Red Monday

Let’s take a break from counting our money, Retailers. Do we realize what we have just done? This past weekend we encouraged the same type of spending habits that wiped out our economy a short time ago. We dazzled, wooed and begged the American people to spend their money so they could ‘save’ X percent on something they didn’t need. It feels good doesn’t it? It feels great to be deep in the black for a month out of the year. Who cares about Joe Samson, who just spent $800 on a flat screen instead of saving that money for his mortgage? I’m sure he’ll be fine when he loses his job next month.

Americans are great at holding grudges on all sorts of things. But why is it that we have such a short memory of a financial crisis? Terrorists touch a few thousand of us and we are angry at them forever. It is justified. But why are we not irate towards retailers and financial institutions that extend infinite credit to individuals who cannot afford it? They are ruining tens of thousands of lives. Overall, consumers had an average of 5.4 retail cards with a total of over $900 billion in outstanding debt. (Source: Nielsen Report, April 2009) That is ridiculous.

I’m not suggesting that American’s do not spend anything this holiday season. I am simply saying that we overdo it every year. We need to stop accumulating debt. If we learn to balance our checkbooks (debit cards) then retailers and financial institutions can learn to balance their finances as well. Try to be frugal this year. Look like a cheapskate for once. It’s not that embarrassing. Try to make something that has more sentimental value than a plastic-wrapped gadget.

Happy holidays. Try to stay out of the red this year!

Background: I have worked in the eCommerce industry for over 4 years. I advertise online for a number of clients that spend thousands of dollars every week in search marketing. I am in the belly of the beast.