From a retail perspective, this holiday weekend was successful. The National Retail Federation — an organization that represents retailers and is always happy to report good news in the industry — says that total spending over the four-day weekend from Thanksgiving to Sunday increased 16 percent over the same time period in 2010 when measured by total dollars spent. The total number of shoppers increased 6.6 percent and the average spent by each shopper increased from $365.34 to $398.62, or 9.1 percent.
Even “Small Business Saturday,” which I still see as a self-serving marketing campaign on behalf of American Express, has produced anecdotal evidence of success from mom-and-pop small business owners, while some customers have expressed frustration that some of American Express’s advertising did not clearly mention that registration in advance was necessary to receive the $25 credit.
I can’t overlook the unseasonably mild weather, at least in the New York metropolitan area, as a contribution to people’s willingness to leave the house and shop this year.
On Friday, I spent most of the day on an airplane, traveling from Los Angeles to Newark. I did not have the desire to wait outside a store in a line Thanksgiving night, the eve of Black Friday. Over the weekend, once home, I did not completely refrain from shopping. I purchased a gift for my girlfriend as we passed an item of clothing she liked, as well as a few discounted items of clothing for myself. For myself, I spent about $50 for items that normally would have cost about $100 without the “one-day-only” discount.
This past week leading up to Thanksgiving, while I was spending time with family in California, I gave into pressure and purchased myself a few toys. I grew up playing the original Nintendo Entertainment System, and Legend of Zelda was my favorite game. After the great reviews of the latest iteration in this series, a few in my family decided to take a look at the game. After getting a chance to play it, I decided I wanted to have a copy of my own. I find that I don’t have the time to spend playing video games, but I splurged on the game for myself, anyway — without paying full price.
I have more shopping to accomplish over the next few weeks before the holidays approach. I think giving into the retail frenzy during the days after Thanksgiving is generally a mistake. I’ve seen this happen in past years; the hottest items, even those deeply discounted during Black Friday, can often be found at even better prices later.
Before you consider me overly frugal, take note that I plan to spend quite a bit of money on myself in the near future as I continue exploring my hobbies and interests with full force as I find the time.
How much money did you spend this weekend?
Published or updated November 27, 2011.