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 The whole Black Friday—now Cyber Monday shopping spectacle has turned into a Pavlovian binge by consumers—people rush into stores and now onto their computer devices lured by the prospect of bargains and buy plenty of other things they don’t really need, because it’s the time of the year to behave this way.

And as predictable as sidewalk Santas showing up on the Friday after Thanksgiving, we read headlines in the week following about record sales and various retail analyst predictions for holiday bottom lines, which never seem to pan out. Typically holiday receipts turn out lower than the initial indicators as retailers have been forced into further discounts as Christmas Day approaches. Expect that to happen again this year since the economy is hardly operating on all cylinders.  

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