Not Exactly a Quote That Inspires Hope for Retail Season

The New York Times took a first look at holiday sales and, while finding that it didn't suck as bad as last year for retailers, found someone to remind us that stores aren't the only ones deserving of concern.

"This is not the year for silly stuff," said Keith Browning, 50 of Columbus, Ohio. He lost his job at a Honda plant and struck out on his own. "My brother gave me a Wii video game. I'm definitely returning that. We need some new pots and pans for the house. And I need tools to get my company going."

Last year, I bought my parents a Wii for Christmas, then was laid off from a gig in Silicon Valley. Mom demanded that I return the machine, and when I told her the Amazon reseller wouldn't take it, she insisted I sell it and pocket the money, which I did.

So I can understand where this guy is coming from, with the "silly stuff" comment. We've heard plenty about video games being high-value diversions similar to what movie houses provided back in the Depression. But for some people, when you're not working - or not working enough - giving or playing games just doesn't feel right.

Browning's quote is the definition of anecdotal, but I'm wondering if it portends a shopping mindset that means bad things for games this year.

A Tentative Sparkle Enlivens Holiday Shopping [The New York Times]