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If you’re like most people, you probably wear jewelry without giving a second thought to why you do. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment when jewelry was first worn. Ancient people all over the world have worn jewelry of one type or another throughout history. Some pieces are more glamorous with large precious stones inlaid in precious metal. Others are simple, consisting of only a leather string and a bone or tooth.
Why wear jewelry?
According to Maslow’s pyramid, jewelry isn’t a primary need for us humans, and yet, we spend billions of dollars every year on it. Both men and women buy jewelry, but why do women specifically have such an attachment?
- Jewelry makes women more attractive
Although jewelry is not a primary need according Maslow’s pyramid, it does play a role in encouraging romantic interactions that lead to the fulfillment of some of the primary needs including s**, security and family.
Women (and really most people regardless of gender) are conscious about their looks. They do their best to make themselves appear attractive to the opposite sex. This is an inborn instinct that even wild animals have. Women adorn themselves with jewelry and attractive clothes to command attention.
As an interesting side note, many of the locations at which jewelry is worn are strongly s**ual (e.g. long necklaces draw the eye to the breasts and earrings draw attention to the ears that are an erogenous region for women.
- As a sign of social status
Women also wear jewelry as a sign of the society status in the following ways:
- Symbol of marital status and affection
Certain pieces of jewelry have been used symbolically since pre-historic times. Rings, for example, are used in many societies today as a symbol of an everlasting union between couples. People who view a woman’s engagement ring will know that she’s already spoken for and will not attempt any romantic advances.
Jewelry can also be a way to exhibit wealth and a high economic status in society. Men give expensive gifts of jewelry to women in an attempt to show their status and therefore attract a mate. According to the National Retail Federation, men spend an average of $150 on jewelry alone on Valentine’s Day. Expensive jewelry is associated with people of high economic and social status.
Social status can also be expressed in who you know. Jewelry can be worn as a sign of affiliation to a certain group (e.g. a sorority). Family heirlooms can also be a symbol of affiliation.
- As a means for self-expression
Many women wear jewelry as a way to show forth their personalities. Women purchase jewelry that expresses their style and ideas. Some like classic earrings while others will wear eccentric pieces to express their quirky personalities. You can therefore tell a lot about a woman by studying her jewelry.
- For the power in the jewelry
Humans have attached great meaning and significance to certain stones and metals. Some stones are believed to have healing power. Jewelry may be worn for their religious power (e.g. crosses). Others may be worn for the healing properties of the gemstones.
Great value for money
Whatever your reason for wearing jewelry, it’s important to ensure that you get the best value for your money. Search online for jewelry deals and compare prices on different sites. Shopping online not only gives you the opportunity to easily compare prices but also to find unique pieces at an affordable price. Jewelry can prove to be an investment not only in your relationship or appearance, but also in your financial future.
2013 Black Friday sales dipped for the first time in seven years, according to the National Retail Federation.
US consumers spent around $1.7 billion less over the holiday weekend, with the average shopper spending $407.02 from Thursday to Sunday.
That’s down from $423.55 in 2012.
Retailers blamed stagnant wages and economic uncertainty for keeping wallets shut, as they slashed prices to lure reluctant shoppers.
In total, the National Retail Federation estimates that US shoppers spent around $57.4 billion this year, down 2.7% from $59.1 billion last year.
Sales on Black Friday itself were down, as retailers opened stores on Thanksgiving Thursday and offered more details earlier in the week to entice shoppers.
According to market research firm ShopperTrack, Black Friday foot traffic was down 11% and sales slumped by 13%.
2013 Black Friday sales dipped for the first time in seven years
Despite the gloomy start to holiday shopping season, the National Retail Federation said it still expected holiday sales to surpass last year’s spending.
One beacon of hope for nervous retailers is that US consumers have spent more on online shopping than ever before.
“We expect Cyber Monday to be bigger than ever,” said National Retail Federation’s Matthew Shay in a statement.
The day, launched in 2005 by online retail association Shop.org, became the biggest US online shopping day in 2011, according to comScore.
But it’s not just one day any more: in an effort to lure penny-pinched shoppers, Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, declared this entire week “Cyber Week” and said it would offer sales every hour throughout the period.
However, Wal-Mart, Target, and Best Buy have all lowered their holiday shopping forecasts, pointing to declining consumer confidence, high unemployment, and increasing price competition as hurting their bottom lines.
But if US consumers are unwilling to part with their dollars, international brands may take comfort in the increasingly global nature of Black Friday.
According to Borderfree, a company that helps build global online shopping sites for companies like Macy’s and J. Crew, US retailers saw online sales to international consumers rise 50% this Black Friday compared to last year.
Shoppers in Russia, South Korea, China, Germany and Sweden were the biggest spenders.
According to Borderfree, retailers can expect a “second peak” on Cyber Monday.
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Cyber Monday 2012 in the US is projected to be the biggest ever online shopping day, according to analysts.
Research firm Comscore said consumers would have spent $1.5 billion on so-called Cyber Monday, up 20% from last year.
Online-sales tracker IBM Benchmark put the internet shopping rise even higher – up nearly 27% compared with the Monday after Thanksgiving last year.
Smartphone and tablet computer sales rose 10.2%, said IBM Benchmark.
“Online’s piece of the holiday pie is growing every day, and all the key dates are growing with it,” Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru told Associated Press news agency.
“The web is becoming a more significant part of the traditional brick-and-mortar holiday shopping season.”
Online sales also jumped sharply on so-called Black Friday, which is the day after Thanksgiving.
Cyber Monday 2012 in the US is projected to be the biggest ever online shopping day
Comscore said internet shopping rose by a quarter last Friday to break the $1 billion mark for the first time, while it was up by a third on Thanksgiving itself.
There was also a jump in consumer spending this Thanksgiving weekend compared with last year, retailers say.
A record 247 million people visited stores and websites between Thursday and Sunday, spending a total of $59.1 billion, 13% more than last year, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said.
The average shopper spent $423 over the weekend, up from $398 last year.
Despite the jump in sales over the weekend, there are concerns that the rise in spending over the festive period as a whole will be weaker this year.
The NRF has forecast a 4.1% increase in retail sales during November and December, less than the 5.6% jump recorded last year.
Millions of bargain-hungry shoppers are set to scour shops for deals on Thanksgiving as an increasing number of stores across the country throw open their doors a day early.
Some of the nation’s largest chains, including Toys R Us and Target, have nudged their opening times into Thursday in a bid to make more money than ever over the Black Friday weekend.
“Retailers are now commercializing Thanksgiving, giving the opportunity to the consumer who doesn’t want to watch 12 hours of football,” said Marshal Cohen from consumer research firm NPD Group.
“It’s no longer Christmas creep, it’s the Christmas crush. This is about beating the competition.”
Across the US, a staggering 17% of consumers – or 41 million people – are expected to shop on Thanksgiving, according to a consumer holiday tracking survey by The International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs.
And for retailers, it makes sense. Last year, stores which extended their hours saw sales soar by up to 22% over the weekend, while those retailers that did not lost up to 8%.
The National Retail Federation predicts 147 million Americans will shop over Thanksgiving weekend, and that there will be an increase of holiday sales of 4.1% on last year.
Already queues are snaking outside large stores. Tents began gathering outside Best Buy stores on Tuesday as bargain hunters hoped to get their hands on gadgets when doors open on Friday.
Stores are enticing shoppers with discounts including $7 board games at Target, $19 sweaters at Gap and $299 Toshiba 50-inch LEDs at Sears – down from $849.
Aware that many customers plan to shop online, Target and Best Buy are also matching prices offered by online competitors such as Amazon.com, Bloomberg reported.
And in some stores, there will be kiosks and mobile checkouts to integrate online and in-store shopping, while Apple customers can simply scan their products and pay remotely.
Millions of bargain-hungry shoppers are set to scour shops for deals on Thanksgiving as an increasing number of stores across the country throw open their doors a day early
Independent stores and entire malls nationwide are also opening early. In South Florida, for example, Dolphin Mall in Sweetwater and Sawgrass Mills in Sunrise each open at 9 p.m. on Thursday for 24 hours.
With stores opening earlier, the retail industry has crossed the Black Friday barrier and it might creep further forward still, Kimberly Taylor, an associate professor from Florida International University, told the Miami Herald.
“It is becoming almost a whole season,” she said.
“Where is it going to end? Will it take away the whole Black Friday if it is the whole week or the whole season?”
There will also be early sales online as discounts are offered ahead of the internet’s equivalent of Black Friday – Cyber Monday.
The deals are expected to boost sales made on Thanksgiving last year, when online spending rose 18% to $479 million. On Black Friday, sales soared 26% to $816 million.
But not all employees are happy about the changes, with some workers signing petitions at change.org demanding stores including Target and Walmart stay closed on Thursday.
One petition started by a Target employee, Casey St Clair, was entitled “Target: Take the High Road and Save Thanksgiving” and had gathered almost 400,000 supporters.
But in response, Target told the Orange County Register that other workers were happy to have the overtime hours.
“When we made the decision to open our doors at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving, the first thing we did was reach out to all of our store leaders and ask them to have discussions with their team members and seek volunteers wanting to work,” Tina Schiel, executive vice president of stores for Target, said.
“We had so many team members who wanted to work on Thursday that hundreds of our stores are now keeping lists of volunteers who want to work if shifts open up.”
Retailers are now tracking what you take back – catching “serial returners” red handed in the process – in an effort to prevent repeated store returns.
Stores like Victoria’s Secret, Home Depot and Target require shoppers to hand over photo identification when requesting a product return, and according to the National Retail Federation, 62% of U.S. retailers have a similar policy.
A large service database called The Retail Equation then tracks how often you bring items back, quickly identifying frequent returners – who then may lose their right to bring back purchases anywhere.
According to the retail exchange, return fraud abuse is costing retailers and workers between 524,000 and 673,000 jobs, and states are losing a total of $870 million to $1.1 billion annually in sales tax revenues.
A customer who had recently shopped at The Children’s Place, and wanted to exchange a purchase, told CBS San Francisco: “I was required to provide them a copy of my driver’s license, where they actually took the information and scanned it into their database.”
Stores like Victoria’s Secret, Home Depot and Target require shoppers to hand over photo identification when requesting a product return
She told the sales associate that she felt uncomfortable giving up ID, but she was told that the requirement is corporate policy.
Peninsula Congresswoman, Jackie Speier, disagrees with the practice, saying: “They have no right, I my view, of swiping my drivers license. I will never let someone scan my driver’s license.”
However, legally, if a customer wants to make a return, they are required to hand over their ID, or they forfeit their right to a return.
State law requires that retailers advertise any ID requirement in their return policy, and both Victoria’s Secrets and The Children’s Place put this policy on receipts and as well as at the counter.
Many commenters agreed with Jackie Speier, with one facetiously writing: “The Department of Homeland Security may as well be Home Depot at this point.”
However, some retail veterans see the benefit in this surveillance return system.
One store manager wrote: “I worked retail as a manager for years and THIS is the reason the prices keep exponentially going up.
“Businesses are fighting the A-holes that think its ok to buy an air conditioner or gas grill in May/ June and return it in September for full credit.
“They are also fighting the thieves that target high priced items and return them for store credit gift cards and re-sell them or use gift card trading websites.”