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Shoppers singing the song of spending

By Dennis Box-The Courier-Herald

The Christmas shopping season kicked off the day after Thanksgiving - also known as Black Friday - and despite national reports of worried consumers the Plateau looks pretty healthy.

The Consumer Confidence Board produced some chilly national numbers a few days after Thanksgiving. The board is a research organization for the business community and is best known for publishing the Consumer Confidence Index and Leading Economic Indicator reports.

The latest numbers on the Consumer Confidence Index came out Nov. 27 showing a steady decline since the summer. A press release from the board noted the slide from 87.3 from 95.2 in October was likely caused from instability in the financial markets, high gas prices and concerns about inflation.

Confidence may be shaky in the rest of the country, but it looks like the Plateau folks are feeling pretty chipper, based on reports from local merchants.

Adrian Taylor, owner of the Ben Franklin store in Bonney Lake, said Black Friday was the best in the 18 years he has owned the store.

“People have been asking me how bad it is,” Taylor said. “I've told them this is our best year ever and the most fun.”

Heidi Rugh, manager of Target, reported shopping on Black Friday was “more than we expected and probably more than last year.”

Rugh said hot sellers this season were the Sock Monkey toy, video games like Guitar Hero, Nintendo's Wii video game system and digital picture frames.

Karen Jackson, Fred Meyer store director, said sales “have been very good. The shoppers seem like they are in a good mood and in great spirits. We had a tremendous day on (Black) Friday. I was very excited. It seems in the Northwest we are not seeing the problems.”

With less than three weeks left before Christmas it appears the Plateau may be having a little merrier holiday this year.

“We've learned to do things differently,” Taylor said. “We are used to the harsh reality around here. We try to take care of our customers and do creative things to help people. Seeing people trying to so something for others gives me faith in humanity.”

Dennis Box can be reached at dbox@courierherald.com.

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