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The Shopping Cart Index

It's Round 2 of SnowJam 2014 in Georgia. This presents an opportune time to present a new idea I like to call the Shopping Cart Index or "Buggy" Index.

It is based on the observation of expectation and positive correlation.

When we expect bad weather or rising prices on food, we make a mad dash for the grocery store. Even if bad weather never happens or prices don't rise, we still rush to the stores in expectation of scarcity or bad conditions.

Yesterday in anticipation of wintry weather, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal declared a State of Emergency in 45 of Georgia's 159 counties before a single snowflake ever touched the ground. His announcement triggered a number of buying behaviors across the state. Most people headed for grocery stores and gas stations.

By the time I left work and arrived at Kroger, there were only a few shopping carts available at the entrance. Most of them were being used. This is in positive (or direct) correlation with the number of shoppers inside the store. The place was packed!

Fewer available buggies means more shoppers and vice versa, more available buggies means fewer shoppers.

Of course, consumption and consumer expenditures is ultimately tracked by dollars spent. But, economics is all about linkages. People buy groceries. People use shopping carts to hold their groceries. Occupied shopping carts, then, is an indicator of how many shoppers are in a grocery store at a particular time.

Therefore, the Shopping Cart Index provides another measure of shopping activity which, as we know, goes up and down depending on consumer's expectations.


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