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Thanksgiving Shopping; Holiday Shopping; Global Property Boom; Out of Work in Germany; Thailand Unrest

Aired November 28, 2013 - 16:00:00   ET


RICHARD QUEST, CNN HOST: Now there's no closing bell tonight because the U.S. markets are all shut, but it's a case of banks for nothing. U.S. workers are up in arms about having to give up their holiday to feed the shopping frenzy.

Tonight also, battling a bubble: the Bank of England governor gets his house prices in order.

And Betty knows best. I get shopping tips from an octogenarian expert.

I'm Richard Quest in London. And I mean business.


QUEST: Good evening. It's a happy Gray Thursday in the United States. It's known as Thanksgiving and it is arguably the U.S.' most important holiday. Some say, though, of course, consumerism is taking over. Some people haven't even sat down for their Thanksgiving dinner, and the shops are already open.

It's the biggest shopping day of the year in the U.S. That happens tomorrow traditionally. It's known as Black Friday. They're calling this Gray Thursday, because today many shops are not only open during Thanksgiving, but they're giving it a run for its money and opening even earlier to take advantage of some sales.

In some places, shoppers have been camping out for more than a week. Seriously, a week in advance of today's sales. Some of the people who are staffing the shops and the restaurants are feeling particularly hard done by.

The manager of a Pizza Hut in Indiana says he refused to open his restaurant on the holiday. The decision cost him his job.


TONY ROHR, FORMER PIZZA HUT MANAGER: I said, " Why can't we be the company that stands up and says we care about our employees and you can have the day off?"

Thanksgiving, Christmas are the only two days that they're closed in the whole year. There are only two days that those people are guaranteed to have off to spend with their families.

They're still going to be open, I'm sure, and they're still going to sell pizza, but I just didn't think it was right.


QUEST: (INAUDIBLE) of course is that he has been given his job back, though of course Pizza Hut responding to the criticism for firing him for not opening on Thanksgiving.

Sears department stores, very large group, are also open on Thanksgiving, not the one in Plymouth, New Hampshire, where the manager says she may be losing out on $20,000 in revenue, but as she put it, "You can't put a price on family time."


HOLLY CASSIANO, SEARS MANAGER: Much to my surprise, early November, we found out by a memo from Sears Corporate that our stores were all supposed to be open on Thanksgiving from 7:00 pm until 12:00 am.

And with that being said, in previous years, that has never been an issue. Last year it happened to be an optional issue, which I said, our store will never be open on Thanksgiving because I don't believe in that. And so here we are, dealing with a corporate retail head, trying to wreck Thanksgiving.


QUEST: Well, that will certainly do your career a great deal of good, "a corporate retail head trying to wreck Thanksgiving." If that doesn't put the kibosh on things, who knows what will?

It all comes a day before Black Friday itself. And that, indeed, is no longer confined to the United States.

Take, for example, in the United Kingdom, major discounts, too, are already underway and that hasn't quite reached the chaos levels of some parts.

Kyung Lah now reports on exactly what this means and why so many people are taking such advantage.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The shoving, the screaming.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What the (inaudible)!

LAH (voice-over): -- the swearing --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE), we'll stab one of you (inaudible)!

LAH (voice-over): Let the fists fly.

Retailers call it the Super Bowl of shopping or Black Friday, but scenes like these that flood the Internet give the bargain battle a black eye.

This ugly clash at a Los Angeles Walmart two years ago was captured by Juan Castro.

JUAN CASTRO, BLACK FRIDAY SHOPPER: All the people just went in there and they just started destroying the boxes.

LAH (voice-over): All this for marked down Xbox games.

CASTRO: People were fighting, trying to get those deals. And that's when some lady grabbed pepper spray and just started going at it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My eyes are burning! My eyes! Help me!

LAH: Was that moment a turning point for Walmart?

RACHEL WALL, WALMART SPOKESWOMAN: Certainly. I think we could do a better job at managing crowds and helping customers get into the store, find the item they're looking for, and get out. So I think we learned a lot.

LAH (voice-over): Walmart says this time it's a calmer Black Friday, orderly lines through the store. Shoppers will get wrist bands and rain check tickets that sale items that run out.

But what won't change are the surprise deals through the store.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like 40 seconds and then all of the people go crazy.

LAH (voice-over): So predictably wild that this dad brought his kids to this Walmart to witness the mayhem, first-hand.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's something about Black Friday. Your integrity?

LAH (voice-over): These Chicago-area cousins don't care about the mayhem. In fact, they thrive on it every year, using shopping apps and meticulous planning to save on toys for their young kids.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What, eight hours of shopping?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah, it was all night.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah, eight hours or so.

LAH (voice-over): Seriously, all night.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it was worth it.

LAH (voice-over): Kwasniak spent $960, half of her budget, saving $1,000 on gifts, enough to make her want to dance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So yeah, the jig had to happen, and I would do it again if I got a deal like that.

LAH (voice-over): Not a laughing matter to Victoria Caruso, who's seen enough video of the fighting --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Me and you, any time you want (inaudible).

LAH (voice-over): -- and doesn't want any of it, even if it's literally a pillow fight.

VICTORIA CARUSO, ONLINE SHOPPER: I think they're crazy. To them it's a sport. Lacrosse is a sport. Black Friday is not a sport.

LAH (voice-over): She shops all online. Sure, she gives up on some of the deals, but savors her serenity.

CARUSO: The savings aren't worth the bail money.

LAH (voice-over): After capturing the Walmart wildness, Juan Castro avoids the retailer on Black Friday, but still can't resist a short outing.

CASTRO: I should get a bulletproof vest and make sure -- maybe some football gear would do me good.

LAH (voice-over): That may be good advice, because for shoppers like these, it's game on.


QUEST: Good grief. Shoppers were lined up early at the Kmart in Burbank in California. It opened at 6:00 am. There's still 34 hours to go before the stores close.

Kyung Lah, who we just heard reporting there, joins me now from Burbank.

What sort of -- look, by my reckoning in California at the moment, it's 1 o'clock in the afternoon; people should be sitting down for their turkey lunch with the family and enjoying themselves.

And by my reckoning, looking at the shop, it's far from that scene.

What's happening?

LAH: Well, dinner's going to be a little late if you're here at the Kmart because look at this. And it's not like this is an empty store, Richard. If you check your calendar, it is a holiday here in America. But people are spending it shopping at least at this particular store.

And it's been consistently busy throughout the day here at this Kmart. You may wonder why. Why mess with the sanctity of an American holiday like Thanksgiving? Well, retailers are looking at a shortened holiday shopping season before Christmas. And so they want to take advantage of it. They want to try to get consumers in as quickly as possible, Richard.

QUEST: All right. But hang on a second. To actually go out today on Thanksgiving and shopping, what are they getting today, those people behind you, that they could not get if they just waited 24 hours or 36 hours or go in tomorrow and the next day?

LAH: Well, nothing. I mean, look at what this lady purchased here. But these sweatshirts -- because I was actually looking at them for my daughter earlier -- they're $3. That's quite reasonable for a sweatshirt. It looks like she's purchased at least four of them. So she's going to be able to buy four children sweatshirts.

So it's a little cheaper, especially on items like that. So there's a variety of items, the big ticket items, like televisions are luring people in. But there are a number of small ticket items, stocking stuffers, candy, various food gift items, like chocolates, that are also on sale.

QUEST: Does anybody seem at all nonplussed, a bit embarrassed, a little bit unseemly that they've chosen to go to Kmart, of all places, on a Thanksgiving holiday?

LAH: Not at 6:00 am. I mean, 6:00 am Thanksgiving morning, we didn't see any shame. It is a competitive sport here in America, Black Friday. It has certainly eclipsed that of simply buying a few items, where people actually camp out in tents for several days, if not even --

QUEST: All right --

LAH: -- weeks, with their children in some cases. So it is, in some essence, a bit of an American sport now.

QUEST: So Kyung Lah, who's probably got to get off to feed the family herself in Burbank, California, have a Happy Thanksgiving. Many thanks for that.

Now in case you're thinking we're just railing on the Americans with this about Thanksgiving and Black Friday, well, it's not only an American sport. Shopping has started to encroach on sacred holidays and national events.

Last year, for example, take Boxing Day in the United Kingdom, where there were record sales with some stores opening at 6:00 am and people queueing up from 1:00 in the morning for the famous Boxing Day sales.

Chinese New Year brings with it the Golden Week holiday, and that's traditionally been a boom for retail sales. The tide may be turning; sales slowed somewhat in 2012. That might be a wider economic point in China rather than a socioeconomic point of holiday shopping.

Of course, we can turn to Paris, where if you've ever tried to buy a bottle of milk in Paris on Sunday, which is as close to sacred as you're ever going to get, but this is at risk, too, after change (INAUDIBLE) landmark case to stay open seven days a week. It's divided the country.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Stores need to be open on Sundays. People, they work all week long. They run all week. I prefer that stores be open on Sunday, definitely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE), you know, when you pay on -- when you work on Sunday, you get about 250 percent of your salary. So it's more interesting for us to work on Sundays.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think everyone wants the rule to be that on Sunday you rest. The government obviously needs to put its hands in the same, because it's about working rights. If not, you will have -- everything will be open and then we will just have the American way of life. I think that's sad.


QUEST: All right. So the question for tonight at Twitter, @RichardQuest, so it's really two things: do you think shops should be open?

Do you, would you, have you, may you, basically?

When it comes to shopping on holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, anything else, would you, do you, have you, should you? Tweet your views @RichardQuest.

When we come back after the break, the Bank of England shifts to neutral on the housing market. Governor Mark Carney's surprise statement sends shares in the homebuilders tumbling. It's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS from London. Good evening.




QUEST: The Bank of England is ending a program that's aimed at stoking the U.K. housing market. It's refocusing what it's called the Funding for Lending scheme that provided cheap money for businesses.

Now effectively it'll slam the brakes of a property boom, particularly in London. Governor Mark Carney said the measures are now in response to an evolving risk in the housing market.


MARK CARNEY, GOVERNOR, BANK OF ENGLAND: This will help keep the housing market on a sustainable path and ensure that the broader economy continues to receive the stimulus that it needs for as long as it needs to sustain the recovery.

By acting now in a graduated fashion, authorities are reducing the likelihood that larger interventions will be needed at a later point.


QUEST: U.K. house prices have risen by about 7 percent over the last 12 months, higher in London and in the southeast of England. It's been driven, the housing market, by the robust capital market. The gains are not unique to Britain. The IMF's latest global price index shows a steady recovery.

Just look at that. As we look at the back end of it, there a sharp fall, as you might have expected. But that upturn is what has many people concerned about, the (INAUDIBLE) highest level since the end of 2008. And prices rose in 32 of the 51 advancing emerging economies, the fastest growing market in the second quarter.

Now there won't just be (INAUDIBLE) Hong Kong. Prices were up 15 percent. The Ukraine, their prices were up 12 percent, although of course from a much lower base.

Stephen Pope is the managing partner of Spotlight Ideas.

What we are seeing here -- I mean, now the financial committee looked at house prices a few months ago to determine whether the Bank of England, to determine whether there was a bubble. And they determined there wasn't a bubble.

So what is the governor doing by taking this action today?

This is a reputation policy that Mark Carney enacted when he was governing the Bank of Canada. He's tried to ensure that the banks don't suddenly find they've overexposed themselves again through soft lending to people who wish get (INAUDIBLE) housing (INAUDIBLE).

QUEST: Is he trying to do that which has not been done before, which is to gently take away the punch bowl before the party gets raucous and out of hand?

POPE: Yes, I think you're quite right there, Richard, because he's all about forward guidance. In a way, this is an example of that in play today. He's also recognizing that housing has generally picked up mostly in London. But across the U.K., growth has been quite strong. But he wants to start putting emphasis upon where the wealth can be created for the medium and long term. And that's (INAUDIBLE).

QUEST: Should we see this withdrawal of funding for lending on the U.K. housing market as albeit a very small (INAUDIBLE)? It's a first sign of a little bit of -- I don't want to say tightening, because that's overstated. But it's the first sign of action in recognition of the very robust growth that is starting to come through.

POPE: Yes. I think you look back a month ago the Bank of England gave a very positive report on how the U.K. (INAUDIBLE) is evolving. Now we're seeing that growth is coming through.

So no more flatlining arguments to be put forward. I think what you're finding is that he's just trying to say to the banks, I'm withdrawing this arm of the lending, because I don't want you getting overexposed on mortgages (INAUDIBLE) don't deserve (INAUDIBLE) have credit in that way. But we're going to focus it upon future growth, which comes from business.

QUEST: (INAUDIBLE) turn to France for one second if we may because we -- France had some -- I want to say more encouraging unemployment numbers in the sense that unemployment dropped in France according to the latest statistics, which President Hollande will take as being an indication that things are coming around and albeit slowly things are getting better.

Do you buy that?

POPE: No, I still think that next year France is going to prove a very tricky country for the Eurozone. We have a lot of people very upset about the tax regimes coming through. I think you're going to find that there has just been no real emphasis to embrace wealth creation, which comes through free enterprise.

It's still very much the meddling hand of the state in France. And if that's not altered in 2014, you're going to find that France is going to become a big problem for the currency zone.

QUEST: Yes. Just to clarify, those jobless claims, wasn't it, that we had to -- from France. And which would of course show that slight improvement over previous months.

Pulling the strands together, you've got the U.K. now, when do you expect to see the first increase in U.K. interest rates, bearing in mind what we've had today, what we heard with the -- from the ONS in terms of the (INAUDIBLE) GDP numbers and even in the Bank of England's own inflation report (INAUDIBLE)?

POPE: Well, superficially, we've been (INAUDIBLE) unemployment to 7 percent. However, what I think you'll probably find is that Carney will start thinking about it (INAUDIBLE) Q3 of next year. That's when you're going to start feeling it, about time to -- just a little tweak on where the rates are standing in the U.K.

QUEST: But will it be done from the -- will it be done with a sledgehammer of base rate? Or will it be done with much more fine tuning on liquidity and things like that?

POPE: Oh, very much it will start with the fine tuning, very soft touch coming through. I don't think we're in the realm that any bank is going to start hitting hard on the rate.

QUEST: Thank you very much, Stephen. Good to see you as always.

POPE: Thank you.

QUEST: Thank you very much indeed.

Now let's stay in the U.K. and London's mayor, Boris Johnson, has his own view of what will fix Britain's economy. And it all boils down to one word: greed. Nina dos Santos reports.


NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN HOST: Well, here in the streets of London, the countdown to Christmas is well and truly begun with the lights ablaze and the shoppers out in force. But forget the festive spirit. It's the spirit of envy that the mayor of London has been talking about in a speech reminiscent of this famous scene.


"GORDON GECKO": The thing is, ladies and gentlemen, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through and captures the essence of evolutionary spirit."

BORIS JOHNSON, MAYOR OF LONDON: I hope that the Gordon Gekkos of London are conspicuous not just for their greed and I accept the CDS view that greed is a valued motivator of economic progress, if there is to be a boom in the 2010s. I hope it is one that is marked by a genuine sense of community that acts on prodigious philanthropy.


DOS SANTOS: In laying out what some see as his pitch to become Britain's next prime minister, Boris Johnson told a think tank that greed would help to make Britain a better place, increasing competition and productivity.

But away from the rich streets of London, that will be a message that will be hard to digest in a country that's faced five years of financial crisis and where wages remain stagnant despite the rising cost of living.

Boris Johnson has always been an entertaining figure and certainly a man not known for his political correctness. But while he may argue that greed can be good for some, economists are probably argue that growth, sustainable growth in the long run shared by many will probably be (INAUDIBLE) -- Nina dos Santos, CNN, London.


QUEST: Now Europe's engine of growth is showing signs of strain. The number of people out of work in Germany climbed for the fourth month consecutively in November to the highest level in 2.5 years.

Unemployment rose by 10,000 to nearly 3 million. It's a bit of a shock, economists had expected a rise of a mere 1,000. But the warning is that the labor market may be tightening even further in coming months.

Angela Merkel's new coalition government plans to introduce a national minimum wage. And the fear of the critics is that it could lead to high cost for companies. Several large companies have indicated there will be job losses.

Same with Europe. Italy led the gains in Europe today. Milan's FTSE MIB index (INAUDIBLE) index rose 0.9 of a percent and without any New York to give it a boost, well, investors are looking and banking on stable governments in Italy.

London had its own issues to contend with just a little fraction up, the best gains of the day there, you see, were, of course, in Italy.

Everywhere elsewhere, modest gains and shares in the U.K. building firms were slightly affected by of course the withdrawal of front lending funding for lending. I can never get that phrase right -- who was lending for funding but not. It's funding for lending, not easy. Otherwise, a generally quiet day; traders in U.S. on their Thanksgiving break.

Still ahead, two rate moves; one was expected, the other surprised: the tale of two central banks.



QUEST: Now two central banks made moves on rates this week. Let's look at Brazil first of all, which hiked its benchmark interest rate from 9.5 percent to 10 percent. I mean, think about it, 10 percent. It's the sixth consecutive rise in rates. Now the highest level since March of last year.

Compare that to the ECB with rates at 0.25 percent or the Fed with rates at zero to a quarter, and the zero bound.

With that move, Brazil now has the highest borrowing costs made amongst the major economies. Of course, you'll be aware of the issues relating to Brazil, not only with the World Cup, but with the Olympics, with the unrest, all those sort of issues. And the economy that is moving quite sharply led to the rate rise.

Now Thailand moved in the opposite direction. The central bank in Thailand, unexpectedly lowered its main interest rate from 2.5 percent to 2.25 percent. At the same time, there was a cut in growth forecasts from 3.7 percent to 3 percent. That tells you why you've got the cut.

When you're getting that sort of reduction of a quarter of a point at this point in the economic cycle, when you're also see economies and the economic growth numbers coming down, you've got an easing of monetary policy in Thailand, a tightening of it in Brazil.

And Thailand's central bank made the move as tensions mounted on the streets of Bangkok. Anti-government protesters turning and pressuring the prime minister to step down even after she survived the no confidence motion in Parliament.

Anna Coren now reports on what's behind the political unrest in Thailand.


ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over) Behind high fences and razor wire, police in Thailand's capital heavily armed officers display a show of force against thousands of protesters, armed with whistles and the national flag.

This is the latest area to be occupied by demonstrators who are calling for an end to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her government, also known as the Thaksin regime.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This government has no right to govern anymore. We are really (INAUDIBLE).

COREN (voice-over): Yingluck's elder brother, Thaksin, ruled Thailand for five years before the billionaire businessman was ousted during a military coup in 2006. He went into self-imposed exile after being convicted of corruption in 2008, but these people say he's still governing the country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have two prime ministers. One is always here and the other one has left.

COREN (voice-over): An amnesty bill earlier this month is what triggered these mass demonstrations. It would have absolved Thaksin of his crimes, allowing him to return. While it didn't pass, it was enough to anger these people who are demanding political reform.

The prime minister says she's in charge even more so now having survived a no confidence vote in Parliament. And while respecting the freedom of speech, she says it's time to end the demonstrations.

YINGLUCK SHINAWATRA, PM, THAILAND (through translator): We understand that the seating of government offices is symbolic of their movement. I'm pleading with the protesters to stop doing this because our administration still needs to operate.

COREN: Sadly, Thailand has a recent history of protests turning violent. It was on these very streets back in 2010 when demonstrations turned ugly, claiming the lives of up to 90 people, most of them civilians. But organizers say that will not happen on their watch because no one wants a repeat of the nation's darkest moment.

COREN (voice-over): This is the man orchestrating the protests, former deputy prime minister and opposition MP, Suthep Thaugsuban. Considered a hero by many, he says people are fed up with the corrupt government. As for how long they keep protesting.


COREN: Until you win? So what like -- are we talking weeks, months?


COREN (voice-over): Even the king's 86th birthday next week, a national celebration, won't stand in their way -- Anna Coren, CNN, Bangkok.


QUEST: It's been a busy and very varied day today. We turn next to the shadow of football match price fixing, which has now fallen over Britain. Two men are charged. We'll have the story after the break.




QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest. There's more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in just a moment. This is CNN and, on this network, the news always comes first.

Protests continue in the Ukraine over the government's decision to scrap a deal with the European Union. Ukraine's president's attending an E.U. summit in Lithuania says he's still open to further European integration. (Inaudible)'s reported that as many as 80 people are injured after a high- speed ferry traveling from Hong Kong to Macau hit an unidentified object. The government spokesman was quoted in the report as saying that four people are classified as seriously injured.

China's dispatched fighter jets to conduct a routine patrol in its new air defense zone over the East China Sea. The Chinese Air Force says the patrol is a defensive measure. Japan, the U.S. and South Korea have also flown military planes into the air which contains a set of disputed islands. A magnitude 5.6 earthquake in Southwestern Iran has killed at least eight people, 59 more are injured. The epicenter was 60 kilometers or so from Bushehr, Iran's only nuclear power plant on the Persian Gulf. Iran's state news agency says emergency crews have been dispatched to the area.

NASA says a closely-watched comet may not have survived a too-close encounter with the sun. Experts fear Iceland may have evaporated as it made its closest approach yet to the inferno. Don't fret - there's still room for hope as it's too early to write the celestial obituary just yet.

In Britain police say they have uncovered a plot to fix football matches in England's lower leagues. The scheme they believe is linked to an international illegal betting syndicate. A number of people have been detained. CNN's Atika Shubert in London reports.

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN JOURNALIST WORKING OUT OF LONDON BUREAU: Well seven people have been arrested on allegations of match-fixing including three players and a football agent. Two of them have been charged -- Chann Sankarana 33-year-old Singapore national and Krishna Sanjey Ganeshan, a 43- year-old with dual U.K./Singapore nationality, both will appear before a court tomorrow. Now, they face charges of conspiracy to defraud by influencing the course of football matches and placing bets on the outcome. The arrests come after an investigation by the "Telegraph" newspaper in which secretly-recorded videos appear to show the alleged match-fixers offering to rig semi-professional conference league matches by bribing both players and referees. If convicted, they face a maximum sentence of ten years. Atika Shubert, CNN London.

QUEST: Match-fixing and allegations like this have plagued world football in recent years. In February, Europol said it was investigating 680 suspicious matches across the globes. CNN's Amanda Davie spoke to David Davies, the former executive director of the F.A., who incidentally also happens to be her father. She started by asking him if he was surprised by the most recent allegations.


DAVID DAVIES, FORMER F.A. EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: I was shocked, and yet I can't say I was totally surprised because as your viewers have heard, there have been some 60 countries in the world where these allegations of match- fixing have been made. In some of them, they have been proven and there is no reason to think it's not realistic to think that the country perhaps through the highest profile for its football in the world - England - should somehow be immune from it.

AMANDA DAVIES, SPORTS CORRESPONDENT AND ANCHOR FOR CNN INTERNATIONAL, BASED IN THE LONDON BUREAU: Yes, these allegations we know aren't relevant to the Premier League, but the Premier League is such a global product. How damaging do you think this will be to the Premier League and English football as a whole?

D. DAVIES: Well, it's damaging to not just English football but to football as a whole because the more these allegations - and they are allegations are made - but some allegations around the world as I say have been proven. The more this happens, the less faith some people will have in the integrity of the game. And that matters. The fans, when they go to games believe I'm seeing real sport, clean sport that isn't corrupt.

A. DAVIS: What faith have you got that this problem can ever be beaten? You've seen firsthand traveling around the world the power of football and the love of the game around the world.

D. DAVIES: I've seen the power of football, Amanda, but I've also seen the power of betting. And the reality is that you know not least in Asia, betting is an obsession with a lot of people - in many places its illegal. But nobody pretends it doesn't go on, and so combatting this and making sure that the sport is clean, is a day-after-day-after-day, week-after- week, year-after-year job. And the police - it is their job where there has been criminal activity.


QUEST: Coming up after the break, Volvo reveals the emotional power of car design. We'll explain. (RINGS BELL.)


QUEST: Look at these two pictures - which one of them stirs the emotion for you most? Which one gets the juices going, and ultimately, which one do you feel the greatest emotional connection to - the baby crying or the sleek new red car? (RINGS BELL.) It will be hard not to feel something maybe for one but what about the other? Volvo says some people feel similarly moved when they see a nice car and others when they see the crying baby, and it's a relationship between the two. The carmaker says it's carried out scientific tests which proves that beautiful car design can evoke a range of feelings on a par with the most basic of human emotions. Watch some of these reactions. According to Volvo, men in particular seen almost genetically programmed to like sleek design with beautiful lines - poor man's nearly drooling. Dr. David Lewis is a neuropsychologist who's known as the father of neuro-marketing, and he joins me now. Good to have you.


QUEST: I'm not denying the research, but I'm going to just simply say it's not a surprise that people like nice, sleek cars and designs, is it? I mean, we've known that for a long time.

LEWIS: Yes, I think what is interesting about this research is the first time really it's looked in-depth at the emotions which are generated by artifacts like cars. I mean, it's interesting - you showed a picture of a baby. A baby actually has some specific design characteristic of its own which are designed to elicit caring behavior from adults. So, for example, the face of a baby is round and plump - you know, it's out of proportion. And these will trigger emotions - very powerful emotions in adults, particularly in parents -

QUEST: So, men went for the cars over the babies, women went for the babies over the cars -


QUEST: They all agreed that they liked sleek design. How do you take that and put it into something?

LEWIS: Well, I think if you're designing a car, if you're trying to transform a car - if you're trying putting - you know you've mentioned (Inaudible) Volvo say some Swedish design style into it - what you're looking for is something which'll elicit a very positive emotional response because we buy things initially on our emotional response at a subconscious level. We then rationalize it using our kind of conscious brain.

QUEST: So, this is practical research which even though it might seem fairly obvious in the initial thought, well, you know, a nice, sleek, fast motor red car - sports car is going to be appealing?

LEWIS: Well, yes, it depends on the line of the car - and that's essentially --

QUEST: But it's going to be - sleek rather than boxy.

LEWIS: Well, I think elegance, curved lines. I mean, straight lines are very much a part of man-made world, curved lines are much more a part of nature, and I think this is what we're going back to in design - is looking for a more natural approach to the design.

QUEST: A natural approach.

LEWIS: Yes, and a simpler approach. I think - we live in a world with some much confusion, so much information and so many brands competing. The simpler you can - even if you take the iPad for example which really transform - they're very chunky computer -- into something which you design beautiful.

QUEST: So, do you believe that on this -- particularly when it comes to automobiles and similar -- there's a key waiting to be unlocked - a lock waiting to be unlocked with a key? The manufacturer that gets it right would have opened up a new vista?

LEWIS: Absolutely. I think there are four things about a car design. There's a functionality of the car - does it actually do what you want it to do? There's the elegance, the beauty, the aesthetic value -

QUEST: Right.

LEWIS: -- innovation and social desirability. You've got to - people want to drive a car which other people want to drive.

QUEST: You're the `father of neuro-marketing" -

LEWIS: (Inaudible) yes.

QUEST: What on earth neurologically is going on with Black Friday in the United States? What is it -


LEWIS: It's absolutely amazing. I mean, well, it's a hysteria. It's a feeding frenzy. It's like sharks in a pool competing for a carcass which has been thrown in. I have studied the sign of brain activity of people in these situations. It's completely wild - it's completely irrational -

QUEST: Well, what's happening in their brain in these conditions?

LEWIS: Because they are behaving irrationally. They're behaving at a subconscious level. They're being driven by forces which they can't control.

QUEST: Why do they do it, then? I mean, at some point -


QUEST: -- they determine - before the juices get going in that neurological whatever takes over -

LEWIS: OK, yes, right.

QUEST: -- before that happens, they make a decision to go and stand outside and buy this stuff.


QUEST: What's going on?

LEWIS: Well, the longer you queue for something, the more you're going to desire it. It's what we call cognitive decisions. The more effort you put into something, the more you're going to think it's worthwhile. But also, when they get into these states, it's `monkey see, monkey do.' Everybody's watching everybody else. Everybody's getting excited, so everybody's copying everybody else. It's what we call the mimic - the mimicry algorithm.

QUEST: Would you ever do it?

LEWIS: No. Good heavens, no. No, no, I shop online.

QUEST: There's no emotion in that.

LEWIS: I'm not an emotional person. Nice to see you.

QUEST: Good to see you, Doctor, thank you very much indeed. That has to take the biscuit on tonight's program. OK, many thanks. Good to see you. Now, if appearances don't matter all that much to you, when it comes to your car then perhaps this will test you underway on several types of driverless cars. A couple of million dollars are being spent in Britain to see whether they could be the answer to crowded streets. Jim Boulden (RINGS BELL) reports.


Male: Knight Rider - a shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a man who does not exist.

JIM BOULDEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Michael Knight had one - a driverless car though Kit had a host of sci-fi gadgets to help Knight fight crime. Thirty years on and this is more the reality of a driverless vehicle. A two-seater electric pod. These are expected to be running on designated pathways in the British city of Milton Keynes in coming years. Airports already have similar pods running on designated rails to and from terminals and parking lots. But they aren't running on city streets.

Male: Car (inaudible) take control.

BOULDEN: And what about real cars with no drivers? Nissan and the University of Oxford already are testing actual driverless electric cars. To allay worries about safety, they've released video showing how cameras and sensors are used to stop the car. The engineers say their navigation system with an off-the-shelf computer adds less than $8,000 to the price of an auto - all controlled, not from a steering wheel, but from an iPad.

Michael Knight may have gotten Kit from a mysterious industrialist. Now the British government is offering $120 million to business to test a host of different low carbon engines, $2.4 million on these driverless pedestrian pods. Coming soon to the town of Milton Keynes, the government wants 100 of these on pathways by 2017. Jim Boulden, CNN London.


QUEST: Jenny Harrison's at the World Weather Center for us this evening. It's - I have to say, Jenny - having been in New York where it's blisteringly cold and now it's rather pleasant here in the U.K., so what have we got in store for the days ahead?

JENNY HARRISON, WEATHER ANCHOR FOR CNN INTERNATIONAL: Well, more of the same. And actually, again, you've left New York, but you've left the high sunshine behind, Richard, because once that big storm system pushed all the way up into Canada, look at this - hardly even any cloud to speak of. Now, of course we have had a little bit of late-effect snow in the last few hours, but that's to be expected. And you can see elsewhere absolutely nothing. Still cold. This is it with the wind, so it feels like -3 in New York so no wonder you think it feels pretty good in London. It feels like 9 in Atlanta and -1 out there in Kansas City. It will stay cold again for the next few days. So, in New York the temperature's still well below the average, certainly for the first part of the weekend. Washington, D.C. the same and then in the south in Atlanta temperatures beginning to come back up towards that 16 Celsius which is the average for this time of year.

But again, the forecast for the next 48 hours - a little bit of cloud. No rain, really making it to land either. So, some very nice weather conditions indeed. Now, meanwhile in Europe, we have got some winter cold weather out there across the north and the east. And of course still more snow coming across these central areas - the mountains in particular. Twelve centimeters of new snow into Italy it the last few hours.

And as we go to the first part of the weekend, it'll stay very cold. There'll be more snow - this time a bit more widespread with that front as it sweeps across Central Europe. And of course what it means is that, yes, the slopes in Europe are really getting ready for the ski season. In fact, many of the slopes have been open in Italy already this week, and to Saturday in Cervinia some more good snow. There's a really good snow depth there of 45 centimeters, and for Sunday, some very nice sunshine, temperatures just above freezing. So, a very nice day indeed.

And then if we head a little bit further afield and across to Canada, plenty of snow coming down over the next - well over the weekend days. A bit of sunshine on Saturday, more in the way of snow on Sunday and of course temperatures typically will be a little bit colder as well. But some really good fresh, new snow here - 16/19 centimeters expected on Sunday, adding to the depth which is already 64 centimeters.

So much of the snow that's coming down in Europe is going to stay there. The air is very, very cold across the north and the east in particular. This is the next front sliding down, and as it hits that cold air, turning to snow. More rain again across the south and of course mostly rain across the northwest of Europe. So, as the snow comes down, not just the Alps but quite right across the Czech Republic, across Germany, even across into central and southern areas of France.

Maybe some delays at the airports - Dublin, Glasgow, Amsterdam, some fairly strong winds - particularly in the morning hours on Friday, and when it comes to snow, Prague and Geneva some longer delays there as we had Friday and Saturday. And your temperatures for, as you can see, Friday - 6 in London - no, 8 in London - I can't read - and 6 in Paris. Richard, back to you. Enjoy the sunshine.

QUEST: I'm doing my best before I go shopping.

HARRISON: (Inaudible).

QUEST: Nice pictures (inaudible) coming your way. Maybe.

HARRISON: Oh, thank you very much. I'll believe when I see it. Won't hold my breath

QUEST: Yes, don't hold your breath. Black Friday shopping going to be a (inaudible) business. The wealthy and the wise - don't attempt it without help. After the break, I go to see a real expert who absolutely knows how to go shopping.


QUEST: If you're in New York and you're passing Bergdorf Goodman's, you are out of luck, because the Fifth Avenue store is closed. The tills are unmercifully quiet. The shop is closed until 8 a.m. on Friday morning, when they will reopen and when the store's very own expert shopper will be on hand to make sure her clients don't make any unwise purchases. Betty is one of a kind. She is the shopper to the elite - the grand, the well- heeled and those who want to find a bargain. And for a very short time (RINGS BELL), she was mine.


Come hither into La-La Land.

QUEST: Wow, this is quite --.

Betty Holbreich and I have something in common. Not just any Christmas crackers, Christmas crackers from (Fordnam's).


QUEST: We both love holiday shopping.

HOLBREICH: As a little girl, I loved snow globes - the old-fashioned snow globe. I think this is the beautiful part of it.

QUEST: Ooh, a letter knife. What are the basic principles of buying gifts?

HOLBREICH: I think we sometimes become so imbued with what we like - I notice when you were picking up things - sometimes we don't think about whom we are buying for.

QUEST: This is the spicy stuff - (inaudible).

HOLBREICH: Yes, but you can't smell three at one time. Nobody's nose can take in three at one time.

QUEST: There are three in the bottle.

HOLBREICH: One lifts them out.

QUEST: I think I've just been told off. Over the years, Betty has built up her own personal shopping empire. It's not difficult to see why. You've found an honesty about price, you've found an honesty about packaging and you're not afraid to tell me when you don't think something's right.

HOLBREICH: I'm glad you found it out so early.

QUEST: If she's honest in the gift shop, wait `til you see her in women's wear. Oh, this is nice, isn't it? This is nice.

HOLBREICH: Feel it. You wouldn't wear it.

QUEST: Well, you're right, I wouldn't wear it but that's not the point. You won't tell me who shops with you, will you?

HOLBREICH: Absolutely not.

QUEST: Oh, come on.

HOLBREICH: My client. They know who they are.

QUEST: They certainly do. Betty has worked with the likes of Cher, Meryl Streep and Sarah Jessica Parker. It's quite a feat for a woman who only started this job in her late 40s. Thirty-seven years ago you came into this building.



HOLBREICH: I was brought here by someone.

QUEST: At the time, Betty's marriage had ended and her children were grown up. What did you want to do?

HOLBREICH: I wanted someone to rescue me. And they did. They're too short and too skimpy, I'd pass.

QUEST: She has never used a computer or a cell phone. She doesn't even ring up her own sales. When it comes to fashion, Betty is never left behind.

HOLBREICH: I can foresee what's going to happen. I can tell you now what we're going to go into in a year from now. They're going to drop the skirts, and we're going to go into a simpler, more contemporary look.

QUEST: So, it's with some trepidation I let her loose on my own ensemble. Tie.

HOLBREICH: Yes, blue.

QUEST: I know. What do you think?

HOLBREICH: OK. I would've put something else with a print on it myself.

QUEST: Whether it's that little black number for the office party or an unusual gift for the boss -




QUEST: Toast.


QUEST: You can be sure of one thing. Toast rack.

HOLBREICH: I have one. Bills.

QUEST: Betty knows best.



QUEST: I still say it was a toast rack. Now, turkey, ham, cornbread, stuffing, mashed greens and pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving can actually leave you a little inflated like these wonderful balloons in Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. And much like the U.S. economy, there was some doubt as to whether these balloons would actually get off the ground due to possible head winds and high winds.

Well in the end, the New York Police said yes, the parade could proceed and the balloons could go. But the balloons were flying a meter and a half lower and (plowed). Pumping them up was tricky much like the Eurozone economy where policymakers are worried about the sluggish rate at which prices are increasing. Elsewhere we have the opposite problem. So, here we go - first of all, in the U.K. we have the Bank of England which is concerned about houses - house prices which are - house prices which are rising. So, it's letting go of a program which provides cheap funding for mortgages.

In Brazil we know that interest rates are rising because they've gone into double figures, grappling with stubbornly high inflation over the world. Stock markets across the world - they are rising as well. Nikkei at the six-year high, DAX is at a new all-time high, New York Stock Exchange closed today at a new record. Now, we all know at some point whatever happens, things do keep going up and up , but eventually things could all go horribly wrong. "Profitable Moment" after the break.


QUEST: Tonight's very "Profitable Moment" - at least very profitable for the retailers - we hope or they hope the shopping frenzy at Thanksgiving is nearly as much of a tradition as the turkey. Those pictures of people bursting through doors and screaming for bargains are now routine. But of course tonight I ask you the question could you, should you, would you and should we in fact have stores that are open at times when there are holidays underway.

And perhaps EKG sums it up with a tweet. "I do not, would not, should not shop on Thanksgiving." Well, after Thanksgiving we could say Chinese New Year - we could add boxing day in the U.K., Australia or Canada. It really comes down to the core question - the appetite to shop at a holiday time to get a bargain when we're not even sure of what is the real price. Ultimately of course it does destroy the nature of the holiday. But then ultimately, maybe we don't care about that anymore. Can you, should you, would you? And that's "Quest Means Business" for tonight. I'm Richard Quest in London. Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, I hope it's profitable.