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The resurgence of layaway and Xmas Consumers

Santa and Kmart save the day for cash-strapped consumers


Recent economic trends in this stalling economy have seen the resurgence of layaway programs throughout the U.S.’s major retailers.  This phenomenon is described here in this ABCNews article:

The underlying theme to all of this is the fact that even in times of economic woe and recession, consumers still have to get their shopping craze in for the holidays.  Retailers like Kmart and Walmart have had to reformat their business trends to match the lack of spending money many consumers are facing.  Veblen’s theory of vicarious consumption still powers consumers to go forth and spend, especially at Christmas time, because it has become embedded in middle-class American culture.  Consumers are defying their interests because of the norm of Christmas time spending.  Layaway, once left to the dustbin of history and outmoded shopping models, is back to accommodate these new trends.  Though the U.S. economy is suffering in many ways, ways it hasn’t for some time, the phenomenon and expectation of the commercialization of Christmas, and the newly refounded layaway programs, keeps consumer spending up.  This flies in the face of many consumers best interests.  Vicarious consumption proves to the consumer, however, that things are still normal and people are still doing well.

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