Tag Archives: Christmas shopping

Black Friday 2014

blfridayOnce again, the Black Friday blog post – the Least-read Post of the Year!®

The Holiday shopping season begins! This year: “The National Retail Federation forecasts holiday sales will grow 4.1 percent to $616.9 billion — the biggest jump since 2011…retailers get 20 percent of their annual sales during the holiday shopping season.”  Associated Press

Scanning the news, it seems like business as usual. There are some notes of improvement, though. Instead of the old days, where the doors flew open and Death Race 2000 broke out to get to that one pile of Cabbage Patch kids, stores are spreading out the bargains throughout the store. Stores are hiring crowd control officers. The Early Bird Thursday shopping trend is easing things, as well, but a day later, some Black Friday shoppers are facing empty shelves.

As for the “open on Thursday” thing – what do YOU think? AP quotes a young adult shopper: “It’s ruining the spirit of Thanksgiving,” she said Thursday. “But … the best deals were today.”

So, what’s YOUR best bargain of the shopping season so far? Did you witness any craziness? Did you PERPETRATE any craziness? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and Happy Black Friday!

Low Gas Prices = Happy Holidays?

gaspigDriving to and from work every day, you have probably noticed the price of gas coming down. Here in South Carolina, we enjoy some of the lowest prices in the US, but I still see the pattern. This past summer, prices were up around $3.40 (which made my drive to Ohio pretty dang expensive!) Today, it’s $2.62.

So, let’s just say gas is now 75 cents less per gallon. And, lets say that you – the American consumer who drives 65% of the economy – are saving about $300 a year now. What do you plan to do with that extra scratch? Marketwatch.com has a suggestion:

American’s spend about 4% of their income on gas for their cars. The drop in price for each tank pumps up the spending power of most consumers, already adding billions of dollars in unexpected spending power ahead of the holiday spending season.

So, have you noticed the gas prices going down? Has it put you in a better mood? In a mood to spend more for the holidays? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

Holiday Spending 2013

christmas_spending-258x300Ah, statistics. How much are we spending this holiday season? You can ask 5 different experts and get 5 different interpretations of the numbers. What seems to be universal is that we still aren’t back to where we were in 2007, before everything went wacky, but slowly (painfully slowly) we are clawing our way back. Of course, that’s relative too. Is spending $800 per family at holiday time something we SHOULD be striving toward? I’m not so sure.

Anyway, here’s the latest look at Holiday Spending by the Numbers, 2013 edition, courtesy of Mint.com.

  • 2007: The year holiday spending peaked, before the crash
  • 39%: How much spending went down in 2008
  • 2009: The year holiday spending bottomed out
  • $682: The low point, per family, in 2009
  • $750: what we worked our way up to, per family, in 2012. Expected to rise again in 2013
  • $400: How much we spent on family gifts, 2012
  • $75: Gifts for friends, 2012
  • $25: Gift for co-workers, 2012
  • 60%: The number of us that bought gifts for ourselves, 2012
  • $224: The amount moms spend on each child and spouse
  • #1: The most requested gift on wish lists: Gift cards!

The article is full of stats from different survey firms. Sometimes the numbers differ, but the trends seem stop hold up across the board. It also offers for tips to cut costs (I’m going to guess “buying gifts for yourself” is the first to go!) So check it out!

How about you? Are you spending the same? Less? More? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great (shopping) weekend!

The UK Catches Black Friday Fever

British Black Friday is SO much classier!

Ah, the Black Friday blog post: the least-read post of the year! I tell ya, I got nothin’!

Well, almost nothin’. Here’s something kind of interesting… two years ago we posted an infographic about the price differences between the US and the UK. An iPod might be $135 in America, and $175 in the UK. Add Black Friday sales into the mix – which didn’t exist in the UK – and suddenly tons of Brits were hopping on planes and invading Boston on Black Friday.

Now, according to an article at CapitalBay.com, there’s no need to hop the pond anymore, because Black Friday has officially arrived in the UK!

 And now Black Friday – the States wide sale that traditionally follows Thanksgiving – has come to UK shores, with retailers promising enticing deals to match those of their American counterparts. As retailers from Asda and John Lewis to Amazon and PC World offer deals, it is expected to be the year that Britain embraces the concept and cements it as a tradition in the UK consumer’s calendar.  CapitalBay.com

Well, good luck, Brits. Hopefully you can handle the madness better than we do at times. Hey, maybe the next time you see video of a Black Friday riot, it won’t automatically be Americans!

Anyway, hope you are having a good Black Friday and are finding lots of deals. Furthermore, when things get tense, I hope you are part of the SOLUTION, not the PROBLEM. If you have any stories to share, let us know over at the Mindfield Online Facebook page!

UPDATE! These scenes in the UK today should look familiar.

Holiday Shopping Season Begins!

Seriously? For real?
Seriously? For real?

Holiday shopping season is upon us, so let the madness begin! It used to be so simple – around about 5am on Black Friday the doors would fly open and the trampling would commence. Now, the times are all over the place. Kmart is particularly tricky: Open at 6am Thursday, closes at 4pm, opens again at 8pm, closes at 11pm Friday! You get all that? If not, the folks at About.com have compiled a pretty thorough set of lists for Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday store hours, so check ’em out!

Thanksgiving Day Opening Times

(Click the header for a complete listing)

6:00 AM – Kmart (closes at 4pm, reopens at 8pm)
7:00 AM – Big Lots
8:00 AM – Bass Pro Shops
8:00 AM – Family Dollar
9:00 AM – Old Navy
10:00 AM – Gap
8:00 PM – hh gregg
8:00 PM – Kmart
8:00 PM – Sears (stays open until 10pm Friday)
8:00 PM – Toys ‘R Us
8:00 PM – Wal-Mart (stays open until 10pm Friday)

Black Friday Opening Times

(Click the header for a complete listing)

12:00 Midnight – jcpenney (open from 8 PM Thurs thru 9 PM Friday)
12:00 Midnight – Kohl’s (open from 8 PM Thurs thru 9 PM Friday)
12:00 Midnight – Kmart (open from 8 PM Thurs thru 11 PM Friday)
12:00 Midnight – Old Navy (open from 7:00 PM Thurs)
12:00 Midnight – Sears (open from 8 PM Thurs thru 9 PM Friday)
12:00 Midnight – Target (continuous hours from 8:00 PM Thurs)
12:00 Midnight – Walmart (continuous hours from 8:00 PM Thurs)
5:00 AM – Bass Pro Shops
5:00 AM – Lowe’s
8:00 AM – Radio Shack

So, what’s YOUR battle plan? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page! And don’t forget, we did an online Holiday shopping guide a couple of weeks ago. You can check that out HERE.

Know Your Layaway


We have talked over the last couple of Holiday seasons about the return of layaway, in posts like this one and this one. As many folks continue to struggle economically, layaway has grown even more popular. In fact…

While layaway currently lacks the explosive popularity of gift cards, it’s a trend that bears watching, says Butler. Depending on consumer reaction, stores offering holiday layaway could extend their programs year-round, and retailers without layaway could make it available, he says.  Bankrate.com

You may be new to the layaway game. Or you did it back in the 1970s, like everybody else’s mom. Either way, the game has changed a bit. So Bankrate.com has drawn up a handy list of 8 things you need to know about layaway. Here are the bullet points:

  • Availability may be limited
  • Different programs have different rules
  • Down payments or deposits are possible
  • Ask about payment deadlines
  • What if I miss a payment?
  • What if the price drops?
  • Your merchandise might not be held on-site
  • It’s smart to save those receipts

Like I said, bullet points MUCH more info at the original article. How about you? Will you layaway this year? Has the system changed – better or worse? Let us know at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

Online Holiday Shopping Tips!

Um, yeah…let’s not, OK?

As we noted last time, Black Friday is approaching (way to look at a calendar, genius!) It’s a tradition that has undergone some change in the past few years. The deals have crept backwards in time, encroaching on Thanksgiving itself. Now we have Cyber Monday for the online shoppers. And the entire weekend in between is littered with deals, as well.

So, when do YOU hit the digital battlefield? That depends on what you’re after. Thankfully, the folks at DealNews.com have scoured their archives to note what items are the best deal online on which day. Here is a much-compressed list…

Thanksgiving Day/Evening: Smartphones, HDTVs and Gaming Items

Black Friday: Laptops, Computers,  Storage (like flash drives, etc.), iPhones and Kitchenware

The Weekend between Black Friday and Cyber Monday: Tools and appliances

Cyber Monday: Clothing and shoes

MUCH more detail at the original article, so check it out! So, what’s on your shopping list this holiday season? Do you shop online, hit the mall or both? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

November Deals!

SavingsThe madness begins. In a few short weeks you will be strapping on your armor and heading into the mouth of madness known as black Friday. And, as we noted yesterday, Black Friday is six days later this year, meaning that the holiday shopping season is cut short by nearly a week. So, if you want to get a jump on things, here is a list of links to tell you where the deals are this November. Enjoy!

End-of-year car deals

A lot of Halloween-expiring deals, but also several that last through the weekend and beyond

November travel deals

November deals on “Weddings, Tools and More” from the Wall Street Journal

Deals & Bargains in November from CBS News

The Best and Worst Things to Buy in November from DealNews

Online tech retailer Newegg announces “Black November”

Insider article on the types of deals to look for in November

So, are you ready to rock? Do you know of other good deals? Let us know at the MindField Online Facebook page! And have a great weekend!

Last Minute Gift Ideas!

12.21.09 iStock_000007466237XSmall

Consumer Reports says that 17 million of us will be shopping for Christmas Eve. Ahhh, smell the desperation!! If you are one of those unfortunates, MindField Online thought you might like a few last-minute gift ideas. So, check out these links, and you’re welcome.

Last-minute gifts galore!

Last-minute gifts under $20!

Gifts for your favorite Techie!

More Techie ideas!

Gifts for the College kid in your life!

Give the gift of booze!

Artsy-fartsy gifts!

Gifts for your little Science nerd or nerdette!

Gifts for your favorite Foodie!

More Foodie gifts!

Cold-weather climate gifts!

Gifts for your favorite outdoorsman!

Gifts for the Apple iJunkie in your iLife!

And the best of all…not gift ideas, but “how to last-minute shop” and keep your sanity!

We wish you well in your pursuit, however frustrating it may be. Hopefully, when you are last-minute shopping and you feel the urge to blow up, freak out and be That Girl or That Guy, the person in front of you will blow up first, and you can see how…unattractive that is!

Merry Christmas, friends.

The Re-gift of the Magi


First of all, I don’t hate the practice of regifting as much as the idea that they had to make up a word for it. (English major rant!) But it looks like regifting is here to stay.

You get a gift, and it’s not to your liking because the giver is clueless or you’re a stupid selfish baby (see previous post.) What do you do? If you don’t want to stand in line at the WalMart service desk (because you have a life) you just might hold on to that bamboo steamer or necktie organizer and pass it along to the next victim a loved one next year.

And, the survey says you aren’t alone.

Regifting, once a social taboo, is gradually gaining in acceptance. According to a nationwide consumer-spending survey by American Express, 58% of people believe it is OK sometimes to regift an item. That figure rises for the holiday season, when 79% of respondents said they believe regifting is socially acceptable. The survey, which polled about 2,000 people last year, found that nearly one-quarter of consumers said they regifted at least one item the previous holiday season. Wall Street Journal

Sorry, Wall Street Journal – 79% favorable is not “gradually gaining acceptance.” Regifting, once relegated to the slums of “white elephant” gift exchanges, has gone legit. Which totally takes the fun out of my all-time, always-a-hit white elephant gift: Butt Paste!!

I prefer the TUB, not the TUBE

That’s comedy gold right there. Anyway, what do you think about regifting? Let us know, and have a great weekend!