David Paape of West Bend holds two items stacked on top
of each other as he searches for the back of the
checkout line while shopping the Black Friday deals at
Kohl’s on Nov. 24, 2016,
in West Bend.
Thanksgiving is traditionally when loved ones gather to
enjoy each other’s company, in times spent reconnecting
with those missed during the remaining part of the year.
are recorded in the images and moving videos of
gatherings at the dinner table, in living rooms watching
television or playing games, and in kitchens as
attendees prepare meals for guests.
Embedded within those memories, however, is another
annual ritual where people stand in long lines at
various retail outlets within their neighborhoods, of
sometimes chaotic scenes as customers compete for the
most fashionable items, and the contorted faces of
anxious people because of the dwindling selection of
items they need for gifts.
Today marks the unofficial beginning of holiday shopping
season and the start of stressful times when millions of
people will venture to stores and on the internet to
purchase gifts for loved ones.
study conducted by Deloitte, an accounting and
consulting firm, projects retail holiday sales to
increase between 4 and 4.5 percent for 2017 compared to
the prior year. E-commerce sales are expected to
increase 18 to 21 percent from 2016.
Feeding into those figures will be the shoppers who will
brave the crowds to visit the stores or peruse the
online retailers for the days following Thanksgiving
Day. According to the National Retail Federation, an
estimated 164 million people, almost 70 percent of
Americans, will be shopping.
amalgam of crowded stores and stress of finding the
correct gift for friends and family can cause several
issues — including the temptation of spend more, which
can strain budgets for people towards year’s end.
would think that people do have a tendency to go further
than they intend,” Associate Professor Cliff Robb said
from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. “I only
based that on the idea that because the marketing model
and the sales model is such that you are getting good
deals on things, which makes it easier to justify
purchases you might not typically make.”
problem has less to do with purchasing one item that is
slightly less expensive, but has more to do with
spending on the incremental level.
other words, retailers have fine-tuned their promotional
activities to entice us to spend more by discounting
items. In doing so, we become more inclined to spend
because people believe they are getting a good deal —
and each additional expense adds to the overall total
Spending $10 less on a single item is a deal, but
spending $5 less on 10 individual items becomes a
problem because the total cost is higher.
alluded to other marketing tactics such as bundling
where retailers provide discounts when customers
purchase additional items.
“They are not forcing you to bundle, but they are
forcing you to think in terms of needing more,” Robb
Personal finance experts have devised tactics to assist
costumers with their holiday spending concerns.
of the biggest things we look at is having a budget for
the total amount you would spend for the holidays,”
consumer credit counselor Keith Braun said. “By doing
that, you are breaking apart the amount you are going to
spend on each individual person.”
also suggested using cash when spending money instead of
a credit card. With cash, consumers have a tangible
understanding when they are spending their money because
they have fewer amounts of bills. That doesn’t happen
with a credit card, so people forget how much they have
Smessaert, a marketing and business instructor at the
Slinger School District, recommended price comparing an
item among different outlets.
live in such a digital world, so it is pretty easy to
price shop,” she said.