November 25th, 2011
11:25 AM ET

A holiday shopping contrast: For some, it's bargains over brands

Carmen Rogers doesn’t have to wait in line for bargains.

“I’m lucky,” she says.

Rogers was on her way to Gucci on Rodeo Drive in California's Beverly Hills wearing a camel-hair coat with matching scarf - a clear sign that she’s at home in one of America’s richest neighborhoods.

(Click the audio player to hear more on this story from CNN Radio's Jim Roope and John Sepulvado)

Rogers has no idea how much she will spend on holiday shopping, and it doesn’t matter, she says. She doesn’t have to be on a budget.

Outside Cartier on Rodeo Drive, Jackie Martenson was sporting a matching coat, shoes, purse and hat. The frames of her glasses even matched her outfit. But she’s not quite as free in her spending as Rogers.

“I think that in this economy everybody is looking for a deal,” she says.

Martenson was drawn to Rodeo Drive by the brand names.

“I think you spend twice as much here in Beverly Hills, but the thing is you get a good designer name,” she says.

According to a survey on expected holiday shopping by the Harrison Group, an economic consulting firm, retail spending by people who earn more than $300,000 will be up by 6% this year. But the same survey found that middle- and low-income Americans are expected to spend 17% less than in 2010.

“I’m on a budget right now,” says Tracy Adams. She was nighttime bargain-hunting at a Walmart in Atlanta. The single mom patiently stood in line with her excitable second-grader, hoping to score a deal on a Sony PlayStation. Adams says a saving of $50 would go a long way in her household.

“I’d put it towards paying bills,” she says. But when she got to the counter, the bargains were sold out and she was disappointed. “They ran out of what I really wanted. That was the only item I came here for.”

Instead she had a basket full of toys she collected while waiting in line. A salesman says the Walmart only had eight PlayStations stocked. In fairness, the mega-retailer made it very clear in its advertising that supplies would be limited. So all night, families would walk in hoping to get a laptop or a Wii, and walk out with crockpots, blankets and toys.

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soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. banasy©

    The Playstation scenario is typical of Black Friday bargains.
    Notice that lady still had a cart full of toys; Wal-Mart achieved its purpose: getting her into the store.

    November 25, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    banasy is right, of course.
    Is there anybody who didn't understand this before hearing about the sales?

    November 25, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  3. chrissy

    lol @ banasy, just when you think halloween is over they pull out the trickery eh? And everyone thinks its a new invention sheesh! Thats always been the way!

    November 25, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sweetcheeks

    I went to a walmart today to buy a new set of g string panties , finaly found the correct size, came out of the dressing room after fitting them, a woman was beating me i asked why are you beating me she said your over weight ,to hairy ,and a man!!!! So instead i vought a pack of panties and a n bra!!!!

    November 25, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. banasy©

    chrissy, I know, right? (Teehee) As long as there have been sales after Thanksgiving, there has been this kind of bait and switch game at the retailers...except what is the treat, really?

    November 25, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Scottish Mama

    @Banasy-Walmart does this every week during the year, bait and switch. They will have 60 of the laptop at $188. but hope you will pick up the laptop for $250. or $300. if you are there already.
    The only thing I bought last week was some hand puppets for a nieces baby and I bought it on Tues. *Terrible Tuesday* it is called*? * I think about what the kids are into and I get them something I think they will enjoy and sneak in something educational.
    Hello Miss Chrissy.

    November 26, 2011 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
  7. tif31


    November 26, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |