It flies in the face of conventional wisdom – spending money on things that you can’t afford, whether the economy is expanding, flat or contracting.
However, CNN “American Morning” didn’t quite see it that way on January 30. The cable network mentioned retailers were working extra hard to get customers to buy things, but didn’t have a problem with an unemployed woman buying a flat screen TV.
“Veronica McNeil has two kids,” said CNN correspondent Alina Cho. “She recently lost her job. Her husband’s an iron worker and the family is feeling the pinch.”
While McNeil was introduced as struggling financially, she then announced that for the right price she’d buy an unnecessary high-ticket item.
“If I’m here to buy baby stuff and I see a TV at a good sale price, I’ll grab it,” McNeil said.
Cho pointed toward “rising gas and home heating oil prices and Americans losing their homes” for money being “tight.” Unfortunately, Cho entirely missed the personal responsibility angle – if there is something you can’t afford, don’t buy it.
Cho also cited another shopper who complained "it seems like everything I buy is a little more expensive today than it was yesterday." Still, the man was willing to splurge on a "big TV for the Giants game" because he's a fan of the team.
“So everybody agrees that we’re all feeling the pinch, but the Super Bowl gets a pass,” said Cho. “Please excuse the pun.”
Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) recently announced it was cutting its prices by as much as 30 percent, as part of its effort to stimulate the economy. That included flat-screen televisions just in time for the Super Bowl as CNN reported.
“Now is when the customers need the savings,” Tracy Ferschweiler, a Wal-Mart store manager, said to “American Morning.” “This is a huge week for us – the Super Bowl and preparation. It’s the eighth biggest sales week of the year.”