Black-Friday-Weekend Woes End “Trump Effect”

Back to the Retail Quagmire.

Since Trump’s victory, stocks have soared in magic anticipation that the economy would somehow suddenly rise from its languid state and reach escape velocity. Consumer confidence has jumped, even according to Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index whose defining aspect over the years has been its daunting negativity [The Trump Effect on Americans’ Perception of the Economy].

And the National Retail Federation had gushed recently that spending would rise 3.6% this holiday selling season, compared to last year. And we may still get that, but miracles have become scarce and hard to come by these days.

Instead, what we got this weekend, the all-important Black-Friday Weekend, is more of a reflection of the economy than the hype surrounding it. And it’s not good.

So the National Retail Federation said today that on Black Friday and Saturday 2% more consumers shopped than last year – 154 million out of a total population of 324 million! This includes online and brick-and-mortar stores.

For brick-and-mortar stores, it looks dreary: the number of consumers who went to the mall dropped 3.7%, according to the NRF. According to retail analytics firm RetailNext, cited by Reuters, net sales at brick-and-mortar stores dropped 5% over Thursday and Friday, while the number of transactions plunged nearly 8%. Hence the anecdotally reported gloomy traffic at brick-and-mortar stores.

However, the number of those who did their shopping online rose by 4.2%. Online sales are booming: Adobe Digital Insights reported that Thanksgiving and Black Friday, online sales had soared 18% to $5.27 billion.

This includes the online operations of brick-and-mortar retailers. According to the NRF, eight of the top 10 ecommerce sites in terms of traffic over the weekend belonged to brick-and-mortar stores.

But it wasn’t enough. Rather than spending more on average, as was expected and hoped for, shoppers spent 3.5% less online and at brick-and-mortar stores, with the average amount spent dropping from 299.60 per shopper last year to $289.19 this year.

So this is a medium-sized scandal.

Retail gurus pointed at the culprit: discounting. Or rather, the consumers’ relentless focus on deals. They were all looking for deals, no matter where they bought, and if it wasn’t discounted, tough! The survey found that:

  • 36.2% of the shoppers said that everything they bought was on sale, and they didn’t buy anything that was not on sale.
  • 12.1% said that at least three-quarters of what they bought was on sale, but they bought some things that were not on sale.
  • 15.5% said that between half and three quarters of what they bought was on sale.
  • 16.2% said that between a quarter and half of what they bought was on sale
  • 20% said that a quarter or less of what they bought was on sale.

In other words, nearly half (48.3%) of the battle-hardened American consumers bought most or all their stuff only when it was on sale. A nightmare for retailers. Their heavily discounted and promoted door-buster loss-leaders are designed to bring consumers into the store, in the hope that once they’re in the store, they’ll actually buy something that the store doesn’t lose money on. But no.

And this focus on discounted items depresses dollar sales.

The NRF, which is still sticking to its forecast of 3.6% spending increase, had an additional explanation for the debacle: the extended shopping season. More retailers started their promotions before Black Friday, and consumers assume that the promotions will last for the rest of the season. NRF CEO Matt Shay noted: “Consumers know they can get good deals throughout the season and these opportunities are not a one-day or one-weekend phenomenon and that has showed up in shopping plans.”

He explained that 23% of the presumptive shoppers haven’t even started their shopping spree for the season. That’s up from 19% last year at this time. So this would indicate that these sales would still happen, but they’d happen later in the season. Those are the hopes.

That’s a new twist, however. Just days ago, this Black-Friday Weekend was still going to be sizzling hot, and no one blamed the extended season, delayed spending, or discounting.

The problem is: They no longer shop till they drop. Read… Black-Friday Woes: The Death of the Department Store

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  99 comments for “Black-Friday-Weekend Woes End “Trump Effect”

  1. RepubAnon says:

    So let me get this straight – retailers pound consumers with ads screaming “Black Friday Deals – Massive Discounts” – and are then surprised when consumers limit themselves to the discounted items? Meanwhile, they fight bitterly against wage increases, and are then surprised when people whose incomes fell purchased fewer consumer goods?

    If one keeps eating the seed corn, harvests eventually dwindle – keep cutting consumer real wages, and before long they can’t afford to buy your goods.

    • NotSoSure says:

      I know what you mean. It’s the strangest thing in the world. Turns out that you actually need money to buy stuff. I bet you if there’s an exam with that question, most economists would get that wrong. Instead they’ll probably start with some calculus to prove their answer.

      • VK says:

        Economists assume banks and money out of their equations. Not a joke. Factual.

      • E-con 101 says:

        That is correct. Because in an economists world items are purchased with credit not “money.”

      • NoMasPlse says:

        Hah….but is fiat credit the same as fiat money? Your correct…one needs more money to buy more stuff…credit/debt can fill the gap until it doesnt!

      • economicminor says:

        Yeah, most of the *famous* economists postulate a theory then Gerry Rig a model that tries to justify it. Economists never ever predict the next recession. I don’t even think most of them believe it when one presents itself.. as it doesn’t fit into their models.

      • JerryBear says:

        Economics has become a sad and pathetic pseudoscience that can predict nothing. Their grotesquely over elaborated mathematical models, for which they receive Nobel Prizes, are utterly worthless.

    • M.S. says:

      Love love love it

    • John M says:


      Billionaire Sir James Goldsmith recognized your thoughts 22 years ago in a Youtube captured interview with one of the Elitist Libtards Charlie Rose.

      The poorest of the poor in the Rust Belt aren’t buying the bs

  2. michael says:

    My brief excursion here in the east bay found the local mall full at 10 am when I arrived.

    I do not know what sales they had going on but the lines were ridiculous. Too few associates too many shoppers. I retreated home and took my dog for a long walk.

    Whatever discounts they had are not worth the time to stand in line. I will be buying the few gifts I need to buy on line.

    • mordecai says:

      Not only are the discounts not worth your time, but the crap we’ve (some) been conditioned to believe we need is foreign made, cheap labor trash.Decline in America commenced when we went from being a nation of manufacturing to a nation of consumerism.

      • Nik says:

        Mordecai…at a Time we were BOTH..True? (never been a big Fan of Henry Ford,though he kept Car prices in the range,that even his employees could afford them) However,take away part of that total equation and it yields the Current Dysfunctional American Marketplace…! lolol thanks for reading,aloha

    • Meme Imfurst says:

      They were not shopping, they were “cruising”, just like they did at the turn of the last, last century down Fifth Avenue.

  3. PanamaBob says:

    I’ve dreaded for decades going to big box stores at anytime, too big, too many choices, minimum helping clerks. It’s much easier browsing seated at a laptop with a drink at hand,..and usually no sales taxes.

  4. NotSoSure says:

    I waited till today to go to the local Uniqlo to grab a couple of items on discount.

    While I was doing that the USD/JPY just dropped from 114 to 112. Perhaps the stock market will finally be red tomorrow.

  5. AlbieOk says:

    My heavy shopping days are past, thankfully. I’ll watch thesLes trend numbers and wait until the real discounts start. The internets are good for something: continuously updating data!

  6. Steve M says:

    Me and the turkey were too sauced to drive to malls this weekend but we discussed retail sales of food when i picked him up on Wednesday.
    Regional chain grocers were packed while giants like Ralphs and Albertsons/Vons seemed to have one or two checkout lines opened.
    Who sold what and how much to whom?
    I wonder how Thanksgiving food and liquor sales went for retailers?
    By the way, it didn’t end well for the turkey.

    Steve M

  7. walter map says:

    Piddling. They’ve figured out how to keep the markets from crashing by making the little guy (and little girls) pay for the incidental reversals, those that haven’t been anticipated and otherwise engineered. The real players have their rackets and smallish investors (more millions than you have) can play in the sandboxes off in the margins. They can keep up the pretenses long after you’ve been reduced to sharing dirt cookies with the Haitians.

    Must be off, sorry.

  8. Chicken says:

    ” stocks have soared in magic anticipation that the economy would somehow suddenly rise from its languid state and reach escape velocity. ”

    I’m not sure what stocks and the economy have in common, you must be thinking the economy has improved 2x as indexes are trading at 2x the price they were just before the banks hit the wall circa 2008?

    e-commerce is killing brick and mortar.

    I think the real news is the Yen has fallen 10% since the election, that’s an amazing move from my perspective, might qualify as a miracle?

    The miracle I’d really like to see is the US press telling the truth for once.

  9. Wolf Richter says:

    Our regular commenters and those courageous readers who venture this far south into our beautiful comment section have seen the sometimes long, often provocative, always fun, and often funnier-than-heck comments by KITTEN LOPEZ.

    Recently I’ve learned a few things about her (because I asked), and I want to share this: she is graphic designer and published author Erika Lopez. From what I can tell, she’s got five books out, starting in the late 1990s through 2010. The two I looked at are a hoot – and come with her own wild illustrations.

    Kitten Lopez told me that her favorite is “The Girl Must Die: A Monster Girl Memoir” (2010).

    I have not read her books cover-to-cover, so I’m not competent to speak on them, but I looked at the pages you can read for free on Amazon. I really liked “Flaming Iguanas: An Illustrated All-Girl Road Novel,” (1998), and I love the illustrations. The illustrated main character is one hot chick!

    So I thought it would be fun for our readers to get know Kitten Lopez a little better. Here is her author page on Amazon:


    • kitten lopez says:

      aw, shucks…thanks, Wolf. that’s MASSIVE love…
      i’ve got a huuuuge monday morning 7:30am smile.
      nothing can touch me ALL WEEK now.
      thank you for the kind words.

      • Brett says:

        Like the way your mind works Kitten

      • harvey says:

        So many intelligent people commenting on here, this place is truly an oasis for people seeking unobstructed truths and meet similar people. For all those years I am surprised there hasn’t been any MSM shrills trying to pollute this oasis for the purpose of brainwashing even more intelligent people into believing whatever they are trying to sell.

        • economicminor says:

          I don’t think most of the people who hang out here can be polluted. Most seem to think for themselves and try and understand what is happening or come with actual facts/knowledge of whatever is being discussed each day. It is a wonderful place.. Thanks Wolf.

      • JerryBear says:

        You are a sweetie pie Kitten! ^,..,^

      • kitten lopez says:

        i don’t know how this “reply” notification thing works, but this thread is old enough that i imagine you all will be long gone but i wanna write something since it’s raining and i’m delaying the gym for a bit…

        so i’m replying at the very bottom, below…

    • Chicken says:

      I agree, Kitten is an extremely dynamic individual, very high talent level.

      • kitten lopez says:

        (oh my god… THIS is why i write love letters! just from these kind words i’m rolling in fluffiness like all the hard corners have suddenly disappeared out of LIFE!)

        thank you for those words, my Chicken amigo.

        (huge smile)


      • Edward E says:

        She can sing beautifully. Somehow I caught one of her performances that someone was playing somewhere, Branson keeps coming to mind, or Bass Pro… That name kept rambling around in my head for quite awhile driving me bonkers, so eventually I looked her up.

        • kitten lopez says:

          NO–that’s not ME! i laughed long after i realized last time that was someone ELSE you’re thinking of. i do sing but as part of my other shows and those were small. and that would NOT have been the first thing that’d come to mind after seeing me live.

          but thanks anyway, Edward E.



        • Edward E says:

          It was a long time ago, not a live performance. Pretty sure it was you, superstar’s daughter had a recording, loud somethings and you sang at the end. She was playing it during one of our family get away trips to Branson or Springfield. She is an artist, but she moved back to Arizona near her dad. That’s right, she was a fan of yours.

  10. hidflect says:

    America as a country has almost no limit of wealth to spend. I was thinking it just needs the pep talk from hell to convince those with money to invest. If Donald Trump can’t do it then no one can. Certainly that cardboard cut-out Obama wasn’t up to the job.

    • Arctic Melt says:

      I can see that you are in for a really big surprise and it won’t be very pleasant!

    • BrianC says:

      I would rephrase that as:

      America as a country has almost no limit of wealth to be *stolen*.

      Watch closely to see who tries to privatize the big social safety net programs: Social Security and Medicare.

      • economicminor says:

        is that before or after they sell off the *excess* federal lands

      • Edward E says:

        He’s won, thus now freed from telling voters what they want to hear. So now the Republicans are selling their old plans again for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Better hope he keeps his promises.

    • Chicken says:

      It’s been spent on developing a giant military industrial complex. If it weren’t for this there might not be any demand for machine tools (the real kind) You know what that means.

    • Edward E says:

      All of a sudden Keynesian spending is ok now?

  11. night-train says:

    Investment hasn’t been the problem. Oil and gas boom and bust, commercial and residential real estate bubbles, and venture capitalists throwing money into Silly Con Valley like their butts are on fire and their heads are catching. Add to that corporations creating “growth” through stock buybacks and buying up competition and anything that strikes their fancy with cheap money courtesy of the FED.

    The problem isn’t the lack of investment. It is getting corporations and investors to invest in activities that create jobs for the American middle class, and lower socioeconomic cohorts. A pep talk isn’t going to get that done. It takes policy changes which are based on a real plan. Not just some guy saying he has a plan to get votes. So, let’s get out there and make something happen! Rah! Rah!

    • Kent says:

      Very well stated.

    • Meme Imfurst says:

      Tax Automation, unless you have a solution that puts human hands to work.
      105 million on some form of welfare.
      94 million want to work but are not counted.
      Government and media lies about everything including how white your shirt is.
      Most live paycheck to paycheck, no damn RaRa sale is going to add to their bottom line at the end of the week.

      Reality, it is time for truth not more fiction.

      End the FED. No ‘private bank’ should be allowed to print money for their personal gain at the country’s expense.

      • Kent says:

        “Tax automation”. Perfect. And get rid of taxes on employment.

      • Mary says:

        The amount of ignorance you display is amazing.

        Tax automation? Will you tax each time someone buys an iPhone or installs WhatsApp, instead of writing a letter?

        Will you tax if someone uses a shovel to dig instead of hiring 20 labours to dig with spoons?

        Will you tax cars and want people to use palanquins?

        End the Fed? Great, do it. Let the treasury print its money to fund deficits? How is that any better or is less likely to create inflation? Or do you plan to end the dollar as well? Or, will you have some new currency printed by some different body? Instead of a federal reserve dollar note, you will have a Central Bank of US amero notes. What problems will it solve? Will it mean free foods falling from the sky?

        The fed is a ‘private bank’? Ever checked out the website Does the domain indicate anything to you?

        I wonder when will people get out of the entitlement that society owes them a job and monthly salary.

        • Edward E says:

          Well… Elon Musk tells CNBC…

          “There is a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income, or something like that, due to automation. Yeah, I am not sure what else one would do. I think that is what would happen.”

          “People will have time to do other things, more complex things, more interesting things.”

          “Certainly more leisure time.”

          For example, in the future, semi-trailer trucks will be able to drive themselves. And though that won’t become the status quo for a while, it will mean that there won’t be a need for quite as many truck drivers, says Musk.

          Some drivers will transition to fleet operators, responsible for monitoring the status of a fleet of trucks, not any one individual truck. If a truck appears to be having issues, then the fleet operator would come in remotely and solve the problem.

          “Actually, it’s probably a more interesting job than just driving one [truck],” says Musk.

          It’s likely those truck drivers who no longer have a job might see the situation differently.

          But the optimistic Musk sees increased automation as an overall benefit to society, even an opportunity.

        • Edward E says:

          I should have learned by now to stay out of the estrogen pit, but…

          Who owns the Federal Reserve?

        • Chicken says:

          Selective taxation, it’s difficult to pay taxes if you’re unemployed.

    • economicminor says:

      In a speculative boom, creating jobs is a way to lose money. In a speculative boom, gambling and leverage is the only way to stay ahead.

      This is the problem and more money(credit) isn’t going to fix it. Why would any person invest in anything other than leveraged speculation when they have the FED and the federal government backing them up.. If they lose, we lose, if they win, they win.. Someone really expects a corporation to go the long hard job of creating jobs?

    • JerryBear says:

      The upper crust despises the American people and would never allow anything to raise them up.

  12. Meme Imfurst says:

    Black Friday woes….well a box of spaghetti 6 years ago was 79 to 99 cents. That same box, from the same companies is now 1.79 to 2.19. Wheat didn’t go up, all costs actually went down according to the government.

    Try feeding your family on phony government data of the cost of living, and then ask why they can’t buy more crap they don’t need but are made to feel like poor folk if they don’t.

    Watch “Requiem for the American Dream” and it is all to clear.

    • Arctic Melt says:

      Yep! Reality has a way of intruding on illusions based on lies.

    • Dan Romig says:

      Durum wheat may end up costing a bit more soon. Much of the crop in North Dakota’s durum belt (northern half, in the center and west of the state) was taken out by too much moisture, causing scab, or fusarium head blight. Acreage of durum planting in the northern plains next year is forecast to be significantly reduced.

      Barley also got hit in ND, but was decent in MN and Montana. Beer needs barley, eh?

      • Chicken says:

        Perhaps they forgot to spray the crop with roundup.

        • Chicken says:

          “Aug-29-16 02:34PM Wheat ETF Hits New Low on a Bumper Crop Year”

        • Dan Romig says:

          As I have stated before to WS readers, there is this common practice of desiccating cereal crops with Roundup a few days before harvesting. This does three things:

          1) the plants’ straw becomes dry, and the combine’s cutter bar can more easily slice through. Wet wheat straw is tough to cut and binds up.

          2) the grain becomes dry and threshes better. Wet grain is swollen and does not thresh out.

          3) the poison in glyphosate and Roundup is now in the foods we buy and consume.

          These are foods that are from non-GMO crops, and that should not have been contaminated, but it makes the farmers’ job easier and allows him/her to have more control on the timing of the harvest.

          Fungicides can and are used to fight Fusarium head blight and other fungal pathogens, but in much of ND, this past season there was simply too much rain and moisture. Scab creates vomitoxins.

          Also, there are many different types of wheat. Durum is used to make semolina which is the primary ingredient in pasta.

    • Tom Kauser says:

      One dollar- 6oz. Can of beans!

  13. Jack says:

    Here in Charleston, SC the Friday after, downtown was busy but not “packed.” Stores full but not crowded. Nothing on the shelves or racks at full price were touched. Sales racks were depleted. Rain checks handed out aplenty. Restaurants, crowded, boisterous but at the same time pleasant. Farmers Market ( farmers and artisans) very full but moving right along.
    As I say this I did not see arms full of packages or even many people with bags.
    On Thanksgiving Day my wife sat on the couch with 3 of the grandchildren and using Amazon Prime the 3 gifts that were ordered were there Friday by noon. Simple gifts, under $20 each, and promised that they could have them when the gifts arrived, were ripped open as if they had never had a present in their lives. Mimi ( grandma) to you and me were stunned by jaded grandchildren who have 99% of everything ever and Amazon Prime. Easiest shopping ever.

    • Terry says:

      We use Amazon alot also, however, I am noticing a disturbing trend in our little town. The more Amazon grows the more empty storefronts there are in town. Currently there are about 20-30 empty stores, and about a year ago someone i know was able to rent one for $100 a month. I wonder how long before this trend starts to trickle up to the bigger stores and towns. Black Friday here (NorthEast AZ.) seemed pretty subdued, no lines, little heavier than normal traffic on the roads. Wednesday night before Thanksgiving was a different story and the local Safeway had lines 20-50 feet long, traffic was very busy lots of people everywhere.

      • Kent says:

        Amazon’s prices aren’t what they used to be. Greatest selection in the world though. I use Amazon to find the product I want, and I can usually find a better price elsewhere, which is where I buy it.

      • Tom Kauser says:

        If this is really the time most retailers break even than its a broke model?

      • polecat says:

        HeyZeus on a trident !! …. Jeeze people ! … Quit … patronizing … Amazon !!

        After the ‘fake website’ dreck that the Bezos Post spewed out, you all should boycott Both !!

        …but hey … CONvenience …. am I right ??

        • Meme Imfurst says:

          You have my vote on that. Katherine Graham would roll over in her grave to see that the WPO has become a fish wrapper. No toilet paper for the cat, dog or weasel ferret .

          If I could vote 100 times…oh, never mind!

          Just remember Hillery gave Amazon a 5 million dollar contract which she was Secretary of State. Someone said a month but that is insane, that is what Amazon gets from the FED.

        • Scott says:

          Agreed. I try and avoid Amazon and the Post as Bezos is a questionable character . . . like the rest of Silicon Valley monopolists.

          For anyone of the fence I saw a very interesting article recently, in something pretty mainstream if memory serves, that discussed Amazon’s pricing algorithm results varying significantly due to specific user variables.

  14. Kevin Beck says:

    By my count, it was 64.3% of customers who fit the categories of having bought “most or all of their stuff only when it was on sale.” This includes the 50-75% range, which most readers would agree would be those who bought most to all their stuff on sale.

  15. Musivick Studio says:

    FESTIVUS ….. for the Rest-of-Us

    • night-train says:

      Don’t get me started! You can’t even find a good Festivus Pole made here in the US of A.

  16. old bat says:

    are you including cyber monday in this? seems to me that is a MUST since alot of the black friday sales have moved there.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Online sales are HOT. So I expect Cyber Monday to be solid at a minimum.

      • night-train says:

        If sales aren’t good on Cyber Monday, it won’t be for a lack of effort on the retailers part. Back about the middle of November I made several online purchases that I had put off for sometime. All were from brick and mortars with a strong online presence, and companies I have dealt with for years. Since then my inbox has overflowed with deal offering e-mails. And yes, some were good deals and I bit.

  17. Vern says:

    We’re not poor, but my entire extended family has agreed to not buy gifts this season, except for our small ones.

    Instead, we have a list of needed items from the local YWCA women’s shelter that we will fulfill as a family.

    Couldn’t be prouder!

    • JJ says:

      And I’m proud of your attitude also, Vern. I always give to Nashville Mission and feed many on TG day.
      Salute to all those that remember the hungry.
      I have not bought one item except AA batteries for my one and only decoration for Christmas–candles/lights for the windows.
      And that means the entire month of November.
      Oh, food?? Nah, I’m a stocker and didn’t need to leave for anything for TG dinner and it was nice.

    • BrianC says:

      Several of my friends no longer purchase presents for the holidays. Perferring to donate to the local food pantry instead.

      I pretty much don’t do *stuff* anymore myself. The kids get books or tools and that’s about it.

  18. M says:

    Awakening from the Consumerist dream comes in stages. Debt builds up and helps to cover the loss of real net buying power. Media misrepresentation sings a lullaby of “it’s all getting better” Reality catches up though… At a certain point, the center cannot hold any longer, debt is paid down or repudiated. I always dreamed of an America of great vision and leadership. The American Constitution and truly free markets, working with an adult and responsible Citizenship. Wake up America, Issues of Race, Color, Religion and Gender take a distant back seat to the real issues of Character, Maturity Integrity. There is so much greatness in the American Dream. Happy Thanksgiving my friends. I pray you wake up to the history and character that have made you great. I pray you open your eyes and seize that greatness soon.

    • JerryBear says:

      We need an America that votes intellegently but that is a very hard thing to achieve. Look at how many ways our culture acclaims stupidity.

  19. ft says:

    Black Friday tends to bring out the curmudgeon in me; the ability to shop online has done wonders to keep my attitude positive. By accident of how things timed out, I found myself with an appointment at a south bay auto dealer Friday morning and, in the end, came home with the goods. So, hey, I done my part!

  20. John M says:

    The Elites still haven’t grasped it. If you offshore your middle class then you’re effectively eating your own seed corn. Do this long enough & you’ll tear the fabric of society apart. Nice how one can now buy milling machines to manufacture the Lower uppers for AR-15

    Alas this is where our “Elites” are leading us. Me I’m not going to pick up a gun but I did study history and 1790’s seem awfully familiar with Guillotines when it all comes on top.

    • West says:

      If you don’t mind I’ll use your seed corn analogy. I’ve been using the “destroying your own customer base one job loss at a time” to get this thought into people’s head for years, well before The Donald brought it into national prominence.

      Most of the time, when bringing this topic up, I get a “you’re employed and I’m employed so what’s the problem?” It’s always someone else’s job – until its yours, that is offshored or moved overseas.

      Case in point – visited with a buddy and we went to Harbor Freight Tools last week. He says he hates the quality, but HF now is the only place he can get some things, so at least it’s cheap. Completely ignoring the elephant in the room – that HF ran the quality companies out of business.

      One of the axioms of economics is “more is preferred to less”. As with all things, it doesn’t always hold true. I’d rather buy one quality product that lasts a lifetime made locally for 5x the price, instead of buying 5 cheap products over my lifetime, made by offshore labor, that wind up in a landfill. There are real costs associated with cheap products, and thank the good Lord that people are starting to understand it.

      • John M says:


        The ultimate seed corn was when Obama met Tim Cook and Cook said he couldn’t make the iPhones in the US because Chinese were so much better at it than us. What he should have said (if he was truthful) is that without Chinese import tariffs we can make more profits for Apple by manufacturing in China and I “Tim Cook” take home a larger compensation package. That’s why the US is getting screwed. The seed corn here was being mashed up into debt surfs / debt slaves.

        • West says:

          I remember that comment and found it extremely offensive, and if true, it’s true because of companies like AAPL and their actions against American labor.

        • night-train says:

          We have been eating our seed corn for many, many years. When I worked in a hardware store in the early 1970s, we had two major employers in our town. One was a BF Goodrich tire plant. It was a union shop. But it was very common to have one of these well paid union guys drive up in his VW and buy Belgian fencing wire. Of course, they wanted the rest of us to ride on their tires. Seed corn has been a main course in the US for a very long time. It didn’t start with Tim Cook and Obama.

      • Dan Romig says:

        23 years ago, I bought a nice full sized floor standing drill press from Harbor Freight which was of high quality and manufactured in Taiwan. Chinese made machine tools? No thank you.

        • Tom Kauser says:

          Darn Chinese taking Chinese jobs !

        • Dan Romig says:

          Taiwan is the last refuge of those that fought the Communist Party of China until 1949. Then, the Commies had taken control of the mainland and the last boat of the Chinese Nationalist supporters escaped to Taiwan. My quantum physics professor was a young man on that boat!

  21. RD Blakeslee says:

    “However, the number of those who did their shopping online rose by 4.2%. Online sales are booming: Adobe Digital Insights reported that Thanksgiving and Black Friday, online sales had soared 18% to $5.27 billion.” – Wolf

    However, is again encountering increasing problems with delivery schedules (remember their UPS debacle last Christmas?).

    Three of the last four of my Prime orders were rescheduled for delivery, several days later than promised by Amazon.

    • Meme Imfurst says:

      My US postal gal, says 1/3 of her packages are Amazon toilet paper, paper towels and cat food. She also said that perhaps 25% or her mail pick up are Amazon returns which Amazon or the seller pays for.

      Before this WPO bs came out, we bought a new kitchen faucet on Amazon because everything at Home Depot was crap. After we returned the second crappy faucet to Amazon, we about threw in the towel. One last try and it was OK. We are talking about $175/180 faucets here not 50.oo ones. All were made in China, even the brand name ones.

      Were it not for the credit card points built up over the last few years that were expiring and HAD to be used on Amazon, we would not buy a thing from Amazon with ‘money’.

  22. Tom Kauser says:

    Not a good enough sale!

  23. Tom Kauser says:

    I work for a big retailer and have done many of these gimmicky sales!
    The store begins to experience slowdowns in customer traffic as grocery shoppers avoid the store during the build-up to special retail days.
    The slowdown becomes extreme on the day of the sale, and grocery shoppers completely avoid the store during the weekend following the event.
    If the sale doesn’t meet the sales projections , the workers can expect hours being cut after the holidays are over?

  24. Brett says:

    Stay out of debt, constantly reduce the amount of crap in your life and don’t buy more crap, have a policy of every new item that enters your house that is not food must result in a similar size article being thrown out or given away. Amazing how that makes you think about what you really need.

  25. R Davis says:

    In watching Australian news this morning I noticed that Janet Yellen uses her finger to help her follow her script when she reads & even so, she looks lost on the page as she follows her finger.
    This woman is 70 years old .. far too old to hold down a job.
    Compulsory retirement at 60 .. send the dotty geriatrics home.
    Donald Trump’s spending estimates are factored to be $17 TRILLION .. according to the news, walls are expensive to build.
    Is it possible that some of the $17 TRILLION will be siphoned off /is-spent, to parts unknown ?
    Is the US & therefore the rest of us, in for a consumer led recovery ?
    Several years ago now, the UK papers announced that a consumer led recovery was in play .. hooray, hooray, for the Economy of the UK.
    Also .. a copious amount of new credit cards applications had been approved .. to UK citizens who .. it was felt were unsuitable to be in receipt of credit cards, as the were felt to be a real default risk.
    The UK rich go abroad & shop .. because it is cheaper .. so the banks gave credit to the poor who would default on their payments .. however it was felt that the poor would spent in the UK = the consumer led recovery .. Well Done Mark Carney & Co.
    Wait a moment .. who is going to make up the short fall ?
    Well, it was like this .. fees & charges were increased for the rich to pay the credit card spend of the poor.
    Mark Carney the veritable Robin Hood robbed the rich to pay for the poor.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      >>> “Donald Trump’s spending estimates are factored to be $17 TRILLION .. according to the news, walls are expensive to build.”

      Missing decimal point or some other mix-up? Or over how many years? The total US budget is just under $4 trillion.

      • Tom Kauser says:

        Reagan raised taxes seven years in a row after the initial tax cut.
        Reagan jacked the debt up and over the course of eight years progressively rais taxes and with Patrick Monahans help pushed the social security fund into the general revenues to be spent as government funds.
        Also created the cap on social security withholdings?
        Do you smell kool-aid farts yet?

        • economicminor says:

          Do you smell kool-aid farts yet?


          The old fart is the same as the new old fart!
          got it!

          Interesting piece I read comparing the current situation also to H. Hoover.. both were successful businessmen elected right before a major economic down turn.. Interesting stuff life is full of..

  26. Julian the Apostate says:

    A report from the road, from a buggy whip employee looking at my first automobile. Perhaps I’ll be dead before my job is phased out by automation. In the meantime I haul my freight. Thanksgiving traffic was far busier than I’ve seen in recent years. Restaurants seem busier, the twitching people have quieted down, and the mood in flyover country is noticibly improved. Judging by the hissy fits the Left is terrified, their marked deck has been taken away and their handbook is mysteriously obsolete. The best thing to come out of this election is the fact that everyone can now see how the sausage is made. It is no longer theory but fact. I discovered that I am alt-right ROFLMAO. I went to buy a new mask for my CPAP machine and discovered I now need a prescription to purchase one, (rule change in July) and I made an observation that perhaps the new administration would change things back to something resembling rationality. Both of the young women at the pharmacy looked like I’d tied them to a post and uncoiled a 50 foot bullwhip. Good grief.

  27. kitten lopez says:

    i’m responding to all the comments above after Wolf “outed” me (smile). i felt shy when he asked me, because i didn’t want anyone to have more reasons to dislike me!

    but this isn’t about me even as i feel like i’ve been rolling around in fluffy soft flowers and a world with a lot fewer sharp corners to bash my head on. (Edward E, i got speechless in my mind after you insisted it WAS my singing you heard. tell me this all isn’t MAGIC!)

    to ALL: those comments above to me are why i just love and adore the epic romantic nature of MEN (i don’t know if economicminor is a guy, though), and i want EVERYONE to SEE THAT. i’m not just talking smack. it is men who’ve lifted me up on their shoulders and taught me how to fix flat tires and lift weights and shake things off, how to stand being alone and how the games go when you do so. thank you for teaching and supporting me so that i may stay true to my visions and honor the bigger questions that vex me.

    (and there’ve been enough unusually strong and empathetic and insightful women in my life, like Petunia, who keep me from copying the guys TOO much and scratching my crotch. such women are goddesses to me and keep me balanced in loving being female with my silly dolly parton push up bras that i love so much.)

    i didn’t NEED to write this, but it was on my mind how amazing this place is –especially for a fucking INTERNET site—but i wanted to show you all YOURSELVES, for i know there are others who feel the same affection/love/encouragement and i can FEEL it here. you didn’t even have to write anything. it’s there. that’s the kind of place this is and that’s no small feat to find what both Harvey and EconomicMinor said:

    Harvey: “So many intelligent people commenting on here, this place is truly an oasis for people seeking unobstructed truths and meet similar people.”

    economicminor: “I don’t think most of the people who hang out here can be polluted. Most seem to think for themselves and try and understand what is happening or come with actual facts/knowledge of whatever is being discussed each day. It is a wonderful place.. Thanks Wolf.”

    tell me magic and romance is dead! i DARE you. thank you for smearing love all over me like giant peanut butter. because so often i feel like i’m alone and mad with my head stuck in a metal trash can.

    have a wonderful day, each of you. thank you for the sweets. i promise to pass ’em on because how can i NOT?

    this place is necessary because it does keep folks like us grounded. people who once thought i was just overly emotional and silly are now reaching out to me in confused tears. it’s a compliment because they don’t think i’m so “silly” nowadays and that’s a relief…for now… because as you know we must push onward to what’s ahead NEXT… and then they’ll think we’re being “silly” again.

    you’ve gotta get used to the stomach aches. thanks ALL of you.

    so… this is just a “money site,” huh, Wolf?

    yeeeeeah, riiiiight….


    have a blessed day you all. dare to be embarrassed and care too much because it feels fucking AMAZING.

    thank you, immensely…



  28. ambrose bierce says:

    we are near Bob Prechter’s two jaguar moment. there is too much of everything, (try to donate that not so old couch to goodwill, just try) and with even a mild recession the market for previously owned items will flourish. the storage business is testament to materialism beyond reason. depositors claim foul on negative savings rates, what about paying to store worthless items? the cost to demo a house begins at 10K, close to the original value of many older homes. as people lose purchasing power recycling becomes a growth business model.

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