into dire straits.  I'll hazard a guess that the money people aren't sending to their mortgage servicers is what fueled this Thanksgiving rush.