Checking Yourself at the Checkout Line

Illustration for article titled Checking Yourself at the Checkout Line

It seems more and more people are employing the broke guide to shopping in their daily routines.


It’s been estimated that was much as 25 percent of shoppers' trips to the store result in at least one item ditched. By comparison, in the recession of the early 1990s it was 15 to 20 percent.

That means penny-pitching Americans are scaling back on the goods they bring to the checkout line and aren’t the least bit afraid to tell the cashier, “You know, that’s OK. I don’t need that.”

I’m sure that leads to hisses and jeers from folks standing behind them in the line, but these shoppers don’t care – it’s a recession, ya’ll.

There are those, however, who seem to need to get a grip and embrace reality.

Joel Bines a director at AlixPartners, a turnaround consultant, told the AP that people “want to be in the act of shopping, but they don’t want to be in the act of buying.”

So everyone’s a window shopper now? Couldn’t you save on gas and do that online?

Yes, but that doesn’t put a smile on the face of online retailers. Many which find themselves initially giddy at the sight of so many items in consumers’ checkout carts only to turn somber once they realize shoppers won’t close the deal.


Internet research company Forrester Research estimates as much as 59 percent of online purchases are being dumped during checkout. Those rates had ranged from 47 percent to 53 percent in the past six years, according to industry surveys.

Despite the efforts of retailers to drive up interest in shopping with massive sales, with shoppers low on cash and lower credit limits it’s going to be hard to convince the new spend thrifts of America to sink their dough in something they probably don’t even need.


Case in point: The picture at the top of the blog. It’s from a store near Wilshire and LaBrea in Los Angeles.

It’s overrun with ads promising “simply rational sales in irrational times.”

What it’s not overrun with are patrons. Each time I pass this place up, the place is empty.


How have you scaled back on your shopping habits?

Leave your comments below and send your recession tales to


Michael Arceneaux hails from Houston, lives in Harlem and praises Beyoncé’s name wherever he goes. Follow him on Twitter.