Electronics dominate recession impacted Christmas
As the Christmas shopping season rolls around during one of the worst economic years in recent history, many Carbon County residents are wondering just how lean this Christmas will be.
For retailers things started well on Black Friday, but as the season continues there is an ominous feeling that the expensive gadgets coveted by nearly all local youth may remain on store shelves rather than finding their way onto desktops, pockets and dorm rooms.
Of the 40 college students surveyed, gift requests varied from a completely paid for Toyota Tundra, insurance payments included, to gifts that have only sentimental value.
And while the answers were incredibly varied there was a common thread that ran though a good portion of the surveys. The students love, want and need computers.
According to Amazon.com, Apple's MacBook ranked among the top of most teen's wish lists. The Mac is described as a stylishly and intelligently designed computer that is perfect for a college student's on-the-go lifestyle. Measuring 1.08 inches thick and weighing in at only 5 pounds the notebook's small size is matched by its rugged exterior and durable polycarbonate shell.
If a personal computer is more your style, the Hewlett-Packard's Pavilion comes equipped with a Intel Core 2 Duo processor for around the same cost but with almost an inch more of screen space. A major complaint among many college students was not the PC itself, as there are many brands to choose from, but the fact that nearly all of them are running on Window's Vista, an operating system that is less than popular with most students using PCs.
Apple was also the hands down winner when it came to MP3 players. Every student that requested a portable music player asked for the iPod, with no sign of the Microsoft's Zune or Rio in sight.
Popular as always at Christmas is the gaming market and with no new systems hitting the market this year it's still the battle of the big three - the Microsoft X-Box, Sony Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii.
Our staff was surprised that although the Wii and Sony PS3 are much newer, many surveyed still asked for X-Box games or hardware, showing that the Microsoft platform still packs some punch.
For those that did wish for the PS3, the big debate seemed to be over which size system to get. Some thought the 60 gigabyte system was enough while others insisted that the 80 GB system was a minimum starting point.
A system sold on Amazon is described thusly, "The model comes with an 80 GB drive. If you feel that the 20 GB isn't a big deal, maybe you should think again." The gamer explained that downloading even older games from PSN can take up to 3 GB per application.
The Wii is a little different, boasting flash memory, two universal serial bus (USB) 2.0 ports and a slot for Secure Digital (SD) memory expansion. Additionally the Wii control system is much different from anything else, allowing the gamer to mimic the actions of what going on in the game. Players are able to cut swaths with a sword, swing a golf club or box directly with their fists.
Both systems connect to the web wirelessly, allowing players to download content and games, as well as chat and play one another from across the world.
Some feel that the PS3 and X-Box are for hard-core gamers while the Wii is for kids. However one college student replied, "I like the way the Wii gets you up off the couch, it's a lot more fun to play with a group of people because everyone can get involved. You don't have to be a seasoned gamer to have a good time with the Wii."
Clothes were also a big wish list item, and with the opening of Bealls in Price, there is more of a men's selection in the local business market.
Phones are big as usual this Christmas and with Blackberry releasing their new touch screen model soon to Verizon dealers such as Two Brothers and Alert Cellular locally, many a teen will be texting and chatting through the holiday season.
After the tallies came in, money was the biggest request on the students list and while some asked for extravagant things, many asked for simple things just to keep them going.
"I just need my car fixed and everything will be fine," stated one student.
For those not looking to spend a bundle in these tight economic times, favorite sports team apparel always makes a great gift. Additionally, most interviewed stated that something with sentimental value was much more important than an expensive gift.
"I drop little hints to my boyfriend all year long just to see if he listens to me," said one CEU student. "I don't ask for expensive things, just little stuff that we see when we are together. If he remembers that stuff it really means a lot to me."
If the hour is late, or you find yourself shopping for that one person who is impossible to shop for, there is the ever trusty gift card.
Cards from emporium type stores are good because they give the shopper an opportunity to purchase a wide variety of items. Cards from online resources such as PayPal can come in very handy as they can be used on many shopping websites.
Even with the economy in shambles, two things remain true; people love to give and people love to receive. And with marketing teams working overtime for holiday dollars, 2008 should be a Christmas to remember.