Thursday, December 4, 2008

Maternal instincts

by Angie D

The New York Times recently reported a worrying trend: women are no longer spending enough money to keep the retail economy afloat. Well, to be exact, mothers are cutting back on personal spending in order to be able to afford Christmas presents for their children. And while “it may be a noble sacrifice for women to spend less on themselves to benefit their families… it is bad news for the troubled retail industry, which relies heavily on sales of women’s apparel.”

What is a mom to do? Her duty as a mother is to ensure that her children are able to indulge in the toy-driven consumerism of the holiday season. One mom explains, “I want [my daughter] to be able to look back and say, ‘Even though they were tough times, my mom was still able to give me stuff.’ ” But this mom’s role as a woman dictates that she spend on clothing and household goods, to ensure that her person and her home are up to the standards set by marketers and magazine editors. This is indeed a tough choice, but it seems the maternal instinct is prevailing; a survey cited by the Times suggests “mothers, more than any other group, would spend less money over all and postpone big-ticket purchases, like the dishwasher that [mom above] wants to buy.”

Gerald L Storch, Chairman and CEO of Toys R Us, assures us: “While times are difficult, the last thing parents are going to cut from their budget is the Christmas present for their child. We are not seeing price resistance for the hot toys.” All I can say is thank goodness that mothers are making sure their children learn the true meaning of Christmas… getting stuff. Even in a recession, it’s important to follow the material… er, maternal instinct.

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