Giving up on giving

Another story about how we’re in lean economic times.

NEW YORK – Workers shouldn’t count on lavish gift baskets or monogrammed cuff links from their employers this holiday season.

As companies face tighter budgets and layoffs in a tough U.S. economy, analysts and industry data suggest a slowdown in employee gift-giving. While financial worries have many consumers curtailing their spending, companies are scaling back their budgets as well.

Sherry-Lehmann, a 74-year-old wine and spirits shop in Manhattan, has seen some corporate customers — mostly law firms, real estate companies, and Wall Street firms — trade down to cheaper items.

“We’re seeing more interest in less expensive items as the economy struggles,” said Chris Adams, Sherry-Lehmann’s executive vice president.

Adams expects this to continue as the holiday season approaches and more companies start ordering gifts for their employees. He says sales of pricey Champagne have declined, while sales of sparkling wine and wines priced between $15 and $30 are rising.

David A. Schick, managing director of equity research for Stifel Nicolaus, says he expects many companies will cut back on ordering gifts for their employees, “based on where budgets are right now.”

I’ve never worked for an employer that gives a Christmas or end of year bonus. My sister-in-law a registered nurse, works for a public run hospital that give turkeys to its employees just before Thanksgiving. That practice was discontinued a few years ago.(The less said about the time I tried to carve a turkey the better. Jack the Ripper was neater) My wife has gotten a Christmas bonus, but we never count on it at the end of

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