Most Consumers Are In Anything But Festive Moods

The National Retail Federation's latest poll finds that up to 132.9 million Americans may shop today, Saturday or Sunday--including half of those between the ages of 18 and 24.

Wrapping one's brain around what those numbers mean--what will they talk about while they circle the mall endlessly? Who will hold their coats while they try on reindeer sweaters? How will Orange Julius and Cinnabon keep up?--is enough to give everyone a headache.

In fact, a new survey from finds that 72% of Americans concede that it's hard to stay festive in the midst of all the insanity. Nearly 80% of those surveyed by the Web site agree that waiting in lines is the worst thing about the holidays, 74% don't like dealing with crowds, and 66% can't stand to think about the parking. Women are more likely to confess to having Scrooge-like attitude problems (67%) than men (56%.)

To make the most out of America's misery, is running some fun Scrooge promotions, including a "Tame Your Inner Scrooge" survey designed for Facebook users, an "I Know a Scrooge Who Deserves a Joy Makeover Contest," with diamond-earring prizes, and even a Scrooge Cam. (Videos follow an actor dressed as Scrooge behaving badly.)



Just for fun, the poll also asked participants who they would cast as Scrooge if they were making a movie, and "American Idol" nasty Simon Cowell came in first place, with 34% of votes. Other nominees included Don Imus (23%), Rosie O'Donnell (21%) and Howard Stern (21%).

Meanwhile, retailers are bracing for the reality that the hordes of Black Friday shoppers are loaded for bear, looking to find good deals and not blow their budgets.

Hitwise reports that traffic for Black Friday advertising Web sites--packed with up-to-the-minute details on door busters and other special promotions--increased 145% for the week ending Nov. 17, compared to the prior week, and 45% over the comparable week last year. Women accounted for 61% of the traffic. Younger shoppers also dominated, with 37% of all visitors falling in the 25-to-34 age range.

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