WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. (TheStreet) -- Nevermind. Just nevermind. Retail same store sales is perhaps the most misleading number shoved down the gullet of traders by the media, with their monthly round of pontification and quick conclusions.But ask sometime and I'll tell you how I really feel. The problem, of course, centers on the top line nature of the number. In times of deep discounting (i.e. today) the number defines deception. It might look sparkly, but stand for nothing in terms of profit, which is all that matters. Look at business media headlines today, and anecdotes within the articles, and you get the delusional sense that the prospect of profits is not important--even during a month, mind you, when retailers like The Gap ( GPS) were discounting upwards of 60%. The Associated Press played trumpets with this headline: "Retailers Report Solid Gains for September." Solid gains that'll lead to sordid earnings come November. The Los Angeles Times was guilty of another common offense against good reason. They interviewed a shopper, a man buying a toy helicopter and (count 'em) two televisions. He said he was "still buying things that made him happy." Simple as that, huh? Consumers are jobless and altogether strapped, but they'll still buy whatever makes them happy. It's magical thinking...especially if you don't address (and the LA Times did not) whether the man only bought due to deep discounting. One more question: what's a grown man doing with a toy helicopter?