Everything Is On Sale, Except What Matters

My entire career I left the office in the middle of the day and also popped out on weekends to go “shopping”. Not to buy anything for myself, but to observe human behavior and shifting patterns at certain stores. In early 2007, people were standing in line to buy big screen TVs, new cars, or the new first-generation iPhone, presumably with their home equity lines of credit. In 2008 when the Great Recession arrived, shoppers stopped buying consumer goods, but after February 2009, everything went on sale. Stores were crowded again; mainly clothing and other lower-ticket discretionary items. The sales persisted because retailers had excess inventory to move, despite an uptick in buying. Shoppers felt wealthy again because the stock market was moving back up and credit became cheap again. Consumers had pent up demand from the previous 2 years as well.