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Fighting for a bargain

Laurels to all of you who managed to engage in post-holiday sales without breaking the bank — or somebody’s nose. Like carols and eggnog, sales melees have become a traditional part of the holidays. This year’s after-Christmas fracases included scuffles among shoe shoppers at swanky Saks Fifth Avenue in New York. Shoppers apparently flew into a frenzy over discounted Oscar de la Renta flats and pricey pumps after the store announced a 60 percent off special was about to end. Bargain-hunters were going toe to toe. The merriment also turned to mayhem in Bloomington, Ind., when a crowd of teens began fighting in the food court, with fists and chairs both flying. Chalk up one more reason to shop at small, local shops: There’s far less chance of sustaining bodily injury while perusing the “final clearance” racks.
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Laurels to Catawba College business students for undertaking some street-level research on what attracts visitors to downtown Salisbury and sharing it with the community earlier this month. The students enrolled in Dr. Phillip Frank’s marketing research class turned up some interesting findings — such as the importance of social media in promoting downtown events — and compiled a list of viable, low-cost marketing suggestions. Now, class, here’s an extra-credit question: How does the community hang on to smart, enterprising young people like yourselves, rather than see the young and mobile head off to parts elsewhere?
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Dart to the hardship many American families will face with the end of federal emergency unemployment compensation. The payments, averaging about $1,100 a month, come to an end this weekend. Although there’s already bipartisan talk of legislation to extend the funds early next year, that’s anything but a sure thing given political divisions. Although the labor market is slowly improving, one recent report estimated there are still four applicants for each available job. For the longer-term unemployed, those extra benefits aren’t padding a cushy lifestyle, by any means; they’re putting food on the table and a roof over a family’s heads.

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