Sandra and I went Christmas shopping this week. We came home empty handed. The stuff we saw at the mall was so ugly we could hardly look at it much less buy it. Even stores like Christopher & Banks, which used to have some eye-catching merchandise, were stocked with the ugliest fashions I’ve seen in years.
There were a few passable outfits at The Gap and Old Navy, but nothing that cried out to be taken home. The racks at Macy’s were loaded down with dowdy-looking merchandise. Even with our Macy’s charge card and the various discounts, they didn’t merit consideration. Have you seen the colors this year? Yech! Those greens, especially! They made me feel like throwing up.
One store offered fashions “from Brazil” that were so outlandish they wouldn’t be out of place in a Sci Fi horror flick. Even the manikins looked deformed. I don’t know if they really were from Brazil but they definitely were (as we used to say) “from hunger.”
It’s no wonder the mall was almost empty. What would anyone be doing there?
So I was not surprised to see a Yahoo news item predicting that Americans will spend less this Christmas than in any of the past 13 years. Calling this holiday shopping season a “perfect storm” for retailers, C. Britt Beemer, CEO and founder of America’s Research Group, predicted that retail sales will be down one percent compared to last year – his first negative forecast in 23 years of conducting Christmas surveys. (He’s nearly always right, too.)
“This year looks so bad,” he said, “that even normally good signs for retail sales, such as more Americans staying home this Christmas, can’t save the season for retailers.”
It looks as if the world is going through a creative drought as well as an economic recession. Fashions are either “same old-same old” or grotesque (see examples of this year’s “hot” fashions above). The new movies are ho-hum (or worse). Television is a wasteland. And only Oprah seems to still enjoy reading books. As for the “music” – don’t get me started!
Yes, I know, I’m an old curmudgeon. So I’ll just find me a nice cave and sit this Christmas out.