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Survey findings: Wealthy still dining out but not likely to holiday shop much. I say: Forget that---shop now

By Dian Vujovich

Wednesday I took a ride down Worth Avenue. Construction is almost complete on the street and the clock near the sea. I know Avenue retailers are really looking forward to the two-lanes on this one-way road being fully drivable and hoping for a better-than-last-year season. I’m rooting for them.

Read The Shiny Sheet regularly and you’ve seen that sales of high-end island homes have begun to pick up. Go out for dinner– on island or off –and you’re aware of how busy many restaurants have been. But, wander through the shops and via’s and you still won’t find a lot of people carrying shopping bags. That’s got to change.

Using one of Obama’s favorite lines, ” Let me be clear..” I’d like to add that it’s time to start town shopping.

And why not? The stock market has moved up 80 percent over the past couple of years so even if you’re not personally buying shares the rise has lifted all boats, the vast majority of people with careers are still working, more companies this year are giving their employees wage increases than they did last year, and those lucky enough to work on Wall Street are likely to see fatter bonuses.

Worried tightwads don’t make good neighbors, friends, charitable givers or generate much business. Business that, in turn, would keep the town’s merchants and our local economy humming.

Don’t even think of whining about your worries over the national economy, tax hike concerns and the mid-term elections. You’re all bright enough to know that one person, or one party, can’t change much of anything quickly. They never have been able to ever. Those big wheels in Washington turn slow as molasses. It’s amazing how many voters seem to fall for that candidate and political party sales pitch year-after-year, election-after-election.

As for taxes, you’ve paid higher taxes before and likely are going to do so again. So get over it and shop!

Results from the American Affluence Research Center’s Fall 2010 Affluent Market Tracking Study, it questioned 439 men and women with an average annual income of $290,000, found that 1-in-8 don’t plan on buying Christmas or Hanukah gifts this year. Ish.

Last year, 2009, the average December gift expenditure of folks who did purchase holiday gifts was about $2,400. Or, roughly 100 bucks less than it was in 2008.

Of those who said that they do plan on buying holiday gifts this year, 69 percent plan on spending about the same this year as last year. Three percent plan on spending more. Good for them.

And good for you if you’re one of that elite, three percent crowd. Perhaps you’ll begin a trend.

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