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Black Friday 2013: Another Sign that Unregulated Capitalism is NOT Working

 
 
Reply Sun 1 Dec, 2013 12:19 am
Quote:
Overall brick-and-mortar store sales for Thursday and Friday rose 2.3% from last year, to $12.3 billion, according to a report released Saturday by ShopperTrak, a retail industry research firm. But the earlier opening of stores on Thanksgiving cut into sales on Black Friday itself, which were down 13.2% from 2012.

http://money.cnn.com/2013/11/30/news/economy/black-friday-sales-results/

so retailers had higher costs because they were open more hours over these two days, and employees got forced or pressured to work and not be with their loved ones on Turkey Day, all for about the same sales totals that would have been earned if all of the stores had agreed to not extend hours. Individuals stores concluded that they needed to open because others did, but they all lose, and so do all of the rest of us.

Isn't time for government to help everyone out and do what retailers on their own can not/will not do, and pass a law that stores must be closed on Thanksgiving?
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Dec, 2013 12:26 am
@hawkeye10,
I should have known somebody would come up with something like this.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Dec, 2013 12:41 am
@roger,
roger wrote:

I should have known somebody would come up with something like this.
I think that the retailers respond "but employees get to be with family till about 6pm, so all is good" but i call bullshit. A) one can not fully relax and enjoy and B) one can not get drunk leading to C) the best parts of my Thanksgivings have tended to come in the evening
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Dec, 2013 01:07 am
@hawkeye10,
So, what else can we pass laws against.

Yeah, yeah. When I was a little boy in Orlando Fl, every thing was closed except drug stores, and most of the merchandise outside the pharmacy area was blocked off. Now, the only things that close on Sunday are drug stores unless they are part of large chains that don't allow sunday closure.

What's Thanksgiving to you? Patriotic or religious. Want to close stores. Fine. There goes Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Presid. . . . Take it away, hawkeye.
hawkeye10
 
  2  
Reply Sun 1 Dec, 2013 01:09 am
@roger,
i lived in germany before the laws were liberalized (the first wave of reform, early 1990's)...you had to plan your shopping because the stores were often closed by law. I never found it to be a problem, one adjusts.
roger
 
  2  
Reply Sun 1 Dec, 2013 01:11 am
@hawkeye10,
One "adjusts" to hanging, too. If one does it long enough
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Dec, 2013 01:16 am
@roger,
may I suggest that you listen to the Pope's lecture on the idolatry of money?
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Dec, 2013 02:11 am
@hawkeye10,
You may suggest. I may decline.
0 Replies
 
Romeo Fabulini
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Dec, 2013 04:40 am
Quote:
Topic title: Black Friday 2013: Another Sign that Unregulated Capitalism is NOT Working

Would Communism or some other system work better?
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Dec, 2013 01:26 am
Quote:
Aggressive discounts on clothes and toys lured slightly more consumers into stores on Thanksgiving and Black Friday this year, but budget-conscious shoppers spent less.

Total spending from Thursday through Sunday fell 3% from a year earlier to $57.4 billion, with shoppers spending an average $407.02, down 4% from $423.55 a year earlier, according to the National Retail Federation


http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304355104579232132207017004

two points :

a) these retail clowns increased their costs and cost their employees quality time with their loved ones for no reason

b) this economy sucks a lot more than our leaders will admit
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Dec, 2013 01:48 am
@hawkeye10,
i need to add a point

c) when retailers placed their orders 6-9 months ago they assumed that the economy would be pretty decent by now. the economy sucks and it is actually getting worse. they ordered way too much stuff and they need to unload it, so the deals are going to get better and better. anyone who has money that they want to spend this year will clean up if they just keep their wits about them.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Dec, 2013 02:35 am
@hawkeye10,
Quote:
By Robert J. Samuelson, Published: December 1
Among our problems is a failure of economic language. We lack the words and concepts to describe observable reality. By conventional wisdom, the Great Recession is long over. “Recession” connotes shrinking output. “Expansion” signifies the opposite. That’s how the National Bureau of Economic Research, a group of academic economists, defines business cycles. Following this logic, the bureau determined the economy stopped contracting in mid-2009. Yet, most Americans — 53 percent, says a recent National Journal/Allstate survey — think we’re still in recession, by which they doubtlessly mean “bad times.”

Who is to say they’re wrong? After all, the unemployment rate has exceeded 7 percent for almost five years, despite the withdrawal of millions of discouraged workers from the labor force. Moreover, public attitudes have become deeply pessimistic in ways apparently unprecedented since World War II. In past recessions, more than half of Americans believed their incomes would grow in the next year. Not this time. The share expecting gains collapsed to less than 45 percent after 2008 and is still below half, finds a study by Federal Reserve economist Claudia Sahm. The despondency, she writes, may signal a permanent shift in consumer psychology that undermines recovery.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/robert-j-samuelson-times-have-changed-and-our-economic-vocabulary-cant-keep-up/2013/12/01/e0815260-5916-11e3-8304-caf30787c0a9_story.html?hpid=z3

despondency is a good word for what I am seeing in people, though I dont know why. I suspect that the lack of acknowledgment about how bad things are from the people who run our society collapses confidence that anyone has a plan, that anyone is working on this.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Dec, 2013 02:48 am
@hawkeye10,
Britons despondent on future prosperity

Quote:
Three in four Britons think the next generation will be worse off than their parents, a level of economic despondency only surpassed by the French and the Japanese, according to a poll of national expectations.
While just 7 per cent of Chinese and 18 per cent of Brazilians expect falls in living standards over the next generation, the figure for the UK is 74 per cent, according to research published today by the World Economic Forum

People in advanced nations are far more pessimistic than those in emerging economies, with 62% of American and 64% of Canadians (believing that the next generation will be worse off)

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/business/economics/article3923000.ece

I dont pay for news so I cant get the whole thing,
0 Replies
 
Lordyaswas
 
  2  
Reply Mon 2 Dec, 2013 03:26 am
Having worked in Retail Management many moons ago, I can sort of get where hawkeye is coming from, regarding the pressure put upon staff to work all the hours under the sun at holiday times.

In those days (late 70's), anyone and everyone in retail management was told in subtle and not so subtle ways, that if they weren't prepared to put in every single available hour in the run up to Christmas, then they could basically wave any promotion goodbye for the next year.
The final year I worked in that god forsaken, thankless career, I put my toddler son to bed on the 18th December, and didn't see him (and on most occasions my wife) awake until Christmas day morning, some seven days later.
In that week I did four twelve hour days with hardly a break and working at breakneck speed, and three sixteen hour days where massive amounts of "prep" had to be done at god awful hours of the morning before the store opened.
Anyone here gutted and trussed thirty or so freezing cold turkey and pheasant before 8am, for three days running? Then ran around like a blue arsed fly for a further eight hours while hordes of customers stripped bare the shelves, with the glowing feeling that, once the store's closed you'd have the privilege of staying put and re-stocking those shelves until they were perfect again....day after day?

I have, and that's the reason why I partially back what hawkeye is getting at. If you've never had to do it, and I stress HAD, because I had no choice, then you really don't know what it's like on the other side of the counter.

I left the retail sector soon after that, having missed my lad's Christmas Eve and the putting up of the tree and the jolly jingle bells of the warm pub and winter ale.
I also spent most of Christmas day asleep or as near as damn it, and had to watch my alcohol consumption because I was opening the store on Boxing Day in order to start the post Xmas sales.

I got out, re-trained and ended up earning the same salary in a 9 to 5 office job with a whole week off at Xmas, but can still totally sympathise with shop workers each year, although the pressure has changed slightly.

Nowadays, if you don't want to work any extra hours, they don't worry about threatening you with non promotion...they just tell you to f### off.

There is one way where both sides can win. The poor deprived customer can have their beloved stores open on every holiday so that they can buy all their "essential" holiday food before chucking most of it away a week later, or their 84 inch plasma TV that will be obsolete come the January sales....
AND the store staff will be happy in working all the hours under the sun.

Answer? Make it totally voluntary for store staff to work on certain days of the year (Thanksgiving in the Usa, Boxing Day, maybe one or two others)
BUT....if they do, then they get paid DOUBLE time, with a day off in lieu at a later date in the year.

THAT will sort out whether the stores are serious about silly opening hours.

Don't ban them from opening, just give them (the store owners) the choice of whether to let their staff have a well earned break, or actually pay them a decent amount to go in to work when everyone else is having a major holiday.

Just my tuppence worth.
realjohnboy
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Dec, 2013 05:04 am
A couple of points...
1) The evidence is that the Thanksgiving store openings did cannibalize sales from Friday and
2) Aggregate sales for Thursday-Sunday sales were up only about 3% over 2012. Disappointing - considering relatively good weather and the shorter shopping period before Christmas.
The objective of the individual retailers is to get a bigger share of a pie that is not getting bigger.
Requiring stores to remain closed on Thanksgiving is not a viable option. Increasing the minimum wage might have an impact as would some sort of an increase in employee rights (I hesitate to use the word "unions.)
The public perception on product pricing is swayed by the big signs offering something like "60% off!" The government can regulate this scam by rules saying, for example, the discount must be based on what the prices were in October or early November. But that really is not enforceable.
McGentrix
 
  2  
Reply Mon 2 Dec, 2013 10:33 am
The government should have no say what so ever on when a privately held business can be open or closed. That's crazy talk.
hawkeye10
 
  3  
Reply Mon 2 Dec, 2013 11:03 am
@McGentrix,
McGentrix wrote:

The government should have no say what so ever on when a privately held business can be open or closed. That's crazy talk.
the government has long mandated minimum standards for treating employees, for instance min wage, overtime, and workplace safety rules, there is nothing crazy about government protecting the citizens from abusive employers.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Dec, 2013 11:06 am
@realjohnboy,
I have already documented that thur-sun sales were down over last year even before the inflation adjustment. if you have different numbers please document.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Dec, 2013 11:29 am
a secondary option that I might go for is a law that no retail employee must work thanksgiving, and can not be punished for not working. this is somewhat unenforceable but it would help the unionless employees display a backbone.
McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Dec, 2013 01:17 pm
@hawkeye10,
hawkeye10 wrote:

McGentrix wrote:

The government should have no say what so ever on when a privately held business can be open or closed. That's crazy talk.
the government has long mandated minimum standards for treating employees, for instance min wage, overtime, and workplace safety rules, there is nothing crazy about government protecting the citizens from abusive employers.


Abusive employers? You'll have to get a little more detailed then that. Any sentence that begins "The government should..." is just about wrong. The only thing the governement should do has been outlined here.
0 Replies
 
 

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