DECLINING SALES ISN’T ONLY ABOUT THE ECONOMY

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Christmas is now behind us. We’re on the cusp of welcoming a new year and saying goodbye to an old. The Christmas season no doubt, is the most commercialized time of year, with every man Jack scampering to supermarkets, stores and such to secure what they deem necessary for the season. Gift giving is ubiquitous amongst the masses and recession or not, consumers shell out dollars by the collective millions as a material show of their love, affection or appreciation towards friends and family.

While in the recent past, shrewd business owners would have welcomed flocks with doors literally wide open, times have changed. Buyers are watching their budgets because of a need for more prudent spending coerced by economic stagnation, and the real possibility of being robbed or skimmed just makes the reality worse. A third factor though, of which many are aware but speak little of, adds as much disgruntlement as the others.

How many of us have raced to stores for the much-anticipated Boxing Day sales? And how many times have we seen merchants mark up prices only to drop them back to the original price after a “massive 50% off” was applied, thinking buyers would be none-the-wiser? Yes, the economy is in tatters and monies being spent by consumers have shrunk drastically. But a lot of what is happening has to do with these unethical practices of business owners. It’s a pity that a wide number of merchants choose to let greed be their driving force. We could never understand how these nonsensical practices could be interpreted as business knack. And on the contrary, we applaud the entities that have chosen not to go down that road, and subsequently built a reputation of credibility over the years with the population.

We live in a day and age where consumers are much more tactful and discerning when spending and most would not be fooled so easily. Several Chambers of Commerce have reported astounding drops in sales this year. And while many would attribute this to our economic decline, we would not, at least not wholly. The privilege of online shopping is now widely available, and many avail themselves to it. Why would a person pay 500 dollars for an item in a store here when they can source perhaps a better quality one online for 250 dollars, shipping and taxes included? Not to mention the consumer is purchasing from a retailer, as opposed to merchants having the benefit of wholesale purchases. How about we ask the courier companies how business was for the Christmas season?

This Station is in full support of the local economy. But are consumers really given a better choice when buying locally? In most cases no, because of this marketing gold rush. It is time for these local enterprises to wake up, and realize this world around them has changed. They in turn, must re-evaluate their business strategy if they are to remain viable.

Our population is wiser and is now exercising their options. And while they are not willing to pay the price, merchants have found themselves doing just that.