According to Georgia Southern University's Bureau of Business Research and Economic Development, consumers appear more optimistic as the holiday shopping season begins, and most plan to spend the same amount of money on gifts as they did last year.
"I think as people get ready to start their holiday shopping, we see a little bit more positive picture than we have in years past," said Ben McKay, a research associate with the bureau. "I think that consumers are, if not more optimistic, they are more adjusted to the current conditions."
Georgia Southern's findings made me hopeful that people are feeling a little better about things, so I decided to do a bit of unscientific research on my own, just to see. You might find this somewhat unusual, but the barometer that I like to use is gun sales. Not just anywhere, but here.
Are people buying more or less guns and ammo, and why? I went straight to my gun sales source, local engineer and gun store owner Garth Long. He is a co-owner of Southeastern Gun Supply on U.S. Highway 301 South.
Long said gun sales were up from the same period last year, beginning the Wednesday after the general election on Nov. 6.
The initial reaction of many might be to think it was because President Barack Obama was re-elected, and people might be feeling unsafe and uncertain about those results.
However, Long had a somewhat different take on his noticeable sales increase in guns and ammunition.
"I think for one, people are looking for an investment avenue beyond just parking their money in a financial institution or the stock market," he said. "Guns, gold, real estate are all tangible items that one can hold onto. They feel they actually have something that will maintain or increase in value, and guns have proven to do that."
Garth's second reason tied into the consumer confidence component.
"Maybe people are feeling better about things, and guns are a passion in this area," he said. "Maybe they are feeling better about just buying something that they love. Admittedly, many people that come in the store say that we are living a new reality, and we might as well get on with life. Whatever the reason, I am glad to say that sales are better than they have been, and than they were this time last year."
So, until next Tuesday, I bid you au revoir.
Got a scoop for Jan? Call her at (912) 489-9463 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.