Although the answer to that question is undocumented, one thing is clear--we are still in a recession. The economy has only improved 3.5% since the beginning of 2009. Some would say an improvement is an improvement and to some degree I would agree, but when you think about the socioeconomic conditions in South LA, it befuddles me how it is that individuals are able to spend astronomical sums of money when it's hard enough to find the pot to...well you know the rest.
In October, the National Retail Federation (NRF) estimated a 1% decline in retail sales totaling $437.6 billion dollars, which was less than the 3.4% decline in 2008. Unaware of the exact numbers that impact single mothers in South LA, it wouldn't be a surprise to learn that most went way above their intended budget in order make sure their children were taken care of sufficiently for Christmas. Although the poverty rate in South LA is two times the rate within Los Angeles County, mothers do not let that stop them from shopping.
According to the United States Department of Labor (Bureau of Labor Statistics), the unemployment rate in the United States has increased to 10% and in Los Angeles County alone, that rate is preliminarily documented at 12.2%, bringing the unemployed to more than half a million people. So, shopping until you drop shouldn't be an option for single mothers. But it was and always is. Even though prices at Wal Mart were cut significantly in an effort to entice men and women in the under-served areas, they were still responsible to pay something. Items purchased may not have been a great cost but when you will later have to rob Peter to pay Paul, it makes all the difference in the world. And in this age of electronics and gadgets, many of the simpler items that once were weren't on many of the Christmas lists that families wanted this year. It's getting harder to resist the temptation to shop - especially if you feel the need to keep up with the Joneses!
Email Ingrid Michelle @ firstname.lastname@example.org