If there is a one minor drawback to being as intolerably pompous and smitten with myself as I am, it's that when there appears even a remote chance that I am wrong on an issue, readers pounce.In all seriousness, I welcome the discourse -- all is fair is love and writing, as they say. And such open back-and-forth is the basis of a free and efficient market. But I've been holding off addressing publicly what many of you have written me privately about: that my conviction about this past holiday shopping season appeared to have missed the mark. As you know, I said two things -- both as the holiday season began and as it progressed. The first was that we were going to have a really solid -- though not unbelievably good -- holiday season. All the forces were aligned for such. As I summed up on
"With gas prices down, the economy in a sweet spot of not-too-hot-not-too-slow growth and the stock market strong, we are going to have a good (but not spectacular, by any means) holiday season."But as each benchmark day came and went, it appeared to many that the season was all but lost or, at best, mildly disappointing. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Call-It-What-You-Will Wednesday -- which gets me to my second point, more important for long-term understanding than the first. Here's what I also wrote on Nov. 26 and also expressed several times more:
"In the end, of course, all it means is this: Investors should never take the bait, as each of these tidily named days rolls around, to think that any one of them means anything."Though the business media can make a neatly packaged story out of a day with its very own name, retailers and shoppers have anticipated these days and plan accordingly, making them irrelevant.