my Twitter account, readers continue to send in photos from across the nation depicting absolutely mobbed Apple ( AAPL) Stores. These reports jibe with my experience the weekend before this past one at Apple's Fifth Avenue/Manhattan outpost. Interestingly, three offshoots dominate the remainder of the feedback: 1. Unsolicited reports from sad-looking Microsoft ( MSFT) stores this holiday weekend; 2. Hey, this is all anecdote!; and 3. Questions about the box readers should fit me in: Journalist. Analyst. Reporter. Cheerleader. I love it. Let's take No. 1 first, not simply because it has a "1" next to it, but because, it's the holidays -- these are light days (or at least they ought to be) -- and we could all use a laugh together. Compare this scene from a Microsoft Store with the relative mobs you see at Apple Stores.
And then there's this shot of ... well ... a picture is worth a thousand words. Over the last few weeks, we have discussed retail traffic quite a bit. As a former Ph.D. student (who did what any good Ph.D. student does -- I dropped out!), I'm sensitive to the notion that anecdote doesn't mean a damn thing when you're trying to determine the reality that exists in a population. Believe me, if I had the resources, I would draw a "proper" sample and find out what's really going on. But that also comes with a plethora of limitations. Ultimately, as a researcher -- casual, professional, hack or otherwise -- you have to point out where things fall short. I have always done that, explicitly, in the academic work I have done. I do it here. I just don't spoon feed you, the reader, like you have to do the professors who review scholarly articles from their ivory towers. In my work at TheStreet, it's incredibly clear that what I express is my opinion. Maybe I am making too big of an assumption, but I strongly believe -- and hope -- that most readers consider what I have to say opinion.
In this case, I have an opinion: Apple rules retail this holiday season yet that's something analysts and the media, for whatever reason, have decided to ignore. Secondary to that, I do not think Microsoft's Windows 8 and the Surface tablet came ready for primetime this Christmas. I think it will show come January, if not sooner, as reports from the ground and online trickle in. I also believe loads of sales continue to move online. That's hardly a revelation -- comScore reports a 16% year-over-year spike in online retail sales over the first 51 days of the holiday shopping period -- however the media and analysts blow this off as well, at least as it relates to Apple. Many of us have observed either light retail crowds or heavy crowds, but not much spending. I chalk that up to the e-commerce influence more than the economy. And there's no question in my mind that Apple and Amazon.com ( AMZN) benefit most from this trend. Because I like to limit the use of clutter in my writing -- "I have an opinion," "In my opinion," "In my humble opinion," "IMO," "IMHO," "I do not think," "I think" -- I tend not to use these qualifiers very frequently. I like to think (see, I hate that) it's implied. So, as I articulate this opinion, I look to support it. I do that in a variety of ways. I just did it in the last few paragraphs. Search my article history: There's not a writer in the financial media who produces more than I do or covers more angles. But, it's bigger than me. There's a larger issue here. Are we journalists, reporters, analysts, commentators? Frankly, I don't know. And I really don't care. In other areas, particularly news and sports, others came along and blurred those lines long ago. It was only a matter of time before it happened in finance. This is not a new development, by the way. It's been this way for almost as long as we stopped quoting stocks using fractions. We need to give readers more credit. The folks who want cats like me to explicitly state who I am -- journalist, reporter, analyst -- insult the reader's (and the investor's) intelligence. We have a with-it, affluent and highly educated readership. They're not sheep. You are not a sheep. I give you more credit than that. If I can generate a response from you -- from the desire to pat me on the back to anger and outrage -- and present unique perspectives, inform your thought process and bring investment value to complement your larger due diligence, I have done my job. Putting people in boxes with labels does nothing but keep confusion away (thanks to Elliott Smith there). I don't want to conform to some role, to get placed in some box. And I don't want to put you in a box. I hope you appreciate this. Follow @rocco_thestreet --Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.