Americans are big spenders.
I’m not going to wow you with statistics that I’ve researched all week and news reports I’ve gathered from newspapers (who still reads those things?) and the television. I didn’t need to do that. I simply had to go out and experience the frenzy myself. I’m not even talking about going to Walmart–I’m quite stocked up on baby diapers and cat food, thanks. I wasn’t going to risk getting trampled on for anything else. I’m talking about going to a regular mall and little-known (or so I thought) boutiques.
First thing in the morning, Spouse, Child, Sister in Law, and I decided we would go to the mall. A mile away, we got caught in traffic. We eventually discovered that this long line that was running at a quick mile an hour was the line to the mall parking lot. When we finally disengaged from the line to find a carspace, we had to drive around the zero-availability parking garage. It was so bad that we saw several fights breaking out. It was anarchy. We got lucky about twenty minutes later when a car left right in front of us. We parked, and several times while we were unloading, cars pulled up behind us, hoping we were leaving instead off arriving. When we were all strollered up and ready to mall, we wheeled into the mall and saw the sea of shoppers moving in varrying currents. Madness, I tell you. Recession resmession. Nobody seemed to have a shortage of spending money–or maybe they did and just didn’t give a damn.
So we proceeded to do our own damage. I raided the pillow-case and serving bowl shelves in Crate & Barrel. They were ON SALE. Then we moseyed around, looking for more sales, which we found in Papyrus and also in Benetton. I went wild in Benetton because everything was 60% off. I shit you not. And hours later, we left to have a very, very late lunch at some buffet, but that’s a detail I’m not even going to get into, because we went straight to Pier 1 after that and I RAIDED the post-Christmas sales. All tree ornaments were 50% off. I bought a ton of lovely Christmas kringles and came up to damages of $70. That’s the only real amount I’ll confess too. I’m too ashamed to tell how much I spent for that entire day. I actually feel no remorse. Perhaps it’s because my almost-one-year old got a ton of clothes from his godmother, grandmother, and our lovely friends. He’ll be styling until next year, so he’s good, I’m good, the Spouse has his PS3, and the cat isn’t hungry.
Considering our spending spree, we still practiced some constraint. I shudder at the number of bags some of our fellow-shoppers were carrying. I’m not the pot calling the kettle–I’m just saying that all in all, that mall had its halls full of willing shoppers. Nobody strong-armed anyone to buy anything. We were all willing to exchange our money for wares. We were all hedonists delighting in the, supposedly, smart spending.
It was amazing.