Letter From New York December 2, 2014

Today is Cyber Giving Tuesday [#GivingTuesday], a complement [alternative?] to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which weren’t as Black as usual or as Cyber as normal.

Sales were down this year, a whopping 11% on Black Friday weekend. Volume was up on Cyber Monday but dollars were flat as I read the reports this morning. Despite the price of gas being down and the GDP being up, Americans hung on to their cash and kept their plastic in their pockets.

The soothsayers have some reasons for this: sales were being extended post Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Some Black Friday events were going all week. Cyber Monday seemed to start on Sunday and shows no signs of abating for at least a couple of days. People are more comfortable that sales won’t disappear between now and Christmas. Folks are more comfortable that delivery services will successfully serve as Santa Claus. There are, I suppose, lots of reasons sales were lower in retail and flat online.

So…

I’ve been regularly blasted with emails saying: Black Friday extended! Cyber Monday continued!

And while those celebratory shop-a-thons have been extended, Cyber Giving Tuesday only happens today.

Since PayPal offered to add 1% to whatever I contributed, I decided that I would contribute through PayPal. It wasn’t hard for me to decide to what I was going to contribute. I had chosen the USO weeks ago. I can’t imagine much that is harder than being away from family and friends and home and being in a war zone. So that’s what I did today for Cyber Giving Tuesday.

It is the present I give to and on behalf of family members. I pick a charity and give in the name of my family and send them a note telling which charity I’ve chosen this year. The USO has been a frequent winner in recent years.

I like the idea of Cyber Giving Tuesday and hope that heaps of money is raised today for charities. It’s a nice reminder of the meaning of the season, which can sometimes get lost in Black Friday frenzy and Cyber Monday madness.

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