When I was little, the weeks leading up to Christmas were spent sitting on the couch with my sister and brother flipping through the Sears catalog and then as a second plan of attack, walking the toy aisles at Caldor. All of this preparation was of course so we would have just the right list for Santa. Though I do remember prompting my parents when a big-ticket item was on sale, I don’t recall being inundated with One Day Sales, Early Bird Discounts and Doorbusters. And of course, that was long before Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.
Today it’s nearly impossible to open up the Sunday paper (yes the “real” paper) and, this time of year, the daily paper, without circulars from Macy’s to Target and Michael’s to Ulta Beauty tumbling-out. The ads account for at least half of the contents. Who in their right mind would pay full price for anything, ever? We have become a discount, sales-driven, promotionally proficient consumer. Retailers created this mindset and are having a hard time rectifying the situation.
A recent Wall Street Journal article stated that retailers, despite cutting inventory from last year, are discounting merchandise to greater depths than they did in 2015. Some brands like Michael Kors and Coach have even stepped back from supporting these retailers because of the discounts. Earlier this year I read that Bed, Bath & Beyond, despite the need for profit, cannot walk away from their couponing (come on, I know you have a stack of those blue coupons) as their customers have grown so accustomed to them. So what’s a retailer to do? Seems that if a retailer can take that many discounts, then maybe the price is too high to begin with – perhaps manufacturers and retailers need to work together to offer quality merchandise at a reasonable and fair price from the get go and forget this frantic discounting nonsense.
In the meantime, to the best of my ability, this holiday season I am shopping at local businesses, markets and fairs. My goal is to not step into Target until next year. Will I pay a bit more for gifts? The answer is most likely yes but I know I will be getting a gift made from the heart, enjoying a less stressful shopping environment, supporting a small business and all with no coupon required.