Swine Flu News Article

This article was written as an experiment in October of 2009. It was never published.

I had the luxury of making up the person I quoted, Jana Parker. The photo is a random person from Flikr, used with permission under a creative commons 2.0 license. The rest of the facts are true. I discovered them by reading press releases.

I’m most proud of the catchy headline.

Swine Flu threatens to ‘infect’ the economy this holiday season. Retailers worried sick.

Oct. 27, 2009 11:53 a.m. EST

SAN DIEGO, California (AP) — Nearly one in five consumers say they will skip shopping on traditionally busy retail days during the 2009 holiday season to avoid swine flu.

Some are going to “extraordinary lengths to avoid crowds,” a recent Morpace Omnibus Study reports.

The news is particularly troubling for retailers like Abercrombie & Fitch, who were counting on the holidays to make up for 8-figure losses during the first part of the year.

Jana Parker is a resident of San Diego, CA. Jana washes her hands often and is reluctant to make contact with others to avoid the disease.

She said, “This year, I’m only buying a few presents. I don’t feel comfortable in the crowded malls with because that’s how the flu spreads.”

H1N1 “is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people,” according to the Center for Disease Control website. The agency recommends keeping at least 6 feet apart from people showing flu-like symptoms.

President Barack Obama declared swine flu a national emergency on Saturday. Even before Saturday’s announcement, economists expected a ‘flat’ holiday season.

Consumer polls from the National Retail Federation (NRF) showed that 82% of consumers planned to spend less money this holiday season than years prior.

Now, with the CDC warning consumers to “stay at home,” it may take even longer before retailers see healthy profits again.

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