2011 December

Washington Post


What do you get the person who has everything?: Forget the material things — reindeer sweaters, clunky toys, stocking stuffers that end up as, well, stuff. How about a skydiving lesson, a spa pampering or a night at a cozy bed and breakfast?…While there’s no way to tell how many of them were given as gifts, Sheri Bridges, a marketing professor at Wake Forest University, says experiences are the best gifts for the person who has everything. “Something time-starved people don’t have is quality time with people they love,” she says.

Chicago Tribune

simon.robinDad’s are doing more, but mom’s are more stressed, study finds: A study of 500 dual-earner families finds that fathers and mothers are spending roughly equal amounts of time doing paid and unpaid work, but mothers are spending nine more hours a week multitasking.

In an age when parenting has become “more intensive,” as the study puts it, the challenges and rewards of raising children have become a matter of growing research and national debate. Researchers consistently find childless Americans to be among the happiest, and have documented a drop in mental well-being among parents that does not lift until the kids leave the nest.

“We have this cultural belief that children are the key to happiness and a healthy life, and they’re not,” said Wake Forest University sociologist Robin Simon, who in 2005 found that no parents — irrespective of their kids’ stage in life — were happier than adults who had no children. Simon called the latest study “fascinating.”

The Plain Dealer

Black Friday sales pressure retailers to keep slashing prices: “Retailers have conditioned us to wait for sales. We know that sooner or later, the item that we crave is going to go on significant discount, and that’s not a good marketing tool,” said Sheri Bridges, associate professor of marketing at Wake Forest University and director of the school’s retail marketing center in Winston-Salem, N.C. Slashing prices to ignite sales “amounts to paying customers to like your brand, and that’s rarely a sustainable long-term strategy,” she added. …

Bridges said that despite the retail workers who petitioned against working on Thanksgiving and backlash from some consumers who avoided shopping, “the cash registers told the story.” “Consumers really liked it, and if consumers really like it, retailers will do it,” she said.