Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Conspicuous Consumption

There have been a number of posts throughout the blogosphere on the excesses of "black Friday". And I won't repeat all those criticisms. I'll just mention that retailers make an estimated 30% of total sales during the holiday season.

I picked this up from my local newspaper columinst, Ann Dubay:
In 2004, the National Retail Federation estimated that Americans spent $414.7 billion on holiday purchases - or an average of $1,402 per person. The retailers optimistically expect these numbers to increase by 5 percent [or $20 billion] this year.
Ann has a great takedown on the nonsense of Christmas consumer spending. But just for a little perspective. Remember my post on malaria? The estimated cost for eradication of malaria in all of Africa, and saving 1,000,000 kids per year was $3.2 billion. That's one seventh of the increase in spending expected for Christmas junk in 2005.

And we wonder why the international community questions our moral values?

Then there this from The Big Picture which adds to the image:
...according to Visa, Credit Card usage was up dramatically – about a 14% increase over the holiday weekend when compared with ’04.
Not only are we greedy, but consumers are going into debt to be greedy! What a mighty moral force for good we are in the world!


At 1:05 PM, Blogger Lynne said...

Things will get interesting when some of these spenders lose their jobs and/or a spouse and discover that the bankruptcy door has slammed shut. They have turned themselves into indentured servants to the banking industry for a few baubles that probably weren't appreciated anyway.


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