There Simply Is No God In Heaven

26moms600

When Mom can’t get that new pair of designer jeans.

Come Christmas, McKenna Hunt, a gregarious little girl from Safety Harbor, Fla., will receive the play kitchen and the Elmo doll she wants. But her mother, Kristen Hunt, will go without the designer jeans she covets this season.

For Ms. Hunt and for millions of mothers across the nation, this holiday season is turning into a time of sacrifice. Weathering the first severe economic downturn of their adult lives, these women are discovering that a practice they once indulged without thinking about it, shopping a bit for themselves at the holidays, has to give way to their children’s wish lists.

“I want her to be able to look back,” Ms. Hunt declared, “and say, ‘Even though they were tough times, my mom was still able to give me stuff.’ ”

In this economy, nearly everyone is forgoing indulgences, and many fathers will no doubt sacrifice this year to put toys under the tree. But figures suggest the burden is falling most heavily on women, particularly mothers.

In September and October, sales of women’s apparel fell precipitously compared with the same months the year before. They were down 18.2 percent in October, for instance, compared with a decrease of 8.3 percent for men’s apparel, according to SpendingPulse, a report by MasterCard Advisors.

And a survey of shoppers’ intentions by the NPD Group, a consultant firm, suggests that such cutbacks may continue through the holiday season. Some 61 percent of mothers said they would shop less for themselves this year, compared with 56 percent of all women and 45 percent of men.

The survey suggested that mothers, more than any other group, would also spend less money over all and postpone big-ticket purchases, like the dishwasher that Ms. Hunt wants to buy.

It may be noble sacrifice for women to spend less on themselves to benefit their families. But it is bad news for the troubled retail industry, which relies heavily on sales of women’s apparel.

“As we go into the holiday, it’s not going to be ‘One for my sister and one for me,’ ” said Marie Driscoll, an analyst for Standard & Poor’s Equity Research Services. “You might not even get one for your sister so you can buy great gifts for her kids.”

Reyne Rice, who studies toy trends for the Toy Industry Association, said mothers do at least 80 percent of the holiday shopping in a family, and in past recessions they have been the first to do without. They tend not to get a new coat for themselves, Ms. Rice said, so they can provide for their children.

Analysts say the pullback by women in this downturn is among the most drastic they have seen.

“You just keep hearing, ‘We’ve stopped shopping altogether,’ ” said John D. Morris, a retail analyst with Wachovia, adding that the typical woman is “finding fashion in the back of her closet.”

The downturn, analysts said, is being exacerbated by unexciting fashions in stores. And the lack of pressure to conform to one particular style these days means women do not have to update their work wardrobes.

As they scale back their own indulgences, mothers are looking for additional ways to cut the cost of Christmas. Some are using online tools to organize meetings with other mothers to swap clothing, toys, video games and books. Others are buying DVDs and video games in bulk from warehouse stores like BJ’s Wholesale Club, then taking the sets apart to create multiple gifts.

Matriarchs of big families are bringing back the old practice of pulling names out of a hat to decide who will buy a gift for whom. Some mothers have made pacts, with their spouse or other family members, not to buy gifts for anyone but the children.

Despite all these efforts, many mothers will nonetheless end up cutting back, at least a bit, on spending for their children. Historically, the toy industry has been more immune to economic downturns than other industries, but this year, analysts expect it to feel the pinch.

That could translate into fewer presents for children over all, even though many parents will go to great lengths to buy the one or two gifts their child wants most.

“While times are difficult, the last thing parents are going to cut from their budget is the Christmas present for their child,” said Gerald L. Storch, chairman and chief executive of Toys “R” Us. “We are not seeing price resistance for the hot toys.”

This is poverty in America. Parents doing without the latest pair of designer jeans so their kids can have that hard to find Elmo. Not jeans, mind you. Designer jeans. And not food for their kids. Or health care. No, that Elmo they NEED to be happy and fulfilled.

This is a joke. And a bad one at that. As Gawker puts it.

“The mom will bravely go without this season’s new designer jeans, according to the accompanying story. Notice that she seems to be nicely up-to-date with last season’s pricey denim; that she is standing in a garage larger than many apartments; that it seems to be furnished with an operative extra refrigerator; and that discarded toys (from prior Christmases?) are plainly visible in plastic boxes in the background. This typifies sacrifice in America today? The coming depression is so going to eat the nation alive, and the world will laugh, because we deserve it.”

I don’t know about the whole coming depression thing. I personally think the economy will recover more quickly than people believe. But regardless, anyone who complains about having to give up designer jeans because of the tough economy should get a clue and visit some people who are really poor – both here in the USA and especially overseas where people are literally starving to death in mud-floored huts – and then maybe, just maybe they will realize how moronic they sound. And maybe the reporters who write about this stuff as if it is legitimate news will realize how moronic they sound.

America is a rich nation. Her poorest are better fed, clothed, and housed than many of the middle-class and even the “rich” of may other nations. Personally I don’t think you can claim to be in poverty when you have a roof over your head, a couple of flat-screen TVs, the latest video gaming systems, a running car, cigarettes and beer in the fridge, and you’re suffering health problems because you weigh too much, but hey, maybe that’s just me.

And I certainly don’t think anyone should be complaining about missing out on the latest fashion trend because of the economy. At least not if they don’t want to be mocked for doing so.

And speaking of being mocked. What are these people thinking when they agree to be interviewed for something like this? Don’t they realize how silly they sound? It only goes to show you how severely insulated some people are from the real world and especially how insulated reporters are when they write drivel like this. It boggles the mind, I tell you.

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1 Comment

  1. I want Reese Witherspoon for Christmas. This gal has brains and looks, poise, charisma and an Oscar.


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