Photo (cc) by Axion23
Talk about an up-and-down holiday. “A truck driver who won a $380,000 Lamborghini in a convenience store contest crashed the sports car six hours after he got it,” MSNBC reports. “He now plans to sell the 640-horsepower convertible because he can’t afford the insurance or taxes.” Santa giveth, and he taketh away.
Larry Stewart is dead, but his idea lives on this holiday season. “For more than 25 years, Stewart marked the holidays by handing out cash anonymously to random people in need, $100 and sometimes even $1,000 at a time,” Daily Finance reports. Stewart died in 2007, but “a cadre of people have taken up the mantle, anonymously performing random acts of kindness and giving, loosely organized as the Society of Secret Santas.”
Bah-humbug is catching on. “Many people are scaling way back this year, if not opting out of Christmas completely,” USA Today reports. “A Facebook search for I hate Christmas turns up dozens of results, including pages and posts from people who say they despise almost everything about Christmas: music, shopping, family gatherings, trees and lights.”
It won’t be a jolly holiday for Island Smokes, which has three New York smoke shops. The clever company had a unique way around the city’s notoriously high cigarette taxes: “The stores sold cigarettes at drastically reduced prices — sometimes as little as $4 for a pack that could normally cost $13 — because they sold customers loose tobacco,” MSNBC reported. Customers would then roll their own cigarettes at great savings. But right before the holiday, city leaders sued, and the company’s efforts went up in smoke.
While the weak economy is still dragging down holiday spending, a new record has been set. “Whether it’s the wrong size, wrong style or just plain weird, shoppers will return $46.28 billion in holiday merchandise, a record high,” CNN reports. Online shopping may be spurring the trend: “Buyers often order more than one size or style before making a final decision on the item they want, then return the rest.”