Friday, November 23, 2007

Shopping

First a belated Happy Thanksgiving Day to everyone out there -- what a great American holiday in that we set aside a day just to eat food and watch American football!! Does it get any better?

Thanksgiving Day (November 22 this year) also marks another key date known as "Black Friday" which is considered the most important shopping day in the country because it serves as a barometer for the economic performance of the nation's retail industry. I was reminded of this fact yesterday when I picked up our two local newspapers from our patio yesterday morning. Each newspaper was rather think in terms of news articles but contained numerous sales advertisements from a full range of retailers -- Target, Macy's, Fleet Farm, Sears, JC Penney's, WalMart, Best Buy, Office Depot, Kmart.................. -- you get the idea.

The news media is peppered with stories of shoppers walking around stores at 3 am in search of good bargains so it got me thinking about the average consumer. I personally know people (having heard them talk about their plans during our Thanksgiving meal) that approach Black Friday as a project -- they review the sales ads, check the stores' hours, and map our their day so they can satisfy their desire to shop.

Now let's pause a bit to consider this consumer mindset --

Finding a good deal on a sweater or that flat screen television is a personal objective that totally consumes their time and effort. But how many of these consumers will exert this same amount of energy to "shop" for a school for their children? How many consumers read the "sales advertisements" from schools (they don't exist) or compare product features ("class curriculum")? No I don't have scientific polling on this but anecdotal evidence tells me that essentially ZERO consumer research is completed when it comes time to send our children to school since most of simply use the "default" choice by sending our children to whichever school the school bus will deliver them to for instruction.

American consumers can choose to shop at Target or WalMart for the exact same products but in most cases have no choice when it comes to which school to send their children to which is the issue that the media should be focused on during Black Friday.

Todd

1 comment:

jdsqrd said...

I have to partially disagree. Many of the people with whom I work purchased their home after researching which schools they felt would be the best for their children, avoiding homes in districts that were consistently poor performers. Of course, people who don't have the means to move out of marginal school districts are hosed, perpetuating a cycle poor education leading to lower income employment keeping them in districts where their kids receive poor education, yada, yada, yada...