Monday, November 26, 2007

So national sales were up 8.3% on Black Friday?

I'm sorry. I don't buy it. I don't think they really know, just like they can't really predict how sales will be for the Holidays.

One of my brother in laws said, "I understand that they think sales will increase xxx% this year." And I found myself saying, "Oh, they have no idea. That's a flat out guess."

There is just too much dark matter involved. Way too much margin for error. It's just a marketing tool, a way of reassuring the public that all is right in the world, maybe instill just a twinge of Christmas spending urge.

It could be up, it could be down. I don't believe they really know.

Besides, as I've always said, raw sales don't mean a damn thing. Especially if you're giving the product away. An 8.3% increase in business in my store with an overall store discount of 10% would be a net loss.

Meanwhile, over in Madras, some local stores are trying to fill the niche they perceive has been created by the lack of 'big' boys.

Same sort of thing happened in Bend in the 1980's. We had a 10 years span when no significant national retailer came to Bend, and up popped businesses that tried to fill the void: Big, little businesses, if you will. Or Little/Big businesses.

Then the big boys showed up, and these hybrids were simply crushed. In a sense, they were putting themselves in the path of a locomotive. Safer to be a small and agile specialty business. You want to live in the crevasses, not in the big cave that the big bear wants.

Millions for a transit center? Got to love that federal tax money. Sure, maybe we wouldn't have got the money without a transit district -- but that still doesn't mean it couldn't have been done right in the first place.

Sometimes, the stereotype is pretty much right on. That skateboarders are scofflaws comes as no surprise.

We had a skateboard shop open across the street from us a few years ago. For a couple of weeks, the kids were out in the street, wacking the sidewalks, etc. making a racket. I ignored it -- they were new, and I suspected they would settle down. But my dear, sweet, calm wife got it in her head to talk to the owner of the new store and request that he talk to the skateboarders:

"I've been wanting my own place so I wouldn't have to listen to people like you for so long that I'll be damned if I do as you ask."

Good neighbors. They were gone in less than a year.

But I've learned that every few years some group of kids or parents will start muttering about how there isn't "anything to do" for teenagers. They'll try a teenage club, or a skate park, and almost invariably a bad element takes over.

To complain that there isn't anything to do in Bend, is to reveal that you are a dimwit.


Carl said...

You hit it on the head.What dim-bulb thought that small park surrounded by upscale houses would be a great place for a skatepark and the type of kids it attracts?

And did anyone notice the pix in the BBull? A 19 yr old with no helmet and a cig hanging from his pie hole. What an example? Why wasn't he at work?

Now the brillant bulbs at the park board want to try having all parks leash free? I may have to shoot a dog yet when one attacks mine who will be on leashes.

Duncan McGeary said...

Well, kids will be kids. And they will form into cliques, and cliques exclude others. I just think it was somewhat naive to create a zone that was unsupervised and not expect some trouble.

Schools know better. Most businesses know better. Boys and Girls Clubs know better.

bruce said...

Re: ...unsupervised...

Exactly. You have to budget in a responsible person or the wanna-be gangbangers will clique up and try to take control