"Gotta have that Big Screen TV" is out of the gate first, with "I wanna X-Box" on the rail and closing fast. But "I like the Wii" is having none of it as he moves up in position to strike. Running in fourth place is "I need a Blu-Ray" with "My New Nikes" in a close fifth. In a surprising move, here comes "Designer Shoes and Clothing" on the outside, moving into striking distance of the lead pack. And bringing up the rear is "I still need that iPad Mini" and "Must have the Windows 8 PC."
As they head down the back stretch, it's "Designer Shoes and Clothing" leading "Gotta have that Big Screen TV" by a length. As they near the far turn, it's a horse race now, as they jostle for position, ignoring the others around them, bumping and even using their whips against the others. Oh my God! "Designer Shoes and Clothing" has fallen and is being trampled by the pack as they race for the finish line.
And here they come down the home stretch, folks! The ground shakes as the thundering herd passes, and their eyes are fixed on the prize, the grand bargains they are seeking. Here they come to the line. It's "My New Nikes" in the middle of the track, followed by "I wanna X-Box" with "I like the Wii" in third. It's going to be photo finish, folks. Fifty yards to go and, what's this? "Designer Shoes and Clothing" is back in the race. I have never seen anything like this before; she is moving up beside the leaders. What a race!
It's a four horse race now, but here comes "Gotta have that Big Screen TV" on the rail, struggling to carry the extra weight. "Big Screen TV" is passing "My New Nikes" and it's a photo finish, as "Big Screen TV" wins by a nose over the tencious "Designer Shoes and Clothing." What a race, folks, what a race!
And the loser is, You!
From November 22 through December 31st, and a little beyond that date, we will make our way to the stores in search of the bargains we treasure. Billions will be spent during that period, most of which will be charged. The analogy of a horse race is quite apropos as we will watch the eager hordes of shoppers "jockey" for the best position to win their race for all the "bargains" offered by the myriad of stores in their locales.
While I am not trying to tell anyone how or when to spend their money, I am suggesting that we take a look at the current fiscal situation in this country and understand how it relates and how it affects us personally. Yeah, Obama won, but he is not going to pay our bills. And this "fiscal cliff" issue still looms on the horizon; if they do not fix the problem, our take home pay will decrease as of January 1.
So be careful and be safe if you are planning to go to the race track and get in the horse race this holiday season. Understand that there is another race going as well. It's the race by the stores to get your money, either now or later, as quickly and as easily as possible. What's a couple of casualties? A stampede at the door? Or, even an assault or two? It's all worth it to some, because after everything is said and done, it's all about the money – your money.
As for me, I'm gonna have me a Mint Julep and watch the race.
[Jim Clingman, founder of the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce, is the nation's most prolific writer on economic empowerment for Black people. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati and can be reached through his Web site, blackonomics.com.]