The P.A.

A weekly address from Patrick Adams,
President of St. Louis Community Credit Union

Be Careful Not To Go ‘In The Red’ This Shopping Season

On November 30th, 2009, posted in: Uncategorized by

Unfortunately, because my wife hates me, I ended up in a Wal-Mart at the crack of dawn on “Black Friday.”  I’ll spare you the details related to this unfortunate incident.  However, suffice to say it will never happen again.  You say, “hey, buddy…never say never.”  Nope, it’s not happening again.  Never.

Somewhere between chaos and insanity I found an inordinate number of bargain-hunters who appear to have total disregard for their body clock and their wallets.  The only difference between these shopping zealots and the opening of deer season is the color orange.  There they were in all of their resplendent glory, basking in the fluorescent lighting, leaning forward against their battering ram of a shopping cart poised to land the “big one.”  What I saw hovered somewhere between imposing and downright scary.

“Black Friday” is named for that key day of the year when retailers everywhere have the chance to move their financial condition from the “red” to the “black” – a clever euphemism for going from losing your shirt to making some jack.  Because of the consumer’s insatiable desire to shop, retailers are theoretically able to move the entire negativity of the calendar year to “successful” in one day.  What’s that tell you about our spending on that day…maybe a little over the top?

I’m a “ying-yang” kind of guy – meaning that for every action there is a reaction.  So flipping the year from negative to positive for the retailers may very well mean that the consumer has gone the other way.  True enough, too many folks will go more in debt on this special day of consumer carnage than any other day of the year.  Ouch!

As I inched my way through the checkout line, I watched (along with Bentonville) as the color of Christmas transitioned to black.  I didn’t see too much cash changing hands.  Seemed to me there were lots and lots of swiping going on.  Was it debit or credit?  I sense a goodly portion of it was credit.  Uh-oh, here we go again.

My fellow consumers – ladies and gentlemen – please be careful and prudent this shopping season.  Don’t go in the “red” and spend the better part of a lifetime (not a calendar year) crawling out of credit card debt.

I don’t have an awe-inspiring message here beyond some plain-old encouragement for my fellow consumers to practice self-restraint and prudence during this special time of year.   Unfortunately, in my role at the Credit Union I have seen the other side of the exhilaration experienced at the height of the holiday shopping season.  Yes, January and February roll around much too soon and the smell of new has long ago passed.  What’s left?  Debt – lots and lots of it.  I see it every year and it breaks my heart.

If you have any shopping left, be careful, spend wisely, and don’t go in the “red” for the sake of the retailers going “black.”

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