A Habit Changing Economy

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Old habits die hard, except in this economy.

As bank account balances dwindle many Americans are turning away from their regular retail haunts and shopping for a bargain. A Goodwill store that recently opened in Paramus, New Jersey is seeing a steady stream of business from people that used to favor department stores.

Experts say the stigmas that used to be attached to thrift stores have fallen away as people accept the fact they can’t afford to pay full price. And it’s not just clothing stores. Shoppers are clipping coupons and favoring store brands at the grocery store. When it comes to buying expensive items and holiday shopping, stores are seeing a surge in layaway. And credit card companies are reporting a surge in purchases at fast food restaurants like McDonalds.

Retail consultant Emanuel Weintraub says the old stigmas are becoming the new realities. Weintraub says people no longer have a problem saying they can’t afford something. To fight back, retailers are adding consignment to their stores and expanding layaway programs. Shoppers say these changes might be permanent, because once they see how much money they can save, they may not go back to their old and expensive ways.

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