OK, today it is going to be "death by sidebar" since I know your managers are going to insist you do shopping stories.
-Internet shopping. Are convenience and high gas prices keeping shoppers home? And in the case of companies like Amazon, are free shipping and no sales tax an attraction?
-Hot toys. What's still hot in light of the lead paint scare?
-Santa's response. You're a department store Santa. A kid asks you for a toy on the lead paint list. Waddaya do?
-Alternative stores. Get away from the mall and check out those closeout/salvage shops. You can often find great bargains there.
-Christmas cards. Do people still send them, or is this one of the easy areas to cut back?
Finally, more evidence that society continues to take a swan dive into the dumper. The post office, which for years has used volunteers to answer letters to Santa, now requires a photo ID and a signed waiver if you want to be one of Saint Nick's helpers.