During this first holiday season on the road leading out of the recession, American consumers are taking different approaches in their decision-making.
Black Friday brought the requisite, shameful Web videos of elders being trampled in the stampede for a Pillow Pet or a $3 toaster, and Cyber Monday upped the stakes in an entirely different sort of consumer game, driven in large part by the flash-sale websites that have literally exploded in number and popularity this year.
On the other end of the spectrum, many celebrated "Buy Nothing Day." Others engaged in some of both; I bought usable gifts for kids only, and donated or sold 200 items of clothing, books and furniture for the holidays.
Even retailers capitalized on the dichotomy, with one l