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News article for the week of 12/27/08.

Tis the Season to Spend Stupid
By Grey Economics

In a world gripped by an economic disaster movie, with tidal waves of monetary woe, interest rates impacting the world’s foundations and Steven Spielberg determined to cast Ben Affleck in the lead role the traditional spend up season was starting to look grim for retailers as people around the world held on to their money rather than throw it out the window.
K-Mart, Wal-Mart and McMart, the new McDonalds based retail chain primarily selling clothing and electronics goods made from leftover mayonnaise and secret sauce, all expected dismal quarters worldwide.
Thankfully for them people are stupid.
While higher priced, up marked high end products are not selling while sales of useless trinkets, junk and flotsam has increased by at least 400%, by as much as 650% in some parts of Canada, Australia and Hawaii.
Economic experts are stunned as predictions are flying out the window faster than leftover Happy Meal toys being sold at a rate of six for five dollars.
Financial institutions are putting money into cheap plastics, cut rate manufacturing and Chinese milk as resources of pathetic bits of stocking filler dry up, also leading to a shortage of Twinkie filling.
President-Elect Barak Obama is slapping his forehead five times a day, British Prime Minister Brown is apparently constipated with shock, not so shadowy behind the scenes Russian controller Vladimir Putin is trying to decide if he should be cackling with glee or shaking his fist in comical fury and President Bush is hoping that this means he finishes his term on a high note.
And boy is Santa pissed. Lacking traditional stocking stuffers he is forced to put his elves to work even harder, right as the union is negotiating for better overtime pay, improved conditions, bathroom breaks and some sort of safety rail around the bottomless chasm that makes up 30% of the workshop floor.
Behavioural experts and sales psychologists have looked into the matter and believe that because quality, high end goods are so expensive that not buying them immediately gives the sense that money is being saved.
Fair enough, however this is still Christmas, things must be bought, and while fewer, smaller items makes sense the need to buy more can only be explained by the need to replicate the same shopping rush found in parting with large sums of money during the festive season.
While this is sending stocks in useless baubles skyrocketing it is seen as yet another bubble, like the recent housing bubble, the dot-com bubble of a decade earlier and the J-Lo bubble, the after effects of which are still being monitored.
This bubble will be short lived as no one will be buying much after Christmas, even taking the post holiday sales into account, however the expected results will be more than a recession, possibly even making a depression look tame by comparison. In fact if the Spielberg movie goes ahead, the new name for this global failure will be an Afflecktion.

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