Volume XVII, Issue 20 # May 14 - May 20, 2009

Letter From the Editor

With Shopping Everywhere

If you’ve got a dollar to spend, you can probably get $1.50’s value

Water, water everywhere …

Those words have been playing a tattoo in my mind, keeping time with the falling rain that’s this year’s version of spring.

The rest of the line, in poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem — remember it from high school? — Rime of the Ancient Mariner, is but not a drop to drink.

Tinker with the wording a bit, and you get another question I’ve been considering in these days of expanding shopping centers and shrinking dollars.

Shopping, shopping everywhere, but not a dollar to spend.

How are we, Chesapeake Country’s consumers, going to find the money to buy all the wonderful things displayed so alluringly in all the stores in all our real town centers and self-styled towne centres and shopping towns?

I’ve already spent my federal stimulus payment, before I had it in hand, and all in one place, where it didn’t cover my whole bill. If I’m expected to do more shopping, I need some help. How about you?

I’ve found some at Westfield Annapolis, where increasing competition for our scarce shopping dollars (read Annapolis Towne Centre at Parole) and the economic vises tightening on malls across the nation are translating into good deals for shoppers.

The good deals have clever names, as you’d expect from a culture that rises — or falls — on marketing: Fabfinds and Dinner and a Movie. But behind the cleverness are deals that can make a difference by stretching your dollars.

“Fabfinds was created to help shoppers during the challenging economic climate,” Westfield Annapolis marketing director Scott deGraffenreid told Bay Weekly. “We’re doing the work to make it easy for you to find the best deals. And they change each week, so each week, shoppers will discover something new.”

The Fabfinds are, at bottom, bargains: discounts, bonuses and celebrations. To find them, DeGraffenreid sends staff out on weekly missions through the mall to cull the top 16 of all the specials Westfield’s 220 stores are offering.

And offering stores are, says deGraffenreid. “These days pretty much every store is discounting, with a few exceptions, like Under Armour. So we want to help our customers understand what’s going on without overwhelming them.”

Each week’s 16 Fabfinds are reported in brochures you can pick up at the Westfield concierge desk (in front of Lord & Taylor’s) and at display signs throughout Westfield. If you’re a super sale-motivated shopper, you’ll find many more Fabfinds online at http://westfield.com/annapolis/fabfinds.

Of course for Fabfinds to work, people have got to shop. Are we? Or has the economy scared the shopping instinct out of us?

“People are still shopping,” deGraffenreid said. “Just changing their behavior a little. Some people really are unaffected by the economy. But most shoppers are looking for deals to maximize their dollars. They may be spending the same amount, but they’re getting more with all the discounts and buy-one-get-one deals. So they might spend a little less and still go out to eat and to a movie.”

If that sounds like a run-scoring triple, deGraffenreid has a deal for you. He calls it Dinner and a Movie. Now through July 31, go to a movie, then take your ticket stub to one of the participating restaurants for buy-one-get-one or half-off meals or free appetizer or dessert.

If there’s a lesson in my words this week, it might be this: with Shopping, shopping everywhere, if you’ve got a dollar to spend, you can probably get $1.50’s value.

       Sandra Olivetti Martin
     editor and publisher