1. Prices and sales. 'Nuff said. If your financial situation hasn't changed much this year (and mine hasn't), chances are you can afford more or better with the same money you spent last year.
2. You rarely have to go off hunting for a salesperson - they come to you. And they're actually friendly! Last year I knew I owed my dad a special present, big-time. It had been a rough year, and he'd gone out of his way to be super-supportive. I wanted to buy him the end-all MP3 player, but I was pretty sure the iPod wasn't going be it. I wandered into Best Buy one day to window shop, and a salesman came over, brought out a few different working models for me to play with, and - get this - when I had questions that the little info slip couldn't answer, she went out and hunted up another employee who owned that particular player to come and talk with me. Even though I intended to buy the player online or through Amazon, I ended up buying it at Best Buy and felt good about it!
3. I finally have a good excuse to give homemade creations, thrifted fab finds, or good-thing-in-small-package gifts... I'm not being cheap, apparently, I'm just with the times!
1. Stores are cutting back, so not as many salespeople, cashiers, etc = long lines.
2. Stores seem to be cutting back on brands, models, etc... This does not make me happy. I know some folks say we'd be happier with fewer choices, but that's not me!
3. Is it just me, or does merchandise feel more cheaply made lately?!?! Would anyone else rather pay more to keep quality?