Cautious retail executives sounded a note of warning on late Christmas Season sales despite early indicators of a slight increase in consumer spending over last year. According to these industry leaders, there is "a certain lack of enthusiasm from consumers" indicating the selling season may end early.
"Last year, despite the poor results, consumers were doing their best to stimulate the terrible economic conditions," said one high ranking industry insider. "We had people trampled to death just trying to be first in the store to gain access to some piece of electronic crap that is probably just sitting in their attic now. People were shooting each other in the aisles for some doll that's now under a two month old pile of clothes under a bed. There were fist fights over parking spaces just so people would not have to walk a few extra feet in their trek to discover the perfect office pollyanna gift for $25 or less. Not THAT is Christmas.
"But, this year, it's like the consumer just doesn't care as much. They just walk in an see a long line waiting for a limited quantity of some item, and they just figure they can get something else. If something is too expensive, they don't argue the price or try to steal it, they just go to another retailer or online to find another price. What's this? It this what America has become? Don't consumers realize that some-one's pile of useless junk might be slightly larger than theirs? I cannot emphasise this enough to the consumer... Someone is getting something you are not. Don't take that crap, get out there and fight for it! The fate of our economy is in your hands!"
Economic experts point to a more frugal consumer, less willingness to incur high interest rates from increased credit card debt, and concerns about job security as the causes of this decline. However, industry leaders claim it's more of a "lack of guts to get what you want." "To the men out there," said another industry leader. "Maybe I can understand why you are not concerned about getting your wife and family the high cost gadgets and foibles they crave. I imagine your traditional 'lackings' have them rather used to being disappointed and unfulfilled. Don't fall for that 'spending time around the tree with the family' crap. What your family wants is stuff, not your time. So get out there and prove that your are a big, big, man and get it for them! And, to the ladies... Well, if you don't get the man in your life what he wants... Just relax, he'll probably get what he wants from the same place he always does... From the neighbor, your friends... Maybe even your sister."
Retailers are planning a last minute onslaught of promotions to buck this lackluster trend.
The largest program, dubbed "Operation Slobbering Idiot," involves cutting the hours and health care benefits of all experienced, dedicated, sales associates ad replacing them with short term seasonal help far more concerned with their personal lives than actually working. "This program has been a tradition in retail for years," said one industry CEO. "A customer comes in, asks, a simple question, and the employee just stands there staring at them, or even better, just continues to talk on their cell phone to their friends. Even in the worse case scenario where these associates actually do something. We can count on them to be slow, unfriendly, and decide that is time to take a break just as you get to the check out register after waiting 25 minutes in line. If this doesn't the revive the consumers' anger and rage to pre-2008 levels, nothing will."
Other aggressive programs will include, "Operation We Just Sold Out of It," where prominently advertised items and great bargains simply not be shipped to the stores, and then store management will lie about it. "Oh, yeah, we had a lot of them just a few minutes ago," laughed one CEO as he role played a scenario. "I thing that guy over there has six of them, maybe he will give you one."
Other initiatives will include the traditional programs of lack of staffing, too few shopping carts, and filthy bathrooms, all of which, when taken in concert, "should turn the average customer into the hate filled spending machines we love," concluded a corporate human resources expert.