Ho Ho Ho…Who are you Listening to?
Financial gurus analyzed shopping trends following Black Friday. Shopping was up almost 4 percent from last year this same time. While "four" is a low number, I thought "up" was good. I was wrong.
Yes, it was an increase; but they warned, in these difficult economic times, we should not take the increase as a good sign. Retailers should not be pleased with their increased sales; this increase was actually an indicator of gloomy days ahead. You see, the only reason more dollars were spent on this Black Friday is because people completed the majority of their shopping on that day. According to the experts, now that the biggest sale day of the year was past, people were mostly through Christmas shopping.
This was great news for me. I'm not sure which I dislike more, shopping or crowds. So, with the rest of the US finished Christmas shopping, I went to the mall today to get some of my shopping done. The third Saturday before Christmas and I'm at the mall. Insane. But, if most everyone is done shopping, then no crowds! Right? Wrong! The mall was packed. Absolutely packed.
The shopping areas by the mall? Packed.
Toys R Us? Packed!
So, either people love to look for what they can't buy, or the few people who still have money to spend ALL came to South Carolina TODAY! Or maybe, just maybe, the gurus were wrong.
The most valuable information I gained from my research class was not how to conduct research or how to write-up research. I learned how easily statistics can be manipulated. You can make the same number say a lot of different things. And if you speak well enough, loud enough, and long enough...enough people will believe you to effect a change, even if the change is based on a lie.
Situations are rarely as they seem. People are quite often not as genuine as they come across. And when someone is trying to convince you to do something, it is usually for their own benefit. But sometimes even the good guy, with the best intentions, gets it wrong. We humans are an unpredictable lot, and that makes for a challenging variable.
Today, I was reminded that those who are lauded as "experts" don't always have all the answers. Part of finding balance is using wisdom when we apply information. As we navigate the coming days, let's be careful whose voices we listen to.