70 is the New 50

MSNBC reported another bleak retail story that I remember hearing on the news recently. It seems that back in the day, “50% off” was when we all thought we were finding a really good deal. Apparently, that number is now 70 or 75%.

What I learned is that stores order merchandise four to seven months in advance. So the September meltdown (should that be in quotes? Or at least capitalized? I think it is an official title now.) came too late for retailers to adjust.

But the story is that spring also looks bleak, in part because we are all expecting great deals to continue. If you accept that many things involving money (and most everything about the spending of it) are emotional rather than logical, you will believe the expert:

“It will be years before shoppers are going to be enticed by discounts of less than 50 percent”, said C. Britt Beemer, chairman of America’s Research Group.

I am not a serious bargain hunter. Compared with Thrifty Chicks, I am a rank amateur. With clothes, where I only wear one color, I am willing to pay more for something I really like. And since the shoe industry has figured out that not so many ladies wear a size 6 these days, I am often out of luck there, too. Clothes and shoes are not things I buy second hand. However. There are several stores where I won’t even walk in the door without an extra discount of some kind. That was true before the Meltdown. I have been mentally programmed that finding deals is good. And fun – like a game.

What I really need to do is reprogram so that I don’t start shopping in the first place.

What I have been hoping is that this is not a market crash phenomenon, but Americans coming to the conclusion that we don’t need everything that we want. And that financial independence feels better than shopping.

I’m not even there myself.

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