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holiday retail madness
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I don't know about you but I haven't started my holiday shopping yet.  I have a big family and we're not in the habit of buying each other lavish gifts every year - but I like to get my closest loved ones something little or maybe make them something personal. (We heard today that many of you are getting crafty this year as well.)

Today on Where We Live we talked about the latest retail numbers, how "consumer confidence" levels are plummeting, and how I shouldn't count on the mega post-holiday sales this year.  Darn.  A recent NY Times article confirmed that retail sales are the weakest they've been in 35 years.  During the show we heard from all kinds of small business owners - bicycle shops, jewelry stores, gift shops, even car dealerships.  Across the board, businesses are suffering.  And economist Don Klepper-Smith thinks its only going to get worse before it gets better.  Quinnipiac Marketing professor Bill Keep says this holiday season businesses are going to have to ramp up customer service, offer unique products, and do a little something extra to get people to dig into their wallets.  Susette Tibus from Majestic Jewelers in Mystic agrees.  She and her husband hold annual holiday cocktail parties at the business.  This year they even had Santa at the store.  Susette is convinced that these "extras" really will make a difference in getting them through these bad economic times. On a slightly related note -I went to Westfarms Mall in West Hartford yesterday... and noticed they are now doing Valet Parking (!) 

I'll be interested to see how our current recession will change peoples buying habits long term.  What do you think?