Funny Business with Jane Wells

How Low Will You Go?

I need your help. I'm looking for high-intensity shoppers demanding the absolute lowest prices this holiday season.

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This is a great time to be shopping. Every day I get coupons in the mail, plus more coupons when I go to the store, on top of the mark downs already there. I could probably eat for free for a week if I really tried. Heck, Chase just sent me an offer to open a checking account and they'll give me $100. So I'm opening a checking account.

Even if you don't have much money, you can still find ways to buy a few things. Wal-Mart just announced it's cutting priceson even more brand-name toys (Buzz Lightyear and Star Wars light sabers for up to 30 percent off!). Prices are so good across the board that many analysts are starting to predict a rise in holiday sales this year. Profits may be another matter.

Here's where I need your help.

I'm looking to profile some shoppers who are really working the deals—people who are spending a lot of time online, price shopping, hitting the stores at the right time for the right products, working the coupons. Are you doing this because you or your spouse lost a job? Scrimping to have enough for the mortgage? Maybe you're just a deal-a-holic.

Shoot me an email at and tell me how you're hunting for low, low prices this holiday like never before. I'm hoping to conduct some interviews over the next couple of weeks.


How can we tell the economy is whacked? Three examples:

First, an ailing Hummer dealership in St. Louis has discovered the one thing people will buy in troubled times: guns. Lynch Hummer has turned half of its dealership into a gun shop, but it's not just selling the usual hunting rifles and handguns for home protection. Lynch sells serious weapons, like .50-caliber sniper rifles. I'm assuming you can also buy gun racks for the Hummer...if you ever decide to buy one of those. Lock 'n' load, baby.

Here's more proof we live in "opposite world" these days. As brick and mortar giants like Wal-Mart begin to morph into online powerhouses, Ebay is doing the opposite this holiday. The auction site is opening its first holiday store in New York City, according to Women's Wear Daily. The 5,500 square foot store (not big) will pop up from November 20 to 29 and will include designer collections like Dolce & Gabbana and Vera Wang fragrances, handbags by Michael Kors, electronics, and designs exclusively for Ebay by Norma Kamali.

Finally, the upside of the down economy—divorces are down. More than half of the attorneys surveyed by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers say they're seeing fewer divorce filings since the end of 2008. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers? Now THAT's a name. I don't think promoting matrimony has much to do with their income, but I guess they think it sounds better than The American Academy of Divorce Lawyers.

"The current economic climate is proving to be far more unforgiving than estranged couples seeking a divorce," said Gary Nickelson, president of the AAML. "Forced to weigh damaged marriages against tight budgets and uncertain financial outlooks, many spouses seem more willing to try and wait out the recessionary storm." Heaven forbid couples use the recession to assess what's important and try to work things out.

Unless your Frank and Jamie McCourt.

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